#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?