How did The Reading Spree start?

I started this blog in February 2010 for three reasons. I had to do something to address my huge reading backlog (and thought reviewing my books based on themes and commonalities would be a fun and fast 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.

Almost 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.

Why review books by theme? Why not do it one book at a time?

As far as I know, I’m the only one who does bulk/themed reviews, online or offline. Reviewers and writers usually focus on one book per review. Until now, I don’t know of anyone who has the same approach I have − or maybe my search wasn’t that thorough. The people I’ve talked to about The Reading Spree have also told me they’ve never heard of anyone who does bulk/themed reviews.

Admittedly, it’s difficult and time-consuming. Doing individual book reviews would be much easier, and it would allow me to update this blog more often (and make the “spree” part of the blog name more apt). But where’s the fun in that? I’d be just like everyone else if I take that approach. Besides, the fact that I can group my books according to theme still amuses me.

Let me make it clear that The Reading Spree focuses on the similarities in stories and elements. I will comment on writing styles, grammatical and typographical errors, etc., but only when I see the need for it. Excessive criticism, nitpicking and other negative behavior have no place in this blog.

How many books are on the reading list?

I don’t know. I stopped counting last year. Back then it was 244 physical and digital books, and a hundred or so e-books that I actually plan to read.

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 are that 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.

What book genres are you into? And what genres do you avoid or say NO to?

I’ll go for (almost) anything. I do have a preference for fiction and creative nonfiction works. I’m a sucker for science, fantasy, historical, political, satirical, absurdist, tragicomic, erotic, and mythological fiction; while I like essays, bios, memoirs, diaries, epistolaries, reportage/commentaries, and popular science for nonfiction books. My shelves used to be full of foreign titles, but these days I have a nice mix of works by Filipino and foreign authors.

Classical literature simply isn’t my forte, so I say no to those. The same goes for poetry, romance, and chick lit.

I also actively avoid anything written by Stephenie Meyer, E.L. James, Lang Leav, and Rupi Kaur. Their books will never make it anywhere on my blog.

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.

Do you accept book review requests, and/or do sponsored posts?

No.

Why are there blog entries about writing and publishing?

You mean you’re not interested in how your books are made — and how the publishing industry’s changing? That’s a shame.

Does The Reading Spree accept guest posts/reviews?

No. But if you have any titles to suggest, lemme know at thereadingspree (at) gmail (dot) com.