Saturday, January 3, 2015

My Reading Goals & Blogging Perspective

I'm not a blogger. That is, I'm not a book blogger by the commonly-held definition of book bloggers. I don't comment on the publishing industry and trends, nor do I review books or critique reader perspectives and trends. My blogging is eclectic: books mais oui, but also history, humor, craft, conferences, the writing life, and so on. I'm a reader most certainly, but I'm also an aspiring writer, an editor, and a proofreader. So when I do comment on books online, I usually do so rarely and I go for my gut reactions as opposed to a detailed analysis.

However last year, I commented on fourteen books since I participated in Wendy Crutcher's TBR Reading Challenge and also talked about book gifts by Connie Brockway and Joanna Bourne. My blogging became more readerly.

When I first joined Romancelandia in 2006, it was as a reader. I joined Squawk Radio, a group blog by close writer friends; the Risky Regencies, a historical writers' blog; and the Word Wenches, another historical writers' blog. I became a Bluestocking at Candice Hern's message board and a Bon-Bon at Eloiosa James's (later Eloisa James's and Julia Quinn's) message board. I launched this blog, Cogitations & Meditations, that same year. I later became part of the Romance Novel TV community and blogged for them.

As I immersed myself in the community of other aspiring writers, published writers, and famous writers and their generous advising, I became entranced with the idea of becoming a romance writer myself. I was trained for other types of writing, editing, and proofreading, but I had never before thought to combine my reading love with my writing love. It took courage to admit to reading, much less writing, romance. My first step in this direction was to attend the Romance Writers of America annual conference. My blogging reflected my interests, veering away from reading to writerly interests.

And that's where my blogging stayed until last year.

Last year, many of my new Twitter friendships were readers. Suddenly I was involved in the reading side of Romancelandia. I became involved in kerfuffles, read reader blogs, and discussed books on blogs and on Twitter. Where kerfuffles were concerned, I quickly learned to step smartly over rabbit holes to avoid the stress of them all. However, I was totally seduced by book discussions with really smart bookish people.

So while I still wear all the other hats (writer, editor, proofreader), I'm pleased that my reader hat has come of age and is thriving.

Naturally, I now have reading goals.

1. More non-romance
2. More literary fiction
3. More nonfiction
4. More children's fiction AKA my daughter's recommendations
5. More poetry
6. More diversity
7. Wendy's TBR reading challenge

I achieved some of these goals last year. My detailed reading analysis post coming in February will show some trends as compared with previous years. However, I want the trends to go up exponentially this year. I already have a giant list of books I want to read this year, and it is most likely going to take me all the way through December.

I made a good start on #6 with Flower in the Desert by Lavendar Parker, thanks to tweets by Sonomalass, Liz, Ridley, and Meoskop. It was a complete departure for me—American contemporary romance featuring an African American heroine and a part Native American hero—and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I've made a start on #3 and #7 with a very interesting little book on vignettes of life in a minority community in India: The Travelling Parsi by Kamal Sunavala.

I've made a start on #4 with another of my daughter's recommendations: The Alchemyst by Michael Scott.

I just finished re-reading Flowers From The Storm by Laura Kinsale—read it with Marijiana. Religion plays a large part in the book—but this is not an inspirational—and this to me falls in the #6 category.

I've made a start on #2 with North & South by Elizabeth Gaskell.

I have The Writer's Life by Julia Cameron waiting in the wings for #3.

So far, 2015's off to a good reading start. And my reading list for the year is healthy (perhaps a tad overweight), but at least, it's robust.


Liz Mc2 said...

I really enjoyed reading about your changing experience of blogging--and being one of the readers you connected with this year. Our reading goals are pretty similar. For awhile, when my children were younger and I was regularly teaching children's lit, I read a lot of children's fiction and really enjoyed it. I should add that back into the mix.

Like you, I enjoyed starting the year with the Lavender Parker book and comparing my impressions with others. I look forward to more and to your TBR posts!

Keira Soleore said...

Thanks to your post, Liz, I, too, would like to be more cognizant of diversity in all forms in my reading.

My daughter's been recommending me books from her readings. Her deal was that if she's willing to read what I suggest, I should do likewise.

Wendy said...

OMG - Squawk Radio! There's a blast from the past.

Hehehe "one of us! one of us!" Actually I think it's only natural that over time as a blogger your interests and focus ebb and flow. I know the way I blog today, and what I blog about, is different than where I was at 3,5, even 10 years ago.

I'm hoping to continue to expand my reading horizons via audiobooks this year. More non-fiction, general fiction, and hopefully I can get back into the swing of suspense.

Keira Soleore said...

I loved Squawk Radio. Just loved it. Their energy, their camaraderie. When SR died, many of us moved to Eloisa James's message board. Most of those original Bon-Bons (we called ourselves) are now published authors.

I'm toying with audiobooks, as in, thinking about them. Just yesterday, I was remarking that my first experience was with a Dunnett and it was a difficult experience. Folks were urging me to give a Kinsale a try, well, because BOULTON!