So last night I had the immense pleasure of attending a book signing with author Garth Nix, who has been a bit of a literary idol for me since I was eleven years old. As I was standing there chatting with him and trying not to fangirl too hard, a friend piped in with "DID YOU TELL HIM THAT REVIEW HE REBLOGGED WAS YOU?" The thought had not crossed my mind, I was far too engrossed with how big that moment felt, and wanting to ramble endlessly about how much his books shaped my teen reading years. But I shyly said "Oh yes, that was me," and probably blushed an unnatural shade of crimson before moving on and allowing others a chance to meet him.
My mind started turning after that, contemplating the fact that I've been participating in this review blog for about two months now. Parts of the experience are exactly as I expected, and others are not. So today I thought I'd compile a short list of observations and realizations I have come across in the past two months; the confessions of a new blogger, if you will.
1) You collect A LOT OF BOOKS, at a very fast pace. The above picture is just the pile of the books I've collected over the past two months. Some of them I can't review yet, some of them are being saved for upcoming secret things I can't tell you about at the moment. But if this is my stash after just two months...what do the bookshelves of those who have been writing for book review blogs for years look like????
2) Bloggers take their jobs *yes their jobs* very seriously. This is fun work, but it's still work. You're not just reading for yourself, after all. You are reading and hoping to advocate for the authors and your blog followers. That's high pressure when you are extremely passionate about literature and the reading experience. You don't just want to read the book, you want to soak it up like a sponge and find a way to translate it in your own words into a collection of emotional responses that might make someone else want to read it too.
3) BONNIE was right. A few Top Ten Tuesdays ago, we had to tweak the theme. The original idea was to list ten books on your bookshelf that you hadn't read yet. I remember cocking my head at Bonnie, brows furrowed because this idea sounded foreign and odd to me. "Bonnie why would I have anything on my bookshelf that I hadn't read yet?" I queried. Bonnie gave a knowing smile and said "Oh just wait." I now have books on my shelf that I have not read yet, because there are not enough days in the week to promote all the books I want to. When I'm reviewing a book I usually read it twice, and that takes up time. I sit and pour over a review, I outline first so I stay semi on track with the points I want to highlight. I can no longer necessarily read an entire book the same day I buy it because there is always a flow of at least five books in my queue.
4) Blogging gives you such an amazing chance to explore other genres. I had so much fun doing that week of mystery with Bonnie. As a person who reads mostly YA and middle grade fiction, it's been nice to have an excuse to branch out. I remembered that I like mystery. I remember that I LOVE a good psychological thriller. I am so excited to keep exploring.
5) You live for that moment an author likes or retweets a link to the review of their book. The first time it happened, I cried. As a reviewer you get the opportunity to gleefully chat about popular books a lot of people are reading too, but you also get to highlight wonderful reads that people don't know about that. It is heartwarming and satisfying to know that it's gotten back to the author that someone recommended them, that the product they put out was shared.
6) There is such an open format. I can remember asking a million questions when I was putting together my first review. Should it be a clinical analysis like the sorts of papers I wrote in my college English classes? Was there a certain format I should use? And there is to a degree, but there is wiggle room for every review blogger to make a blog their own. I can put whatever I feel into the review itself, which is how I like it, because it's my personal opinion that reviews of literature should be emotional and personal. That is the point of literature after all, to evoke thought and feeling.
7) I am surprised and delighted about how much more than reviews go on! That was probably my biggest misconception when I signed on to do this blog, thinking we'd just post a couple of reviews a week and that would be that. I was so amazed by the amount of giveaways, interviews, interactive events that occur. In the end blogs like this one are about sharing a love of reading in every and any format possible. I am undeniably proud to be able to participate.
I could keep listing things until the cows come home, but I think these seven are my most prevalent observations and thoughts on blogging thus far. My hope is to continue to explore and grow as a reader, to share books and have them shared with me. I pray that I am doing this blog justice and keeping up with Bonnie's hard work and dedication, and most importantly I am so grateful that you guys keep signing on to read. It is an honor and unique experience to read for more than just myself.