How and why did The Reading Spree start?
I started this blog in February 2010 for three reasons:
– I wanted to address my huge reading backlog, and I thought reading and reviewing based on themes and commonalities would be a fast and fun writing exercise
– I suddenly had a lot of time as a “funemployed” 20-something, and
– I needed a distraction from several stressful life events, like unplanned unemployment and the death of two longtime friends.
So up went a free blog on Blogspot, which I moved to a free WordPress account after a few months, and then to a self-hosted one.
More than a decade later, I can definitely say it worked as a coping mechanism – there’s apparently such a thing as bibliotherapy. But now I don’t have a lot of free time, nor did this blog become a fast reading exercise. And I still have a huge backlog, analog and digital, to deal with.
You used to review books by theme. Why did you do it then, and why did you stop?
Simple: Because no one else did it.
But I changed my mind in 2020. I feel happier when reading whatever I want to read, planned book themes be damned. (I already wrote about this change in direction here and here.)
Don’t worry, I’ll still look for any similarities in the stories I go through. That part of the blog will never change.
How many books are on your reading list?
I don’t know. I stopped counting in 2018. Back then I had 244 unread physical and digital books in the pipeline, and a hundred or so more e-books to plan out.
What literary genres are you into?
I’ll go for almost anything.
I prefer fiction and creative nonfiction works. I’m a sucker for science, fantasy, historical, political, satirical, absurdist, tragicomic, erotic, and mythological fiction; and essays, biographies, memoirs, diaries, epistolary, reportage/commentaries, and popular science for nonfiction books.
My shelves used to be full of foreign/Western titles, but these days I have a nice mix of works by Filipino and foreign authors. (As it should be!) As long as a book in the genres stated above is written in Tagalog or English (because those are the languages I understand) or have translated editions in those languages, I’ll read it.
What genres do you avoid or say NO to?
Classical literature simply isn’t my forte, so I say no to those books. The same goes for poetry, romance, and chick-lit.
I also actively avoid anything written by Stephenie Meyer, E.L. James, Lang Leav, Rupi Kaur, or any of those famous Instagram poets. No fake news, revisionist, BBM/DDS/Republican/far-right, and anti-LGBTQIA+ stuff, either. These will never make it anywhere on my blog.
The same rule applies for Filipino celebrity-branded books, mass-market humor/hugot books, and Wattpad novels: my automatic answer is NO. I could make an exception if they’re really good, or if I’m actually curious about it enough to buy it myself (see: Bakit Hindi Ka Crush ng Crush Mo?). But don’t count on it.
Lastly, I am a lifelong atheist, so I don’t own any books that espouse religious faith. Rather, the books I have discuss atheism, and/or look at organized faith with detachment.
Where and how do you get your books?
Anywhere, and by any legal means. I’ll go to mainstream book chains, secondhand book shops, online stores, book fairs, book launches, workshops, and writing/publishing events to get my book fix. I’ll also take advantage of online bundle sales.
I rarely borrow friends’ books; I always want to have my own copy. I’m also known to haul a lot of books back home after my travels.
My general rules: the books featured on this blog have to be bought by me, with my money, during my own time; and that the purchases are based on my personal and ever-changing preferences. Basically, if I see it and like it, I’ll buy it. Otherwise… no.
Do you accept guest posts/reviews?
But if you have any titles to suggest, let me know at hi (at) thereadingspree (dot) com. If I like them, I’ll consider them.
Do you accept review requests and/or do sponsored posts?
It’s nice of you to ask me to take a look at your book, or want to work with me on sponsored posts. But it’s mainly an issue of time – the books I already own will always come first.
Besides, I love having the freedom to write about whatever I want, whenever and however I want.
Why do you have posts about writing and publishing?
Because I find the processes of book creation and distribution interesting, too. Not to mention the global publishing industry’s changing so fast that it’s tough to keep up sometimes.