I have been an avid reader all my life. Ask anyone that knows me, and they will tell you I am never without a book. I frequent my library, bookstores, new and used, and love the smell of new books. New reference books arrive at work, you can find them on my desk. Strange, I know.
But for all my reading, none of my friends and family are as voracious about reading as I am. I have no one to discuss these books with. I am also not great at remembering exact titles or authors, but show me the cover of a book, and I will remember it the next time I am at the book store.
I have never tracked what I read, but I was thinking it would be interesting to see how many books I have read and will read in the future. I started making a list on GoodReads, which contained my growing tbr and past books.
Then I discovered book blogs(BB)! Some of the first blogs I read were Darlene from Peeking Between the Pages , Amy from My Friend Amy, and the author Ann Aguirre. From there the BB community just exploded for me. I discovered all kinds of things that interest me: historical fiction, sci-fi, romance, and T.V. shows! And some of the bloggers I read knit or crochet. Perfect!
I have a knitting blog, but I don't knit as fast as I read, and I didn't feel that book reviews belonged there. Plus I share that blog with my girlfriend, and I didn't want to be a blog hog, so I started Jenny Loves to Read, in December 2008...I think. Obviously not the most original, but it's straight and to the point, and that's me. I just come out and say what I mean, usually diplomatically. I also figured blogging would be a good method for maintaining both my writing skills and critical thinking.
The books I read and review come from the library, my shelf, recently bought, new or used, and yes, some come from publishers or authors. I do not read or finish books I do not like. To me it is a waste of time, especially when there are so many books out there I want to read. Why waste my time with a book I think is crappy? Been there and done that!
Blogging is an outlet for me and I have made some great friends along way. I like to think I am honest and have integrity, but just because I may forget to say where I got the book, doesn't make me a bad person or dishonest. Blogging is not my full time job, it is a hobby. I do the best I can, and I try to provide some good content for my friends and followers. I think you can figure out what kind of person I am from my blog. At least I hope so.
So why am I having these thoughts on Thursday?
For the past few months, there has been some discussion regarding book blogs and the following issues:
* whether people do it for free books
* are bloggers honest with their reviews regardless of where the book came from, i.e. good reviews for free books from publishers or authors vs buying or borrowing books
* blogging with integrity, which probably goes with the one above.
Many of my book blog friends have posted about these issues, and there have been some really good discussions about it. I felt it was my turn to put my thoughts and feelings out there, and to also show some solidarity with my gals. I wasn't going to until Amy from My Friend Amy and Marie from The Burton Review recently posted again about these topics. Both great posts, but I felt as though these issues were bugging them and I felt bad for them. Almost as if they were defending themselves and their blogs.
Book blog critics, naysayers, and all around general haters, need to realize that the majority of us do this for the fun of it, for the love of books, and to connect with people out there on the web who have similar interests. Book blogs are never going to replace nationally recognized book reviews like NPR or The New York Times or whatever. Sorry, but I never read these book reviews because our interests were different. But that's fine! Everybody can have their say. That's what blogs are all about...having a place to voice our opinions and discuss things that are important to us.
Yes, I know there are people out there who only blog for the possibility of free books. There are freeloaders everywhere, but that is going to happen regardless of what the thing or stuff is. That's just the way people are. If you read blogs, you should be able to tell what kind a person the blogger is. Are they honest? Are they just having fun? Are they someone you like? I wouldn't read someone I didn't like. And newsflash: you don't have to like everybody.
If you as a blogger want to put a badge or button promoting your integrity, hey that's cool with me. It's your space to do with as you see fit, and whether you do or not, I'm still going to read you anyway. And definitely try to comment more :)
I just want you to know, I support you and appreciate all the hard work you do to maintain your blog and interact with others. I know it's not your full time job, but you have a passion for it which completely blows me away. I learn something new almost everyday from my book blog friends.
Look, all I'm saying is that book blogs are here to stay. Do they have an influence? I don't know, maybe. But it's up to you, the reader, to decide what that influence is going to be. But really people, stop badgering my book blogging community. We all love books and promote reading, so can't we all just get along?
Thanks for letting me get that out there :)
Love you guys!
(photo courtesy of Lifelounge-Daily Goodness)