BBAW: First Treasure: The First Book Blogs I Encountered
Hello to those visiting for Book Blogger Appreciation Week! To my loyal readers, in case you missed the note in Friday Fun, this week is Book Blogger Appreciation Week (BBAW) in which people who blog about books come together, post on topics related to the theme, and award prizes to various types of book blogs. This is my first year participating, and I must say that I feel like it’s the formal introduction to a community I’ve gradually become a part of over the last year.
The theme for this year’s week is “A Treasure Chest of Infinite Books and Infinite Blogs,” so each day’s theme is a “treasure.” Today’s is all about either a new blog you’ve discovered since last year’s BBAW or the first book blog you encountered.
Last year at this time I was blogging about books, but not in the in-depth way I do now. I started this blog as a place to voice my opinions on various things (mostly so I wouldn’t annoy the crap out of people I know irl). That’s clearly how my blog got the name. I was already entering my books read into LibraryThing and writing mini-reviews there, but I found myself wanting to say more, so I figured I’d start reviewing some of the books I read on my blog. Some changed to most changed to all and suddenly I found the whole book blogging community. My blog definitely isn’t exclusively a book blog. It’s still my opinions. I just happen to read a lot of books and have quite strong opinions on them, so reviews show up a lot.
Anyway, that’s not the question today, is it? I’m really not sure if it was Jessica’s The Bookworm Chronicles or Meghan’s Medieval Bookworm that first crossed my radar, alerting me to the concept of a book blog, so I’ll talk about both of them!
I actually attended undergrad with Meghan. We were casual acquaintances via mutual friends, not to mention the fact that our university was medium-sized, so you grew to know most people by sight. I saw her talking with our mutual friend on twitter, and we got to talking again. I admit I was curious, because I knew Meghan had moved to England to get married right after undergrad. Talk about a transition! Via twitter, I went to her website and was immediately intrigued by it. Here was an opportunity to discuss books in an academic fashion; something I was sorely missing in my post-undergrad life. Plus, since I knew Meghan before I saw the blog, I was able to see how much personality and personability impacts a blog. Meghan’s reviews are academic and professional, but she never goes so far as to lose her own voice and personality. Reading her blog is truly like discussing a book with your friend down the hall in the dorm who’s at the top of all her English or Medieval History classes. That level of intellect and personability is exactly what appeals to me in book blogs.
Now Jessica I stumbled upon using WordPress’s tag surfer. Basically, it finds other recent posts on WordPress that the writers tagged with the same tags you use. Jessica had just started her blog when I stumbled upon her, but I was immediately intrigued. It was again for the combination of intellect and personality; however, this time I was mainly interested in the glimpses into a British gal’s life who is approximately the same age as myself. All of Jessica’s posts are very British, and I find that endlessly fascinating. For instance, she takes the time at the beginning of each review to casually discuss the various interesting tidbits she knows about the author or the work or the impact the work has had on the world before delving into the plot and her thoughts on the book. I think of reading Jessica’s blog as similar to visiting a country cousin who lives on a pleasant dirt road and always has a spot of tea and cookies (er, biscuits?) ready for when you arrive. Jessica is also very personable, taking the time to respond to all the comments on her posts. She’s one of those people who I wish actually lived down the road from me so we could be friends irl too.
I’ve of course found more blogs in the book blogging world since these two lovely ladies, but the ones that have longevity in my GoogleReader are the ones that are similar–they’re smart and personable. They don’t worry about branding; they just are themselves. Bright, intelligent, witty people who you are pleased to know online and wish lived close enough to have tea with periodically.