BBAW, day four: Changing how we read (and live)

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.

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19 thoughts on “BBAW, day four: Changing how we read (and live)

  1. Loved your comments and so agree about what amounts to as the old saying “So many books, so little time!” I am not a blogger…yet. But there is still time! LOL. I am a librarian at a library for the blind and so love my books. I have a Kindle now and there 380 books in it. Between friends telling me “You should read this” and then there are the patrons who also say the very same thing. I have read 116 books this year on the Kindle, I have never read that many books in a year before. Again…so many books, so little time. But so fun to try. Thanks for your great blogging. I enjoy it.

  2. Although I have been blogging for years, I’m still kind of new at book blogging. I’m still trying to find my own style (and readers). Thanks to blogs like yours, I some how keep up the motivation to keep reading and reviewing in hopes that maybe, just maybe, I’ll actually figure out what I am doing.

    And yes, thanks to you, and Good Reads, my (virtual) bookshelf grows at a ridiculous amount on a daily basis. I don’t know if I’ll ever get through the entire list of books TBR I have marked on my Good Reads site but I’m going to do my hardest to try.

  3. In the three short months I’ve been blogging, my TBR pile has grown insanely!! When I started? I had 3 books in my pile, and 3 series that I was anxiously awaiting the next installment! Now? My pile is at least 200 deep (with a realistic 20 that I physically have ready to be read) and I have 4 series that I’m working my way through on top of those previous 3!!

    And adding daily blog reads at an alarming rate too! *lol*

  4. I pay homage to your TBR room. I think many of my TBRs that aren’t in corporeal form are taking up plenty of online space (the goodreads to-read list and the hold list at the library…). I love a good stack (or two or three)!

  5. I’m over here giggling at the way you describe buying and reading books as if it were an addiction. Not to belittle real addictions, but I’ve always said that the only thing I’m truly addicted to is books and as far as addictions go, it’s not so bad. I can totally relate to your need to have MORE BOOKS!

  6. I was also an English major and like you’ve said, never discovered this same community there. (In fact, other English majors used to complain about reading a book a week) I also love the way you’ve described it as an addiction – that’s so my life. I’m so glad you’ve gotten so much out of blogging!

  7. “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.” Perfect — that about sums it up. I love the personal touch you added there at the end! I love hearing stories like that. Here’s to massive TBRs, fueled by fellow readers we can trust to make great recommendations!

  8. I love this post, Meg and so much of it rings true for me, too. I didn’t know that Jessica, who you met here, encouraged you to try a dating site and that’s how you met Spencer. That’s fantastic and a wonderful example of the beauty of this community and the connections you can make!

    I, too, have a full book case rather than just a large stack on my night stand as a result of this community of book bloggers as well as a very long tbr list…my only worry is the authors and books I may never get to read!

  9. Awww, thanks for the lovely shout out! I completely forgot that my shenanigans on Okcupid convinced you to eventually join! I’m so glad one of us found something real out of it! Haha. But in all seriousness, I am so glad we’re friends. We really need to re-start our email chain!

  10. Oh man I’m right there with you. I had book issues anyway and then I found blogging and I’m now totally sunk. TBR book shelf for sure…would I have it any other way? Of course not!

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