Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Ten Years Later: To Blog Or Not To Blog

Ten years ago today, I published a little article "To Blog or Not To Blog." This is significant only to me, but, it was the first time any post of mine really got read by a non-friend or non-relation. And it was my first post to get some comments. The spring of 2007 in many ways was the 'start' of my blog--not the fall of 2006 when my audience was an audience of me, myself, and I. It was also that spring that I participated in my first reading challenges!

Why blog?
  • Wherever there are two men, there will be two opinions. ~ Anthony Trollope, The Three Clerks
  • Every man has the right to voice his conviction into the air.  Dostoyevesky, The Adolescent, p. 31
  • Ah! So you, too, suffer sometimes because a thought won't go into words! It's a noble suffering, my friend, and granted only to the chosen; a fool is always pleased with what he says, and besides, he always says more than he needs to; they like extras. Dostoyevsky, The Adolescent, 122
  • Everyone is entitled to his likes and dislikes and to his prejudices. Come to think of it, I don't care for pistachio ice cream. I don't know why I don't like it, but I don't. (E.B. White, Trumpet of the Swan, 114) 
  • We can't have freedom unless we have freedom. And that means freedom to speak our minds (Jean Lee Latham, 91).
Why do I (continue to) blog?
  • Because I can't stop reading.
  • Because I don't want to stop reading.
  • Because I don't know what I think until I try to put it into words.
  • Because If I'm going to go to the trouble of putting it into words, it might as well be public.
  • Because I like being part of the reading community. Especially the reading challenge community. 
  • Because it's satisfying to look back and see what I've read and how I felt about any particular book at the time.
  • Because I'm thankful. Thankful that I have made the friends I have--in part because of the blog. Thankful that I have received the books I have. Thankful that I am able to keep reading, to keep hosting.  
Why the blog has changed through the years?

My blog has definitely changed--in terms of content--since I began. I used to focus exclusively on NEW books written for children and teens. I now have a much, much broader--almost whimsical--approach to blogging. I read what I want, when I want. If I want to read nonfiction, I read nonfiction. If I want to read adult mysteries published in the 1920s-1950s, I do. If I want to go on a Trollope binge, I will. It's not all about the new. It's not all about the IT book, the trends.
Highlights from the original post that I still stand behind:
The great thing about reading is everyone is different. Everybody reads a book differently. One person could love it. One person could like it. One person could hate it. Which person is right? None of them. All of them. Only the reader can decide what is "good" in their opinion. You can't force anyone to like a book. You can't enforce your tastes and opinions on anyone else. Everyone can have their own opinion on a book. That's the only way to view it. If I disagree with your taste in books, fine. If you disagree with my taste in books, fine. There is no right or wrong here. All this is obvious. More than obvious. But here is the bottom line: how does a reviewer balance their personal response from a book with an objective view of the book? Can any book be read objectively? How can the reader divorce themselves from the reading process? Should they even try?
Reviews are opinions. They reflect the opinion of one person--the reviewer. They cannot reflect every opinion. 
Every book is potentially someone's "favorite" book waiting to be discovered. 
There is no *right* way to review a book. 
© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Cee Arr 10:42 AM  

10 years! Wow!!!! That's incredible - you should be v proud! :)

Becky 10:46 AM  

I'm happy to have been around that long. But the more I blog, the more I realize how much I don't know :) And the more I realize I can never read all the books!!!

Cee Arr 10:48 AM  

@Becky - but that doesn't stop us from trying! :)

Becky 12:51 PM  

Very true. I don't see myself slowing down reading. But I will say I've become more relaxed and choosy. Since I can't read *every* book ever published, I might as well focus on those that I think I will really, really enjoy and possibly love. As opposed to thinking, well, I started this book and even though I'm not liking it, I have to keep reading it no matter what or I'll fail as a reader/blogger. I let myself not finish books now ;)

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I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

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