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BBAW 2012: Highlight Of The Week

The Book Bloggers Appreciation Week 2012 logo

As clichéd and cheesy and, I suppose, convenient, as this sounds, the highlight of BBAW this year for me was discovering new people and enjoying the community we have all created. Because each and every single blogger who talks of books, whether they subscribe to the title “book blogger” or not, has surely helped in keeping our community alive and vibrant.

This year there seemed a shift in the way everyone approached the daily posts. I know we didn’t have the awards and lots of people are happy at that, but there was also this sort of unspoken agreement wherein everyone put an individual spin on the topics so that there was perhaps more heart and soul in what was written than anything in the past. I found myself wanting to tweet most posts I read because they were just so wonderful and I hoped many people would read them. I didn’t because I think that would have annoyed instead, but it’s the fact that these posts caused that reaction in me – commenting on them wasn’t enough.

And whenever you reckon you’ve found the complete group of bloggers to suit your tastes there is always another that comes along. I think it’s a testament to our community that there are few completely defined lines between those who like different sorts of books, for example perhaps you don’t read YA but you come across a blogger whose writing style takes your breath away and suddenly the YA doesn’t matter, or you never thought you’d read non-fiction but so-and-so makes it sound irresistible. I suppose that describes the essence of book blogging, sharing our passion with others and hoping they’ll be intrigued to read a book we’ve loved.

Like everyone else I’ve added many blogs to my reader and I can already tell that a lot of them are going to be blogs I won’t be able to “live without”.

The interaction, the discovery, the way it made it easy to find people you might never have heard of otherwise, and the ability to introduce a good number of people at once to a blogger they may not have heard of.

I look forward to new friendships, new reads, and the year to come.

BBAW 2012: Bloggers

The Book Bloggers Appreciation Week 2012 logo

I will be posting on BBAW subjects today and perhaps Friday, the latter depending on whether I have time.

Last year, when writing a post on this topic, I choose a short list of people whose blogs I love to read. It was an honest post, and I was happy to highlight those people, wanting to introduce their writing to people who may not have met them before. But I did end up choosing some rather well-known bloggers and I can’t help but think with hindsight that I could have done better. I realise I could have produced a more varied list, added a few others.

So this year I bring you a single blogger. I whittled down my criteria to one thing – the blogger should be someone who was lesser known and who I believe has a lot to give to a large section of the community. This all sounds rather formal and I apologise for that, so without further ado here is the blogger I would like to place in the spotlight this year.

Alice of Of Books has been blogging for several months, although I’ve not known of her blog for that long. Whenever she posts you can be sure of a good read, tending towards the sit-down-with-a-coffee side of things. Her reviews are informative, personal, and she is adept at writing posts that persuade you to look into researching the book you have just read about. Her work has so much to offer. I invite you, if invite is the right word when a blog is not your own, to click the link above and see for yourselves.

BBAW 2011: Blogging

Book Blogger Appreciation Week logo

In line with everyone else today, here are three things I’ve learned when it comes to blogging.

1) Be you. Write your own reviews, in your own style, and don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. Everyone picks up on different things in books, and all are equally valid. Structure your site in a way that works for you – if you want to use ratings do, if you don’t don’t, work out a categorising system that you like, or don’t have one if it would confuse you.

2) Don’t read reviews of the book you’re on the cusp of reviewing yourself. They will likely influence what you say and make you feel you must point out certain things that you wouldn’t have before. And leave it a few days before you read reviews afterward, because people may have covered things you left out and again you may feel you should have included them.

3) If you can, get into a routine and stick to it. I’ve found posting every three days works for me – it gives me time to read at a leisurely pace and not have to worry about where my next post is coming from, and it also motivates me to do it. Without a routine it is easy to say “I’ll do it tomorrow…maybe the day after that…maybe the day after that”.

Another year on it’s way out, and another Book Blogger Appreciation Week over. It’s been fun and I look forward to next year!

BBAW: Readers

Book Blogger Appreciation Week logo

Today we are asked if blogging has changed the way you read, and I must answer that for myself, yes it has. In all ways.

Before I blogged my reading was not organised in any way. Although I loved reading and had read a lot as a child (I once had eleven books on the go, however I wouldn’t recommend this and indeed I only ended up finishing two because it became so confusing) I started to let this fade when I went to secondary school. It wasn’t that reading was uncool, although of course it certainly is in many circles at school, it was simply that I was changing and growing and while reading was important there was a part of me that saw it as part of my old self. I read books every now and then and the books I chosen tended to be random ones that caught my eye in the bookshop.

I didn’t care about the age of a book, whether or not others had read it, because it didn’t matter. I read books about anywhere by anyone, the only type of book I wouldn’t read was classics. And of course this was before Twilight so the furthest I got to vampires was Harry Potter.

And this was basically what I carried on doing until 2009 when I decided it might be fun to write a review. Half way through that year, with several books under my belt and a few reviews to boot, I decided to make a list of what I’d read, the number of pages, the date I’d read it. And the next year I did the same, only now I was wondering what to do with all the reviews I’d written. I had been posting them to my personal blog, but that wasn’t as much fun as I thought it would be, so, having already been reading a few previously, I set up my own book blog.

And my reading changed. I read posts by people my age who loved the classics – loving the classics when you’re younger than 50? I knew I had to read some myself to see if they would work for me, and, well, I’m still reading and loving them now. And, because I wanted to have a steady flow of reviews to my site and because my randomly chosen books might be a bit too random for a blog, I now mix up my choices with brand new releases and books that are recommended on other blogs.

Sometimes I miss the impulsiveness of just finding a book and reading it, but to be honest I know that structuring my reading as I now do has lead to me becoming more aware of books in general.

I thank book bloggers for introducing me to Pride And Prejudice, a book that I’d heard too much about and yet had never discovered, as it led to my continuation of reading classics. As too I thank them for books such as Before I Fall, Matched, The Wilding, and also presses such as Peirene Press and Persephone Books. For the presses in particular, I never would have known of them if it weren’t for book bloggers, and they have brought a whole new side to my reading.

BBAW 2011: Community

Book Blogger Appreciation Week logo

I haven’t been able to be active in the book blogging community much these past few months, and so BBAW has presented itself as a good chance to get back into a routine. Choosing a particular few bloggers to highlight was rather difficult so instead I thought I’d go with the last suggestion and looked through my archives to find the very first commenter I had.

I was pleased to find that this was Eva, who writes at A Striped Armchair, because she is one of my favourite bloggers. Eva doesn’t write as much as she used to, but what she does write is always fascinating and there tends to be something for everyone.

What I admire about Eva is that she keeps a low profile within the professional industry. She does not allow authors to follow her on Twitter and does not keep to up-and-coming books, and yet she has found a great audience who keep the discussion going – which speaks for itself as an indicator of how nice a person and how good a writer she is. Not only does she post her thoughts but she puts up a book-related quotation on a regular basis that is always a good read. And her positivity despite issues is infectious.


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