Sunday, May 28, 2017

What Book Blogging Means To Me


Happy Sunday, Booklovers!


A year ago I wrote a post about what Book Blogging means to me, why it's important, and why I keep at it even when my life gets hectic (and boy does being a mama make things beautifully hectic). I'm reblogging this today in celebration of these feelings, which are still strong, and this community, which is still amazing.





I discovered upon actually getting started on this post, that it's a little difficult to express my feelings about this community. More difficult than I anticipated, at least.

Normally, I'm all about bubbling and overflowing with absolute love for the people who make up the International Internet Society of Booklovers (that's us, btw. You and me. As well as thousands of others.)

I've been seeing the effects of some of the drama that's been going on inside (and alongside) our community lately and I'm hit with sheer horendousness of the idea that people are quitting because they can't find a reason to fight the negativity anymore. Something took the helium out of their blogging balloon and no matter how hard we hold on and scream "NO NO NO NO NO DON'T GO!" they eventually stop posting and commenting and sharing and the community is a little darker without them.

With all of this going on (not just recently, but even in the past 4 years I've been book blogging) I've had to consider WHY I'm blogging. Why do I do it? Why do I fight through the insidious slumps and soul crushing writers block? Why do I keep picking up books to read even after the last 5 have been unenjoyable? Why do I keep posting in the times when the interwebz is silent and no one seems to be listening?

Here are a few reasons - and I personally think they're darn good ones.



Sharing the Passion

It's unfreaking believable, and I love it, and I love the people who feel it too. 

It's not a race. For me, it's not about who has the most followers (though followers are awesome, we all admit it) or the most likes or posts. It's not about who has the cutest blog design or the best lighting and video camera quality.

It's about books. It's about what books mean to me and connecting with others who feel the same sort of unbelievable giddiness about these text filled pages that are magic and maddness and glory and grief. Superficial engagements on social media feel boring and take away some of the pleasure. The follow for follow trend is frustrating because it's meaningless interaction. Now, I DO like the comment for comment idea, because encouraging engagement with others is never a bad thing... until your comments start being 3 words long.

Not that any type of quick uplifting tweet sent to someone doesn't do something to brighten their day, but I'm after the CONVERSATION. I want the feelings and the emotions and the LOVE. I want to see the WORDS!

Books make us feel this unbelievable and undeniable emotion, one that doesn't even have its own assigned vocabulary. It's a jumble of things all together at once that make us wonder if THIS is what magic really is.

It's unfreaking believable, and I love it, and I love the people who feel it too. Those are the people I follow and read and wish desperately lived closer so we could have tea and talk endlessly about literature.

These people, those interactions, sharing that passion... I blog for that.


Living The Magic

We have this incredible ability to sort of read the magic out of books, and it spreads out into the world and does some tremendously awesome things.

Most of us don't live in a cozy cottage in the middle of the woods, calling dragons to our aide, going on crazy adventures, fighting in extraordinary and important battles, and falling in love with gods and demons and fallen angels (Though these are some of my life goals).

Books are our time machines, our alternate dimension portals, our Mirrors of Erised, our rabbit holes. We live and dream and thrive in the pages and that translates out into our REAL LIVES. You don't think books have a lasting effect on you? I know books have one on me. I carry a good read with me through the day, ponder it, and live it in other ways once the reading part is actually over.

We have this incredible ability to sort of read the magic out of books, and it spreads out into the world and does some tremendously awesome (though sometimes terrible) things. Power. Books are serious power, and as readers we're the wielders of it.

Doesn't that just make you vibrate from head to toe? It does me, and If I can't share it then it feels like I'm going to combust. I blog (and write in general) so I won't.


Battling the Negativity

I put on my armour and smack the crap out of the volleys of negativity that sometimes bombard me because it's important to me, this blogging thing.

Authors. Authors are our loves. They're the pen wielders, the world builders, the emotion elicitors. They're the main reason we're in this game and we love to share with them and support them.

But sometimes - sometimes we forget something really important. Authors are human beings. Many of them are human beings who are trying to make a living doing something they love in a world where that's increasingly difficult. They get cranky, they get demanding, and sometimes they get plain mean.

Book Bloggers, I implore you, let it go. 

I've seen a lot of negativity circulating in our community recently - many people feel that blogging is becoming a thankless job where authors expect miracles, undivided attention, 5 star reviews, and extraordinary turnaround times.

WE KNOW that this is silly. THEY KNOW it's silly. But back to my previous point - they're human and so are you. Learn to take it in stride. We are taking the behaviors and cranky diatribes of a few much too seriously and it's sucking the fun right out of what we're doing.

But I fight it. I fight it because it's essential for me to do it. I put on my armour and smack the crap out of the volleys of negativity that sometimes bombard me because this is important to me, this blogging thing. I'm not about to lose the battle because I let the drama get to me. Part of fighting it though is letting it slide. Ignoring it and letting the imaginary skirmish rage around me without actually participating.

Remember: For every author that looks at you like a disposable pawn in the marketing game there is another who is loving you with the power of an adrenaline soaked Hercules. Appreciate these authors, ignore the others. The authors who can't at least TRY to appreciate you are authors that don't deserve your assistance.

And to be honest, it works the other way around too. Book Bloggers who are in it only for the freebies, for the attention, and for the prestige (IS there prestige in book blogging? You get what I mean) and use authors as a step stool to gain these things should expect to be looked at askance and eventually avoided.

Don't charge for reviews, don't sell ARC copies (seriously, I get that we become overstocked, but there are lots of ways to get rid of ARC book copies without making money), and don't treat authors like they're only there to provide you with content.

We're not all going to get along 100% of the time. Stand up for yourself when it counts but be civil and try to keep your phaser settings on STUN. Fight it when you feel like it's important - but try to keep the overall experience enjoyable.

This is fun. Fun fun fun! I blog because it is. I fight the negativity to show others that it's possible and to prove to myself that I'm strong enough to keep doing what I love despite the meanies.


Being Myself

I've made some lovely friends in the community, and I wouldn't trade them for anything. Not for a million followers and a trillion comments and likes.

Ooooooh, this was hard. This was SO HARD in the beginning. I wanted to be like THIS BLOG and THIS BLOG and OH MY GOD LOOK AT THAT BLOG! It became overwhelming and tedious to try to keep up with trends. When I started falling back on my own talents, when I found my own voice, Heck... that's when it became FUN.

I read the books I want, talk about the things I want, and participate in the memes I want. When I see bloggers commenting on HUNDREDS of other blog I applaud them and stand in awe at their social abilities but recognize that this is not required of me. It isn't required of you either.

Read the blogs you like. Comment on the posts you like. Interact with the PEOPLE you like. The rest will fall into place, and when it's fun... it's completely worth it. It also translates, btw. When a blogger is sincere about their enthusiasm you can feel it. It's weird. Like a spidey sense.

I've made some lovely friends in the community, and I wouldn't trade them for anything. Not for a million followers and a trillion comments and likes. Not to say that I don't LIKE and APPRECIATE followers and comments and likes (I'm not gonna straight up lie about it, geez. Everyone likes to know that people enjoy what they're doing), I just don't depend on them to be the sole provider of my book blogging joy.

And what about the silent readers? The readers that keep coming back but never say anything? I appreciate them too. Though I have zero idea who they are, I know they're there. I see them in my numbers and I love them tremendously.

Sharing a bit of myself with the world, carving out my own little cubby hole (one with a freaking fantastic view) in the tree of life. That's why I blog.



No matter what your reasons are - they can be different from mine, it certainly doesn't make them wrong - if you're loving it, and you're owning it, then you're doing a darn good job and I hope you continue to help make this community unbelievable and beautiful.

I love you from the bottom of my bookish heart and I thank each and every one of you for being a part of this fantabulous world of book blogging.

Keep Reading, Keep Blogging!

 


Let's Be Friends!



Auggie is the 30 year old whirlwind owner of Auggie-Talk. A bibliobibuli by nature and a (potentially obsessive) lover of Diana Wynne Jones and Neil Gaiman. Not so secrety secret: She's been known to consume too much caffeine leading to hyperactive rants about her heinous lack of shelving.



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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Review: "Eleanor and Park" by Rainbow Rowell



Happy Wednesday, Bibliophiles!

I continue to scold myself for not getting a hold of this author's books sooner, even though everyone was raving about them. This one in particular was a turly enjoyable read.


~ Enjoy ~


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Title: Eleanor and Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication: February 26, 2013
Pages: 328

Synopsis:
Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

Eleanor
... Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough...Eleanor.

Park... He knows she'll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There's a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises...Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.


I can't believe I waited so long to read this. I'm not sure what I was expecting... something a little more cotton candy than this, but I'm glad it was as honest and bittersweet as it was.

Rainbow Rowell is very honest about her characters and their struggles/desires/victories.  Relationships are already hard, but when you're just beginning to navigate them in a world where you have limited power over your decisions and circumstances it's a battlefield of emotions and angst. Being a teen is hard. Being a teen in love is hard. Throw in trying to come to terms with who you are as a person while dealing with an INCREDIBLY difficult family life and you've got a recipe for absolute hell - but it's the kind you want battle through, to get through, with someone.


"Even if we can't find heaven,  I'll walk through hell with you" - I didn't hear this song until after I'd read Eleanor and Park, but it seems like the right kind of song for them both who want so badly to just be in love without all of the mess that's coming at them from all sides.

I didn't really date in high school and I never did fall in "love" with anyone until much later in life but I count myself lucky because, seriously, the crushes were bad enough. Rowell's timid and passionate relationship between two like souls who live in very different worlds is the kind of story we naturally want to hear (love conquers all), but she delivers it in a way that's keeping us emotionally tied up. We have no more idea what will happen than Eleanor and Park do. We're in this with them, but have no idea what the end looks like. This isn't a fairytale. It's not a formulaic romance novel. It's life. It's messy and difficult and for some people it's down right dangerous... but still, we love. Desperately, hopefully, purposefully.

It's a sort of anthem to life.

A bit gritty and dark, but full of life and hope too... from both sides. I definitely appreciated that the end was a happy one, because I don't know how I would have bounced back from this book if it had closed in sadness or with a sense of profound emptiness where nothing was resolved and everything just ended. The somewhat open ended leave off was comforting - they have a chance. Despite everything, they have a chance and that's all they need. They may not end up together forever, first love rarely ends that way, but at least they get the gift of that opportunity. It closed up everything with a bit of a "Happily Ever After" sort of tone.

Charming, harrowing, funny, honest, intelligent, and full of hope. I really enjoyed this one.
 

 

Let's Be Friends!



Auggie is the 30 year old whirlwind owner of Auggie-Talk. A bibliobibuli by nature and a (potentially obsessive) lover of Diana Wynne Jones and Neil Gaiman. Not so secrety secret: She's been known to consume too much caffeine leading to hyperactive rants about her heinous lack of shelving.


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Thursday, May 4, 2017

Review: "Coraline" by Neil Gaiman

Happy Thursday, Booklovers!

Just in case I haven't shouted it from the rooftops loud enough and long enough (an absurd number of times) then let me reiterate... I adore Neil Gaiman. Adults books, children's books. If he wrote it, just hand it over. Coraline especially has a special place in my bookish heart because it was the first book I ever read by this talented author. I'm anxiously anticipating the day Boop is old enough to appreciate the story. Until then, I'll just read it out loud to him for practice!



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Title: Coraline
Author: Neil Gaiman
Genre: Middlegrade Fantasy
Publication: August 4, 2002
Pages: 208

Summary:

There is something strange about Coraline's new home. It's not the mist, or the cat that always seems to be watching her, nor the signs of danger that Miss Spink and Miss Forcible, her new neighbours, read in the tea leaves. It's the other house - the one behind the old door in the drawing room. Another mother and father with black-button eyes and papery skin are waiting for Coraline to join them there. And they want her to stay with them. For ever. She knows that if she ventures through that door, she may never come back.



Most definitely one of the most fascinating, creepy, and enjoyable books I've ever read. For people who enjoy existing in that foggy, dark, spooky realm that exists on the border of child-fantasy and adult-horror this book is for you. I NEED more books like this. This book would have been my #1 favorite as a child and it's darn near close to being it now.

Neil Gaiman is a genius when it comes to appealing to both his young and older audience. To a child, Coraline is a spine tingly yet fun adventure full of wonder, curiosities, and a pretty understandable moral. To adults the story is macabre at its most innocent and horrifying at its weirdest (having buttons sewed into your eyes, a human being made of rats, two ancient acrobats who take off their skin and then...I don't know... recuperate? In a slimy cocoon. Dead children in the closet. Oh yeah, then there's that "I'm your mom... but not really" lady who is actually some kind of weird demon that lives off of the souls of those before mentioned dead children in the closet.)

Thankfully I tend to enjoy books like this a little more the way that children do. To me it's just a good, fun, quirky-and-yet-slightly-disturbing tale of discovering what's truly important to you and being careful what you wish for.




Let's Be Friends!




Auggie is the 30 year old whirlwind owner of Auggie-Talk. A bibliobibuli by nature and a (potentially obsessive) lover of Diana Wynne Jones and Neil Gaiman. Not so secrety secret: She's been known to consume too much caffeine leading to hyperactive rants about her heinous lack of shelving.


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