Although The Readventurer is not an official participant of Book Blogger Appreciation Week (at least not this year), we thought this event would give us a great opportunity to jump on this band wagon and talk about why we blog, what blogging means to us, how our views on blogging changed since we became a part of book blogosphere ourselves, and what kinds of book blogs attract us individually.
Now, after blogging for over 6 months together with Flannery and Catie I have come to greatly appreciate the art, craft and discipline of blogging. I also know that you can have your blogging surrounding as edgy, critical and diverse, or as positive, nice and rosy, or as commercial and meme-driven as you wish.
On my own, I'd say I am a pretty poor blogger. First, I am an awful commenter. Even though my Google Reader is full of blog posts, a big portion of which I read and like, I rarely comment. Here, I suppose, my deeply introverted nature shows itself.
Second, and it's probably very bad of me, but I hardly ever read book reviews posted on the blogs. Old habits die hard, and I keep using Goodreads as my main source of reviews and, frankly, socializing. Goodreads' layout is just so much more convenient for discussion and review tracking.
But when it comes to opinion pieces, that's what blogging is perfect for. Publishing news, information about the industry and writing processes, favorite author interviews, random rants or strong opinions - these are the things that draw my attention. I am thankful to have found so many intelligent bloggers who helped me expand my knowledge of the bookish world.
There is a host of blogs that I subscribe to and visit (our closest blogging buddies are listed on our side bar), but there are a few that I'd say I am a huge fan of and that fit my personal interests the best.
And of course this post would not be complete without proper appreciation expressed towards my co-bloggers Flannery and Catie. For me, blogging is often a test in discipline and commitment, but Flannery and Catie are the best supporters and the best company. I am quite certain they are the main reason why I enjoy the blogging environment as much as I do. I love working with them and I always love reading what they write. I feel like we are a great team. Each of us brings something important to our readventuring undertaking - Catie is a very intelligent, dependable and diligent, Flannery is our idea generator and socializing force, and I, well, I believe I bring my excessive love of Jericho Barrons to the table. Ours is a match made in (book) heaven:).
Before I discovered great book blogs, I found books by reading reviews published in major news outlets, reading bestseller lists, and getting recommendations from giant online megastores. And I read A LOT OF CRAP. A lot. I read so much crap that I assumed that was all I could ever have. Oh, I knew that every once in a while (like every five years or so) I might stumble across a book that I genuinely loved. But I knew to only expect a few of those in my lifetime, and I learned to “appreciate” the mediocre reads that I had in the everyday.
Thanks to my favorite book bloggers and reviewers, I now have too many amazing books to read. I don’t have time to fit them all into my life! At this very moment, I have THREE books which I’ve been dying to read just sitting in front of me and it is like torture to try and choose one. Obviously, I will just have to read them all at the same time, alternating chapters until I reach the end – sort of like row, row, row your boat sung in a round. Yeah, maybe it will get a bit confusing but whatever! These are the crazy problems that I cherish having, and it’s thanks to my favorite book bloggers that I am dealing with this situation and not halfheartedly reading #27 in yet another formulaic, never-ending series. So, without any further rambling on my part, here are just a few of the book blogs that I adore.
Maja and I don’t always read the same books, but I always enjoy her reviews. She has a very unique, darkly humorous voice and she always gets to the heart of what worked and what didn’t for every single book she reads. I love that she takes chances (or what I would consider chances) on lesser known and self-published books.
I constantly find myself, even during my busiest and most stressful days, getting sucked into Heidi’s reviews. Her genuine, sweet, funny, nerdy voice always makes me chuckle and her opinions almost always mesh very well with my own. A great review from her is almost always a must-read for me.
Cassi and I share a deep intolerance for cheesy romance, shallow girliness, and jerkface love interests. I rely on her constantly for recommendations in young adult – particularly the more romance-centric reads. I know that if she can read something without suffocating on corniness, then I will survive it too.
Also, I just want to state the obvious here: the two reviewers I rely on most are actually my co-bloggers. Before joining up with Tatiana and Flannery here at The Readventurer, I had developed a huge amount of respect for both of them. Tatiana has impeccable taste and never fails to say exactly what she thinks. Her reviews are not only entertaining, but incredibly informative and useful. Flannery is one of the most diplomatic, fair-minded people I’ve ever met and her reviews never fail to make me consider a point of view I hadn’t previously considered. I honestly get most of my book recommendations just from chatting with the two of them throughout the week as we plan posts. This is completely corny, but I really do feel lucky every single day to be blogging with them.
Obviously, I read and love a lot of blogs that I didn’t list here (including all of the ones that Tatiana and Flannery listed, most definitely). To everyone that I did and did not highlight in this post and to all of my bookish friends around the internet: you all have helped me get to this wonderful place where my TBR runneth over with amazing books. And for that I owe you all my most sincere gratitude.
Like Tatiana, I am often a failure at commenting. I read a lot more content than I comment on and it is one of my least favorite aspects of blogging. I blog because I love it and I blog with Tatiana and Catie because I love working with them. And it might go without saying, but I blog because I love books. However, I do see how blogs can define for themselves where they'd like to be placed in the machinery of the publishing world. Promotion and I are not comfortable bedfellows. The other aspect of blogging that disconcerts me at times surrounds arcs, cover reveals, and author appearances on blogs for tours. I feel very uncomfortable promoting a book I have yet to read or have no intention of reading. Even if I have loved an entire author's backlog, there's no guarantee that I'll love the new one. While I understand that most publishers know that bloggers may not review an arc they ask for, they expect it to a certain degree, and it has made me not want to ever ask for any review copies. I could go on about what I hate about blogging but this post is meant to be filled with happy thoughts so I'll hop back on that train. The number one thing I love about the internet is connecting with other readers. (well, maybe #2, behind email)
Some of my favorite people in the world are people I have never met. (my cobloggers included) I talk to Nomes from Inkcrush and Maja from Nocturnal Library more than I talk to a lot of my real-life friends. I just went to dinner last night with someone I've become great friends with through Goodreads. I've been lucky to meet a few bloggers in real life. (including Rachel from The Readers Den and Holly from Book Harbinger) I exchange postcards with many people but I particularly love the ones I get from Chachic from Chachic's Book Nook and her Postcard Love posts always make me happy. I try about once a week to figure out a way I can hang out with Heidi from Bunbury in the Stacks and Alyssa from Books Take You Places. I trust Lyndsey to tell me new television shows to watch. I find an obscene amount of book recommendations from the On the Smugglers' Radar feature at The Book Smugglers. When people take a break from their online presence, sometimes I actually miss them. (Michelle from Chronicles of a Book Evangelist!) Those people are all some of my favorite reviewers, but here's a few more, and a bit about why I love them to pieces.