Book Blogger Appreciation Week 2011 Badge

On this fourth day of Book Blogger Appreciation Week, we are talking about something we all love: reading! Here’s our topic:

“Book bloggers blog because we love reading. Has book blogging changed the way you read? Have you discovered books you never would have apart from book blogging? How has book blogging affected your book acquisition habits? Have you made new connections with other readers because of book blogging? Choose any one of these topics and share your thoughts today!”

So many great questions to answer! I’m going to tackle them one at a time.

Has book blogging changed the way you read?

In some ways, yes! I still love reading, and I still read the books that interest me. But, blogging has definitely influenced my reading in a few different ways.

  1. Book blogging has gotten me to read more and to bring reading to the forefront of my life. I’ve always been an avid reader, but blogging has turned a hobby into something closer to an obsession. Perhaps it’s from suddenly having a community that’s at least as in love with reading as I am, where no one thinks it’s odd if I have a book (or several) on my person at all times and forgo other activities in order to to curl up with a novel!
  2. Blogging has also encouraged me to track my reading. I love having a record of my thoughts on the books I’ve read, but I also track some reading stats I find interesting in a separate place: male vs. female authors, audiobooks vs. print books vs. ebooks, total pages read and hours listened, and the like. It delights me to have this picture of my month-by-month reading, and I’d never have started tracking stats if not for the example set by book bloggers.
  3. Because I try to review everything I read (or listen to), I find myself thinking more deeply about what I’m reading, both as I’m reading and after I’m done. I keep notes, something I never used to do, and I give some thought to exactly what I liked and didn’t like about each book. Which means…
  4. I remember the books I’ve read much better! Because I’ve spent time turning each one over in my mind, the books I read now stand out much more brightly than they ever have before when I look back on them.

I consider all of these to be good things, in case you’re wondering, and am quite happy to have let blogging influence me in the ways that it has!

Have you discovered books you never would have apart from book blogging?

Book Pile
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Yes! I don’t have time to read all the amazing books I see on other blogs, but there are certainly some I’ve picked up because other bloggers raved about them, and most I’ve ended up loving. Off the top of my head, these have included The Report by Jessica Francis Kane, Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Will Grayson, Will Grayson by David Levithan and John Green, the Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness, Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith, Angels in America by Tony Kushner, Flight by Sherman Alexie, and Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden. Thanks, all you bloggers who talked about books you loved until I finally picked them up and read them!

How has book blogging affected your book acquisition habits?

This answer is simple: by making me feel okay about bringing home bag loads (yes, plural) of new-to-me books. Hey…(almost) everybody’s doing it! And with so many people willing to coo over each new collection with me online, I’m certainly not going to stop any time soon!

Have you made new connections with other readers because of book blogging?

Yes! Aside from the obvious connections with other bloggers, I’ve actually met a non-blogger in my area through my blog. We now coordinate informal reads based on what interests us and meet every few months to discuss whatever we’ve gotten through. I doubt we would have gotten in touch without book blogging, even though it’s not really the focus of our relationship now.

Now I’d love to hear from you. How has book blogging affected your reading?

Join the Conversation

66 Comments

    1. I wish I’d tracked my reading before blogging as I’d love to compare. I think it’d be really interesting to see the differences.

  1. The tipping point you describe where you see enough blog posts raving about a book that you decide to read it even though you had no intention of reading it happened to me with Room by Emma Donoghue. I wasn’t going to read it despite all the critical acclaim until so many bloggers whose opinions I tend to agree with recommended it. Now I’ve joined my voice to the chorus!

    1. Room is one of those for me, too! Though I haven’t read it yet, I have a copy and I plan to read it. That’s really where the tipping point lands me — rarely can I squeeze in a book as soon as I hear about it, sadly. I’m glad you’re on the Room bandwagon now, though, as it’s one more voice in support of me reading it!

  2. I agree with you on all counts. I’ve found that my reading has changed drastically in many ways. I especially love how easily I recognize most of the books featured in bookstore stands.

    1. Yes! That’s a great perk, too. I got really good at that when I worked in a bookstore a few years back and was afraid I’d lose that. But blogging has definitely helped me keep up. And what’s cool is that it’s not always the best sellers I recognize, but some more diverse titles as well.

    1. Agreed! My recommending skills have gotten so much better. And if I need a reminder, I can always consult my archives.

  3. I also agree that book blogging has taken a pastime for me and turned it into an obsession. I have to be reading every free minute that I can be, and when I finish one book, it’s right on to the next. I also have discovered some great books from other bloggers that I would have never come across in any other way.

  4. I loved all of your points! Some that I forgot to add in my post, like the tracking of books. Yes, I love that part of blogging. I can visualize the accomplishments at the end of each month and at year’s end!

    I also love giving up the guilt of being obsessed with reading and blogging. Outside the community, people like us might seem weird…but inside the blogosphere, we’re awesome!

    Thanks for sharing, Erin, and now I’m subscribing to your blog.

    Here’s MY BBAW POST and
    MY WEBSITE

    1. Yes, and I love being able to compare months to one another! Once I have more than a year of stats, I’m looking forward to comparing years as well. I’m glad other people track their reading, because it makes me feel less silly!

      You make a great point about guilt, too. No one thinks you’re crazy for hoarding books or raving over one you loved in this community 🙂

  5. Yes, yes, yes to everything you said!!! I love bringing home bagfuls of books *laughs* Last year at the BEA I shipped home more than 60 – okay, so maybe that was a little much!! LOL. Thanks for the post!

    1. Whoa, that might top even my own record! The one time I attended one of those big book festivals (NEIBA, as a bookseller) I drove with a coworker, and the trunk of her car was literally full of books. I’ve never had to ship them, but I’m sure I would were I to attend by plane!

  6. Erin – I just wanted to say, I have spent a little time reading about your Reading Buddies project – LOVE IT! You are reading some wonderful books there…I have you on my radar for 2012 (2011 is just a little crazy for me to start something new right now) and will be interested to join in the discussions 🙂

    1. I’m so happy Wendy, thanks! I’ve been having so much fun with Reading Buddies and have been exposed to so many books I’ve loved. And reading with others is one of my favorite ways to connect. I’d love to read with you in 2012! My 2011 has gotten out of hand, too, and I’m hoping to be vigilant so it doesn’t happen again. I’ve found readalongs and that sort of thing are much more my style than review deadlines.

    1. You’re definitely not the only one! I love seeing what others keep track of and always look forward to the end of the year, when some of the bloggers I know go nuts with stats. It’s so fun to see how people’s years have shaped up and how they interpret the data they’ve collected.

  7. Erin – I completely agree. I love looking at the lists of books I’ve read the last few years. I wish I’d been doing it my whole life. What a wonderful treasure that would have been.

    1. I know, how amazing would that be?? I’m just now completing the first year I’ve really tracked my stats, and I can’t wait to have a whole bunch of years to look back on.

  8. I really love your point about how reviewing a book (or knowing you’re going to review a book) has changed how you read it as that’s an experience I have/had but never noticed! I’m trying to review everything I read, too. I’ve noticed that the lingering feelings I have about books don’t always mesh with the review I wrote immediately after reading a book and it’s fascinating to see how my own feelings about a book change over time — something I never would have noticed had I not been blogging!

    1. That’s a great point, Audra. I’ve noticed that happens to me sometimes too — to the point, at times, that I’ve felt I wanted to write a follow-up review with my further reactions! There have actually been a few books I’ve waited to review, precisely because I’ve needed some time to mull them over and see where my view of them goes.

  9. I’m glad you discovered Never Let Me Go through blogging. It’s one of my all-time favourite books, and I found it through a blogger recommendation too!

    It’s great that you met someone in your area through your blog – I wish we could all do that 🙂

    1. It was one of my favorites! And I think I’ll like Ishiguro as an author, too, which is always exciting to discover. I was thrilled to meet my IRL reading buddy. I never expected that to happen!

  10. I hadn’t thought about the tracking part of blogging, but it’s true – as a blogger, I now track what I read in a way that I never did before. It helps me make sure I’m getting a wide and diverse variety of authors and genres. Great point!

    1. I’m really bad about using my stats in productive ways, like influencing future reading choices, but I admire the people who have the willpower and forethought to do that! I love seeing what people keep track of and how they interpret what they learn. Very fun.

  11. I am envious that you actually have another book blogger living close enough to meet with. I would love that. For the longest time I wondered if there even were any other book bloggers in Florida. But am beginning to find them; just not close.

    1. It’s so hard to find people if you’re not in one of the big cities, it seems. I’d definitely like to do more local things, but I don’t have much of a blogger community where I am right now, either.

  12. It’s funny but my tracking-blogging relationship is opposite from most. I wanted to track what I was reading, and that’s how I got into book blogging in the first place. Blogging definitely changed how I track though. It used to be just a list of books I read, now I track all the details (author gender, genre, age-level, etc.) too.

    1. Whoa, neat! That’s definitely opposite from my experience. You, by the way, are one of my stats inspirations. I love your stats posts and how you interpret what you’ve collected!

    1. Yes, the same is true for me, unfortunately, except for a couple of books I’d happened to add to LibraryThing pre-blogging. I wish I had a more complete record!

  13. I was such an avid reader as a teenager. But once I had a family my reading habits changed and I read less and less. But then I discovered blogging and I remembered why I loved it so much. It’s a great way to relax and release stress and blogging has given me a whole new outlet for reaching and meeting new people.

    P.S. Thanks for stopping by my blog all week.

    1. I think it will be hard to maintain my current reading habits if/when I have my own family. I don’t think I’ll be able to give up blogging, though, because as you say, it’s a wonderful outlet for meeting people and engaging in a great community!

      It’s been my pleasure to visit your blog! Thanks for stopping by mine as well.

  14. Something that changed for me since I started blogging about the books I read is that I remember author names better now. I guess because I type them multiple times for my blog. 🙂
    Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  15. Great post! I’ve found that I pay more attention to detail when I read, too, thinking about the review I will be writing when I’ve finished. I’ve loved reading since I was a child, but blogging really has made it the most fun ever!

    1. So true. Suddenly it’s like I’m reading for some purpose besides just entertainment! (Not that there’s anything wrong with reading for entertainment!)

  16. “…blogging has turned a hobby into something closer to an obsession”

    This is most definitely true for me. I’ve always been an avid reader — one of those kids that has a book all the time — but blogging really took reading from something I just do sometimes to something I think about doing almost all the time. In some ways that is good, but I think in some ways it’s a struggle. I think a lot about other hobbies I’ve let slide in favor of books sometimes.

    1. I feel like that sometimes too, Kim. Luckily some of my hobbies, like knitting, pair well with audiobooks, so I can do both. Where I struggle is when I want to learn something new that will take more time in the initial learning phases. Sometimes I wish I could really dive into such things without giving up my reading/blogging time.

  17. Don’t kick yourself for not keeping track of who recommended what you’ve read – you already track dozens of other stats! I’m impressed 🙂

    You’re right about bringing home bag loads of books. No one here will ever lecture you for that! In fact, I think we usually break into applause, don’t we? 🙂

    1. Haha, thanks! I’m going to have to start keeping track, though. One more field in my crazy stats spreadsheet won’t hurt anything!

      And yes, applause, envy, excitement…all those things, but I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a lecture 🙂

  18. #2 is definitely a big one for me. I never tracked my reading before blogging.
    I have to say that I was amazed when I stumbled onto the book blogospere. Growing up I never knew anyone who loved to read as much as I did. I would have one friend here or there who was into books but it wasn’t very common. Finding so many like-minded passionate readers made me giddy.

    1. Me too! And it never really occurred to me that reading could be such a social activity until I happened upon last year’s BBAW…and WHOA! I’m never looking back!

  19. There are so, so many books I wouldn’t have found. Speak was one of them for me, too. And, really, the whole YA genre! LOL (As well as steampunk and dystopian stuff.) Book blogging has totally broadened my horizons.

    With that, I’m going to have to come back later to respond to the rest of your post. It’s late and I’m tired. It’s been a blast “chatting” this week!

    1. Yes, steampunk and dystopian and even a lot of YA were blogging finds for me, too. It’s definitely been fun, and I look forward to more “chatting” 🙂

  20. I can identify with what you are saying about how book blogging has affected you.

    I would say I spend most of my free time now thinking about books, blogging, new ideas for blog posts and reading. When taking photos
    I look to see if that would be good for the blog.

    I think more deeply about the books I am reading these days.

    carol

    1. I’ve not thought about taking pictures that could work for my blog, but now I’m going to start! I definitely have books and blogging on the brain much more than I ever did. I even keep a list on my phone of post ideas so that I can capture them whenever they come to me!

    1. Exactly! All I have to do is skim over my review list and I can remember so much more than I ever was able to in the past.

  21. lol about the it’s okay to bring home books. That’s happened to me too. I NEVER used to acquire books but with blogging, I see people do it all the time. Husband doesn’t think that’s a good excuse….if everyone juped off a bridge, would I too? You know the arguement.

    1. Hey, if jumping off a bridge was as good for me and made me as happy as collecting and reading books, does, maybe I would! Luckily, my husband likes to buy (used) books, too…though my pile is usually two or three times the size of his!

  22. You bring up some great points. For the first time ever, I can remember what I read and find myself paying close attention to what I am reading. Before blogging, I could never remember a book within a day or two of finishing it. So like you, blogging has been amazing towards enhancing my reading skills. I never kept track of what I read either. I still didn’t during the first year of blogging, but I love being able to look back and seeing all the amazing books I’ve read over the years.

    1. I really like feeling like I connect with books more and actually remembering them! It makes the whole process of reading seem more worthwhile, like I’m getting more out of it.

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