Last week was Book Blogger Appreciation Week. A longstanding event that sets out to
“recognize the hard work and contribution of book bloggers to the promotion and preservation of a literate culture actively engaged in discussing books, authors, and a lifestyle of reading.”
Unfortunately, this past week was unexpectedly busy for me and I was unable to participate in the event. I spent most of my week traveling through the Netherlands to make sure I participated in all the introductory events for my PhD that I had to participate in. The upcoming week will see me having to go on an actual camp of two days, but after that I hope my life will be a little quieter again.
Anyway, the reason I am writing this post is that I feel terrible for missing out on BBAW. Especially at a time when blogging is in such desperate need of appreciation instead of division. From the little that I’ve seen this week, BBAW has managed to provide just that. Without the awards (and I’m one of the bloggers who’s grateful the awards were not a part of this year’s celebrations), and with a definite focus on community, I’ve noticed that a lot of bloggers seem to feel refreshed after having participated last week. I even had the joy of opening my Google Reader (which I’ve sadly neglected these past months) and see some old favourite bloggers trying to return to blogging. My day started with a wonderful smile on my face. I think we should all give Amy a virtual hug for pulling off a wonderful edition of BBAW this year.
Like last year, I won’t be singling out any specific bloggers. But I do want to make some brief remarks on blogging in general.
I think this past year, more than ever, showed me how important blogging has become in my life. Last year hasn’t been the easiest year for me, and blogging really helped me pull through some of the rough patches. First, there is the talk about books, of course. The sharing of your thoughts, the reading of other people’s thoughts about a book, and the element of having stimulating discussions about books, reading, literacy, representations, gender, race, and everything else have been one of the highlights of blogging for me. After finishing my master dissertation in December I honestly missed academic reflection on issues and books, and blogging in part helped fill that gap for me.
Even more so, blogging allowed me to feel I could accomplish something even if it’s something as miniscule as posting something every few days and hoping that some people might like what you say. I know it sounds like a small thing: reading a book, writing a blog posts, having a fruitful discussion in the comment section – but it’s been one of the few things that allowed me to feel accomplished despite the rejection letters for applications that came in. I do know that this may sound puzzling to those who haven’t blogged themselves, or a little loser-ish, but the book blogging community has been one of the most stimulating and fulfilling places to be in the past year. And I’m sure other bloggers understand that feeling.
Most of all, in the past year I’ve found that the wonderful thing about book blogging is that, besides talking about the books you read and the opinions you do or do not share on them, true friendships can blossom from reading each others words on each others blogs every week. And that the discussions on books can grow into something more and expand into other areas of life. It is a wonderful experience to find emails or DMs in your inbox when you wake up in the morning, knowing that there are people out there thinking of you or sympathising with what you’ve mentioned on your blog. (I know I haven’t always been the fastest with replying to these messages, and this is one of the things I’ll be working on this year). Even more wonderful is having had the chance to meet some of these very bloggers in real life and finding out how wonderful they are in person (even if I remained shy and awkward through most of these meetings). It makes me even more sorry to know that I’m unlikely to get to meet most of you in person. Sometimes it makes me wonder if there should be something like a Skype channel for all of us to visit and talk to each other..
I will always be the queen of sentimentality – and this post is no exception – but I do feel that this needed to be said. In a year that was marked by tensions in the blogging community and its relationship to the world at large, I often felt that I had lost a little piece of my safe haven. But at the same time, my blog and all of your blogs became a bit more of a safe haven for me. Yes, I do sound very sentimental, but I truly wish to thank all of you for that.