I started this blog eight years ago today: March 16, 2007. I’ve been at it longer than any job I’ve ever had, except for my current one. Sometimes I think one of the reasons I haven’t seriously looked for other employment for a while –something closer to home, at least–is the outlets and opportunities this blog has given me. They are sources of creativity, expression, and satisfaction I don’t need to look for in my day job now…and so I don’t.
The biggest source of satisfaction blogging has brought me is the community I’ve found, and the friends I’ve made. There are so many of you I’d love to shout out here, and so many more I would unintentionally leave out if I attempted to do so…but I’m going to attempt it all the same.
Many book blogs have come and gone during that last eight years. Some have cut back, and some have left and come back. Some don’t technically have “book blogs” any more, like Trish and Bryan, but it feels like they’re still part of the tribe. On my eighth blogiversary, I’d like to mention eight book bloggers who have been fixtures in my feed reader for most of those eight years. I rarely skip their posts—although some don’t post as often as they once did—and I’m privileged to have met most of them in person, and to call them friends.
At my most recent count, there were nearly 150 book blog feeds in my reader. Some are inactive and need to be culled, and I don’t add new ones nearly as often as I used to, but I do try to keep up. I am so glad to be part of this community, no matter what.
In honor of this occasion, here are Eight Things That Would Never Have Happened If Not For Book Blogging::
Getting paid to read and review books. I don’t get paid for talking about books here, but I would not have been offered the chance to be a paid book reviewer if I hadn’t been able to provide samples from the blog to support my application to write for Shelf Awareness.
Making friends from all over. I’ve gone from the pen pals of my youth to marriage to a man I met via an online dating site, so the idea of making genuine connections through writing wasn’t strange to me, but the give-and -take of blogging has introduced me to people like me—and people I like—from all over.
Learning about publishing. When I started this blog, I wanted a place to record my thoughts about the books I read, which I usually bought or received as gifts. I had no idea that I’d be able to get books directly from publishers and read them before they were published, but as my exposure to the industry grew, I became curious to know more about it and understand it better, and I feel like I have a small but genuine place in it.
Learning about the writing life I’ve had the chance to get acquainted with writers—those who write books, and those who write about them (and sometimes they’re the same people). I’ve learned about what the working life of a writer is like. One of the things I’ve learned is that I’m not in a position to make it my life’s work, but I care enough about doing it to want it to be part of my life, period.
Being part of the change in the publishing industry, Book blogging became big at a time when the ways in which books were produced, published, and promoted were in a state of flux. Ebooks and self-publishing exploded as major publishers consolidated and marketing budgets shrank. There was more to read than ever, and bloggers became a trusted source to help readers sort through it all.
Event planning and participation. I’ve planned and participated in panels related to book blogging at several conferences. I was part of the team that founded and grew the “virtual conference” Armchair BEA, which runs independently during Book Expo America week. I’m currently one of the veteran bloggers coordinating the Book Blogger Buddy System.
Changing what and how I read, part 1. For the last couple of years, I’ve found myself able to walk out of bookstores empty-handed…and it still feels weird. Thanks to advance copies, I rarely buy print books any more. If I didn’t get a new book in galley format and I don’t want to wait to read it, I buy it in ebook or audiobook. (To be honest, getting an iPhone probably played a bigger role in my audiobook conversion than blogging, but book bloggers have helped guide me through it.)
Changing how and what I read, part 2 My reading interests have shifted and expanded during the past eight years. I read less “women’s fiction,” and opened up to both the more literary and genre-oriented ends of the fiction spectrum. I’ve found that books about interesting topics appeal to me, and often find myself more excited about reading nonfiction than fiction. I’ve learned I’m not too old for (some) young-adult literature. And I strive to engage more fully and thoughtfully with whatever I read.
My Books of the Year selections are based on a combination of how much a book has stayed with me throughout the year, how much I’ve talked about it and/or recommended it, and how highly I rated it at the time I reviewed it. This year, I realized that the last of those factors actually counts the least for me as I compile this list–that is, it’s not a simple ranking. With that said, I […]
I don’t keep the kind of comprehensive reading spreadsheets that some book bloggers do, but I do maintain one for my review index, and it proved very helpful when I wanted to create some charts to summarize my reading experience in 2014. I will be singling out some of the highlights as my Books of the Year later this week. I read 53 books in 2014 versus 51 in 2013, so I’m continuing to average […]
Since it’s a long holiday weekend here in the USA and many of us just might be doing other things, I’m keeping the words to a minimum here today. I just thought I’d show you how my 2014 reading activity is looking, since we’re halfway through the year now. Books Added to my collection | Create Infographics Books read by genre category | Create Infographics Book review Ratings Summary | Create Infographics Subscribe to Blog […]
I thought of presenting my year-end stats in snazzy little charts after I saw what Melissa at Feminist Texican Reads did with hers. Hover over any item on a graph to see the exact number. Books read in 2013 (by category) | Create infographics Books Read in 2013 (by format) | Infographics BOOKS REVIEWED in 2013 (by rating) | Create infographics Infographics Subscribe to Blog via Email Enter your email address to subscribe to […]
Since I’ve really enjoyed reading other people’s responses to Jamie’s End-of-Year Book Survey, I’m cherry-picking some of her questions to use as a template for my own year-end wrap-up, and I gave the the first question–“Best Book(s) You Read In 2013?”–its own post. Book titles not linked in my survey responses were featured there. On Books Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t? I Want My MTV, by Rob […]
I started 2014 with a couple of vacation days from work so I could do some other “work”–my blog version of the “year-end close.” (It will take much longer to do that at my day job, which is the other reason I took some time off now!) I’ll be reporting on it all this week, but I wanted to kick it off with the good stuff. Books of the Year, 2013 FICTION (print): Telegraph Avenue, […]
Dear (book) bloggers, I’m writing in response to posts I’ve come across recently from some of you. Like me, you’ve self-identified as “book bloggers,” but maybe you’re starting to feel a little hemmed in by the label. Maybe you’re itching to branch out in some new directions, but you’re not sure exactly how–or what sort of reaction you’ll get if you do. As Becca said, and I get the feeling she’s not alone: “I have […]
It has taken 6 years and almost 7 months to accumulate 2000 posts on The 3 R’s Blog, but it happened yesterday. Post number 2001 seems like a good place to pause and consider how I got here, and where to go now that I am here. The last time I reviewed blog stats was the end of 2011 (I only looked at reading stats in 2012). I think this is a good occasion to […]
This weekend, The 3 R’s Blog turns six years old! (And it’s not the only one–Happy Blogiversary to my same-age blogging siblings It’s All About Books and Word Lily, too!) My fifth blogiversary was a three-post extravaganza. This one’s a bit more subdued, and comes at a time of major reassessment for the blogiverse-at-large. You’ve probably heard this about this in many places over the last few days, but just in case you’ve managed to miss […]
I usually do a little year-end number-crunching in the process of coming up with my Books of the Year, but this year I decided to share those before I put up the stats. However, before I get to the Bookkeeping, I have answers to some questions from the “Book Blogging/Reading Life” section of Jamie‘s annual End-of-Year Book Survey. Favorite review that you wrote in 2012? If I leave my Books of the Year reviews out […]
I’m doing my year-in-review posts a little bit backwards this time around. The reading statistics will be part of the “‘riting-and-randomness” portion of my 2012 review. Today, I’m getting straight to my Books of the Year. This year’s selections are more fiction-heavy, because that represents my reading patterns in 2012. I didn’t set young-adult fiction apart this time, but two of my fiction picks are contemporary, realistic YA–that said, “contemporary” and “realistic” describe my adult-fiction […]