Wednesday, March 5, 2014

April and I are both big supporters of reading with a buddy, and we know a lot of other people like to read with a friend or group, as well. But I think each person takes away something different from a buddy read, and so we thought it was high time we discussed buddy reading and sought some feedback from you guys, too. So, April posed some questions and we both reflected on what reading with a buddy means to each of us.

What makes a good buddy reader?

April:  For me, a buddy reader has to be someone I’m comfortable with, someone who has similar likes and reading habits as me. Life happens, and sometimes it sets me back. A good buddy reader has to be someone who understands that. I’ve tried buddy reading with a couple bloggers and it didn’t work out. This one read too fast, that one read too slow. So compatibility is a must for me.

Jen:  Same here...I have to be compatible with the person I'm buddy reading with. I wouldn't just read with any ole Joe Schmo from Goodreads or Twitter. Besides having the same taste in reading material, we also have to have other common interests and reading habits, and it's nice if we've been friends for awhile, too. It helps to have a buddy who understands that I work full-time and have an almost six-year-old daughter so that they know I can't always be at their beck and call for a buddy read. A buddy read should be fun, not something that causes unnecessary pressure on me. For me, a good buddy reader sticks to the planned reading schedule, but doesn't necessarily expect you to read at the same time or even at the same pace. I look forward to reading and discussing the night's chapters with my buddy, but I don't want to feel pressured to speed-read and then get spoilery texts or messages from them before I've even finished. That is a buddy reader no-no.

How does buddy reading differ from reading on your own? What are the benefits?

April:  I love reading on my own because I don’t have to stop at any certain point, but then I don’t have anyone to talk to about it! The benefit of buddy reading for me, is being able to discuss while reading. It’s so nice to have that lifeline, that other person who is reading the same thing at the same time and probably thinking the same things too. I love when Jess and I simultaneously send each other “WTF just happened” texts. Also, you might miss something that your buddy reader didn’t and that is super helpful.

Jen:  With buddy reading, I think I actually pay even more attention to what I'm reading because I feel like I'm going to be quizzed on it afterward, lol. I do love reading on my own schedule because I don't rush as much to find out what happens so I can discuss it with my buddy. But at the same time, not reading with somebody means I don't have anyone to discuss it with immediately after, and like I said, I probably wasn't pay close attention to the details like I would if I knew someone was waiting to discuss them with me. Buddy reads really help me see things in the story that I might have glossed over otherwise, and it also helps to talk through things in the story because each reader interprets things in their own way. I've read things at times and took it a totally different way than my buddy reader, and then I realize that I was letting my personal experiences shade certain aspects of the story because the buddy reader with different life experiences didn't see it that way at all. Buddy reading helps give you some perspective.

How do you find the time to buddy read while keeping up with review books?

April:  Well, I’ve been buddy reading with my friend Jess for a long time now and we have finally gotten into a groove that works perfectly for us. I love reading review books, but I hate not reading my books. Ya know? I see so many bloggers get burned out just reading books for review, and I don’t want to ever feel that way. So I read multiple books at a time. I almost always have two going. I have one review book on deck, and one buddy read. We take turns choosing what we want to read. This is where similar likes come in handy because Jess and I like the same books. We start out on a Monday reading 25 % a day. Or if it’s a physical book we will break it up into chapters. By the end of the week we usually finish. The rest of the day I read my review books. This allows me to read purchases as well as arcs. So far, it’s worked out great.

Jen:  I always have multiple books going, too. I usually try to have an audiobook, a review book, and a shelf book going. Sometimes I read review books with a buddy who got a copy, too, and then when we're done reading, we link to each other in our reviews of the book. Other times, the shelf book is the one I'm buddy reading. It really just depends on who I'm reading with and what we're excited about reading at the time. But keeping three books on deck really helps me. The buddy read is only a set amount of chapters each night, and then I spend the rest of my reading time for the night on the other book I have on deck. Commuting, chores, and work time are how I get through my audiobooks. It might sound like a lot at any given time, and maybe too much to keep track of sometimes, but it works really well for me and keeps me on track with what I hope to get read each month.

Jess and her princess
Who is your go to buddy reader(s) and why?

April:  Jess from Hackaroo Reviews. We met a few years ago on twitter. She’s amazing, and she one of my best friends. Sometimes distance doesn’t matter. We’ve never met in real life, but we talk everyday via voxer, text, and sometimes phone. For me she is the ideal buddy reader. She’s a working mom, she has an almost one year old and a new little one on the way. She gets me as a person, as well as a reader.

Our buddy reading relationship is pretty relaxed. We are both busy people. If one of us gets caught up in real life shit, and can’t keep up, either we wait for the other, or move on. When we are both caught up we start the next. No hard feelings.

Jen:  I have a couple of friends I buddy read with these days. Emily from Book Jems is my fangirl soulmate. We don't have down and dirty discussions after we finish the night's chapters or the entire book...we just fangirl to each other in tweets. And Goodreads status updates. And sometimes email, depending on how awesome the book was. But when I want to really evaluate a novel and get to the nitty gritty of it, I read and discuss with Kristen over at My Friends Are Fiction™. She even started a group on Goodreads where we could exclusively discuss our buddy reads without spoiling things for anyone else who might follow us. I think through our buddy reads, we've become even better friends, which is a sure sign that we were meant to be reading buddies, right? =) We read at the same pace, we both have little ones around the same age, and we understand that real life comes first. It's a win/win.

Which is kinda the same situation me and April are in, so I'm wondering why we don't ever buddy read together. Hmm. I mean, we did just kind of read Open Road Summer together -- meaning at the same time -- but we didn't discuss it while reading, except in a couple of Goodreads status updates and comments. But we are planning to do our first joint review over this title, so that's kinda the same thing, right? :D


Do you participate in buddy reads or book clubs or anything similar? Do you have anyone you exclusively buddy read with? What makes buddy reading work for you?


19 comments:

  1. I've never tried buddy reading before. I like the idea, but I have a habit of reading the whole book in one shot when I love it, which is hard to buddy read with.

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    1. There are definitely times when it's been difficult to make myself stop at a certain place each night! It helps if you pick good stopping points, though. :)

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  2. THIS IS SUCH BRILLIANCE. I've never really thought about budding reading...but I so need to try it. It's weird, I mean, I have a sister I BLOG with, for goodness sakes, but you know? We never read the same books. In an entire year, we might read 5 books the same. We cover more ground that way. And our tastes are pretty different, so our review blogging then is pretty widely spread, which is awesome, but STILL. It's crazy! I have a reading buddy one piece of carpet away from me. We need to sort this out. ;)

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    1. I read a couple of books with my sister when she was still blogging with me, and it was pretty awesome. She always had the opposite opinion, or she was a least took a harsher stance on the book, so it made for some lively discussions afterward. I'd love to see what you and your sister might decide to read and how well it goes for you. :)

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  3. Never thought about a buddy read. I have read books other friends have and we do get into some pretty awesome discussions when we talk about them. But we always have to be careful the other has finished the book. Maybe I need to find a buddy.

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    1. I highly recommend buddy reading, ESPECIALLY because of the awesome discussions that follow. Try it once and you'll be hooked. :)

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  4. I'm not a big buddy reader since I read so quickly that I'm afraid I'll have to wait for someone to catch up. I know I'd just end up annoyed and be onto several other books by then so that's why I tend to avoid doing them. I'm always super happy when friends or family have already read a book that I have so I can discuss at length, takes the pressure off you know? Sounds great that it works for you though!

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    1. That's the thing...we just always assign a certain number of chapters each night and then you know about when you'll finish the book. No waiting involved...except for waiting on the next night so you can get back to your book. :P

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  5. I was going to buddy read with somebody, but it just didn't work out with schedules. However, I think buddy reading would be LOTS of fun. I think because people book blog to connect with others over the love of books, buddy reading would only emphasize that and that's great! Although there can be pressure involved, but it might be good pressure depending on the person :)

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    1. Exactly. It's because of blogging that I have found people to buddy read with and discussing the book each night and then again at the end just enhances what I love about book blogging. When you find the right buddy reader, you'll know because you won't feel pressure...only anticipation. :)

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  6. Great post, ladies!! I buddy read with my sister-in-law. She doesn't have a blog, and she reads much faster than I do, but we enjoy it anyway. It's fun to go off of my review schedule and read books off my shelf that my sister-in-law wants to read as well. We usually start a book on a weekend, and then read anywhere from 10-25% each day, depending on what else we have going on. Every once in a while it won't work out as planned and we end up waiting for each other or just moving on without the other one, but usually it works just fine, we read the book in a few days, and we enjoy texting about it throughout. Buddy reads are fun. :)

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    1. I do wish I had someone to buddy read with IRL, but I'm pretty happy with the ones I've met through blogging. I definitely think it helps to have a set schedule and to be understanding when someone can't read the night's chapters for whatever reason. It's so much fun to be able to discuss a book with someone AS you read.

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  7. You know I love buddy reads. It's so nice to discuss what you're reading with a fellow friend and reader. I'm so happy that we began to buddy read because we have such similar taste in books. Plus, with us both having a wee one we are on the same pace. <3 I think we were meant to be.

    I also do a group read with Jon from Scott Reads It, Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings and Krys from Bibliopunkk. It's a lot of fun to read things in a group because of all the perspectives but we run into trouble trying to find a common book we all need to read at the same time.

    I love this post idea and it reminds me we need to get on reading She is Not Invisible--though I want you to read TKoD first :-)

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    1. I'm glad we decided to start buddy reading together, too! And for me, our discussions work kinda like taking notes, and I just look back over them to see what I want to say in my review. :) I imagine a group read would be hard to organize, but all of those opinions would make it even more interesting for sure! I was just thinking about our SiNI buddy read, but I'm glad you'll let me read TKoD first...I'm super excited about that one and I don't know if I'd be able to wait. :P

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  8. Aww, I <3 you! I'm so glad we buddy read together. The only other person I buddy read with is Jenn. And most of our convos about books are in shouty caps. I just get really enthusiastic about things. ;)

    Loved this post!

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  9. I <3 buddy reading with you, too, Em! Any ideas on our next read? :)

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