To be a book blogger is a dream come true for every bibliophile. A platform to talk about our favorite topic – books. A privilege to promote and support our favorite authors. Whether you are an avid reader or a passionate writer, you cannot overemphasize the importance of book blogging.
Daniel Pennac’s Reader’s Bill of Rights
What is the correct way to read a book? Is it okay to quit a book midway if you are not enjoying it? Is it okay to browse books in a bookstore without feeling guilty? Do I need to defend the books and genres I enjoy reading?
First published in 1992 by the award-winning French author Daniel Pennac, the Reader’s Bill of Rights continues to shape readers. The manifesto outlines the ten key principles that a reader is entitled to. Reminding readers that books are meant to be enjoyed.
Allow me to refresh your memory on the Reader’s Bill of Rights.
- The right to not read
- The right to skip pages
- The right to not finish
- The right to reread
- The right to read anything
- The right to escapism
- The right to read anywhere
- The right to browse
- The right to read out loud
- The right to not defend your tastes
A Book Blogger’s Bill of Rights
A book blogger is a reader first. Blogging comes secondary. Blogging is not as easy as it is made out to be. Some genres require more hard work without due rewards (traffic or monetary). At the end of the day, most of us blog for the love of it.
Taking a leaf out of Daniel Pennac’s book, The Rights of the Reader, I share with you my Bill of Rights as a book blogger. Some controversial, some evident. All in all, key principles I believe in as a book blogger.
Before we proceed, a fair warning. Some of them are controversial. Feel free to disagree with me. I am up for a good debate.
Right to not review every book I read
Let me eat that frog first. By far the most controversial topic when it comes to book blogging. A topic that has the book community divided. The right to not leave a review.
Hear me out. In a perfect world, a book blogger would review every book read. That said, I am sure a lot of book reviewers would agree with me that reading for a review is different than reading for pleasure. Sometimes you just want to enjoy the book and not take notes alongside. More often than not, it is due to the lack of time.
As a book blogger, I do have the right to only share a rating or a short review instead of a complete analysis.
Right to not talk about books I don’t like
Continuing from the previous, I reserve the right to not talk about books that don’t work for me. This year has had a record number of DNFs (Did Not Finish) and I also read some review copies and ARCs I chose not to leave a review for (since it was for a promotional purpose). The authors and publisher were kind enough to understand.
That said, I will never shy away from talking about problematic books that need to be called out.
Right to read more than one book at a time
I am all for mindful reading but let’s be honest, not all books work all the time. At any point in time, I have an ongoing light read for days my mind is too saturated to engage with a deep read.
Reading two or more books concurrently does not mean I don’t appreciate the book or the writing. It just indicates that I prefer picking it up when I know I will enjoy it better.
Right to explore different formats of book blogging
An honest confession. When I started out, book blogging for me meant writing reviews.
I was privileged to discover book communities that expanded my horizons on what a book blog post can include. Apart from the usual suspects such as book reviews, listicles, interviews, updates, and discussion posts, I became privy to bookish content including book tags, playlists for reading, makeup looks, and reaction (gif) posts. Not to miss decor ideas to set the vibe complete with scented candles and snacks to go.
Right to not schedule posts
Every book blogger worth their salt would advise you to plan out and schedule posts beforehand. I have nothing against it and it works well for a lot of bloggers I know.
But… I am a mood reader as well as a mood blogger. Although I do plan a content calendar every month, it is more of a fallback when I am out of ideas. I am also a bit of a control freak when it comes to publishing and auto-sharing a blog post. I just prefer to not automate it.
Right to blog about topics other than books
Although I am a niche blogger, I have the right to blog about topics beyond books. I have previously published a series on allergy awareness, shared tech tips (Blogging 101), celebrated my tribe (the amazing women who raised me), and even dabbled in a bit of poetry.
The golden rule of blogging. There are no rules. Just write with all your heart and you will find your readers.
Right to participate in reading challenges
Reading is not a race. Absolutely!
Reading challenges and setting up a target of x number of books in a year continue to get a bad rap. As a book blogger, I reserve the right to participate in challenges to diversify my reading, explore genres out of my comfort zone, or just plain for the fun of it. Similarly, I reserve the right to participate in readathons. Reading as a community is rewarding.
Right to read and blog at my own pace
Life happens. Family and work take priority. Reading takes a back seat. Sometimes we are just too busy to pick a book, let alone write about it.
I have the right to publish a post as and when it works for me. I also have the right to read at my own pace and not skim a book for the sake of publishing a review. It serves no purpose and is a disservice to the author.
Right to not stick to a TBR
If you have been following me for a while, you would know I am notorious for setting up a monthly TBR and not sticking to it in its entirety. Again, it is more of a fallback for me.
If I can speak for my fellow book bloggers, checking out book recommendations and adding them to the TBR is fun. I refuse to be judged for not reading those books. That said, I honestly do plan to read them in the near or distant future. Or they wouldn’t be on my TBR at all.
Right to charge or not charge for a book review
I end the list with another controversial topic — paid reviews. Reviewing a book is hard work and time-consuming. Contrary to popular opinion, paid reviews can be honest too.
It is the book reviewer’s prerogative to charge for a review. It does not warrant being judged for it or being chastised for ruining the “market” if not.
With rights come duties and responsibilities. I had originally planned to include them but did not want to subject you to a 2500+ word article. Stay tuned as I will be sharing what I consider my duties as a book blogger.
What are your thoughts on the Bill of Rights I listed above? Would you like to add to them or chart out your own list? Do share in the comments below.A Book Blogger's Bill of Rights: 10 Key Principles #BookishLeague Click To Tweet
This post is part of the Bookish League blog hop hosted by Bohemian Bibliophile.
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