You may or may not have noticed that the header on my website has been changed.
There’s a reason for this.
I’ve been in a huge funk recently. I love my website, and I love reviewing books, but I’m feeling a bit caged, a little locked in, and this is making me feel just completely sick of it. I had to have a long chat with myself where I really reevaluated the reasons behind this website exists, and the reasons why I started it all those years ago. Then, when I had all of that sorted out, I had to decide if this website is something I’m willing to continue doing.
I’ve been reviewing for seven (7) years now, and I love every single minute of doing it, but seven years is a long time to read mostly speculative fiction and yeah, I’m kind of feeling burnt out on it. Not on the genre specifically, but on only reading and yapping about this genre. And while I do pop on here once in a while with another genre’s book to review, it’s not often, and it doesn’t really scratch my itch. I honestly feel a bit guilty when I do because my site advertises “speculative fiction book reviews” and here I am breaking my own rule. On top of reading and reviewing this genre, I’m also editing books in it (which I have absolutely NO INTENTION of giving up. It’s FANTASTIC. I. LOVE. IT.)
The truth is that I’m tired, folks. I’m tired of being basically locked into one or two genres. And it’s burning me out. Fast. And I never, ever want to get burnt out with reading. That’s like the supreme sin in my eyes, so the fact that I’m even feeling burnt out about reading really, profoundly bothers me.
I started this website because I wanted a place to go where I could talk about what I read, and pretend someone out there gives a crap about my opinion. That hasn’t changed. I get all excited about the books I read, regardless of genre, and it helps me process what I’ve read, or learned, to have this nerd-haven to go to and yap about it all. That’s the root of this website. That, right there, is what caused me to start this adventure seven years ago.
I love to read. I love to get excited about what I read. And when I’m excited, I love having a place I can go and verbally froth at the mouth about my excitement. That is Bookworm Blues boiled down to the root cause that resulted in its birth.
So I had to have a conversation with myself, and I came to the conclusion that my desire to review books hasn’t changed at all. I still need that space where I can go and get all sorts of excited and pretend like someone out there cares. I still need that little haven. However, I am absolutely burning out, and that’s a cardinal sin. And I realized that the one thing that I need, desperately is to diversify my reading a bit, and fill my brain with other things. This cage I’ve created for myself, where I only allow myself to read books in one specific genre, is a cage of my own creation, so this feeling I’m experiencing, is likewise a feeling that is my own creation.
The issue I’ve run into, the one thing that has kept me from actually doing what I’m doing right now, is the fact that I have readers in the speculative fiction genre, and publishers, and authors who contact me from this genre, and I’ve worried about upsetting people if I switch gears a little bit.
I keep coming back to the simple fact that, this is my website. I set it up. I run it. I keep it going. It’s mine. This is my baby. And the only person who can determine what road I want my baby to be on is me. There is absolutely nothing keeping me from spreading my wings (so to speak) but me. I started this website for the single purpose to give myself an outlet, and I need to get back to my roots, because I do not like this burnout that I’m currently feeling. It bothers me. It isn’t me.
I’m switching gears a little bit. You’ll notice the header no longer says “Speculative Fiction Book Reviews” and it just says “Book Reviews.” There’s a reason for that. I’m not going to lock myself down anymore. I’m not going to force myself to absorb piles and piles of speculative fiction, and I’m not going to allow myself to be pressured to read it. This website will now feature reviews of whatever books I choose to read at that moment. That may be nonfiction, or young adult, historical fiction, fantasy or SciFi, romance, or whatever I feel so compelled to read.
I will always return to speculative fiction, and this website will most likely still focus on SpecFic, but I’m not going to lock myself into it anymore. For example, I’m on a huge nonfiction binge right now, and there’s a ton of books that I’ve been wanting to write about because THEY ARE SO GOOD (Simon Sebag Montifiore’s The Romanovs, for example), but I have been afraid to come on here and do that because this site has been restricted to SpecFic and I’ve felt like I’ve been betraying my purpose or something like that. I also, oddly enough, just finished listening to the audiobooks of some J.R. Ward paranormal stuff, and while the plot leaves something to be desired, her character building/cultural development really interests me, and I’ve wanted to talk about that, but I’ve been reluctant to do so.
I’m not going to be reluctant anymore.
Officially, as of now, Bookworm Blues is open to book reviews of pretty much whatever the hell I’m reading (because I want to) at any given moment. If this causes me to lose readers, or publishers stop sending me stuff to read, then that’s the price I will pay. I’ve been doing this for seven years now, and that’s a long time in book reviewer lifespan. I think it’s time for me to diversify a bit.
So, there you go. I’m getting back to the roots of why this site started. It’ll always feature SpecFic, because that’s home and everyone eventually returns home, but now it’ll be unapologetically balanced by other stuff. Whatever I want.
Because I can.
P.S. Feel free to still send me review requests, but understand that the only change on that front is now I’ll pretty much be open to any query, for any genre of book.
I think this is a fine plan. Even though my own reviewing remains focused on SFF, I have always enjoyed (and needed) a non-SFF palate-cleanser in my reading to keep from feelings burned out and caught in a reading bubble. (Nonfiction history is usually my choice for that.) So I look forward, as always, to whatever you choose to write about. You’re one of the important people in our community, and your voice is highly valued as it ever was.
I hit the point you’re at about a year ago. I can say from experience that you’ve made the right call.
Your site, your rules. Enjoy!!!
Go for it.
I’ve been kicking around starting another book blog with a new focus.
Funnily enough, I started Every Day Should Be Tuesday in part because I was bored of writing reviews of books OTHER THAN speculative fiction books. And feeling constrained by the rules and norms of Amazon reviews.
Bravo! Fly with your own wings! I applaud your decision and look forward to reading your future reviews! And please know that there are people who care about your opinions, even if we rarely speak up. Like me!
I know exactly where you’re coming from. I’m in a rut myself. I love the fantasy genre, but lately I just can’t seem to get the ball rolling on my reading. I think you made the right call, and have given me something to think about as far as my reading goes. I think I’ll join you in adding other genres to my reading. I wasn’t sure what to do, so thank you so much!