Book Blogging

Tome Reader

First things first, a few questions. How many books do you estimate you read in a year? How do you know how many you read (do you have a system for keeping track, if so, what)? What kind of books do you like to read?

Do you blog about your reading?

Some years ago, I started a blog. It’s a bit older than this one, but it didn’t find a real focus until after this blog had already been established. The focus became books. At my book blog, I write about books and reading, I review every book I read, and I participate in reading challenges and memes. It has revolutionized the way I read.

First, I know that my blog has an audience, however small and perhaps irregular it might be, and I feel some compulsion to update with new material. I am reading more now than I ever have. The first year I blogged regularly about books, I think I read only 12 or 14 books that year. Last year, for the first time, I read 40. It might not seem like a lot to those of you who read 100+ or regularly devour over 50 books a year, but it was a milestone for me. I don’t mean to imply that it’s all about quantity instead of quality (if it were, I would read only skinny books instead of some of gigantic ones I’ve picked up over the last couple of months). However, I find that the more I read, the more quickly and more deeply I seem to read.

Reviewing each of my books gives me a record of what I read and what I thought about it right after I finished it. I can turn back and read my initial impressions on finishing each book I’ve read over the last three years or so. I am enjoying this record of my reading life.

I have also begun trying different ways to read. I have a Kindle, and began subscribing to DailyLit books some years ago (first read was Moby Dick, and I’m not sure I’d have read it otherwise, but I truly enjoyed it; my review is here). One thing I decided to try after some serious book blogging is audio books. Now I often have a book going in the car on my commutes, one in DailyLit, one paper book, and one e-book. I never used to juggle more than one book at a time, but I find that I can do so much more easily now than I used to be able to.

Another fun part of book blogging for me is the reading challenges. They vary in subject and theme. I decided to host my first reading challenge this year, and I am participating in many others. I find that they honestly remind me to try reading different things (although at the moment I’m on a huge historical fiction kick—always a favorite with me).

If Goodreads or Shelfari had existed when I started my book blog, would I have started one at all, or would I have used those networks to share reviews? I don’t know. I do have more freedom to completely customize my blog in ways that I can’t customize Shelfari or Goodreads, though I use both networks.

Ultimately, as this blog has made me more reflective of my teaching practices, my book blog has made me more reflective of my reading, which can only be a good thing—at least in my book (sorry; couldn’t resist).
Creative Commons License photo credit: Ozyman

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6 thoughts on “Book Blogging

  1. I started book blogging at my separate book blog at the beginning of this year and have already read fifteen books– like you, I am very proud of this number and attribute it entirely to starting my book blog! It's made me more reflective as a reader, but also, more adventurous. This is partly due to challenges (which I absolutely love and enjoy so much) but also because it helps me think about the kind of reader I want to be, and what will make good material for the book blog. It's also given me the motivation to buy more books, and given me a renewed motivation to blog at all, which has transferred somewhat into my original blog as well, which was growing stagnant. Finally, I look forward to having a record of my reading, since reading has always been such an enormous part of my life, and such a huge factor in my identity. I also love reading other book blogs, which inspire me as a reader, writer and teacher.

    The free books from publishers have been nice too :). Thanks for inspiring me to start one!

  2. According to goodreads, I read about 50 books last year. I try to use that site to keep track of what I read and a general impression of what I thought of each book. I like to read a lot of different kinds of things, as long as they're all fiction. ;-)

  3. I learned about DailyLit via your book blog this weekend and now am reading two books by email. I like to read them while I have breakfast and am going to recommend the site to my students.

    In 2009 I kept a reading journal using a format I devised to help me figure out how I felt about the book and also to remind myself what I learned from it as a writer. I fell off the journal wagon in 2010 (and so far this year), and I haven't been reviewing books on my blog so much. I like to have some record of my reading, though, and I think you're inspiring me to do more than simply give stars to books on Goodreads!

    • I love DailyLit! Goodreads is great for book reviews. I tend to turn to them before Amazon because the reviewers are more critical.

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