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Sunday Salon: ARC overload

January 25, 2009

The Sunday Salon.comI don’t know how those of you who are always reading ARCs do it. I went on a bit of a requesting binge in November/December, plus I found someone on BookMooch who had a bunch of ARCs (that I had requested but not received) listed, and as a result, I found myself with a modest stack of ARCs that needed to get read. Consequently, a full half of the books I’ve read so far this year have had a “deadline” of an upcoming publication date (and an additional three had a “need to return to the library” deadline.)

I still have a stack of four unread ARCs, including on LibraryThing Early Reviewer books, which normally get immediate top priority. However, this weekend I decided that I need to take a break, and just read something *I* want to read. (Not that my ARC books haven’t been very-good-to-great.) Fatty-fat fantasy novel January is kind of turning into ARC-tastic January, but I wanted to get at least one fatty-fat (grown-up) fantasy book in there.

So yesterday I started The Hallowed Hunt by Lois McMaster Bujold. I haven’t had a ton of time to read, but about a quarter of the way into it, I’m really enjoying it. Bujold is very good at creating interesting, multidimensional protagonists in interesting, complicated predicaments, AND she’s got one of the more self-consistent, plausible, and interesting theologies I’ve run across in fantasy.

I’m also slowly working my way through Beyond This Dark House by Gavriel Guy Kay. I’m stealing Jessica’s idea of reading a poem a night (although they’re mostly short, so I usually read two or three), and it’s interesting… this is the first poetry I’ve read since high school, so I don’t always entirely have my bearings. They also (thus far) have a rather different feel from any of Kay’s novels.

But I’m sure next week I’ll dive back into my pile o’ ARCs again – deadlines to meet, miles to go and pages to read before we sleep, etc. Readers who maintain a constant large stack of ARCs: How do you manage? Do you ever start missing your own books? Or do you not make that kind of distinction?

  1. January 25, 2009 5:20 pm

    I had to stop asking for ARCs, I just couldn’t keep up with my chronic health problems. Perhaps you could request only one or two a week until the flow eases up? It feels good when that starts to happen I must say. Nice to hear you’re reading poetry, I love it myself but so many people tell me they got turned off by it in school. What a pity.
    Have a nice Sunday.

  2. January 25, 2009 5:23 pm

    I have quite a few ARCs. I don’t worry about deadlines too much, unless I’ve specifically agreed to review it by a certain date.

  3. January 25, 2009 5:44 pm

    No, I have decided to stop acquiring free books. Too many of them turn out to be enormous disappointment or are simply not what I want to read right now.

    I actually posted a manifesto about this early in the week. No more bad books!

  4. January 25, 2009 8:11 pm

    I stopped requesting ARCs as well. I still have 7 or 8 on the shelf that need to be read, but with my reading rate, it would take me two months if that is ALL I read. I don’t like being tied down like that. Not only that, but I like the current books I have on my shelf, and I hate to say it, but I get tired of reading people’s reviews for ARCs unless I have them on my shelf already. I’m not going to pursue them unless I’m really really interested, so that “mark as read” button gets hit a lot.

    Maybe just take a brief break to reevaluate whether or not you want your reading mandated by deadlines? At first I felt a little regret at not seeing all the fabulous titles on Shelf Awareness, but now I hardly think about it.

  5. January 25, 2009 8:50 pm

    I am drowning in ARC’s too. I am very selective about what books I say yes too, but that hasn’t meant much when so many sound so good to me. I try and only say yes to books I will actually like. You can’t always tell, of course, but I’ve been mostly success so far, with only a small few exceptions.

    As for managing it all. I’m not the one to ask. LOL If you figure out the secret, do let me know!

  6. January 25, 2009 9:02 pm

    I’ve backed way off of ARCs and will be requesting few if any this year. It started to feel too much like work when I “had” to read them, even if it was a book I really wanted to read!


  7. January 25, 2009 10:29 pm

    Yeah. ARCs get heavier and heavier, do they? I’m trying to cut back on my requests.

    I’ve sore of fallen off of the poem-a-night thing. I need to start that again. Thanks for the reminder.

  8. January 26, 2009 9:34 am

    Sandra – I think one or two a week would still have me buried!

    bermudaonion – That’s probably very sensible. I feel like I should have them read and reviewed before their release date, which is fine for ones sent by the author/publisher, but kind of silly for ones I mooched.

    Debbie – The recent batch have all been good, just… a lot of them.

    Trish – I agree; I’m always more interested in people’s reviews of older and less-well known books, and will often blow past the ten millionth review of the popular new release. Obviously folks like us are in the minority, though, or else publishers and publicists wouldn’t keep doing the heavy-saturation blog tours, where you see the same book in three places a day for two weeks.

    Literary Feline – I’ve been entering my ARCs in LibraryThing, tagging them “ARC” and “TBR”, tagging the month in which I need to read them, and entering the release date in the CommonKnowledge original publication date field. It’s not perfect, but at least I can generate a list of which ones get top priority.

    Lezlie – I think if I can get it down to one or two read per month, that’s do-able without feeling buried.

    Jessica – It’s a fantastic idea! I started not for the poetry’s sake, but because Kay is one of my favorite authors… but I’m really enjoying it, and am probably going to find another poetry book once I run out of my current one.

  9. January 26, 2009 10:58 am

    I definitely started yearning for some of my own books. For one thing, most of my ARCs were literary fiction and I was REALLY missing historical fiction. I stopped requesting so many ARCs and right now I’m basically switching, only reading an ARC every other book, unless it is one that I WANT to read after having just read another.

  10. January 26, 2009 11:54 am

    I don’t have this problem because I was offered ARCs maybe 4-5 times in 2 years of blogging, but I imagine that if I had too many I would indeed start missing my own books. And the idea of deadlines does feel a little daunting. But as long as you’re not told “you have to review this by___”, I’d say take your time and just read what you’re in the mood for.

  11. January 26, 2009 7:03 pm

    LOL @ ARC overload! Been there. Done that. Am trying to stop the insane cycle. ;) It’s not working.

  12. January 26, 2009 11:10 pm

    I know that feeling all too well! I’m backing off on the ARCs, now, but I have a huge pile and most of mine are tour books. Unless I’m dying to read the book, now I’m working on Just Saying No to ARCs — especially if they come with a deadline.

    As to inserting something you just want to read . . . I do that all the time. I call them “sneak-ins”, which is silly. One should be able to read his or her own books without feeling guilty. But I’ve gotten some terrific ARCs and I’m still having fun with them. I just have to be careful not to request too many. It’s all too easy to do.

  13. January 27, 2009 10:13 am

    DoB – I got pretty lucky in having a good mix of genres in my ARC pile, but even so, I got swayed by all of the sad noises that the books on my shelves were making when I was ignoring them. :)

    Nymeth – None of the books came with a “please review by” from the publisher, so I admit it’s pretty silly to make up deadlines and then stress about making sure I meet them.

    J. Kaye – Heh. If you could stop the cycle, it wouldn’t be so insane, would it? :)

    Nancy – Every morning, I open Shelf Awareness, and am on point of requesting something, when I have to stop and ask myself “Do you really want to read that? I mean *really* really?” And it’s still hard to Just Say No.

  14. January 28, 2009 3:17 pm

    I hear you on the overload. I’m really picky with what I accept now. I have old books on my shelves I want to read, but there are so many good books coming out these days.

  15. January 28, 2009 10:37 pm

    I stopped with the ARCs (although I never got that into it) and the blog tours, because I didn’t like the pressure to be polite and “on.” Books offered in contests though…those are still fair game. :-D

  16. January 30, 2009 10:27 am

    Anna – No kidding! There were TWO in today’s Shelf Awareness that I wanted to request, but I somehow managed to restrain myself.

    softdrink – I feel a lot less pressure to be “on” when it’s an ARC distributed by the publisher instead of directly from the author, but I know what you mean.

  17. April 14, 2009 6:20 pm

    OK – I am totally new here. Where do you go to request ARCs? What do you do in exchange? I would love to get some – though not overload, of course…

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