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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Thoughts on a Thursday: Why do I blog and why am I telling you this?

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)


The Bookworm said...

Great post!
I've been an avid reader all my life too and have found such great people online to chat books with through my book blog :)

If blogging wasnt fun, I wouldnt do it aymore.

Nan said...

I loved your post. Many of my friends and close family members aren't big readers so the blogging community is a great place to chat with others about the books I love to read. Have a great day and happy reading!

Book Bird Dog said...

I think book bloggers are really writers at heart, who haven't made the final step from reading and reviewing to writing something of their own. Ask bloggers how many of them secretly want to write their own book. I'd be surprised if any said, Not Me!

Staci said...

Loved your thoughts on this Jenny. I started my blog because I'm passionate about reading and thought it would be a fun way to connect with others who share the same obsession. Because, like you, I have no one in my immediate family that GETS ME!! On my blog people do!! I don't blog for the free books. I love do to blog tours and I do request ARC's IF the story sounds interesting. However, most of the books that I read I check out from my library!!

I love your voice, that's why I try to stop by every time you post!! Keep up the fun and like you I'm just out there sharing my love of the written word!!

Staci said...

Oh yeah...I asked a good question. Do they have an influence? You betcha!! Most of the books I've been picking up this year have been blogger recommended!!! Love the enablers!!!

Unknown said...

I am in 100% agreement with you. I started my blog to have a good time. I enjoy talking with everyone about the books I/they read. I don't have anyone around here to share my interests with...I know my boyfriend is getting tired of hearing about them. People need to stop freaking out about blogging!

Unknown said...

I agree with almost your entire post. The only thing I don't agree with - I can't not finish a book. And if it stinks - I'll be more than happy to tell you that too.

No one in my life reads the variety that I do - I can share some of the fantasy/sci books with a friend and some of the romance with my aunt and some of the YA stuff with my sister, but here - on my blog - I get to show all of the wonderful quirky books that I read.

I'm honest and put in the review that a book is either a review or how I got it (or at least I've started doing that).

Blodeuedd said...

Great post, and I didn't know you knit :) I started a scarf for my mother last December...yup still working on it.

I blog, cos I love books, so why not review them and find others bloggers who loves books too. Which I did and loved it. Oh how many books I have read cos of their reviews. It has made me wanna try new things.

I have also realised that life is too short for bad books, so if a book is not shaping up I leave it behind.

Sheila (bookjourney) said...

Great post! I think book bloggers do have an influence.... I would much rather read a review by a book blogger than one at a book seller. Book bloggers, from what I have seen, seem to keep it real.

I have picked up quite a few new titles by reading blogs and I have encouraged my book club to do this as well. :)

Thanks again! Have a great day!

Anonymous said...

You are one of my favorite bloggers because I think I can tell what kind of person you are just from reading your posts. Of course that means I see the greatness of Jenny :) I see why people are putting the badges on their blogs, but I don't think I should have to announce that my blog is propaganda free. It should be assumed unless my posts start to sound like cheerleading.

Amy said...

LOL! I am crushed because I thought book blogs were going to replace (or have the same influence as) NPR! ;)

Actually, signing the pledge and resolving to disclose made me feel really really free. Like, I had finally made a decision about how to handle it that felt right.

Teddyree said...

I'm with ya girlfriend LOL. Like you and Staci, I blog (not because I want to write) because I have a family of males that think I'm a freak for living and breathing books. I have nobody else to share this passion with so blogging does it for me.
We rarely get free books, ARC's out here in Australia (unless you have really nice pals like Jenny, who sends a book cause 'what are friends for?')
Isn't that what blogging and nurturing a passion and a friendship is all about??

Jenny Girl said...

Book Bird Dog: Not me! no, really, I am not a writer, and never thought about it, although I can write my butt off for school and work.

Naida and Nan: Thank you and I feel the same. It's about fun with peeps like me.

Staci: You are one of my personal enablers! And I love you for it library girl.

Dolley: You can chat with me about books or interests anytime. My hubby is so not a reader and I'm a bit different than most of my friends.

WitchBaby:Blame Stephen King for making stop reading books. I ran into a bad bunch of his, imho, and it started the not finish ball rolling.

B: I hear you. And you'll get that scarf finished eventually :)

Sheilia (bookjourney): I agree and think you keep it pretty real also. Glad to have made your recent acquaitance.

Stacybuckeye: Ditto! That's why I read you too.

Amy: I can definitely see where you are coming from and why. That panel at BEA...totally awesome but also a little daunting. Like a great heap of responsibility was placed at your doorstep. I'm always here for you and got your back girl. You do a phenominal job!
[Yes some blogs do have more influence than NPR ;) They know who they are ]

Teddy: LOL that is what friends are for. The poor Aussies...if I ever get there I'll have to pack a whole bunch of books for you!

Teddyree said...

LOL when are ya coming?? yeah don't need any other luggage just bring books hahaha
Totally agree with you about Staci, she is the naughiest enabler out there, hope you're reading this Staci :-)

Darlene said...

Great post Jen! YOu know I'm the only one in my family who reads as much as I do. Everyone else thinks I'm nuts. Do I care -nope! lol.

I blog because I love to do it. I love the people I've met behind the blogs and I love reading all the books I've gotten to read as well. I think I'm a good judge of the people I've met behind the blog. You and I hit it off right away -you just get a feel for people. Anyhow, I'll keep reading my favorite blogs no matter what.

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

"I don't knit as fast as I read" so true, LOL.

And, I don't write reviews as fast as I read ... clearly I'm doing it (blogging, reviewing) because I enjoy it. It's great to spread the word (and the word is not always the greatest, but I tell it anyway!)

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