Sunday, 13 February 2011

Why I Do This

There has of late, been a rash of negativity flying around about book bloggers. None of it is new, but there has been more of it lately and I find it somewhat disheartening to see all book bloggers thrown under one hat. So I thought I'd take this time to tell you guys a little of why I do this and how it's changed my life.

I started this blog as a personal one originally, very sporadically used. Then a giveaway from a favourite author asked people to post about her upcoming release or why we loved the series or something like that, online as our entry for it. So I did and it just clicked that hey, that'd be a great use of the blog, talk about what I'm reading. I never ever thought it'd grant me the huge privilege of ARC's or free swag or any such thing. Hell it never occurred to me that, that could happen! There are two reasons why I kept going and turned this in to what it is now, and while some may argue with my second reason, they are both equally important to me, and sometimes it can depend on the day as to which one is more important than the other as well.

My first reason is my love of books. Simple. I love talking books and the blog gives me somewhere I can do that in depth rather than a 30 second 'oh my gosh I love this!' or 'I didn't like this' etc to people who actually don't give a damn that I'm reading or what I'm reading or if it's any good. I can talk about the books I love away from people who give that look because I read about vampires and werewolves and alike. Instead, I can talk with others who love similar books. And share with them the excitement of a new found book to love, or an upcoming release that I can't wait for. I love sharing in the excitement of books with others simply because I love them.

The second reason is this: it gives me something to do. I am lucky when I can get out of the house for 6 hours a week. I can go a month, quite easily, with barely leaving the house for more than a couple 5 min trips for milk, and not seeing anyone but my family (well, and the postman I suppose!!). But with the blog, I have something I can do, something I can focus on and work on. And without time constraints. I can take it easy when I'm having a bad day and do nothing or I can do more on the better days. I can work on it in the hours I feel best in the day, no matter when they might be.

Working on the blog has been such a blessing for so many reasons. I have met some really wonderful people, some of whom I'd class as real friends. I've found support and help when I've needed it and a place where I can just be me and not the sick girl who can't go out. I don't mean to sound snotty here because this is just a simple fact: you cannot understand how much that one thing alone means without being stuck, physically unable to do things for a long time. But that I have this blog to work on, to share with others, to be able to come and rave about my favourite books and maybe help others become fans of them as well ... it just means everything to me.

I've been so lucky to be granted the huge privilege of ARC's at times, and each one is a gift I'm very grateful for. The majority of books reviewed on here are still ones I've bought myself and I'd be perfectly happy if it had remained that way or if it returned to that state because I know those ARC's are precious things and I have no claim at all to any of them, ever. They are a gift and I treasure them.

I love being a part of the book blogger community. I'm not denying there are those who have earned that darker reputation, but the majority I've come across have been open and friendly and inviting. I used to wander in book stores trying to find titles that looked good and often struggled to know if they were something I'd really like. Now I hunt through favourite blogs, check IMM's, and come across hundreds. I don't think there are many days where I'm not adding something to a wishlist. Virtually every book I buy now is because I found it online somewhere, either recommend through a review on a blog or featured in an IMM (which is such an awesome way to thank publishers/authors/etc for the books given freely, and a great way to share in the excitement of what books are around or coming out, I've found mountains of books thanks to that alone). I have to laugh when people question if book bloggers sell books, because yes they do. I know because I buy books because of other blogs! Not all book blogs sell books, but plenty do. It's not something I set out to do, to sell books, but I certainly hope that people have bought books on my recommendation because I want as many people as possible to fall in love with them just as I have.

This blog has been such a positive for me through a couple very hard years. Recently, as my best friends and family know, I had a crashing low and a minor break down. But through that, I've clung to this blog as my safe zone, because my illness doesn't matter here. It's given me a chance to find others who adore the same books as me and join in that awesome, giddy experience of emotions on finding a new book that you just click with. It's added hundreds of books to my wishlist, had me reading books I wouldn't have touched before, and shown me that there are plenty of like minded readers out there! Some of those I've met through this I'd love to give big hugs to should I ever meet them in person.

But, at it's heart, this blog is simply me sharing my thoughts on what I'm reading. Because I love to talk books. I love books. I love reading them and buying them and I get sad when I can't do those things or if I can't talk about them. I spend hours working on various blog things a week. I love that feeling of accomplishment it can give me that I can't get anywhere else right now. Things are better for me having this blog, because I can talk to my hearts content about books here, and don't have to annoy my family with it! I read more than I ever used to, despite already being a pretty big reader, and I love that as well. I have been able to talk with authors about their books, and I've never not gotten a little giddy that they'd be willing to talk with me. Authors are my rock stars and for them to be willing is just a little crazy to me. But, at the end of the day, this blog, these reviews, they are for me and other readers. Me for my sanity, and my passion for reading. Readers, so that maybe I can bring new fans to my favourite works.

This got far longer than intended, I thank you if you stuck with it. I shall finish with another big Thank You. To everyone who has commented on here, shown me support and friendship, given me positive response (or constructive criticism!) and helped me make this blog better. And to my fellow bloggers, Thank You for showing me hundreds of new books to love!


The Slowest Bookworm said...

I think it's so sad the way book bloggers have been bashed this week. Some of the responses to that particular person who bashed those two particular blogs and tarred us all with the same brush have been amazing.

You blog for your own reasons, and many are the same as the rest of us - our love of books - and nobody will stop me doing it if I want to continue.

Great post Cem. Keep up the good work!

Asamum said...

What a truly fantastic post. Thank you for sharing with us, it must be truly awful to suffer as you have and I feel for you.
The blogger communtiy (on the whole) is like the place in the world I always wanted to find when I was a teenager and it is now my honour to be part of.
I completely get how you feel about authors speaking to you - the 'rock stars' of the literary world - I tell my pupils about the authors I 'chat' to. They are quite awed by the fact that I 'chat' to authors. Plus I hugged Karen Mahoney now how awesome is that :D
There are, is in any thing in life, people who spoil it for others, by hoarding ARC's, taking other peoples ideas and passing them off as their own, and generally being 'false'or 'mean' but I am happy to say these are the minority.
It has had a positive impact of re-inforcing my book sharing ethos, so that is a good thing I think *silver lining* lol
Sorry for the essay comment :D

mbreakfield said...

Very well said and I agree totally. I, too, am home bound much of the time, and blogging offers an outlet, which would be sorely missed. I have met some truly wonderful people in the blogging community.

Michelle at Clover Hill Book Reviews said...

I know there's been a cloud of blogging nastiness going around recently, but haven't been around much this week, so wasn't aware it had reared it's ugly head again til I read your post.

There's always some who spoil it for others, no matter what area in life you look at. Even as a freelancer, that's been my experience so far - it's not just bloggers, it can be authors also (have had personal experience of this, happily it was a one off)

To be honest, when I started I never in a million years did I think I'd be privileged to have the experiences I have had. It's lovely to be part of this community.

evilqueen21 said...

I heart you CEM, that is all! ;-)

Cem said...

Thank you all!! <3

@Nix I heart you masses too! But you knew that already ;)

Jessica said...

Cem, I'm in the exact same boat! I started the blog with the same contest, ;) and then eventually just kept adding to it as well. I love reading, it's what led me to want to write.

And while I don't really get ARCs that much, I still like to review books that I read because when I read reviews for books I may be interested in, I want bloggers' opinions. I think the bloggers I share reading interests with know if a book may be good or not. That's why I talk about what works for me and what didn't in books, so other people will know if said book is for them or not.

I will likely continue to run my blog as is, until I become more preoccupied when I'm a "published" writer that is! ;) *Will put you down for ARCs if you're interested then!

Jamie said...

AMEN sister!

Clover said...

What a great post. I'm really lucky to be pretty oblivious to the negativity surrounding book blogging lately, but I loved reading your inspiration for starting your blog.

I started mine in a similar way. It was mostly a personal blog for a long time with an occasional mention of the books I was reading or had checked out of the library. And I'm not sure when the changeover into book blogging occurred but it changed my life!