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BBAW: What Does Book Blogging Mean to You?

bbaw 2012Book blogging has changed in its meaning over the years for me. I’ve been doing this for five years now, and I think these past couple of years have been the most difficult. Blogging when I was a student was easy. I am very good at time management, so even though I worked hard, I had plenty of time to spend reading and reviewing. I had a lot of creativity just waiting to be unleashed, and the time and the opportunity to explore it. I made friends and felt like I was a real part of the community, and I think I was, for a while. It was a much needed outlet and I felt that my blog was valuable. While this was never the aim, it got me my first job, and played a part in my second. I’ve met and spent time with some of you, and every minute of that time has been delightful.

Lately, though, I’ve had genuine difficulty keeping up with my blog. I struggle to squeeze in the time to write reviews. I already barely have the time and the will to reply to emails, let alone actually write. I find myself busy on evenings and weekends, generally with things I enjoy, but I’m struggling to find a place for my blog. I find my day job incredibly draining, which means I normally want to spend my weekends away from the PC, or playing a game, or going for walks, or doing something that doesn’t involve staring at a screen. My creativity gets sapped out at work and I tend to find myself instead longing to read, rather than write one of the many reviews I have piled up. I worry that blogging is going to start feeling like a chore. If I’m honest, writing reviews, unless I’m passionate about the book, sometimes does. I still love reading others’ blogs and learning about new books, but sometimes, it’s hard with my own, and I’m not sure how to change things around to capture the pure enjoyment of it.

That said, I have no plans to stop blogging, and I don’t see myself stopping any time soon. Because when it’s good, it’s really good. I still cherish the people that I know through blogging. I still dream of attending BEA. I still need to practice writing, because I no longer do it for a living, and I like that I’m good at my language. And, when it comes down to it, I still absolutely love talking about books. I still don’t get that from any other aspect of my life, and in truth, it’s one thing I don’t want to give up. So, I hope that while I’m here chattering away, there are still a few of you out there who will be interested in my opinion, and who will be happy to talk books with me. As long as you’re reading, I’ll still be writing, and I appreciate every last one of you.

What keeps you blogging?

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BBAW 2011: Reading and Blogging

Like many people, I couldn’t resist today’s prompt …

Book bloggers blog because we love reading. Has book blogging changed the way you read? Have you discovered books you never would have apart from book blogging? How has book blogging affected your book acquisition habits? Have you made new connections with other readers because of book blogging? Choose any one of these topics and share your thoughts today!

Book blogging has completely changed the way I read – not just blogging, but other bloggers too. I still remember how I actually once struggled to discover new books to read (I know, I can’t believe it any more either) and now I’m buried under an avalanche of TBR books. I used to have a stack of books as high as my bed, and now I have a bookcase full of unread books in one country and a second in another. I have over 500 books and it’s safe to say I’d be happy to be reading any of them right now.

Now, with other bloggers to guide me in new directions, I have discovered a ridiculous number of books I want to read. I’ve branched out, into sci-fi, memoirs, travelogues, urban fantasy, and so much more. With review copies in hand, particularly with Netgalley, I can read more current releases than ever, and if I try, feel part of the conversation. Before blogging, I didn’t know the conversation existed.

It’s also changed the way I actually read, in that I think about books more than I ever could before. I often start phrasing my review while actually still reading, deciding certain aspects I’ll point out that I either enjoyed or disliked. I also love that I can go back to my reviews – especially if I’m reading a series – and remember how I felt about previous books. I often forgot, except for a vague “like” or “didn’t like” vibe. Now, I never have to worry about it, as long as I’m up on my reviews that is.

I can also say that I read tons more than I used to. Even if I turn out reading less this year than last year (which is almost a certainty), I still read twice as much as I read in 2006, before I got involved in any online book communities. I read faster, and I think I read more deeply. All good, and all thanks to blogging.

Has your reading changed due to blogging?

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BBAW Interview Swap: Jenn of The Picky Girl

It’s interview day of BBAW 2011 and Jenn of The Picky Girl and I were paired. We decided to do a bit of a twist on the normal interview format and instead answer questions with book titles (explanation allowed) – just for a little creativity. I had of course seen Jenn and visited her blog before, but for some reason never really connected with her until now. Of course, I’ve now added her blog to my Google Reader and fully intend to keep up with her posts.

Her answers to my questions are below!

1. If you could choose one book title to sum up how you feel right now, what would it be?

I feel like one of the Scribbling Women (Marthe Jocelyn) as I have lots of blog writing, grading, and editing to do this afternoon.

2. How would you like to be remembered?

Among the Mad (Jacqueline Winspear), as in the Austen quote: “Run mad as often as you choose, but do not faint.”

3. What’s your favourite kind of place (for reading or in general)?

I like to be surrounded by An Object of Beauty (Steven Martin), and I try to cultivate beautiful, meaningful pieces in my home. This can be old maps, a snapshot of my brother, sister, and I or a vintage chest.

4. I think it’s appropriate for this week – how would you describe the book blogging community?

This is a toss up because the book blogging community has given me Attachments (Rainbow Rowell), people I would never have met otherwise, but bloggers themselves have given me Stories for the Nighttime and Some for the Day (Ben Loory), introducing me to books I may never have seen, and for both of those aspects of blogging, I am truly grateful.

5. What are your goals for the year ahead?

In general, it’s to do focus on doing Whatever You Love (Louise Doughty) because …why not?

6. How would you describe your relationship with books? Have you always been a reader?

I have always been a reader, since I was very young, so I’d have to say my life after reading is best described as Everything Beautiful Began After (Van Booy) because reading and books and talking about reading and books makes me incredibly happy and mindful of the beauty around me.

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BBAW 2011: Community part 1

First of all, yay for BBAW! This has been a highlight of the book blogging year for the last 3 years for me, and I’m looking forward to this week, the fourth BBAW. On to the first topic:

While the awards are a fun part of BBAW, they can never accurately represent the depth and breadth of diversity in the book blogging community. Today you are encouraged to highlight a couple of bloggers that have made book blogging a unique experience for you. They can be your mentors, a blogger that encouraged you to try a different kind of book, opened your eyes to a new issue, made you laugh when you needed it, or left the first comment you ever got on your blog. Stay positive and give back to the people who make the community work for you!

I hesitate to highlight individual bloggers, because I know I’ll leave out so many of the people who have made my time blogging special – there just aren’t one or two, there are dozens, both old and new bloggers. If anything, the one site that led to my enthusiastic book blogging and discovery of other blogs was LibraryThing, where I used to be much more active on the forums in “Talk”. I always loved the idea of cataloguing my books – turns out I love even more the idea of chatting with other people who love books!

As soon as I discovered the book blogging community and started commenting myself, I felt immediately welcome. It’s so easy to connect, and though we do tend to have recurring dramas (that I try to avoid these days), it’s also easy to make friends.

At the same time, since I’ve been blogging for over four years now, I find that I miss many people who have stopped blogging as much as I rejoice in those who still are. These years have drastically changed the community; friends have left and friends have joined. What I’ve enjoyed the most is the constant sense of connection, the vibrance of blogging friendships, especially when I can devote enough time to Twitter, and the fact that we do our best to remain as welcoming as ever. I feel like I’m always finding new bloggers, whether on Twitter or through the blogs I already read, and when I have time I try to pop over and leave comments. Spare time happens less often now, but I’m always so glad to see so many people who love books. Before blogging, I knew others must enjoy reading, but I’ve never have my reading life so enhanced by such a group of people.

So thanks to the many wonderful members of the book blogging community. I owe you four years of fantastic reading, and I hope to owe you many more.

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BBAW Day 4: Forgotten Treasure

BBAW 2010This one has been tricky for me.  Here’s the prompt:

Sure we’ve all read about Freedom and Mockingjay but we likely have a book we wish would get more attention by book bloggers, whether it’s a forgotten classic or under marketed contemporary fiction.  This is your chance to tell the community why they should consider reading this book!

One of my favorite books from my childhood is called Princess Nevermore by Dian Curtis Regan.  It’s not the height of literature, or even the height of YA, but it was one of the few young adult books that held up to a reread recently.  It’s about a princess, Quinn, who lives inside the earth, where time moves slower, and as a consequence she and the rest of her kingdom are still in the middle ages.  Above her kingdom is a wishing well, and one day she finds herself atop the wishing well in our ordinary world.  What I love the most about this particular book is Quinn’s view of the world from a medieval perspective.  The theme park is terrifying, she gets a couple of local boys to joust over her, high school pizza is incredibly delicious, and it doesn’t end the way you’d suspect.  When it comes to forgotten favorite books, this one may just top my list.

To balance it out, I’ll mention a book I loved that I haven’t seen around enough, and that’s Lady of the Butterflies by Fiona Mountain.  It only recently came out, but it hasn’t received anywhere near the buzz that such a wonderful book about a fascinating woman should have!  Just because it’s not in the current mania for 15th-16th century historical fiction doesn’t mean it isn’t fantastic.

What book do you wish others paid more attention to?

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Best Historical Fiction Blog

A few hours later I’m still amazed – thank you for voting for me! There are so many amazing historical fiction blogs out there; it’s one of the most popular categories and I love so many of your blogs.  You’re always inspiring me to seek out new historical fiction books and learn more about the world and the amazing story behind how we got where we are today. I’m so flattered and honored, thank you for choosing me.

The two blogs that were shortlisted along with me deserve a mention (many mentions, if we’re being honest!), as they’re daily stops for me:

Historical Tapestry
Hist-Fic Chick

Go, read, love!

This post is really just an inarticulate way of saying thank you; thank you for sticking around throughout my various life changes, thank you for voting for me, thank you for reading my blog and taking the time to comment, and most of all thank you for inspiring me to keep reading no matter what else is happening.  The book blogging community is awesome and I’m so grateful to be a part of it.

And now that I’ve gushed at all of you, I’m off to go read more of your posts!  Happy BBAW!

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BBAW Day 3: Unexpected Treasure

BBAW 2010Today’s prompt:

We invite you to share with us a book or genre you tried due to the influence of another blogger.  What made you cave in to try something new and what was the experience like?

I don’t have a blogger that has directly influenced this, but this year I’ve discovered travelogues.  I’ve seen lots of bloggers enjoying travelogues, Eva, Candace, and Belle to name a few, both on blogs and on Twitter, and I thought I would try one for myself.  I started with Bill Bryson as lots of people seem to love his writing, and as expected I found him quite humorous.  In the process I discovered that I love to read about people visiting places, especially if I can’t visit them myself, and they’re excellent for deciding where I *do* want to go in the future.  I have mainly been stocking up from the library and have a number of travelogue reviews to share with you over the next few weeks, so if you haven’t gotten into this genre yet yourself you may soon.

Otherwise, I really think I’ve tried most types of books and firmly established what I do and don’t like, but there will always be space for more, and I’ll keep on reading everything as long as I can!

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BBAW Day 2: Interview

BBAW 2010It wouldn’t be BBAW if I didn’t have the opportunity to interview another fantastic, new-to-me blogger.  This year, that’s Kai from Fiction State of Mind.  Kai and I read a lot of different books, but I’m always happy to expand my horizons and try out some new stuff.  I hope her blog will become a great source of recommendations for me!  I hope you’ll welcome her to Medieval Bookworm today.

1) When did you become such an avid reader?
Reading was very important to my mother so she introduced me to books at a very young age. I took to books like fish to water! I read every day.
2) What made you decide to turn your blog into a book blog?
I think the abundance of bloggers I discovered on twitter inspired me to try it. I love discussing books and learning about new ones. I have few “real world” friends that share my book obsession so blogging and twitter fulfill that need for me.
3) Where do you get most of your books from?
I get most of my books by purchasing them myself and from Paperback Swap a great site! Recently I’ve made some contacts at Tor/Forge books and have had the opportunity to review some of their books. I’m excited since they are one of my favorite publishers. :)
4) What’s your favourite book to movie adaptation?
My favorite adaption is the BBC Adaptation of Pride & Prejudice with Colin Firth. I saw the TV series first and immediately ran out and bought the complete works of Jane Austen.
5) Besides reading, what do you enjoy doing the most?
I’m a huge Geek Girl :) I love Comic Books, Anime and Manga. I also love yoga. I’m yogikai on twitter and I had my fellow blogger parajunkee design a yoga type theme for my blog upgrade.
6) What do you think of your Nook?  Do you think e-reading will ever replace normal reading?
I love my nook!!! The format and size is perfect. I also enjoy all the complementary books B&N gives away. I don’t think there will ever be a time that I don’t have “real” books as well. I hope e-reading doesn’t do away with real books. The lower cost of e-books lets me try a lot more authors and that usually translates to me buying more of their books. I hope e-books also help save more trees but then again there is e-waste to deal with, no easy answers! I’m now getting 90% of my books as e-books.
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BBAW Day 1: First Treasure

BBAW 2010Welcome to the first day of BBAW 2010!  If you don’t know what all this is about, check out the official site.  Today’s prompt:

We invite you to share with us about a great new book blog you’ve discovered since BBAW last year!  If you are new to BBAW or book blogging, share with us the very first book blog you discovered.  Tell us why this blog rocks your socks off and why you keep going back for more.

One of my favorite book blogging discoveries this year has to be Leah at Amused By Books.  It took me a shamefully long time to get around to actually visiting her blog after she’d commented on mine, but once I did I was hooked!  I honestly wish I had more time to visit blogs these days and when I do, hers will be one of the first on my list.  Leah’s taste in reading seems pretty similar to mine and I really enjoy her reviews.  Discovering her blog reminded me that I really need to get out there and visit some new bloggers, especially if they are all this great!

I also would be totally remiss if I didn’t mention that a friend of mine has started blogging in the last year, Amanda at Opinions of a Wolf; it’s kind of obvious that I’d love her blog, but if you haven’t discovered it yourself you should!  She is a fantastic librarian and writes some wonderful posts and reviews.  Go visit, you won’t regret it!

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Don’t Forget To Register for BBAW!

I almost did!  The deadline is this Wednesday and it’s a good thing I had a look.

For those who don’t know, BBAW is a celebration of books and book bloggers.  There are awards, theme days, and all sorts of good stuff going on.  I was on course to help out in a big way this year, but soon realized that with my job I wouldn’t have the time to do everything else in my life (and, as I worked nearly 60 hours this week, which is by no means normal but certainly draining, I probably made the right choice).  I wasn’t sure if I was going to enter, but then as I was filling out the registration, I figured it wouldn’t hurt.

I had a quick look and historical fiction – amazingly – still comes out on top for the genres I’ve been reading this year.  The genre has definitely served me well in the past, so I’m not going to change that this time.  I’m submitting the following five reviews for consideration:

I chose a mix of positive and negative.  I’m not really holding out too much hope this year, but no point not entering.  One thing’s for sure – I can’t wait until September 13th!

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