BBAW 2012: What Does Book Blogging Mean to Me?

by Kim on September 12, 2012 · 24 comments

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This post is a response to the Wednesday prompt for Book Blogger Appreciation Week, a truly awesome celebration of book bloggers and book blogging that comes around every September.

For such a simple question — What does book blogging mean to you? — I’ve had an awfully hard time coming up with a coherent answer to today’s prompt.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about where I was when I started blogging, just a few days before my college graduation in May 2008, and where I am today — through college graduation, graduate school and my first jobs as a grown up. Because I’ve blogged through such a formative time in my life, I can’t really think back to a point when I was a reader but not a writer. During my four years of college, I can’t remember reading for pleasure or outside the classroom much, and I’ve been blogging what I read since I graduated. I’ve been a voracious reader since I was a kid, but it’s been so long since I was just a reader, I almost can’t imagine what that is like. Book blogging is so tied into my identity that thinking about what it means feels like an almost existential question.

Because of book blogging, I always have more books to read than time to read them. I can rattle off many of the books coming out in the next month, even the ones I have no interest in reading. I can’t go to the library or a bookstore and peruse the shelves without knowing of at least one person who has read that book or that author or that genre. I have tried to read for 24 hours straight. I’ve traveled to New York by myself to meet people from the Internet.

These things are a result of what many, many other book bloggers have noted in their responses today — a big part of what makes book blogging such a wonderful thing is the community. After four years, I honestly say that many of the bloggers that I’ve gotten to know are among my true friends. I’m so deeply grateful for that unexpected side effect of starting this blog.

And that sense of community has extended outside of the online world. I don’t talk about my blog a lot with people I meet in person (it feels, somehow, self-promotional), but I don’t shy away from talking about being a blogger if it comes up in regular conversation. After I won the Independent Book Blogger Award in Adult Nonfiction earlier this year, people in my community found out about this blog, and talking about the award has led to some really wonderful conversations about books in “real life” too.

My favorite recent example came last month when I went to a field day for a local research station. When I was signing in, the greeter recognized my name, told me she read my blog, and said she’d been trying more nonfiction. We chatted for a bit and she gave me a book recommendation — Everybody Was So Young by Amanda Vaill — that I subsequently bought, read, and adored. It was so cool, and just another example of how our reading communities can grow. (If you’re reading this, hi Nancy!)

I think one of the pulls for a reader to become a book blogger is a need for community. Reading is, at it’s core, a pretty solitary activity, but book people are some of the most kind and gracious people in the world. We may be introverts, but we can find each other. Book blogging is my reach out into the world of other readers, and I’m so glad so many other readers (both online and off) take the time to reach back.

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Teresa September 12, 2012 at 6:13 pm

That’s such a great story! I haven’t had anyone come up to me like that about my blog (although it did happen once when I had a newspaper column). I have had people I know slightly in life find out about my blog (usually because I have it as a sig line on e-mail and feed it onto my personal Facebook page) and want to talk about it, and that’s fun.

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Kim September 16, 2012 at 5:20 pm

I’ve had it happen more than a few times because of the newspaper (or, more often, I’ll introduce myself to people and they’ll respond, “Oh I know, i recognized you from the paper.”), but not from the blog. It was fun. I haven’t put mine on Facebook prominently or anything yet, but people who know me well know about it.

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Nancy September 12, 2012 at 6:33 pm

What fun to see me in your blog.
I’m glad you liked “Everybody Was So Young” and I’m interested in seeing your review. I thought it was a great book and just enjoyed the references to Gerald and Sara Murphy in “The Paris Wife.”
Your blog has helped me get back to reading more, and I’ve begun reading more nonfiction, often from your recommendations.
Thanks.

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Kim September 16, 2012 at 5:20 pm

After reading about them in that book, I want to read all of the books and character’s they’re supposed to have inspired. I’m really curious now!

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Alexia561 September 12, 2012 at 7:07 pm

What a great story! And agree that while most of us may be introverts, we’re not shy when we find each other! Love this community!

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Kim September 16, 2012 at 5:20 pm

Yes, absolutely!

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Jeanne September 12, 2012 at 7:15 pm

Book people! They’re the best.

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maphead September 12, 2012 at 8:51 pm

Great story indeed!
I love to learn how people got into book blogging and why they like doing it. Nicely done and keep up the good work!

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Kim September 16, 2012 at 5:21 pm

I always like hearing what drew people to book blogging too — often, it’s a pretty similar tale about wanting to find people to talk with about books.

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Florinda September 12, 2012 at 10:29 pm

I love that such a seemingly simple question has yielded the range of responses I’ve read today! But as you said here, the common factor among many of those responses is “community.” Glad you’re part of mine :-).

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Kim September 16, 2012 at 5:22 pm

Yeah, it has been really cool. People have had a lot of great comments about the topic.

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Joanna September 13, 2012 at 5:43 am

What a lovely post! I agree that the community is what keeps me blogging, even if I’ve moved away from blogging ‘only’ about books.

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Kim September 16, 2012 at 5:22 pm

It seems like a lot of bloggers do that, stretch out the topics they write about as they become more comfortable blogging.

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Care September 13, 2012 at 9:01 am

Beautiful post! I so agree that the community aspect was what I craved but never quite expected when I started book blogging. OR, I knew I wanted to have conversations about books but I never realized the extent and how wonderful the friendships would be!

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Kim September 16, 2012 at 5:23 pm

Yes, exactly! It’s one thing to write about books and get comments; it’s a totally different thing to find friends online that you didn’t expect to find.

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Jae @ Book Nympho September 13, 2012 at 10:05 am

You’re so right! I forgot to mention how much I’ve learned about books from book blogging. I feel so in the loop now when it comes to books, what’s coming out, what’s new, what’s good/bad, etc. I feel so informed about books and what to read next and that’s definitely improved my reading experience.

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Kim September 16, 2012 at 5:24 pm

Me too! I think it makes me a little annoying when other people just want to browse or chat casually about books, but whatever :)

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bermudaonion(Kathy) September 13, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Before I started blogging, I was skeptical of people who said they met friends online. Now, some of my closest friends are people I met just that way!

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Jen @ The Well Read Fish September 13, 2012 at 5:36 pm

This makes me want to say “AMEN!”

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Stephanie September 13, 2012 at 7:29 pm

Fantastic post, Kim! I couldn’t agree more about the need for community.

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kalynbrooke | Words With Books September 15, 2012 at 1:26 pm

Some of the best conversations I’ve had revolve around books!

Found you from the Quirky Bookworm’s blog list.

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Kim September 16, 2012 at 5:24 pm

Thanks so much for stopping by!

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Elizabeth September 16, 2012 at 5:45 pm

Nice post.

Finally getting around to looking at the rest of the list.

Elizabeth
Silver’s Reviews
http://silversolara.blogspot.com

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