Saturday, December 31, 2011

Reflecting on the Year in Books and Book Blogging

2011 feels like it was a big year for change in a lot of ways--in publishing, books, how and why we read what we do, and also book blogging itself. Maybe some of these changes are just changes for me...I once rode in on a new wave of book blogging and now something else has taken its place and at times I feel a bit lost. I've had to evaluate exactly what I'm doing and why and what matters most to me in all of this, otherwise I'd probably just stop altogether...I very nearly did this year, after all. I've watched some of my own favorite book bloggers drop the title of book blogger--something we used to be proud of that sort of...bonded us together as a community? others leave Twitter, many go professional, and still others nearly disappear altogether. I used to feel like I had a sort of segment of the community that I belonged to, but there have been so many divisions now, some of them ugly, some just the natural way things progress as time passes. And yet...despite all of this, there's a warmth I feel when in the company of fellow readers, a way that blogging about books is a part of my life that I don't want to lose. YOU all are part of my life and I don't want to lose you even if I can't be a book blogger in the way that I used to. And so I guess that's what I learned at the end of the day, that what I value about book blogging the most are the connections and friends that I've made along the way, and the way I've learned to think smarter and better about what I read. There's something so comforting about knowing that while we each live our own lives, we also share a sort of life on our blogs. I like it. Let's not kill it completely okay? Evolution is a weird thing, and this evolving as a blogger thing has been one of the most interesting for me, because I certainly never expected to find myself at this particular point. In short? What I care about: reading good books, talking about them, making and keeping good friends, being smarter, and having a record of what I've read in a year. What I don't care about: Discovering the next great book, having a million readers that I have no interaction with, marketing and selling books just for the sake of marketing and selling books. Admittedly, I used to have a lot of internal conflict over some of these, but not anymore.

As far as the actual title of book blogger...well I still consider myself one because that IS what I blog the most about, but it doesn't really matter to me one way or another. I didn't originally create this blog to be a book blog and I do blog about other stuff so if that doesn't make me a book blogger so be it.

But! On top of all that stuff, I thought this post I wrote back at the beginning of the year was very timely. In A Dying Way of Life, I discussed how I could see our bookish way of life coming to an end. And since then I watched another used local bookstore close and just today (well on Thursday when you read this) I learned the local Book Warehouse is closing. I just feel so much grief and some of it is ridiculous because it's not like I NEED physical bookstores, it's just that I have a really hard time letting things go. I don't know if I will like a world better where we all read on electronic devices and our interests are even more divided and fragmented than ever before. I will miss just browsing the shelves, eavesdropping on complete strangers' bookish conversations and just being in a place where books matter. Who knows what 2012 holds? I wouldn't be surprised if one of the big things that happens is that even more bookstores close.

In other news, a few other of my favorite posts this year:

  • My post about Reader's Block
  • Jealousy and Book Bloggers
  • I also admitted that I prefer female authors to male authors, and don't feel guilty about it. Much.
  • And just for nostalgia's sake, my tumblr post about missing the early days of book blogging.

  • I'm sure the coming year will bring many other changes to my blogging life and reading life, and hopefully personal life as well. But I do hope I'll be back at the end of 2012 to review the year once again. :)


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