How Blogging Changed My Reading

BBAWBook blogging has definitely changed the way I read. I’ve always been a reader. Once my parents taught me how to read, I devoured any book that crossed my path. As an adult reader, I was generally drawn to classics, from Jane Austen to the Russian greats. I only read contemporary novels when people I trusted sent them my way.

In 2006, I started hanging out on the Rory’s Book Club message boards and created the first version of this blog on vox.com.  This shifted my reading a little.  The RBC members were still pretty heavy on the classics but they were also discussing what the original Rory’s Book Club list called “smart contemporary” books. Since I was now a part of that community, I started reading more of those books.

But once I took my blog to the greater book blogging community in the fall of 2009, my reading shifted drastically. People were reading the books that were out now, and I was even introduced to ARCs which allowed me to read a book BEFORE it was released. I also started reading many more young adult novels. Book blogging has given me some insider information into the world of writing and publishing. I know when books are coming out and my ever-growing TBR pile has reached impossible heights.

Just the other day I mentioned to a friend that I was a little sad that book blogging has taken me away from the classics. I am currently reading North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell, a book I am sure I would have adored five years ago. It’s become something of a chore to get through it because of all the shiny new books that are vying for my attention. No matter how much I vow to read some older literature, or even just the backlist of contemporary authors, I know I will never be the same reader I was before blogging.

I am thankful for book blogging every day. I’ve found a wonderful community and made some amazing friends. I’ve been exposed to fantastic books and been given opportunities that the normal reader doesn’t have. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. But sometimes I feel just a bit of nostalgia for those simpler days.

If you are a book blogger, has it changed you as a reader? If you aren’t a book blogger, what kind of reader are you?

I Heart Book Bloggers [BBAW]

BBAWThere is no way I can create an exhaustive list of everyone who makes this whole book blogging thing brighter. We are a supportive group and we don’t shy away from proclaiming our admiration on any given day. You all already know I love you, right?

But one of the great things about book blogging is that there are always new players. They might be new to blogging or they might just be new to me. I am finding new bloggers all the time. It often starts with a random conversation on twitter about a book or a song or tv show and then the next thing I know, I am talking to this person every day, reading their blog, and picking up books they recommend.

So my take on today’s BBAW topic is to highlight a few bloggers who are new to me since last September.

  • Jen from Makeshift Bookmark (@makeshiftjen): Jen started her blog last fall but you would think she’s been around forever. She makes me laugh, understands my Michigan football obsession, and gives me AMAZING YA recommendations (like Shade/Shine).
  • Jamie from The Perpetual Pageturner (@pageturnerjamie) and The Broke and the Bookish (@brokeandbookish): I am pretty sure we first bonded over music the night I was drunkenly playing Apples to Apples while home for Christmas. See, that’s how memorable Jamie is.
  • Ginger from GReads (@greadsbooks): While we have been at least acquaintances for some time, it wasn’t until recently that I realized Ginger and I have similar taste in almost everything and should be BFFs. So now we are.
  • Sandy from You’ve Gotta Read This (@youvegottaread): I met Sandy in person at the UCF Book Festival in April. Now hers is one of the first blogs I read when I actually sit down and read blogs. Plus she is an awesome commenter.
  • Heather from Raging Bibliomania (@zibilee): Like Sandy, I met Heather at the UCF Book Festival. She is the Best. Commenter. Ever.

You should all know these ladies. If you don’t, you’re welcome. They are all awesome and have been a positive addition to my book blogging experience.

[Note: It’s Book Blogger Appreciation Week. I will be participating in a few of the daily topics this week.]

BBAW: Forgotten Treasure – Simon Singh’s Big Bang

Today’s Topic:

Thursday – Forgotten Treasure
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!

My recent reading life is so blogger-driven that I had a really hard time coming up with a book to feature today. Sure, some books I read are not as well known as some, but none of them seemed appropriate for this. So I’m taking you all the way back to October of 2007 when I was assigned a book for law school (don’t ask how this is law school appropriate) and fell in love.

Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe by Simon Singh tells the history of the big bang theory in a very interesting and easy-to-understand manner. I will admit that I am partial to books about The Universe, but I think anyone with any interest in learning how we got to our understanding of the history of Everything would enjoy this one. I don’t have a science background but I found it very readable. I have at least one more of Singh’s books and I really should get around to reading them.

I hope you check out Big Bang if you have any interest in the subject matter. Please let me know how you like it if you do.

PS – I think this book might be the beginning of my attempt to explain to Ben how when we look far away we are looking back in time. I think he might finally understand it.

BBAW: Look What You Made Me Do

Today’s Topic:

Wednesday—Unexpected Treasure
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?

Me (while thinking of how to answer this question): What book did I only read because of a blogger’s recommendation?
Ben: EVERY book you’ve read this year.

He has a fair point (although he said it with some amount of disdain in his voice). Most of my reading is formed by other bloggers. It’s how I know what’s out there and worth reading. As a result, I can’t single out ONE book that I tried because of a blogger’s recommendation. Instead, I am going to discuss two to knew genres and one new series I tried because of bloggers. I never was very good at following directions.

(1) Fantasy

I’ve read some light fantasy and young adult/middle grade fantasy but before this year, I had yet to read a real, adult fantasy novel (wow, “adult fantasy” give you the wrong idea, huh?). My IRL friend and sometimes book blogger, Susan, gave me The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan a few years ago, but it was Heather from Age 30+…A Lifetime of Books who finally convinced me to read it. She picked it as her That’s How I Blog book and I figured that was as good a time as ever to finally sit down and read it.

Well, I tried to sit down and read it and it didn’t work out. Heather’s show came and went and I still hadn’t read it. But I did pick up the audio from the library and even though it took me months (that’s a LONG time to stick with an audiobook) I finally finished it.

What did I think? Um, I didn’t really like it. You can read my full review here. But I am glad that I tried it. That’s part of the fun of reading, right? Figuring out what you like and what you don’t. I’ve gotten very good at picking out books that I’ll like but I still like to push myself a bit.

(2) Graphic Novels

Another genre that I had neglected as a reader was graphic novels. When Nymeth from Things Mean a Lot gushed about Blankets by Craig Thompson, I couldn’t resist. I grabbed it for the spring readathon, devoured it in a couple hours, and decided that graphic novels were my new favorite thing.  I then promptly forgot to read any more of them and still haven’t to this day. But I want to. Because I loved Blankets. You can read my full review here.

(3) Betsy-Tacy

In my Favorite Books of 2009 post, I said that I will remember 2009 as the year I discovered Betsy-Tacy. It was a combination of Emily from Books, the Universe, and Everything and Jen from Bookclub Girl that finally got me to give these books a try. And, while I haven’t read them all yet, I love what I have read. I think part of me doesn’t want to finish it because it’s that good.

So there you have it, three new things I tried because of a blogger. What new books/genres have you tried this year?

BBAW: Interview with Katy from A Few More Pages


Today is what I have heard many people tell me is their favorite part of BBAW – interview swap day. I have the pleasure of bringing you Katy from A Few More Pages (@afewmorepages on Twitter). I already knew Katy a bit from Twitter but I had fun getting to know her better. I hope you all enjoy the interview and you can see Katy interview me over on her blog today. I will turn things over to Katy now.

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1. How did you become a book blogger?

After I started talking a lot about books on my family/kids blog, I decided to start a blog that focused solely on books. Then when I found the Book Blogs Ning, I realized that there was this big community of book bloggers that I could connect with. I started networking, and I never looked back. What started as a hobby to just post my thoughts about books I’ve read became something even better when I started talking to other book bloggers.

2. Where is your favorite place to read?

I love to read just about anywhere, but my favorite place is in my bed. I’ve always loved reading before going to sleep (though that often means I stay up too late reading those books that I just can’t put down).

3. Where is your favorite place to blog?

Hmmm, I don’t really have a lot of choices, so I guess my favorite place to blog is at my desk. Timing is more important than location, though–I like to blog in the morning when hubby is at work and the kids are at school (and preschool) so I can concentrate with no interruptions. 🙂

4. If you could only read one genre for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Historical fiction. I love it. There are so many time periods, locations, and subgenres that I could immerse myself in. Most of my reading lands in that genre already.

5. How do you balance blogging and reading with your work and family life?

Reading is something I’ve always done to relax. Most of the time I would rather read than watch TV. Blogging and work both happen mostly when the kids are sleeping or at school, so when my workload gets heavier the blogging has to slow down. I’ve had to step back from blogging a bit in the last few months because of my job, and although I’m not posting daily right now I’ve tried to focus more on reviews. Once I gave myself permission to not post everyday, it was a lot less stressful and a lot more fun.

6. In your bio, you talk about giving your kids a reading obsession similar to yours. How is that working?

I think it’s coming along nicely! They love books and we read books together throughout the day. We always read before bed. They adore going to the bookstore and the library, and they won’t let us leave without bringing some books home with us.

7. How many book blogs do you regularly read?

Well, I’ve got about 250 blogs in my Google Reader, which I try to go through at least once a week. I haven’t been commenting as much lately as I used to because I’ve been a bit busy (shame on me for lurking!), but I have been reading new posts. I also visit blogs I’m not subscribed to through twitter when I see a tweet that grabs my interest.

8. What is your favorite aspect of blogging?

I love to dialog with other people about books–I don’t have a lot of people in real life to talk books with besides my mom. I love visiting other peoples’ blogs and reading reviews and discussions about books I’ve read or am planning to read. I think one of my favorite blog-related activities is Twitter–I got on Twitter because of my book blog and I love being able to tweet with authors and other book bloggers about books.

9. What kind of reader were you as a child?

I was a serious book nerd when I was a child! When I wasn’t outside playing in the summertime, I had my nose in a book. I loved going to the library and discovering new authors and series. And silent reading time was one of my favorite times of the day in grade school.

10. What is the best book you’ve read this year?

Ah, it’s so hard to pick just one! Just based on how long I kept thinking about it after I had closed the book, I’d have to say The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. But I also couldn’t put down Shanghai Girls by Lisa See, which I just finished reading last week. I have been so lucky to read a lot of really great books this year.

Thanks so much for having me on your blog Michelle! This was really fun!

BBAW: Check Out These Book Bloggers

Book Blogger Appreciation Week is here. Expect posts from me this week on the various discussion topics including my interview of Katy from A Few More Pages tomorrow.

Today’s topic:

Monday—First Treasure
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.

I hope the BBAW organizers don’t mind if I take this one in a little bit of a different direction. Instead of sharing just one book blog, I want to share several. And the reason is that a lot of my original online friends from around the world have (like me) started new book blogs this year (and due to vox.com ‘s recent closing a couple are brand new). While some are more active than others, I like these blogs because of the people behind them who write them and I always look forward to new posts.

In alphabetical order, they are:

I hope you check them out if you haven’t before. There are some really great people behind these blogs.

And now I’m off to check out how everyone else answered this question (I’m assuming you all did a much better job of following directions than I did).

PS – I really hope I didn’t forget anyone. Please forgive me if I did.

Are you ready for Book Blogger Appreciation Week?

I thought it was time I finally register for Book Blogger Appreciation Week.  This year BBAW is taking self-nominations which is a little awkward, but I’m sure I’ll get over it.

There. Over it.

Since my reading and blogging tastes seem to change on a daily basis, I think the only niche category I fit into is Best Eclectic Book Blog, so I have tried to illustrate the eclectic nature of my blog by sharing the following posts with you, the judges:

There is still time to register your blog for BBAW (registration ends July 7th). Head over to this page for more information.