Future Treasures

The last day of BBAW is here and you know what that means, right?  I have to actually start reading books again!  Ha!  Well, more than that, it’s the time to reflect on what we loved about the past week and what we hope for the future.  I thought I would look back to last year and see what I wrote on that Friday in September.  Did I fulfill my goals?  Um, well, no.  I didn’t write a post last year and for some reason that doesn’t bode well for what’s going to come out of this post.

Why didn’t I write a post last year?  I know that I loved BBAW and I would have wanted to tell you that.  I have a feeling it doesn’t have anything to do with that, but rather the fact that I hate to disappoint myself.  So if I set the standard low, then I’ll always surpass myself!

Right?

Well, yes, but is that really enough?  No.  So I have a simple goal, one that I’ve been talking about off and on since my New Year’s Resolutions.  It’s one that is reflected in the new quote on my header:

And this is our life, exempt from public haunt,
finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
sermons in stones, and good in everything.  (As You Like It II.i.1-17)

Shakespeare’s right, there really is good in everything.  My goal is simply to find that good.  It can be so easy to get bogged down in obligation and commitment that we forget what is really joyful about life.  That’s all I want to do in the coming year, find the good and joy in everything I do.  Sometimes I get frustrated with blogging, just like everyone else.  I get frustrated with myself.  I think, “I’m not doing enough.  I don’t write enough posts, I don’t read enough books, I don’t comment on enough blogs.  I don’t have enough followers!”  I have to remember, I am doing enough.  I am doing what I can and that is plenty.   Most of all, remember to be amazed by all the people who are following my blog.  When I remember to stop worrying about the number of followers I have compared to other bloggers, I am completely amazed by how many followers I do have.  There are people out there who believe enough in what I say that they want to be alerted whenever I post.  How unbelievable is that?  Sometimes this feels like a dream.

Thank you, BBAW, for reminding me about all the good in book blogging, of all the joy of finding a new blog, a new friend, or rediscovering an old friend.  Thank you to everyone who has commented on my blog this week, new and old.  I am so grateful for you and everything this blog has brought into my life.

BBAW Day 3 – Unexpected Treasures

Welcome to Day 3 of Book Blogger Appreciation Week!  The goal of Unexpected Treasures is to highlight a book, genre of books or author that you tried because a book blogger recommended it and what that experience was like.

I’m going to start big and broad and go smaller, so the first one might be a bit of a shock to people who read my blog regularly, but the first thing that bloggers really influenced me on was… bringing Young Adult fiction back into my life.  Yes, that’s right.  Before I started blogging, I was reading exclusively literary fiction.  Once I finally kicked that habit (thank god), I realized what I had been missing.  I loved YA fiction when I was a YA (not all that long ago), so why was there some mysterious switch that flipped as soon as I turned 18?  You’re in college now, so put those silly books away!  Well, clearly that’s ridiculous.

Now, about 40% of the books I read are Young Adult oriented and I’m perfectly satisfied with that number.  I’m not sure I can ever imagine going back to reading just literary fiction ever again.  It was a little depressing, if I’m honest.  And I would have missed such great books!  There are the obvious ones, like The Hunger Games and The Knife of Never Letting Go, but what about Fat Cat and Evolution, Me and Other Freaks of Nature? Those are amazing novels and I would hate to have missed them.

Thank you book bloggers, you have saved me a lifetime of monotony!

Next I’ll talk about two authors that seem to be wildly popular in the real world as much as the blogging world, but that I had never heard of: Neil Gaiman and John Green.  I know!  Now, I had unknowingly heard of Gaiman through the movie Stardust, but other than that both authors were completely unknown to me.  With both of them, it is like I have discovered an entire world of literature that I didn’t even know existed.  Even though my experiences with Gaiman have only been so-so, what I liked about the novels I’ve read (American Gods, Coralineand Good Omens) I liked a lot.  I think one of my next goals should be reading another Gaiman novel!  Now, for John Green, not only did I have plenty of very charming YA books to read (An Abundance of Katherines and Paper Towns so far), I also was exposed to Nerdfighteria.  Now, I exist only on the outskirts of this amazing group of young people, but it’s fun to sit back and just watch them be amazing.

Finally, most specifically, is a book that I probably never would have picked up if I hadn’t seen a review on a book blog: When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead.  I don’t have a specific link to the first review or second review that made me pick this book  up and I don’t think my review really does justice to how I felt about this book.  I loved it, loved it, loved it.  It recalled everything I loved about literature as a child, literally with its references to A Wrinkle  in Time and more basically with its delightful characters, structure and plot.  I probably never would have picked up When You Reach Me and I’m so grateful to book bloggers for making that happen.  I’ve already given this book to one of my sisters as a gift, with a copy of A Wrinkle in Time, too and I plan on giving it to my younger sister as well.

So there you have it, wonderful books and genres and authors that I never would have tried if it hadn’t been for fabulous book bloggers.  Thanks, everyone!

BBAW 2010 – New Treasure Interview Swap

My favorite day of BBAW is already here!   It’s the interview swap, a great chance to meet new-to-you book bloggers.  Last year I was introduced to the wonderful Steph, of Steph Su Reads and this year I get to introduce to you Melissa, of One Librarian’s Book Reviews!  First of all, Melissa is a librarian, which is pretty much the coolest job I can think of.  She’s also a lovely artist and a fabulous book reviewer.  Please go check her out!  I got to ask her some of my favorite questions from last year’s interview swap, so let’s get on with it!

Tell us about your blog.

My blog essentially started for a way for me to keep track of what I’ve read and what I thought about it.  I tend to be one of those who forgets very quickly what a book is about and if I’ve read it or not.  I also started including ratings on swearing, sex, and violence, since I usually like to know if a book has a lot of stuff like that in it before I pick a book up.  I’m currently an academic librarian, but I seem to have an unusual fondness for middle grade and teen books, perhaps to escape from all that boring adult content. :)

If you had to live in one book’s world/time/place, which book would it be and why?

This is a hard one for me.  I have a fondness for dystopian and post-apocalyptic books, but really would never want to live in them.  I guess I have to go for an old favorite.  I’d like to live in the Shire from Lord of the Rings.  It seems like a simple, happy, and beautiful place to live (after the rebuilding of course).  A simple existence sounds very good when life gets crazy.

What do your family and friends think about your blog, do they read it?

I know one of my sisters reads it regularly, since she often talks about books I suggested that she liked. I don’t think anyone else from my family reads it regularly.  I know I’ve had a few friends check it out before, but I also don’t think they are regulars.  I guess I don’t have many friends who are as crazy about reading as I am!

What advice do you have to give to new book bloggers?

Try not to worry about followers or having a lot of readers.  Worry about just the content of your blog and how you can make it even

better.  It’s hard lots of times not to think about it, but it is much more fun and less stressful, when you only have to worry about what you think of your blog.

In five words, tell us what you think makes a great book.

Exciting plot, realistic characters, style.

What is your favorite thing about reading?

Entering a new world or life and seeing things from a different person’s perspective.  I like that we can, in a way, really see the world through someone else’s eyes.  Fantasy for me is all about imagination and all the things that we wish were real or are glad they aren’t real.

What genre of books do your favorites (generally) come from?

Most of my original favorites (the ones I’ve had for a long time) were classics – Count of Monte Cristo, Little Women,Anne of Green Gables, Bleak House, Lord of the Rings.  Most of my newer favorites are teen books (which I read a lot of) and are either fantasy or dystopian in nature.

What do you do when you aren’t reading or blogging?

I work at my little college library and keep track of resources and a whole lot more there.  I’m the only person who works in our library, and even though it’s small, it seems like a lot for one person to do.  I would like to start painting and drawing again – I haven’t done it in a really long time, but I used to enjoy it a lot.

Thanks, Melissa! (See, I told you she is a fabulous artist!  And she has an adorable nephew!)  If you head on over to her blog, she’ll have my answers to some of these questions and more.  I’m afraid I sound very inarticulate in most of them, but they’re there!

Head on over to the BBAW website to read more interviews.

PS. I can’t find the photo credit for the photo of the Shire, so if anyone knows where it came from, I would really appreciate it!