bout of books: day 3 progress

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It’s day 3 of Bout of Books, a week-long read-a-thon hosted here. It’s a week-long read-a-thon challenge hosted from May 14-May 20. Here’s my progress for yesterday, day 3:

 

Currently Reading

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Progress: 11%

I’m not sure if I’m going to like this one. I didn’t like Goo’s debut, Since You Asked, but ADORED her second book, I BELIEVE IN A THING CALLED LOVE, when it came out last year. This was one of my most anticipated reads of the year, but so far I’m not a huge fan of the MC, Clara. I find her really annoying and over the top and immature. The pacing is also a little fast, which I guess makes sense because the book’s only 288 pages, but it still feels rushed to me thus far. We’ll see what I think of the other 89% of it.

 

Books Read

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The Reader Problems Tag

This tag was created by Tiffany @ About to Read over on booktube. I can never resist a good tag, so of course I had to borrow this one!

1. You have 20,000 books on your TBR. How in the world do you decide what to read next?

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Sometimes I definitely pull a Tulio and do this ^^^ when trying to pick a new book. Because there are so many good books and I have too many ARCs and eARCs, even from previous years up until 2014 which is very mortifying and overwhelming. However, most of the time, I just pick whatever I’m in the mood for. I wish I could be better about actually reading the books I list as priority reads each month, but since I’m such a mood reader, this hardly ever happens and I’m always all, “OMG WHAT DO I READ” even though I could just go back to my priority reads post from the beginning of the month and go, “oh right those books.”

2. You’re halfway through a book and you’re just not loving it. Do you quit or are you committed?

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It really depends on the book and my mood. I used to not be able to DNF anything, but then I realized I read a lot of really crappy books and wasted time that I could’ve spent reading better books that I liked. Now, it depends on how far I am into a book, what other people have said about the book, and what author it is. For instance, I just read From Twinkle, With Love, but I almost DNFed it because it was so dreadful, but couldn’t do it because I felt obligated since I loved DIMPLE so much.

 

3. The end of the year is coming and you’re so close, but so far away on your Goodreads reading challenge. Do you try to catch up and how?

I try not to put too much pressure on myself about the Goodreads challenge, so I guess I’d say I don’t really try to catch up. However, if I don’t catch up, I end up feeling very guilty and beat myself up a lot. So that’s not great, either.

 

4. The covers of a series you love do. not. match. How do you cope?

If there’s a series cover change in the middle of a series, usually I’ll ask for those editions for various holidays/birthdays/etc. I’ll also try to trade for them on Twitter with #booksfortrade.

 

5. Everyone and their mother loves a book you really don’t like. Who do you bond with over shared feelings?

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Sometimes I’ll try to get my mom to read books I have differing opinions on than everyone else because we often have similar opinions about books. Usually I just rant to my boyfriend and my YA reading friends, though.

 

6. You’re reading a book and you are about to start crying in public. How do you deal?

I honestly don’t really cry while reading? Which is weird because obviously I’m super into reading and books and definitely get emotionally invested in stories.

 

7. A sequel of a book you loved just came out, but you’ve forgotten a lot from the prior novel. Will you re-read the book? Skip the sequel? Try to find a synopsis on Goodreads? Cry in frustration?!

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Sometimes this happens ^^^ but most of the time I just reread the previous book. I just did this with ACOMAF and am now onto ACOWAR finally. I’m also planning to reread CARAVAL and A TORCH AGAINST THE NIGHT in preparation for LEGENDARY and REAPER.

 

8. You do not want anyone borrowing your books. How do you politely tell people nope when they ask?

I just say I don’t feel comfortable with lending people my books. It’s not as hard as it sounds, most of the time.

 

9. You’ve picked up and put down 5 books in the last month. How do you get over your reading slump?

Usually, I’ll read a fantasy book since that is outside of my typical reading habits. I’ve been reading fantasy a lot more this year though, so I’m not sure what I’ll do now. Sometimes, I’ll let myself take a break from reading for a while until I’m ready to come back to it.

 

10. There are so many new books coming out that you’re dying to read! How many do you actually buy?

I buy books that I have a collection of or want to start a collection of. If it’s a series, I buy those as well. If there’s no chance I can get an ARC or eARC, I buy those.

 

11. After you’ve bought the new books you can’t wait to get to, how long do they sit on your shelf before you get to them?

Sometimes an embarrassingly long time. I have books unread that I bought the month they came out as far back as 2014. What is wrong with me. I am ashamed.

how my perceptions of librarianship have changed

So, in case you don’t know this about me, I am currently a YA librarian in an urban library that’s part of a very prestigious library system *pats self on back* and graduated from library school this past December. When I first started library school, I also worked a couple of other part-time library jobs and internships, mostly in rural areas. I’ve always loved libraries (I mean, obviously any place with booksbooksbooks is a Mel place), but even I had stereotypes and preconceived notions about libraries before working in them and going to school to become a certified librarian. Today, I feel like sharing some of the ways my perceptions of libraries and librarians have changed over the past couple of years of being in the library profession.

  • Libraries don’t have to be quiet. Most people still think of being shushed by a librarian in a cardigan with a graying bun when they think of libraries, but that’s really not what libraries are anymore, especially when working with children and teens. My section in the library where I work always has a higher level of noise than other parts of the library might, and that’s because the goal of youth librarians is largely to make the library a place where kids can be kids, and that includes being loud.
  • Not all librarians have the same view of libraries. In library school, pretty much all the other students were way older than me, but we all tended to have the same views about what libraries could be and how they can support the communities they are a part of. I think this made me think other librarians I worked with in the real world would think this way as well, but after an…unfortunate outreach experience with a school librarian recently, I learned that not all librarians think the same way, which now seems silly that I thought that in the first place. Some librarians still have that old-fashioned view of libraries only being quiet places for academic purposes, but in reality, libraries have grown so much more from that.
  • You can’t be introverted and be a librarian. I very wrongly believed when I first started that a library would be a haven for me as an introvert. It’s true that libraries are quieter and more relaxed than most places that have people working with the public, but being a librarian requires a fairly high level of extroversion when it comes to providing good customer service, doing outreach with local schools and institutions to promote library resources and programming, and interacting with the public on a day-to-day basis. Still, a lot of librarians definitely still are introverts, so it can be comforting to talk to other introverts about how they deal with the anxiety of having to be extroverted all the time.

 

What are some of your stereotypes about libraries and librarians? Have I challenged any of them?

bout of books: day 2 progress

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It’s day 3 of Bout of Books, a week-long read-a-thon hosted here. I’m hoping to read quite a few books this time around. Here’s my progress for yesterday, day 2:

 

Currently Reading

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Percentage read: 35%

I’m not sure how I feel about this one so far. I like the mystery aspect and love the friendships, but the relationships all feel a little underdeveloped so far and Rome as a character isn’t that interesting. There’s something about the writing that I like, so I don’t think I’m going to DNF it, plus I want to know what happens with the diary, but I don’t think it’ll be a super highly rated book for me.

Total Books Read

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Daily Challenge: Show Me Your Precious

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My most precious book would have to be my UK edition of AN EMBER IN THE ASHES. I LOVE these books to death and I was so happy when I bought this copy while in Denmark a few years ago because it is so gorgeous, and the cover underneath it is GOLD. It’s so pretty and I would go into my burning apartment to save it from a fire (after getting the kittens, obviously).

bout of books update: day 1 progress

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Bout of Books is finally here! Plus, now that I have a blog again, I can actually do it and write about it! Usually when I do Bout of Books, I have a specific goal of how many books to read, but this time, my goal is mainly to just read as much as possible. I’m hoping to knock a few of my shorter books off of my TBR list this week, so we’ll see how that goes.

Anyway, here’s my progress for yesterday, day 1 of Bout of Books:

Currently Reading

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This book is magical realism about a town where all the girls have special gifts. Hopefully it’ll be an enjoyable, magical read!

Books Read

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10 THINGS was one of my most anticipated reads from last year that I never got around to. I’m so glad I read it though because I really, really liked it. It has queer rep and anxiety rep and does the anxiety part very well. I loved the relationships in the book, especially Maeve’s relationship with her stepmom, Claire, because I feel like that’s a relationship we rarely see in YA being positive. I also liked the short, almost vignette-feeling chapters. The way it was written made it quick and easy to read and manageable where the anxiety stuff was concerned, because I think it could’ve been overwhelming, but wasn’t. I definitely recommend this one!

 

Spring Fling Read-A-Thon TBR

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I am so happy I discovered this readathon, courtesy of Caro @ The Bookcheshire Cat. I LOVE readathons and reading events, and I haven’t done a challenge-y one in a while, so this seemed like a fun place to start! The Spring Fling runs from May 15th to June 15th, allowing for a lot of reading time! Fortunately, I discovered it the day before it officially begins! Woohoo!

These are the prompts, plus the books I’m thinking about reading for each one:

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Flower Power – a book covered in flowers

 

If I don’t finish THE DEEPEST ROOTS today, that’ll be my pick for this one, but if I do, I’ll read THE SECRET OF A HEART NOTE!

Popping Daisies – a new spring release

 

I have a TON of books I could read for this prompt, but these three are ones I was already hoping to read for Bout of Books, which runs this week until Sunday. The first two could probably also count for the Ice Cream/books that melt your heart prompt, as I am anticipating so many fuzzy feels.

 

Birdsong – a musical book

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This book is about a rockstar…who’s bisexual!! I love the cover of this book in general, but especially because her hair is the colors of the bisexual pride flag!

 

May Flowers – a book you always read in spring

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Honestly, I didn’t really have any books that fit this prompt. This is because…I don’t reread. The only times I actually reread books is when I’m rereading the previous book in a series in preparation for the next book that’s coming out. However, I have been meaning to continue this series for forever, and the last time I reread DIE FOR ME was maybe in spring? So this book goes with this prompt.

 

Spring Clean – a book you’ve been meaning to read forever

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I think I’ve been meaning to read this book since the deal was announced at least 3 years ago, and I’ve had an eARC of it for an embarrassingly long time. I’m not sure why I avoid this book so much, but probably because I have such high hopes for it since it was comped to BLACK SWAN and PRETTY LITTLE LIARS.

 

Nature Calls – a book surrounded in nature

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So, technically this is not a very spring-y book since it takes place in Siberia. Still, that is about as nature-y as I’m about to read, since I am not an outdoor person at all.

 

Ice Cream – a book that melts your heart

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I’m dearly hoping this book will be good and will melt my little ice heart. It’s fluffy and queer, so the chances of that are pretty high though.

 

Spring Showers – a book that makes you cry

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Books don’t usually make me cry because I have no heart apparently, but if I did cry during books, Katie Cotugno’s second book, 99 DAYS, would’ve been a tear-filled roller coaster. That was a very emotional book, and I’m expecting the sequel to be equally so. Also, I love the symmetry of the first book being called 99 DAYS and the second being 9 DAYS AND 9 NIGHTS. Such perfection.

 

books from last year that i missed

I have a weird habit of avoiding reading my most anticipated books of the year. Why do I do this? I have no clue. But I swear, it happens nearly every year. I’ve gotten a little better about it in recent years, but even still, there’s simply never enough time in the year to read all the amazing-sounding books that come out over the months. In recognition of the fact that there’s never enough time to read all the books I want to read, here is a list of some books from last year that I missed and want to get to this year (maybe. hopefully.)

31019571  The way this was pitched was as a book about a girl with anxiety who falls for another girl who’s not afraid of anything. I was really excited for f/f romance plus anxiety rep, but somehow this one fell to the wayside last year even though I’m pretty sure it came out in February. Also I didn’t know until today it was set in Vancouver, which could be interesting.

 

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More queer rep! Bi! Rep! Bi boy moves to conservative Utah, gets dared to take a writing seminar where the students have to write a whole novel over the course of a semester, and falls in love with the seminar TA. I’ve heard mixed things about this book but the general feeling seems to be that it’s queer fluffy trash, which honestly I can go for any time. Give me fluffy queer trash, please!

 

 

 

32991569 I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit I haven’t read any of                 the GRACELING books. To be fair, they did come out when I was starting to get                    more heavily into contemps. This one tells the same-ish story with different                          choices and decisions in four (I think??) different genres, which is something I                    haven’t seen done before. Give me all the genre-bendy YA!

 

31447601 I am so upset with myself for missing out on this one last year. I LOVED Riley Redgate’s debut, SEVEN WAYS WE LIE, and was thrilled to get accepted to read the eARC of NOTEWORTHY. I mean, how could a book about a girl singer who disguises herself as a guy to get into an all-male acapella group possibly be anything other than amazing? Maybe I’ll get around to it soon…

 

31449227 I still get so mad when I see people upset that this book                 deals with a protagonist who realizes she might be bi instead of gay. Sexuality is                 fluid for some people. It may not be fluid for YOU, or so you think, but it is very                   possible and REALISTIC that someone might realize they feel things differently than           they thought as they get older and evolve. Plus, I was interested in reading a book               that deals with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which I’ve never really read                 other than Dave Eggers’ ZEITOUN. Side note: why did I miss all the queer books last           year? What is wrong with me??

 

30807329 I honestly don’t really remember why I wanted to read this one? It may have been a case of getting swept up in the somewhat-hype that happened near its release. I am pretty certain that I didn’t read it because I tend to avoid books that are 400+ pages since my reading pace has slowed so much over the past couple years. Looking back at the synopsis though, it does sound rather intriguing: a girl who’s obsessed with disappearances, a boy who loves galaxies and space, and their obsession with a mysterious filmmaker/novelist.

 

18336972.jpg Of all the books on this list, HERE WE ARE NOW is the                one that was probably most anticipated and most avoided. Jasmine Warga’s                         debut, MY HEART AND OTHER BLACK HOLES, is a precious, precious gem of a                     book and one of my absolute favorites, and I’ve been so excited yet also so super                 super nervous for her to come out with another book. My main reason for                           avoiding this one is a fear that it won’t be as good.

 

Have you read any of these? Which ones should be at the top of my backlist TBR pile?

disappointmentrage // From Twinkle, With Love

There should really be a word for when you are simultaneously super disappointed yet super enraged. Or enraged because something is so ridiculously disappointing. Because that is what I felt about the second book by Sandhya Menon, author of the illustrious When Dimple Met Rishi, and From Twinkle, With Love. I don’t do review-type posts a lot on this blog, but I need to do another one and break down what exactly it was about this book that so enraged me. I wanted to love it, I really did. I pined for it until there were ARCs, requested and was granted an ARC, then started reading it and was…not enjoying it. Let me tell you why.

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  • Twinkle is so annoying! This is obviously one of the biggest issues, since she narrates the book. I just found her very naive and immature, more MG than YA. I don’t have a problem with the parts where she starts lashing out at people like other readers did, because I don’t think teen girl protagonists have to be or should be perfect, and I think her reactions are realistic. However, I also thought the way she thought about her life problems was very juvenile and basic and stereotypical, with very basic views of the school hierarchy.
  • The Neil stuff. This goes back to Twinkle being annoying, but I found the whole “interest” in Neil to be very unnecessary, honestly. It only annoyed me more that it was so obvious from the beginning that she only wanted to be with him because he was pretty and popular, so it just irked me that she held onto it so long, especially since she realizes very early on that she has real feelings for Sahil, which brings me to my next point.
  • The pacing of the romance. It felt…off. Because Twinkle realizes she’s crushing on Sahil so early in the book, it just…took the excitement of the romance away for me. I didn’t even care about N because I knew she would end up with Sahil (which I guess I knew from the synopsis, but it’s still an author’s job to keep up the suspense in a romance, I think), so all of that muddied up the relationship plot, and it happened too fast for me to become truly invested.
  • The format. I did not care for the diary format, mostly because I didn’t think the fact that she was writing to female filmmakers was relevant enough. She basically just names them and doesn’t or barely talks about them. Then there were Sahil’s very lame blog posts, which didn’t read as genuinely his voice to me, and the texts between him and his friends that made the romance even more painfully and boringly obvious.
  • Twinkle’s “passion” for film. I honestly didn’t feel Twinkle’s passion for film throughout the entire story. Though she writes to filmmakers who are women, she doesn’t elaborate on them at all, so her knowledge and passion for film doesn’t come through. The movie seemed to be a very side plot in comparison to the romance, too, which didn’t help either. All we knew about Twinkle and film is that she has this youtube channel that she doesn’t even talk about in her own entries, Sahil just talks about it, and that she wants to smash the patriarchy, which just came off as cliche.
  • The characters in general. For the most part, the characters, including Twinkle, read as really flat and one-dimensional. The side characters were all based on high school stereotypes, Sahil only seemed interested in film and Twinkle, and we’ve already been over how bored but enraged I was by actual Twinkle. The character I was somewhat interested in was Maddie, because it was clear she was dealing with a lot, and I found myself wishing the book had been written about her instead.

 

I debated DNFing this one, but it would’ve broken my heart to do so even though I obviously didn’t like it because I loved Dimple so much. Compared to Menon’s debut, From Twinkle, With Love read as super juvenile, flat, and unexciting, and I was thoroughly unimpressed.

backlist books I still need to read

I am notoriously terrible, as I’m sure many other book bloggers are, at keeping up with my backlist TBR list. This is basically because I have so many shiny, new books on my TBR list that I want to read when they come out that I’m worried I’ll miss good ones if I spend any time reading “old” books that have been out for a year or more. However, there are a lot of really great-sounding books that I’ve wanted to read for a while that must be read! I really should try to read more backlist, so maybe making this roundup of all the older titles I’m still excited for will encourage me to bite the bullet and be better at backlist (no alliteration intended).

 

22999153 THE COST OF ALL THINGS was comped to ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND and WE WERE LIARS, so obviously it had to go onto my TBR list immediately upon hearing about it. Absolutely any book comped to ETERNAL SUNSHINE goes onto my TBR list, and honestly, even though I HATED WE WERE LIARS, books comped to it do, too. I think it’s because I love the idea of WE WERE LIARS and keep hoping another writer will do what I wanted that book to do. Maybe Maggie Lehrman’s debut will be that book?

 

22297294 I read Paula Stokes’ new book THIS IS HOW IT                             HAPPENED and was shocked by how much I loved it. It was so addicting and just               so so good that I decided I have to read all of the books by her that I intended to                   read in the past and never did. This book is about a girl with anxiety who thinks                 she’s bad luck, which sounds like the perfect Mel contemporary.

 

24921954 I honestly don’t know why I want to read this book still especially when most reviews have said it’s basically entertainment trash? And yet…I’m kind of in the mood for another trashy dystopian series, particularly one with multiple POVs. My major qualm about starting this series is, of course, the length, and also the fact that I don’t have eARCs of all the books in it yet.

 

25165389 This book wasn’t really on my radar when I first                       downloaded the eARC of it, but once I read about it later on, I knew it was a Mel                 book. THE SECRET OF A HEART NOTE is about a girl named Mimosa (!!) who                       mixes perfumes and potions that help people fall in love. I am all about witchy                   magical realism type books, so sign me up!!

 

18710209 Of all the books on this list, TINY PRETTY THINGS is likely the one I’m most excited about. It’s comped to BLACK SWAN and PRETTY LITTLE LIARS, the latter of which is another comp that always makes me add something to my TBR. I love the idea of ruthless ballerinas and competition and art school, so this book should be right up my alley!

 

13597757 I actually started this book when it came out and liked it              but couldn’t tell you why I stopped reading it. It’s about a girl who’s afraid to touch            people that becomes the star of the school play. I am all over a book that’s sure to rip          my heart to shreds, so obviously I need to read this one soon.

 

17234658 This is another series I’ve been debating starting, but am unsure since I don’t have all the books lined up to read yet. I prefer reading series when all the books are already out to avoid series amnesia, but the library where I work doesn’t have these books so I’d have to get them through interlibrary loan. Still, I am intrigued by the gorgeous covers this series is privileged to have as well as the parallel universes concept.

 

16151178 When I first started getting into book blogging, this                       book was absolutely EVERYWHERE. All of my favorite bloggers raved about it,                     so I was excited to be accepted for it on NetGalley. I started reading this one as                     well and remember really liking it, so I’ll have to pick it up again and hopefully                   continue the trend. I was hooked as soon as I read the “former piano prodigy”                     bit in the synopsis, and can always go for a great tragic contemp. Yes, please,                       give me all the tragic contemps!!

 

How do you motivate yourself to read older titles when your current year’s TBR list is crushing the life out of you?

how I’m blogging differently now

I’ve mentioned here before that this is not my first go-around with blogging, even though this is a new blog. Before blogging at A Word and a Whisper, I blogged for about 6 years, experimenting on different platforms, but mostly on a WordPress blog you probably haven’t heard of, because I started out as and remained a teeny-tiny blogger for my entire blogging career. I learned a lot through my old, now no-longer-existent blogs about what I like and don’t like and what works and what doesn’t work in blogging for me. I’ve already noticed some things I’ve been doing differently this time around the blogging bend, and wanted to reflect and share some of them today:

  • Blogging about what I want. This probably seems like a given and a little silly, but I am much better at writing posts about things I enjoy posting about now. I don’t feel as obligated to consistently do weekly meme posts, which I do enjoy, but sometimes I don’t want to do the topic or something and now I don’t feel like I have to do them which is nice. I am also simply much more in tune with what I want to post and don’t try to follow what other bloggers are writing about as much.
  • Not writing reviews. I do love talking about books and recommending books, obviously, but I don’t think of A Word and a Whisper as primarily a review blog, as I used to with my former blogs. I write a lot more bookish discussion posts and casual book recommendation posts that I enjoy more. I do have a couple review-esque posts coming up, but they’re not traditional essay-long reviews that I used to feel like I have to write. I still write about books of course, since this is a book blog primarily, just in different ways that I enjoy more.
  • Engaging with the community more. Something that I always felt was totally missing from my previous blogging experience was actually feeling like a part of the bookish community. I always felt that nobody would notice if I stopped blogging because I got so few comments, likes, and didn’t really talk to people online because I was so shy and didn’t think my opinions really mattered or that people would want to talk to me. Since starting this blog, I’ve made an active effort to comment on other blogs, respond to my own comments, and comment back. I think that has already made a difference in how I feel about blogging in terms of validation and also I think I’m already making a tiny footprint impact on the community.
  • Following the right bloggers. There is obviously no “right” way to blog or really “right” bloggers to follow, but I feel that I am now following and interacting with bloggers who are more similar to me in personality and in how they view blogging than when I started. I think when I first started, there were few book blogs and a more “big” or “celebrity” bloggers, who I did like, but also made me feel too intimidated by to talk to since they were so popular. I think blogging in general is a lot less serious and drama-fueled than in the past, people are friendlier and want to engage more, and I’ve found bloggers who care about issues I care about in the book world, which makes me feel like I’m on their level even though I’m new versus feeling like I’ll never reach their level of fame.
  • Not trying to be like everybody else. This, I think, goes along with writing what I want to write about. In the beginning, I was just so enamored with the concept of book blogging that I wanted to emulate the style and topics of posts that other book bloggers wrote. However, I eventually grew frustrated by this because I felt like I was doing all the “right” things, but not getting anywhere in terms of “success” or in the community. In retrospect, a lot of the blogs that used to exist did sound kind of the same; people even wrote about the same books a lot of the time. It seems to me that bloggers now are much more interested in being individuals and not doing the same-old, same-old in terms of blogging.

Mostly, I think what’s different about my blogging experience this time around is that I’m doing my best to do what I always wanted to do when I used to blog. I’m trying to be braver and less shy online and actually talk to people, which is helping me enjoy the day-to-day of blogging a lot more. I’m putting less pressure on myself to do what everyone else is doing and on blogging a certain way. In general, I’m simply trying to make blogging more fun and use it as an outlet as opposed to making it something I feel obligated to do.