BBAW: Readers

Book bloggers blog because we love reading. Has book blogging changed the way you read?

When I began blogging, I was looking for other readers to talk about books with. I’d hoped I’d find other people who read what I had read so we could have a discussion. As people began visiting my blog, I returned the favor by reading their blogs. I was amazed by the variety of wonderful-sounding books that were out there, and I got plenty of wonderful ideas for my future reading. For a year or so, I tried to read a little bit of everything, pretty much trying to read a little bit of what everyone else was reading. I read a lot, sometimes more than 20 books a month. (That’s a lot for me.)

As I blogged more, I began to find that my favorite books fit into certain categories. I began to settle on classics as the books I longed to pick up next. As my life has become busier, I’ve found that I read a lot less, but the classics haven’t been going away. I still enjoy writing about what I read.

Nonetheless, I look at book blogging as opening up the world of classics. Although I studied English in college and was awarded a Bachelor’s degree, it was book blogging that introduced me to Wilkie Collins. Honestly, I’d never heard of him before! And, I’d always meant to read Steinbeck and Dickens and so forth in depth, but it was knowing that there is a community of readers out there that also (may have) enjoyed these books that prompted me to pick it up and reflect on it on a blog. I love having a place to vent about those classics I didn’t love. Blog readers have, in some cases, encouraged me to give a book a second chance.

I don’t want to go back to writing 10-page papers on literature, as I did when I was in school. I did enjoy it for four years, but I’m in a different stage of life right now, stay-at-home motherhood, which is busy enough. Instead, I thrive on writing my reactions to what I’ve read for my blog readers. It’s for me, too, of course. But I love clicking publish and then seeing other reader’s reactions, good or bad, to the same book. I love reading back through old posts and seeing where I’ve been. And ultimately, I love knowing that I have years of reading and reflecting yet to come.

BBAW: Community Part 2

Today’s daily writing for Book Blogger Appreciation Week is about finding our place in the blogging community.

The world of book blogging has grown enormously and sometimes it can be hard to find a place. Share your tips for finding and keeping community in book blogging despite the hectic demands made on your time and the overwhelming number of blogs out there.

Two years ago, Book Blogger Appreciation Week was well underway. I found that I felt that classics were underrepresented in discussions, giveaways, and book blogging in general. It seemed so many blogs focused on “blog tours” of modern books, promoting the authors and publishers that are currently in stores. As I pondered the concept, I wondered out loud on my blog if anyone would be interested in doing a similar type of “blog tour” for the dead authors.

What a reaction! Yes! People would love to participate! And so, The Classics Circuit came to be.

I love the concept behind the word “Circuit” in the name we eventually settled on. Here are a few of the definitions I think fit well for our purposes:

Definition of CIRCUIT

2 a : a course around a periphery b : a circuitous or indirect route

3 a : a regular tour (as by a traveling judge or preacher) around an assigned district or territory b : the route traveled

5 a : an association of similar groups : league b : a number or series of public outlets (as theaters, radio shows, or arenas) offering the same kind of presentation c : a number of similar social gatherings <the cocktail circuit>

Those definitions seem to fit The Classics Circuit for me. It’s a celebration of classics by following a (possibly circuitous) route, and we form a “league” of classics bloggers. How fun it has been to create these new connections by focusing on great old books!

By asking the question, I found that there were far more people in the blogosphere interested in classics than I’d have imagined. Besides, one can blog about classics as well as the other stuff – it’s not mutually exclusive. So, anyone can be a classics blogger: just choose a classic, read it, and post about it. There are classics in every genre too: classics were the first genre fiction, after all.

In the past two years, I’ve come to the conclusion that classics are not underrepresented on the web. Possibly, and maybe this isn’t really the case, but we may not be as vocal all the time since we’re in it for the literature, not the books, the money (hah!), the relationships with publishers, etc. I’m not sure others are in it for anything either, but it does still seem that classics bloggers are less likely to speak out in public forums, and so forth. It seems to me we just want to talk books, more than website branding or publisher relationships.

In the years I’ve been blogging, I’ve found that the blogosphere has really grown to a stage I’m struggling to keep up with. I can no longer read every blog post by every blogger that I love on a regular basis. I can no longer even read a little bit of everything. I’ve found my reading and blog reading has settled a little bit into certain categories, like classics, and I love how The Classics Circuit allows me to connect with new bloggers I may not have discovered before. It’s my community, and each tour has new friends and new blogs, as well as old favorites.

If you’re looking for your place, I’d suggest asking yourself what, exactly, you are looking for. If you don’t know, keep looking around for a while: see what types of blogs there are (BBAW is a perfect place to find new blogs!), and consider what you want to do. Do you want to read a little of everything? I did that for a while. Do you want to focus? Some bloggers do that too. Just be yourself. It may take a year or more to figure out what “yourself” means on your public blog. It takes some time to settle into blogging, at least it did for me. But as you blog for yourself first and foremost, you may be surprised at the number of people you find out there who are just like you.

BBAW Interview: Allie from A Literary Odyssey

I am so delighted to announce that I got to interview Allie from A Literary Odyssey for Book Blogger Appreciation Week! Allie was a fellow finalist on the short list for Best Classics Book Blog, and I certainly know why. She has a wonderful blog, and it’s been fun to join in her odyssey of reading through the classics. Because we both read mostly classics, it was really fun to hear her answers.

Read her responses to my questions below the jump. Also, check out her blog today for a post with my answers to her questions!Continue Reading

BBAW Giveaway: The Portrait of a Lady

It’s Book Blogger Appreciation Week and I really appreciate you! Thanks for reading and appreciating the classics with me!

For this giveaway, I am sending a gently used book  from my shelf (a double copy), and I will send it anywhere in the world.

The Portrait of a Lady, by Henry James is often considered Henry James greatest work. To be honest, I haven’t read it yet! But I plan on reading it for my Classics Reading Group in two months, so I’m looking forward to this “essential American novel.”

Do you want a lightly used, mark-free, mass market paperback copy for your own shelves? The cover of the copy I’m giving away is shown above.

Giveaway ended.

Rules for this giveaway:

Because this is for Book Blogger Appreciation Week, you must have a book blog to enter this giveaway. This is to show book bloggers I appreciate you!

Other than that, I do ask if you are a subscriber or have visited Rebecca Reads before. Although I’d love for all of you to subscribe, it will not affect the giveaway, I just want to know.

The giveaway will close on Monday, September 19, 2011. Giveaway ended. I will email the winner.

Good luck!