For the past year I have been participating in a book for review exchange offered by Crown Publications via Blogging for Books. I have only reviewed 8 books with the program but after I wrote a rant-filled review about The World Before Us, I realized that this program has really challenged me as a reader. It has really made me step out of my own comfort zone with books I choose to request for review. Sometimes a challenge is great to test my reading habits, but over the year I've come to realize that there are just certain books that I will never read.
One way that the program has really challenged me is the lack of YA titles available for me to request for review. So first of all it has forced me out of my biggest reading comfort zone by making me read mostly adult titles. Which I definitely have benefited from! But it also made me realize that I don't really like contemporary adult novels and that is totally okay! Bring on the sci-fi & fantasy!
One way BFB hasn't challenged me is by the way it basically reaffirmed my love of sci-fi and fantasy. For the most part I do pick books within the science-fiction genre, because they interest me more than a book about a guy having a mid-life crisis. I don't even have a mortgage, I can't relate to that dude.
One thing about BFB that has been both a blessing and curse is my inability to DNF books. Since I receive these books in exchange for an honest review, I feel uncomfortable not finishing them even if I hate them. If I picked them up myself maybe I would give up, but since I signed up for this I feel like it's my responsibility to see them through to the end. Sometimes (The Martian) I was glad that I had stuck with the book, other times (Dark Eden & World Before Us) I just wanted to throw the book at the wall. So forcing me to read these books have been hard on my habits as a reader, but it's definitely a challenge I think I need.
This program has also made me venture into the humor and non-fiction genre, which is not something I typically would pick up. The first book I read for BFB was Dear Luke, We Need To Talk a pop-culture humor book that I only picked because of Star Wars. It was just okay. I also got to read Jim Gaffigan's Dad Is Fat which was really funny! So I am really grateful to be able to have the opportunity to branch out of my comfort zone and actually enjoy it. Because I know I would not do that on my own accord.
BFB has definitely made me question why I ever would decide to read certain books, but it also has forced me to branch out of my comfort zone to find other genres that I might like. I think every reader needs to challenge themselves once in awhile, and I'm really glad I get the opportunity to do it with the help of Crown Publishing. I'm actually really excited to get my next book (Little Paris Bookshop) in the mail soon.
Happy Reads Everyone!