Wednesday, 12 October 2016

How Blogging Has Changed Me as a Bookworm

I couldn't find a bookish photo of me as a child, so here's an irrelevant photo of me, aged three, holding a daisy chain that I definitely did not make but appeared to take credit for anyway.

Before I started book blogging, life was very different. I was a bookworm but I was completely isolated, in that I hadn't read a book review until 2008, and most of the books I read came from relatives at Christmas and on birthdays, and from charity shops, libraries, and cereal boxes. (Side note: does anyone remember when you'd get a free Roald Dahl book with each box of Coco Pops? Those were the days.) I didn't know what was released when and I didn't freak out whenever I saw a book advertised on the tube. I re-read old favourites more often than I read new ones, and whenever I did get a new book I had to choose very, very carefully because to me, if you had £6.99 to spare for a paperback, you were rich (and if you had enough for a hardback, you were even richer).

I had no idea that book blogs existed or that there was a whole community surrounding it, and I solely judged books by their covers and their descriptions, not awards and fun promo campaigns. I never noticed book trends, and the lack of diversity in literature didn't even occur to me until I was about 15 because I'd never seen anyone talk about it before.

Being a book blogger means I am incredibly privileged. I wouldn't be the person I am now without having read so many books I've been lucky enough to receive thanks to working with publishers. But that doesn't stop me thinking about how lovely it must be to get to read whatever you want, whenever you want. I love reading and I love being a book blogger, of course, but there will always be a small part of me that envies those who are able to go weeks or even a month or two without reading a single book, guilt-free. I considered doing that myself, but then realised that that's not actually an option. I look back fondly on the days where I'd be sat in bed and I'd pick up a book with absolutely no strings attached. No 'should I review this?' or 'how many reviews have I got scheduled at the moment?' or 'is there anything else I should be reading instead that has a deadline?'

Maybe people who work in the industry sometimes feel the same way?

However, I wouldn't change a thing. Through book blogging, I've received invaluable experience in the industry, and I've read way more books than I ever would have been able to if I didn't have this shiny corner of the Internet. I've made friends, met the most inspiring people, had the coolest opportunities and been to the most interesting places. I've found a community that, for the most part, is lovely, supportive, and willing to help anyone who needs it.

Book blogging might mean I read in a different way than I did before, and it might be stressful sometimes, but it's changed me for the better and I wouldn't have it any other way.

How have your hobbies changed you?

3 comments:

  1. I know exactly what you mean! There is this difference between reading for pleasure and reading when you know you have to write a review. But I guess I like both ways. Reading as a reviewer helps me see things that I overlook when I read for pleasure. So I don't think book blogging has changed me..I think it's showed me a different part of me :)

    Uma@Books.Bags.Burgers.

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  2. Another interesting enjoyable Blog - yes agree that as a Blogger you enjoy privileges but understand that there is some impact on enjoyment. I stopped attending a book club as I was expected to analyse the monthly book. I read for enjoyment and don't really want to explain why I like one book and not another. So hobbies do affect you. Now a slightly crazy dog owner who has lost weight and become fitter healthier due taking long enjoyable walks listening to music / radio on an old Walkman.

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  3. Awwwww... Amber, how sweet you were! We were just talking about this on a blog post about old favorite books. I said I longed for the days when I went to the library to graze. I would choose whatever interested me, it didn't matter if the book was new or published five or fifty years ago, and the only deadline was when it was due back to the library. I don't even go to the library anymore. If I need a book I tell my sister exactly what I want and she picks it up for me. Sad in a way really. I am challenging myself to reading only one ARC a month next year so maybe I can go to the Iibrary a few times and graze. :)

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