Sunday, April 29, 2012

Thoughts on the Book Blogging Community

I'm going to post some rambling thoughts today, so I'm apologizing up front. I've been away from the blog for nearly two months. Work for me this time of year is insane. I do have some down time in the evenings, and I choose to use it to read rather than write. Writing doesn't come easily to me (more on that later) so I opt for something requiring less concentration and effort. Things have slowed down some in the past few weeks, but it takes a bit of time for me to recover.

I'm hoping to post some book reviews next week, but to be honest, it's been difficult to come back to the blog. I've missed it, but I'm leery. I'm sure most of you have seen the drama going around lately within the book blogging community. I don't really want to rehash it, but only mention it to explain where these thoughts originated. It's disheartening in two respects--first, that it happened, and second, the reaction. The vitriol that was spewed churned my stomach. I've been avoiding twitter ever since. I guess I was naive to assume that this community was one where bloggers supported each other. Instead, I found that many find joy in the failure of others. Sickening. The personal attacks, the name-calling, and the back-biting were appalling. I'm embarrassed to be associated with this group in any way.

A completely different topic (I told you I would ramble). I struggle for how I fit into this book blogging community. I do not have a degree in English Literature or in writing of any kind. I have degrees in Accounting--about as opposite as you can get from everyone else. I enjoy reading, but I don't approach reading in the same way as many other bloggers. I don't have the background or skill set to deconstruct a text. I'm not a moron (I totally rocked my AP English Lit test--as if that counts. Ha!), but for me, I read for pleasure. That's not to say that I don't read difficult books. I do. (Sometimes not having an English degree is to my advantage because I don't know enough to be intimidated by anything.) But ultimately, I want to enjoy what I read. I choose to write about some of what I read on this blog, but it isn't easy. I struggle to write every single post. Writing is far from natural for me, but I feel rewarded for the effort, inferior as the end result may be.

I read a post recently about a blogger's frustration with the lack of professionalism in the reviews of book blogging community. I don't know. Are we meant to be professionals? I've never proclaimed myself to be one nor have I intended to become one. This is a hobby for me. Does my lack of credentials preclude me from writing about books? I probably shouldn't call what I write "reviews" because they're really not. I write about my personal experiences as I read. I try to be fair, as I know that often times I disagree with popular opinion, but they're still my opinions. I try to be respectful in my reviews. I don't know if I succeed.

That said, I want to thank all of the bloggers whose blogs I follow (who happen to write about books or not) for not being dragged into the muck with everyone else. I'm happy that there are still bloggers who are above all of this pettiness, who write honest, thoughtful posts because it's what they enjoy doing. It's not about the numbers, or the authors, or publishers for them. I'm grateful that I have found a subset of the community that actually cares about other bloggers, and has created a feeling of support and inclusion.

I'm nervous to post this because it's very personal. I don't want people to think I'm fishing for compliments here; I'm not. I just wanted to get my thoughts out there in a hope that maybe I'm not the only one that feels this way.

I'm psyching myself up for those reviews yet to come. Wish me luck (and some extra time).