#bookwormproblems, Discussion

[Discussion] Is ARC Reading Kind Of Like School Reading? Lists Upon Lists Upon Lists...

It is no secret that most of us bookish people like lists. And we really like lists. We make lists of books we own. We make lists of books we want. But most importantly… We make lists of books we need to read.

Some of those lists are for books we genuinely just want to read. Some of them are for books that have been lounging on our bedside tables for far too long. Some of them are for personal growth – like reading more diverse or #ownvoices books, or just reading that self-help chapter every evening.

But as reviewers, we actually have ANOTHER list type that is specific to us and only us! I’m talking about ARCs.

It’s also no secret that quite a lot of us, I am thinking from somewhere around a third to more than half, struggle with our ARC reading. It’s not that we don’t like it or aren’t hyped about it! We like it so much that we simply end up with too many ARCs. We even have a meme for it. And most of us don’t even notice how soon ARC reading takes over our own personal reading. That sooner or later we are not reading anything else BUT ARCs.

So I was thinking… isn’t that so much like summer reading you used to do for school?

You kind of really need to read them. But you also realize that it’s not realistic, considering how long the list is.

I don’t know how your school book lists used to be – it tends to vary from place to place. For some, all the books are mandatory. For others, like me, they were more like strong recommendations of books that would be covered next year in extracts, so you’d do better if you actually read them during the summer. So I can’t say my lists were compulsory – you wouldn’t be failed for skipping them. But then again… If you wanted to do well, you had to read them anyway. And reading ARCs is so much like that, isn’t it? They’re not compulsory. But you also know that if you won’t be reading it, you will fall out of the good graces of the publishers! (And I mean, it’s just not nice, right?)

And then you have to make some difficult decisions.

If you’re like me, you probably can’t read them all. You tend to think you’ll be able to. But then real life happens.

And you then have to take your pick. I wonder, how you guys pick your reads in situations like these? I tend to shove all the logical arguments under the rug and just go with what glittered more on the top of my stack at the given moment (metaphorically speaking – my ARCs are almost all, with few exceptions, e-copies), if I know I won’t be able to perform as I was planning. I’ve let go some of the ARCs I was really excited about this way! It’s stupid, and it’s annoying, and I feel bad about it – especially because I still want to read them a year later, but the bad feeling keeps me away from them. Who ever said bookworms were supposed to be logical creatures??

Anyway, my point is, that it’s the same way we used to pick our school reads out of the huge list. It must be!

If it takes over our lives, why do we do it then?

And that’s a good question. I don’t know. I actually am not sure, but I am thinking that there might be several reasons! For me, of course, it’s that wild rush of WHAT IF I MISS A WONDERFUL BOOK (despite knowing there’s no way I’ll ever be able to read them all! I can try though… right?) And then again… We wouldn’t be bookworms if we didn’t enjoy our summer reading lists when we were in school, right? I mean, assigned reading lists can be really boring and not cater to your personal tastes, but even then, isn’t there just something magical about walking out of class with an an entire list of summer reading? You know the feeling I’m talking about! I am thinking, maybe even if ARCs stress us out, we just want to come back to that feeling every now and then.

And god knows, there are few things better than crossing out an item on a list like that.

So what do you think? Is ARC reading at least a little bit as school reading was for you? And did you enjoy those reading lists?

I’m Evelina and I try to blog about books that matter, with a bit of fun there too! Disability and equality will be topics you see a lot, but there’s also a lot of scifi, fantasy and… GIFs. I’m also the proud founder of #ARCsAnonymous.

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Norrie
Guest

Uh, i had to be really careful on netgalley… haven’t requested q new book since May, just so i can keep up…
I think it’s still better than school reading. They always picked books for us i did not want to read at all.

Kaleena @ Reader Voracious
Guest
I definitely have been in a reading hell of my own making because I requested way too many July/August releases and I feel like all I am reading are ARCs. Don’t get me wrong, I love them and the opportunity I have been afforded to read & review titles early; however, I do feel an intense sense of obligation which does sap some of the fun from it for me. I am limiting the # of requests per release month now to 4 so that I can balance my TBR Tower reading with ARCs and am looking forward to that… Read more »
(Danielle) Books, Vertigo and Tea
Guest
Great post! But I am happy to say that this is not the case for me thankfully I try very hard to be selective in my requests and keep them limited. I realize that all ARCs cost pubs money and me time, so I really watch how many I seek out. But the obligation is definitely there! So I can see how it might feel like this for some. With the rare occasion of a DNF (in which I still need to send feedback) if I accepted it or requested it, I am obligated to read it. So I get… Read more »
Chloe @ Book Dragons
Guest
Well…I never had summer reading at school. Only at primary school were we actively encouraged to read over summer, as soon as it came to secondary school for me. We weren’t encouraged to read outside of class in the same way, in fact we were usually reading the set books we’d be using for exams and stuff in class as a class. Drove me nuts, cause I read ahead then had no idea where everyone else was cause they read so SLOW. Which is fine, but it bugged me that I couldn’t just finish the book at my own pace.… Read more »
Camilla @Reader in the Attic
Guest

I don’t feel the same with Arcs, but right I feel that they’re going to drown me. I’m not in the mood for reading and I’ve a lot to catch up.

Anyway, Arcs can become some kind of required reading , because they’re still some kind of “blogger job” if we got them. But can also be dropped. Usually I feel that I’ve to read them but I’m also glad to read those, because I actually request them.
But right now? I think that I need a bubble of time XD

Flavia @ Flavia the Bibliophile
Guest

Ahhhh this is such a good and important discussion! I tend to request too many ARCs and then really push myself to read them all on time….which can lead to burning out. And that’s never a good thing. I think it’s good to talk about this, and I definitely feel less alone on the matter now (as I’m sure other readers will to). So, thank you for posting this discussion! 😀

Sophie
Guest

First I had no reading lists in school (shocking I know)! Second I really try to keep my ARCs requests under control. As in 1 ARC for 2 mood reads or so. Then why do I request them? Because I want to! Because the blurb is appealing. Because I can read for free. Because I’ll read it before the others. Because that’s just one author I one click….take your pick 😉

lauren
Guest

this was a great read.
i dont think i cancompare it to school readingbci honestly dont recall reading much for school?!

but i deifnitely know what you mean. imdoing well atm and ignoring netgalley and stopping requesting anything.

Laura Thomas
Guest

You come up with such great post ideas. I can relate to lists upon lists upon lists. I have sticky notes everywhere. My son even founf one in the freezer. LOL I do love ARCs and got carried away when I first started getting them. I’m still way behind but not letting them rule me anymore. I now have “a list” of books to read each week that includes one ARC. LOL I can’t believe I just said list again!

Angelica @ Paperback Princess
Guest

Laura I went way overboard in 2015 when I first found NG I’ve since calmed down and have still been going back to review books that are years old just to get my % back up so I can totally relate.

Carrie @ Cat on the Bookshelf
Guest
When I feel a sense of obligation for it, it usually comes with trying to read and review it by the week it’s published. I know that is the timeline, but that can get very excessive if your schedule is full. I can’t speak to the summer reading list, since I only ever had one summer where that happened in high school. I did the library’s summer program, which let me read nearly anything I was interested in. It does feel like an obligation to finish it and do all of the other stuff required, and that can be made… Read more »
Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer
Guest
This is the one area of my reading/listening that I am seriously anal about. I limit myself to x amount each month for review. For example, when arcs for September become available I add up to eight and once I’ve done it, I won’t accept more. I typically read/listen to 15 to 25 books a month. Ah, ok sometimes if its one I have to have K may accept more than my limit, but I make sure to review on time. I like to divy up my reading between my own and arcs. I also try to accept arcs I… Read more »
Charvi Koul
Guest

Wow I think you’re kinda right. Except the fact we never get a list but just one of the most boring books to read every year -_-

But I love this post! I’ve only recently started being granted ARCs but I’m panicking already so I might join your State of the ARC meme in a month or two

CG @ Paper Fury
Guest
I tend to go for too many ARCs because I don’t have a good local library or a big book-buying-budge aaand I’m terrified of missing out on good books.So I just go I HAVE TO READ IT ALL WHILE I CAN. And then drown. Lovely. Haha. Also sometimes with Netgalley or Edelweiss, I either get approved for nothing, so I request a ton…or then I get approved for all of them and drown.But yes, I do sometimes feel the drain of ARCs, like especially non-solicited ones. I just want to read whatever I want!! I have books I bought like… Read more »
Angelica @ Paperback Princess
Guest

I can’t believe you get denied in NG! That’s appalling!

Sam@WLABB
Guest

Right now I am trying to catch up on ARC reading, and the chore is not the actual reading, it’s the reviewing. I normally like to do a mix of review and non-review books just so I can get a break from writing reviews.

Dani @ Perspective of a Writer
Guest

Actually this year I’ve refused to allow myself more than 4 ARCs due each month. If I hit that mark for a month then I can’t request those books in the same month. That’s really helped me because I can still request but I also have to limit. It means I read 48 ARCs of my 125 books a year. It’s a good number but not overwhelming. I get in trouble when I get an ARC that is for a book that is already published. I have no drive to read those. 🙁

Lucy
Guest

This is a really interesting discussion. Arcs can be stressful and overwhelming but I think you just have to be careful to not request too many at a time and be honest with yourself if you’re actually going to read it.

Lucy ~ lucyturnspages.co.uk

Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard
Guest
For me, just the feeling of pressure to read a book — the sense of obligation — sometimes makes me resist it. If someone pushes a book at me too hard, I have the same reaction. And yet, all my ARCs are books I requested; I don’t accept unsolicited review requests. So I’m often torn between “I want to read this and yay, I have it” and “I have to read this by next Tuesday, but I don’t want to right now.” As for the ARCs taking over your reading list, that is a real problem for me. It’s hard… Read more »
Darlene
Guest
Good post! I still have ARCs from years ago that I haven’t gotten to. I’m anal, too, and refuse to give up on them and will finish all of them eventually. That’s why I join the Blogger Shame Reading Challenge, which is to review older ARCs. Now, I only accept audiobooks for review and really try to limit myself with my requests but still find that I fall behind. I feel guilty that I own so many books and haven’t read them! Then I go and request 50 books from the library, LOL! I guess books are just an addiction,… Read more »
Lydia Tewkesbury
Guest

So I don’t get ARCs (not a committed enough blogger), but I have often thought this must be a problem. I think I would struggle if there was a huge pile of books I felt I *had* to get through – I am a mood reader through and through and trying to force myself to read something I’m not feeling plunges me into slump territory very quickly.

That said I also have all kinds of reading lists. I haven’t got completed any of them but I just love to make them.

Northwoman
Guest

It’s a conundrum. I do try to be very careful not to get too much on Netgalley or from publishers. There are just so many I want. So I don’t think it is like school since I get to pick and in school the teacher picked. Great Post! Anne – Books of My Heart

Genni @ Ready, Set, Read!
Guest
I love this discussion! My gut reaction was, “no way!”, but when I thought about it and read your post, I agree! There’s been times when I’ve gotten request-happy on NetGalley, and then when I get approved for an ARC, regret it later. The thrill of asking for a book sometimes clouds my judgment on whether or not I actually want to read the book. I’m better at being pickier now, but when I first started NetGalley, I essentially requested anything that piqued my interest in the slightest and that I thought I would be approved for. Now that I’ve… Read more »
Cam @ Camillea Reads
Guest

ARCs are overwhelming me already. There are some books I took on on a whim but since I’ve stopped going on NetGalley sprees they’re a bit more manageable. And while I do love reading on the Kindle, I want an actual book from time to time!

Caro @ bookcheshirecat
Guest

That’s actually a very interesting question! For me personally? Not really 😀 I would definitely say that reading ARC’s requires a lot of planning, you can often get lost in what releases when and how many copies you have yet to read. But the main difference for me is that I’m SO excited to read my ARC’s that it feels great when I get around to reading them 🙂

Sam @ Sharing Inspired Kreations
Guest

Oh, it totally can be! I try not to request TOO many ARCs, but it can be so tempting and sometimes I just get carried away! It’s not fun anymore if you’re overwhelmed and it feels like homework. Great discussion!

Jackie B. @ Death by Tsundoku
Guest
Haha– the post I have scheduled for Sunday is something fairly similar to this post. Only… Only I don’t know if you’ll agree with where I end up. XD To be determined! I never felt like reading for school was a chore. I didn’t always enjoy what I was reading, but I also never struggled to complete my assigned reading on time. At least, not when it came to fiction. I love your idea that we just need some stress in our lives, hence the reason we keep going back. Glutton for punishment, perhaps? Who knows! With each passing month,… Read more »
Cee Arr
Guest

We never had a school reading list. But then… our school wasn’t exactly high-standard, tbh!

I find that I put *so* much energy into reviewing, that it’s best if I only have a handful of ARCs at a time (I currently have 3 to review, which for me is like 30,) because it’s gonna be (on average) *months* before I finish my review anyhow! (This is why I don’t sign up to blog tours. No deadlines here!) 😉

Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction
Guest

I’ve been much better about requesting lately, but I STILL have tons of ARCs I’m behind on. It’s impossible to get your head above water sometimes!

Dina
Guest
I actually avoid ARCs completely because they sound way too stressful. As someone who has epic mood swings, I can’t really predict when/if I can read anything within a certain timeframe. Heck, I can’t even guarantee that I can read books without any pressure. But, I always liked the idea of getting free books (who wouldn’t?), and I understand what it’s like to go through lists and check things off. It’s a nice feeling. I do think it’s a lot like required reading because once approved, you’re kind of stuck with this responsibility (ugh, it’s not the word I want… Read more »
Sim @ Flipping Through the Pages
Guest

Well, our education system is quite different than the west. We weren’t given any reading list or such during summers, probably that’s because I am so behind on reading? Maybe 😛
But yes, the ARC situation certainly gets overwhelming and you know how we both are drowned in it. You have recovered much but I am still there 😛 It’s been a month since I requested anything from NetGalley and I hope to continue in the same way 😀