We’re still sailing through Book Blogger Appreciation Week, happening now through Friday, and today’s topic is an opportunity to discuss how our reading habits have changed as a result of book blogging. Has book blogging affected our book acquisition habits? Have we made new connections with others because of book blogging?
And my simple answer is: yes.
The most obvious example of my changed world of reading is evident in my “to be read” stack, which is now less a stack and more of a . . . well, of a bookcase. Once upon a time — so far back now, I can barely remember — I had a literal stack of novels by my bedside (pictured below). Of the few dozen books in my room, these were the only books I hadn’t yet read — and once I was done with them, they would move on to other readers in my life: my sister; my coworkers; a friend from school.
When I began actively blogging about books and left my job at Borders, I became gluttonous. I truly remember stopping to think, “Now that I won’t be picking up so many books at work, I need to find another source.” Like an addict on the hunt for her fix, I turned to the Internet, my old friend, as a way to continue my conversations about books and add more to my pile.
And the pile grew. And grew. And grew. I joined websites like BookMooch, where I would trade my already-loved books for others. I entered tons of blog giveaways. In time I began receiving advanced reading copies of books from publishers . . . and that’s when I really began my downhill descent into madness. My “to be read” stack hasn’t been an actual stack in years; it’s now shelves upon shelves of beautiful books, all waiting patiently for their time in the sun (or my hands, as the case may be).
And I totally blame book blogging.
Here’s the thing: you all tempt me with your “You have to read this book!” talk so much that I’m powerless to resist your recommendations. When a blogger I love and admire says in the serious tone the well-read, “You can’t miss this one” — well, I can’t miss that one. So whether I’m accepting a review copy, buying it myself or tearing into a package from a generous friend, I have to have that book.
The more I read about books, the more I want them. The more I write about books, the more I want to read more of them. I love reading so much that I could happily spend most days wrapped up in words and plots and characters, and I never realized other people did, too. Not even when I spent every minute of most days in an English program in college. Not even when my other literature geek friends wanted to chat about Jane Austen and Shakespeare and Edith Wharton.
It wasn’t until I started blogging about books and “meeting” so many of you that I realized I had found “my peeps.” Not to get all sappy, but at a point in my life where it’s difficult to make new friends — we’re out of school; we’re working in the same job for years — the friendships I’ve formed through book blogging have filled a tangible gap in my life. And as I wrote last year, blogging has given me confidence to excel in so many areas of my life. It led to real-life work opportunities, a renewed interest in photography, and my friendship with fellow blogger Jessica — a buddy who would later encourage me to join an online dating site. And that’s how I met Spencer.
Could I have found this man I love without Jessica — or the dating site, or my blog? Eh . . . maybe. But probably not. And I don’t think it’s too big of a stretch to contribute the awesomeness of my life to the connections I’ve forged through blogging. And that’s to say nothing of the friendships I’ve formed with countless other people, and the fun “real life” times we’ve had at events like the Book Blogger Convention and National Book Festival (that’s Deborah and Heather above!).
So I love you guys. Thanks for making my “to be read” stack into less of a stack and more of a room, and for encouraging me to be funny and silly and ridiculous and open in a way that I never thought I could. Thanks for giving credence to some of the random things I say, and for making me feel so confident and free. Thanks for reminding me that I matter — and that we all do. Just thanks for being here.