How my bookish habits have changed since I started blogging

I've been blogging for nearly five years (WHAT?! HOW?!) and I've noticed that my reading habits have drastically changed over the past five years. Regardless of my blog, I'm pretty sure my reading habits would've changed as I grew from an awkward thirteen-year-old into an awkward (almost) eighteen-year-old. Life has gotten busier as I've gotten older, there are more responsibilities (especially more academic responsibilities) and I thought it would be interesting to see how my reading/bookish habits have changed since I first started blogging. SO, LET'S GET THIS SHOW ON THE ROAD. YAS.

I remember when I first started my book blog, I was this dinky barely thirteen-year-old WHO DIDN'T KNOW WHAT YA WAS. Like, literally, I remember going onto Amazon and seeing someone say "Such a brilliant YA book!" and I was like, "Wut dat?". Oh, the ignorance. It burns. I'm so glad I started blogging because I don't think I would've found YA until I was much older and that BREAKS MY HEART. Can you imagine?! What a despairing image.

This makes me sad but it's definitely something I've noticed. I think this is because a) The books I'm reading are a lot thicker (I was reading MG books and they were generally like 200 pages each and now most books I read are 400 or pages) so it feels like I'm reading less b) I'm older = more school = less reading time c) I have more (bookish related) hobbies - writing reviews, bookstagram, commenting on blogs, writing posts - that although I love doing, it does mean there's less time for reading!

Before I was a part of the book blogosphere I'd buy random books, I'd get random books out of the library and I'd just read whatever but since I started book blogging, MY EYES HAVE BEEN OPENED. I KNOW OF ALL OF THE BOOKS. I READ ALL OF THE REVIEWS. I'm a lot more discerning with what I read now which is mostly a good thing but I do admit, I kind of miss just going to the library and checking out random books but...

Although I loved pretty much every book I read when I was younger and I don't think I was as finicky about rating a book high, I've definitely noticed that I'm reading books with better writing, plots, and characters as opposed to what I read before. Even the occasional teen books I read before I started blogging weren't that great - they lacked depth and complexity and now that I think back, they really weren't that great. I've discovered many, many new favourites and there are so many books that I've read since 2012 that will stay with me forever. There aren't that many favourites from before I started blogging!

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Due to being aware of new releases and constantly being recommended books, I find myself buying a lot more books as opposed to when I was younger. I would randomly buy books when I went to charity stores and bookstores but now whenever I hear of a new release that sounds incredible or 231 bloggers are fangirling over a book...I buy it. I also think I buy more because I see all the pretty shelfies on bookstagram and it makes me want to grow my collection? LIKE, LOOK HOW PRETTY.

Before I started blogging I would randomly walk into charity stores/bookstores and buy whichever book's blurb sounded intriguing but now I only buy books I've heard great things about and books that have been newly released. I never buy a book without reading reviews first which is good as I can generally steer away from books that may contain bad dialogue/things that trigger my anxiety/insta-love etc but it does make me wonder if I'm missing potential favourites all because of a lower rating on Goodreads. 

My TBR pile hasn't been devoid of books since I was probably about eight. My parents have always bought me books and I've been used the library since I was 5 or 6 so I've always had a TBR pile, but since blogging it has definitely grown at quite an impressive rate. I get sent books every month to review, I buy more books than ever, I live in England where books are so much cheaper than South Africa so it's no wonder that it's grown so much. Also: I NEED to work on reducing it because it's, it's beginning to rival Everest. Slight exaggeration but you get the idea.

I've always taken pictures of books. Before blogging...I didn't have a mobile so I didn't take any pictures of books but then a few months after starting blogging I got a phone and I started randomly taking bookish pictures that I would send to my friends like, LOOK NEW BOOKS (they didn't really care. HEATHENS. APPRECIATE MY PHOTOGRAPHY TALENT). I then progressed to snapping photos of my book hauls and current reads and tweeting it to my blogging friends and putting them on my blog occasionally but since starting my bookstagram account I take pictures of books a lot (you don't say). I don't randomly get books off my shelves and take a quick picture anymore, I actually make an effort to make it look slightly more aesthetically pleasing. That's another good thing that's come out of book blogging - photography. I don't think I ever would've gotten into photography if it weren't for all the brilliant bookstagram photos I've seen. Yay!

I've definitely noticed I feel more guilty if I don't read a lot. I've never been a person who just reads in their free time. I have quite a few other hobbies - I've always loved reading/dancing/pilate's/piano/guitar/drawing/computer games so I'll do either one of those in my spare time which has always been fine but now that I have a book blog and I have to read in order to produce content, I feel so guilty if I don't read. Now that I'm in my second to last year of school I don't have time to read and when I do, sometimes I don't feel like reading as I've spent the whole day in front textbooks so I feel like doing something creative or something physical. However, if I don't read in my spare time I feel guilty. I look at my towering TBR pile, I think of all my review copies, my Goodreads challenge...I definitely want to stop feeling guilty for not reading because it's a fun hobby and I need to accept that it's okay to want to do other stuff as well.

STORY TIME: I used to have this system for what book to read next when I was younger. I would gather my (small) stack of books that I wanted to read and I would look at the number of pages each book had and I'd read them in the order of thinnest to thickest, or thickest to thinnest, or sometimes I'd read them in alphabetical order by title or by author - switch things up a bit. I might actually start doing that again as these days it takes me forever to choose which book to read next as I've heard incredible things about all the books and I NEVER know what to read next because every book always looks so good! I might restart that system again because it actually helped me choose what to read next. Eight-year-old Kyra, I admire you. 

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So, let's talk! How have your reading habits changed since you first started blogging? Can you relate to any of these? Let me know!