State of the ARC: I’m joining up!

October 30, 2017







State of the ARC is a meme hosted by Evelina at Avalinah’s Books used to track ARC progress and motivate us ARC reading slackers.


My friend Evelina at Avalinah’s Books and I have a problem: We tend to let our ARCs pile up. Yup, that’s right. Our Advanced Reader Copies quickly become Current Reader Copies. And in some situations, even become Old Reader Copies. That’s right–we both have ARCs which are over a year old. SUPER guilty!

Evelina decided to take matters into her own hands! Not only did she start this lovely meme, State of the ARC, for people to try to grapple with their love-hate ARC relationship, but she also started #ARCsAnonymous on Goodreads. This group is geared towards just pushing through the ARC pile and making a difference. All are encouraged to join!

See, the thing is that Evelina and I are both strong supporters of young. newer, and debut authors. We realize there are many authors out there trying to find their big break– so who are we to get in the way?! We request ARCs to help spread the good word of their art… only sadly we often fall short.

So that’s why I’m picking up the State of the ARC! Theis monthly meme will hopefully help keep me even slightly more focused on the ARCs I have in my possession. The goal? Whittle that list down! In NetGalley, the goal is always to have a feedback ratio of 80%. I’m at 56% right now. Let’s see if we can raise that bar!

Enough babble– let’s check in and see where we stand, shall we?

NetGalley Backlog: 15 books

Author Request Backlog: 14 books

Unsolicited: 3 books

Total ARCs: 32 books, all post-publication date.

Looking at this, I don’t expect to make a huge dent over the remainder of the year. My short-term goal is to read 3 ARCs before the end of the year. 1.5 a month. I think I can handle that! These are the books at the top of my pile:

Roll by Darcy Miller

Published May 23rd, 2017
Unsolicited: via a friend who’s friend wrote this! SUPER COOL!

When Lauren (but call him “Ren,” pretty please) Hall sees birds falling from the sky, he knows something is wrong. But just as he’s starting to worry, he realizes that the birds are plummeting toward the ground on purpose.

Turns out they’re Birmingham Roller Pigeons, and his new neighbor Sutton is training them for a competition.

Sure, it’s strange, but Ren’s best and only friend Aiden has picked this summer to start hanging with the popular kids. So Ren starts training pigeons with Sutton—what’s the worst that could happen? A bird falls on his head?

You’ll have to read Roll to find out.


The Meaning of Michelle edited by Veronica Chambers

Published January 10th, 2017
Requested via NetGalley

Michelle Obama is unlike any other First Lady in American History. From her first moments on the public stage, she has challenged traditional American notions about what it means to be beautiful, to be strong, to be fashion-conscious, to be healthy, to be First Mom, to be a caretaker and hostess, and to be partner to the most powerful man in the world. What is remarkable is that, at 52, she is just getting started.

While many books have looked at Michelle Obama from a fashion perspective, no book has fully explored what she means to our culture. The Meaning of Michelle does just that, while offering a parting gift to a landmark moment in American history. In addition to a tribute to Michelle Obama, this book is also a rollicking, lively dinner party conversation about race, class, marriage, creativity, womanhood and what it means to be American today.


The Djinn Falls in Love & Other Stories edited by Mahvesh Murad

Published March 14th, 2017
Requested via NetGalley

A fascinating collection of new and classic tales of the fearsome Djinn, from bestselling, award-winning and breakthrough international writers.

Imagine a world filled with fierce, fiery beings, hiding in our shadows, in our dreams, under our skins. Eavesdropping and exploring; savaging our bodies, saving our souls. They are monsters, saviours, victims, childhood friends.

Some have called them genies: these are the Djinn. And they are everywhere. On street corners, behind the wheel of a taxi, in the chorus, between the pages of books. Every language has a word for them. Every culture knows their traditions. Every religion, every history has them hiding in their dark places. There is no part of the world that does not know them.

They are the Djinn. They are among us.


My goal is to read all three books before the end of the year. Honestly, that’s not a huge dent in my TBR ARC pile… but it’s better than nothing! The cool thing about seeing these books here is that it’s a bit telling — I tend to gravitate towards anthologies when I’m requesting from NetGalley. That’s pretty cool! 

What do you think?

  • Have you read any of these books? If so, what do you think?
  • Do you think you would benefit from joining State of the ARC or #ARCsAnonymous? Why or why not?
  • What ARCs are next on your To Read list? Which ones are you most excited to read?
  • Are you successful reading through ARCs in a timely fashion? Share your secrets with the rest of us!


  • Evelina @ AvalinahsBooks October 31, 2017 at 1:17 am

    Yay! You joined!! <3 your ARC pile isn't really that bad. Just look at mine 😀 I think you can definitely do 3. I did 3 this month! (A moment of unexpected inspiration) I've seen The Djinn Falls In Love I think, so that one could be very cool. It's crazy to think that there are only 2 months till the end of the year o.o whut!
    Thanks for my breakfast read this morning, and of course, thank you for joining!

    • Jackie B October 31, 2017 at 3:10 pm

      Of course! I need this swift kick in the pants, for sure! I don’t think I’ll fit 3 this month based on how poorly I did with both reading and blogging in October, but I will sure as heck try to get two read at least. The tricky part is not only reading but also reviewing. O_o Do you ever get stuck between reading and reviewing like me? It happens far too often…

      My ARC pile isn’t that bad at all! But I haven’t requested a new ARC in about 4 months. I’m trying to stay away. And I’ve also closed my blog for review submissions. I cannot take more on until I make a dent here. Baby steps, right? 😉

      • Evelina @ AvalinahsBooks November 6, 2017 at 1:13 pm

        4 months? You’re my hero 😀 I can’t go a week or two without requesting something. Greedy little bastard me.

        And I’m always stuck in between reading and reviewing. Partly because the blog plan won’t let me post earlier when something is scheduled or ARCs are published. Some books have been sitting for a half a year :/

        • Jackie B November 10, 2017 at 7:51 am

          XD I wouldn’t call you greedy! You’re doing what the system has asked of you! Plus, you’re reading theee books much more quickly than I am. We are both just requesting close to our consumption rate. 😉

          I can dig that– but I am not spending as much time reviewing as I should be. It’s strangely disproportionate for my blog, sadly. I am just in a review writing slump, I think. That’s a weird thing to consider! Anywho, about ARCs,

          Have you written posts for books expected to come out that far in the future?! How fascinating. I think that would be magical, however. I’d love to write a review for a book expected in 6 months, schedule it, then surprise myself when it appears! XD

          Do you continue to post books on your schedule, or do you post reviews on release dates? Or do you magically only select ARCs who have release dates on your publishing dates? It sounds so complicated now. O_o

          • Evelina @ AvalinahsBooks November 18, 2017 at 3:49 am

            You are right, I AM requesting at my consumption rate, but I kind of wish I had less of a buffer 😀 made a spreadsheet for my ARCs yesterday (you know my ways xD) and found out that despite the numbers I’ve been reading I’m still stuck at a buffer of roughly 98 :/ what do you post mostly then if it’s not reviews? I want to be posting more lists and discussions after this year cause the reviews are getting old. Or at least list posts with mini reviews 🙂 much more fun. And actually nope, I only write my posts like 2-3 weeks km advance. I read books early but then just sort of leave them to sit in my head, maybe scribble down some points in notes. Then when the date comes, I just review it 😀

            • Jackie B November 19, 2017 at 12:43 pm

              Oh, I’m still mostly posting reviews. But I haven’t written reviews for most of the books I’ve read lately. I’m just pulling from the archive of reviews-written-but-not-posted-on-the-blog. There are way more than I’d like to admit. Which is why I should totally get on the post-scheduling bandwagon!

              I haven’t considered my review writing proces until today. I didn’t even realize I had one! That’s cool. You help me learn more about myself every day. 😀 I typically write down an outline with a few notes about what I want to discuss in each paragraph. Then I sit on it, like you, for a bit, before I finally write the review. I like time to setting on my thoughts before writing a review.

              I cannot wait to see what sort of awesome stuff your new blog format will have for us. 😀

              • Evelina @ AvalinahsBooks November 30, 2017 at 2:39 pm

                Haha I can’t wait either… I’m so glad I prewrote all those posts. Because I’ve had like the worst two weeks healthwise and I just wouldn’t be able to write. BTW that’s interesting to hear about your review writing process 🙂

              • Jackie B December 5, 2017 at 10:47 am

                Oooh. That’s a cool idea. I recently saw a post on The Orangutan Librarian about how to analyze literature– It would be interesting to think about how I process and write reviews. I’ll consider that as a future post idea! Thanks for the suggestion, Evelina. 😀

  • Diana October 31, 2017 at 2:09 am

    All three sound great especially meaning of Michelle. All the best with your goal and I hope that they are all good reads. I finally managed to get my Netgalley under control. Only three books remaining. I guess what worked for me is getting through the pile before requesting new ones. I know not requesting is hard though but it helps 🙂 Happy reading.

    • Jackie B November 5, 2017 at 6:37 pm

      Woohoo!! Congrats on getting your NetGalley under control! Does this mean you have achieved the coveted 80%? 😉

      Not requesting is SO HARD! Plus, I am such a mood reader that I find it a challenge to focus on reading ARCs when I could be reading, well, anything else. O_o How embarrassing.

      I shall try to limit my requesting. Thanks for the advice, Diana!!

  • Lashaan (Bookidote) October 31, 2017 at 8:58 am

    Hi Jackie. I can definitely see how useful Evelina’s idea is now! But I do believe that your short-term goal will be reached in no time. 😀 A dent is a dent, after all, right? I haven’t read any of these, but The Djinn Falls in Love & Other Stories sounds really intriguing. Hopefully they all turn out to be great reads! Happy reading. 🙂

    • Jackie B November 5, 2017 at 8:31 pm

      Thank you so much, Lashaan! It’s nice to hear that other people, like the amazing Evelina, are not alone. It’s amazing how much I struggle with ARCs– mostly, honestly, because I’m a mood reader. But the second reason I struggle is that if I have too much champage I tend to request a TON of books. Oops. #SorryNotSorry

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I appreciate it!

  • Laila@BigReadingLife October 31, 2017 at 5:28 pm

    State of the ARC – very clever! I haven’t ever tried Netgalley or any other ARC medium except Goodreads contests – and I have only won TWO of those out of hundreds I’ve tried for! 🙂 With a Goodreads TBR of almost 400 books, and about 35 unread physical books at home, I just can’t add even more to the pile with ARCs. But I think this is very cool for those who do, a great way to try and get a handle on things. Good luck!

    • Jackie B November 5, 2017 at 6:46 pm

      Exactly. Why am I doing this to myself? I have NO IDEA. I think I fell in love with the idea of being someone on the cutting edge of newly released books. I wanted to know FIRST. Then I realized that I didn’t want to know badly enough to keep reading…O_o I need to dig myself out of this hole. And, in the process, hopefully I’ll figure out that I don’t want to keep doing this to myself. Right? Right.

      I’ve won a few Goodreads Giveaways– but I hear that they have stats on who wins, tags the books on a Giveaway shelf, and publishes a review. If you don’t publish a review for the books you’ve won, the likelyhood of you winning a giveaway diminishes. Well. That’s the rumor, at least. Here are the actual terms and conditions:
      “‘If more people are interested in a book than there are copies available [which is nearly always the case], we will pick the winners at our discretion. The factors that go into our algorithm are: randomness, site activity, genre of books on your shelves, current phase of the moon, and more.”

      So, who knows. Anywho, I digress.

      Thank you so much for the well-wishes! I hope that you end up winning some more Goodreads Giveaways soon, too! There’s nothing more fun than book mail. 😀

  • Novels And Nonfiction October 31, 2017 at 7:37 pm

    My percentage is at 44%! Oh the guilt! But I’m hoping to work on it and get it up a little by the end of the year 🙂

    • Jackie B November 5, 2017 at 6:47 pm

      Exactly! I’m hoping that by participating in this meme I’ll start to see my own percentage climb. It’s amazing how quickly I can destroy my good reputation.

  • Trish @ Between My Lines November 1, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    You are so right, our intentions are good but our follow though isn’t as good! Good luck with your Nov arcs.

    • Jackie B November 5, 2017 at 8:38 pm

      Bingo– but it’s reassuring to know I’m not alone!

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Trish! I wish you all the best with your November ARCs.

  • Kathy Martin November 1, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    We have the same number of books on our stacks. None of mine are post-publication though. I have one more November release to go before I start the December pile. I do read 5 or more books a week which lets me read some of my own books from TBR mountain along with the ARCs. Good luck with your plans.

    • Jackie B November 5, 2017 at 8:39 pm

      !! I am super impressed that all your book are still pre-publication! Great job, Kathy!!! Do you have a system which keeps all your books organized? I’d love to learn about it, if so.

      Wow– 5 books a week! I barely squeeked by with 5 this month. I’m really impressed with your reading skills. Keep up the amazing work!

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I really appreciate it. 😀

  • Dani @ Perspective of a Writer November 4, 2017 at 1:27 am

    YAY! I have also been wanting to do Evelina’s State of the Arc… I may go ahead and do so reading this Jackie… I LOVE your format and the simplicity… I tried a graph and couldn’t wrap my head around the EASY charts… I need complication to understand… I think 3 ARCS that you feel no urgency to read (as they are already published) is a great goal! I have 10? Maybe a few more and feel NO drive to read them… its just hard. <3

    • Jackie B November 5, 2017 at 7:31 pm

      I love all the pretty charts that Evelina has on her own posting– but I can’t get the Inforgram plugin to work for my blog. Go figure. So, instead, I just went with simplicity.

      You did help me realize I have ONE ARC which hasn’t been published yet! Perhaps I should prioritize reading that. O_o Good call, Dani! I never would have noticed this otherwise. Okay. 4 ARCs before EOY, then.

      The lack of urgency is key in helping me push through them. I tend to panic a bit when I have an ARC with an upcoming deadline which I haven’t read and I am not in the MOOD to read. Damn mood reading. It’s quite a curse sometimes!

      I hope that you join up with us. 10 might not feel like a lot, but I am sure the pressure is immense! I laugh at myself compared to Evelina’s 40+ ARCs, but I still feel bad about it. It’s super hard to push through them– but in a good way.

      I hope you can make a dent in your ARC pile soon!

  • Sarah @ Reviews and Readathons November 4, 2017 at 8:44 am

    This is a great meme. My Netgalley review ratio is currently @ 77%, but it was a bit of work to get it there. I really make an effort to read things before the publication date, but do not always succeed. If the release date comes, I generally start reading it on release day. I currently have 3 or 4 past publication, some of which I was approved for post-publication (which makes me feel less guilty), but I do feel like focusing so much on reading my Netgalley books doesn’t always allow me to read things for reading challenges or to read things I’m in the mood to read. I’ve definitely gotten a lot better about not finishing books that aren’t working for me, no matter how good they sounded on Netgalley. I do also try to include Netgalley books on TBRs for challenges as much as possible, so that I have a little push to get them done, but sometimes they are just late because I’m not in the mood for them. I think 3 books by the end of the year is a great goal! You can do it!!!

    • Jackie B November 5, 2017 at 7:38 pm

      Wow! Great job achieving a 77%! That’s a huge deal. It can be so challenging to stay on top of our ARC reading, right? Right.

      I love the idea of including ARCs in your readathon/challenge TBRs. I should definitely do that– particularly since Ottavia and I are hosting a Thanksgiving Readathon. That would be a good time to make a dent in these books.

      Thank you for all your support getting through my list. Even though 3 doesn’t feel like a ton of books compared to the looming list, it’s nice to think that I might make some progress at all! It’s been months since I’ve read/reviewed an ARC. O_o

      • Sarah @ Reviews and Readathons November 5, 2017 at 8:46 pm

        It’s super challenging! Especially when I tell myself not to request anymore and then I inevitably do. It usually starts to stress me out, and so I read them. I’m starting to get behind on this month, but I know I’ll get to everything eventually, right?!

        And 3 is a place to start!! It’s definitely better than nothing 🙂 Good luck!

        • Jackie B November 5, 2017 at 9:02 pm

          Haha– I can relate. My problem is when I finish a good ARC, and I’ve had half a bottle of champagne, I tend to go on a requesting spree. I guess that means no more bubbles and ARCs together! XD

  • theorangutanlibrarian November 6, 2017 at 3:31 pm

    I haven’t read these- but man, I can relate to the ARC struggle- sometimes they’re harder to read than other books (maybe it’s the sense of obligation? Not sure…) Good luck with yours!

    • Jackie B November 10, 2017 at 1:24 pm

      I think it’s partially a sense of obligation and partially a mood thing. Most of my ARCs are books that aren’t the sort of pop-fiction I would usually read. That’s totally my bad– What happens is I read a billion descriptions and think to myself, “Oh wow. This would really push me out of my box!” and BAM — I’m in love and requesting. Only later, I don’t really know what interested me, or I’m such a mood reader than I don’t ever want to pick up this book. O_o It’s a silly habit.

      • theorangutanlibrarian November 11, 2017 at 11:45 am

        That’s really fair enough!! hahaha I get that!! I’m like that with books in general! hahaha fair enough!

  • Anna @MyBookishDream November 9, 2017 at 7:59 pm

    I’m guilty of leaving ARCs unread as well and I do have a few that are around a year old as well. I am a mood reader, so most of the time I just don’t feel like picking up the ARCs that I receive. :/ Recently I have started picking up the review books that I have more often, which I’m very happy about. Currently I have 8 NetGalley ARCs and 2 that I received from authors. I do hope to get through most of them until the end of the year. I will give it my best at least! 😀 Good luck with reading the ARCs that you set yourself as a goal!

    • Jackie B November 10, 2017 at 1:09 pm

      Yes! I’m so glad that I’m not alone when it comes to mood reading ARCs. Any idea what changed to get you in the mood to pick up more of your review-request books? I’d love any tips or tricks. 😉

      You will totally make your way through those 10 books. I know you will. Just stay focused– as hard as it might be. And, worst case, you at least made a dent in the pile. 😀

      Good luck to you, too Anna!

      • Anna @MyBookishDream November 10, 2017 at 8:14 pm

        Haha, nothing really changed! I just felt more and more guilt for not reading them and decided that I seriously needed to pick up at least some of them. So sorry I don’t have any tips, I could use some as well! 😉
        I will definitely make my way through them! I’m also not requesting any other ARCs until I’m done with most of these. Maybe that will motivate me even more – not being able to request other books.
        Thank you!! 😀

        • Jackie B November 10, 2017 at 10:25 pm

          That’s okat. Sometimes our own internal pressure is all that we need. Good luck staying strong not requesting more books!

  • Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity November 14, 2017 at 9:25 pm

    I remember doing ARC August in its first year because I was a newbie blogger who had requested FAR too many eARCs on Net Galley when I realised that ARCs were a thing, haha. I still have some from that very first year of blogging (2013) so do I win most-delayed ARC reviewer? Haha. My ratio on Net Galley is 91% though because last year I decided I would read as many of those really old ARCs as possible, and since then I have only requested books I knew I would read before (or close to) release date. So you can do it, Jackie! It’s possible 😀

    I am never really behind on review books anymore because I don’t request as many. I keep a notebook for them, and I write in their title, the publication date, whether I’ve read them, and whether I’ve reviewed them. Once I’ve read and reviewed I cross them off! I am only one book behind at the moment, which is sad because I haven’t been behind all year! But sometimes it just happens, even fi we don’t mean for it to.

    I hope this meme helps you out with your ARC backlog!!

    • Jackie B November 17, 2017 at 1:21 pm

      Wow! Well, that makes me feel a lot better. You definately win some sort of prize, for sure! I am thinking about taking a page out of your book for next year and instead of doing the Popsugar or Book Riot reading challenges just focusing on making a dent in my ARCs. I’m definitely got a long way to go to get my rating to 90%! I love the idea of documenting the ARCs be publication date, as well. That’s a great way to visualize the commitment.

      Only one book behind? Pft– you got this!

      Also– congrats on blogging for 4 years! That’s amazing. Keep up the great work, Chiara. I’m super impressed.

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