Book Blogs… Why?

A while ago I mentioned one of my friends who was rather nonplussed on the whole book blogging thing. I said I would follow it up but everything’s gotten a bit mad over the last few weeks and I admit that I forgot. However being up at my mothers some of her friends reminded me as it appears they read my blog on Mum’s recommendation (nice to know she’s proud) but they were mystified why people who didn’t know me would want to read my recommendations on books or on other blogs. Fair enough, good question. I also saw some more bile in the press about blogs recently (though cant find the link) and so thought I would ask a few questions to book bloggers and their readers that might answer some critics people who just wonder and critics alike…

  • If you are a book blogger then why do you blog and what drew you to it and what keeps you blogging?
  • If you’re a book blog reader (whether you have a blog too or not) what is it that makes you head to book blogs?
  • Book blogs or press review pages, which do you prefer and why?
  • Have you actually bought or borrowed from the library any books you have seen because of a blog (I don’t just mean mine but if you have do let me know) and was it the perfect read?

Right answer as many of those you can or you want to and lets see what the results show, so let people know to come and comment too! I will have to have a think for my own responses to these and will update with them later!

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40 Comments

Filed under Book Thoughts

40 responses to “Book Blogs… Why?

  1. Rob

    Why do I blog? To spread a love for books and reading. Simple as!

    Have I borrowed/bought books as a consequence of seeing them on another blog? Often!
    Warmest
    Rob

  2. Hi Simon, hope you are feeling better! I decided to start a book blog because I enjoyed reading other people’s blogs (mainly to get book recs but also because I like reading about books) and because I wanted to record what I read. I thought it would make me think a little more about them. I do this for myself but it’s really great that other people like to pop by and read my posts too. Reading is such a subjective thing so I actually prefer blog reviews because they are more personal. One negative review isn’t going to stop me from trying the book itself. And I’ve bought/borrowed loads of titles because of the blogs I read.

  3. I was drawn to it a few years ago by reading such great blogs as dovegreyreader. I love talking and writing about books so that’s why I started and why I still continue to do it.
    I head to other blogs because I enjoy reading a range of opinions and am often impressed by the quality of the writing.
    I do enjoy reading printed book reviews as well — but I read blogs much more often.
    I have often bought books because people have recommended them (and have been told that people have bought them because I recommended them!)

  4. Sometimes I think the “official” reviews are too high-brow. I want to know how people feel at a ground level. With book blogs you can find people who have similar tastes as yourself, and perhaps give those reviews more weight.

    I originally started blogging just as a way to document my thoughts on everything I read. I found myself scribbling recommendations on slips of paper and giving them to people, which is obnoxious. Giving them a website where they can get my thoughts seemed like a better idea. I have been propelled through my second year because of all my online acquaintences…it is quite rewarding!

  5. Lu

    I think the main purpose of a book blog, versus a major literary press or NYTBR like publication, is the conversation. I started a book blog because I have only a few people IRL who I can talk books with. It honestly wasn’t enough, I needed more. So I started a book blog and all of the sudden I’m having these kind of conversations multiple times a week. As for the extra posts about book reviews, I think what your friend is missing is the social aspect of it. Yes, I suppose we’re here for the book reviews, the meat of our blogs, but really what I enjoy most is the person behind the reviews. It would be like going to a book club meeting in person and never wanting to find out a single thing about your fellow book club members. I’m sure that happens, just like there are book bloggers I know little to nothing about, but it doesn’t create that same fulfilling relationship. I have bought some books I’ve seen from people’s blogs and I’ve absolutely gotten books from the library I’ve seen on other people’s jobs. So I guess you could say, for me, it’s working. Interesting conversation! Just another reason why I like these here blog things.

  6. I was drawn to book bloggers in a search for recommendations – I’d been going through a bad patch when all that the library seemed to offer was chick lit. The great thing about blogs was that they didn’t only offer reviews of new books, there were recommendations for books written in the 1930s (for example) too. No more browsing aimlessly on secondhand book sites, I could order the titles I wanted. Getting to know a bit about other bloggers through their writing means that I know who has similar taste to me. I don’t read printed reviews much.
    I started blogging meaning to record all the books I read with brief comments for my own purposes, but it quickly became more interesting to talk at greater length about the the books that really interest me (though I still use my blog to record everything I read).
    I request a lot of books from the library now, all based on bloggers’ recommendations, and rarely buy anything I haven’t seen a review of already. People do tell me that they buy/borrow books based on my recommendations, too.

  7. Pingback: Slightly Peckish Tuesday « chasing bawa

  8. I agree with Sandy that “with book blogs you can find people who have similar tastes as yourself, and perhaps give those reviews more weight.” And I know that when Sandy or Nymeth – to name just two – make strong recommendations, I will probably also love that book. It’s a great way to find out about books that I will love but that otherwise would never have come to my attention!

  9. Book blogging offers a platform to discuss and enjoy books with like-minded bibliophiles in an informal context.

    What strangers to blogging fail to understand is that some of us do *know* one another; when regularly reading a blog you get to know the blogger and trust their recommendations. The community aspect of blogging is unknown unless you are blogging or in the industry.

    I far prefer personal and subjective blog reviews than professional ones. Why would I trust someone whose opinion and reaction are sometimes staid and arbitrary and who is normally being paid for the review? I far prefer reading reviews where I can sense the emotional reaction to the reading experience.

    Too many books have been bought, borrowed and ‘acquired’ through blog recommendations.

  10. I keep a private book blog in the same way that some people keep a book journal — for my memory’s sake. (I used to just keep word files, but had a hard drive crash a few years ago and “lost” a lot of things, so found blogging for myself a good option). I didn’t know about book bloggers when I first started and I am NOT a writer by any means, so have just left it private.

    That said I LOVE reading book bloggers. Yes, even people I’ve never met halfway around the world from me! You get to know people’s reading tastes after reading their blog entries for a while and thus know if their recommendations would appeal to you or not. Book blogs have introduced me to many new authors/titles I wouldn’t have found otherwise. There’s also a wonderful sense of community among book bloggers. (We are, after all, addicted to the same thing. 🙂 )

    As far as print reviews v. blogger review. Sad to say, it’s been years since I’ve trusted anything I’ve read in the paper. 😉

  11. gaskella

    I blog and read other book blogs to share my thoughts about books, and talk with other bibliophiles about books, and it’s so nice to find so many kindred spirits out there.

    I read reviews and bloggers’ opinions – both are valid – and with both you can get to understand their likes and dislikes after a while. Whether in print or on a blog, it depends on the reviewer. The scope of books reviewed is so much larger on the web though – not just the new releases.

    My TBR piles and wishlist are absolutely chock full of recommendations from other bloggers – long may it continue.

  12. I do blog about books, but, that is now my focus. I love books and love to share what I’ve read and a book review now and then is an extension of what I talk about anyways.

    I read several book blogs, yours among them, because I am interested in books. I love books; what they say, how they move me, how they feel. . . A book blog is another way to see what others are reading, their take on books, and a unique way of discovering books I have not heard about or books I put back on the shelf once upon a time and suddenly want to read again. I also love the way bloggers write. The fact that they read a great deal is reflected in their prose on a page.

    I prefer book blogs to press reviews, though I do read them as well. I find book blogs to be honest and heartfelt and not the latest best seller sell. I may read a press review and think “hey, that book sounds interesting”, but, am more apt to read a book reviewed on a blog. There are so many good reads that never make press that I simply would not have discovered if not by word of mouth (or, in this case, blog).

    Yes, I have been moved to read and to borrow books read about on blogs. For example, I would never have known about or read Chocolate Cake With Hitler had I not read about it at BookSnob. Nor would I have known about the Mitford books had I not seen them reviewed in blogs.

    I do think that one gets to know a book blogger after a while; their tastes, their style of writing, and a little bit about their lives. I found it not very different from chatting on the phone or in a coffee house, and, golly-by-gosh, I love it when I have to look up a word I don’t know or a phrase from another country.

    In answer to your mum’s skeptical friends, I might ask why they go to a movie or travel afar based upon 300 words read in a newspaper.

    Keep blogging. Penny

  13. I blog about books because I love to share books that I love. I thought about writing a blog for a long time before I started and at first I was sucked into thinking I had to post everyday and review every book I read. My thoughts about this have changed considerably and I feel much less pressure about what and how often I write.

    I read favorite book blogs because I want to know other people’s ideas about books they are reading, about books in general and about the importance of literacy. I tend to read the blogs of those who read eclectically.

    I find myself reading more blog reviews than press reviews and I have added many books to my wish list and borrowed many titles from my library based on blog reviews.

    As Penny says, keep blogging!

  14. I think it’s pretty obvious that book blogs are better than press reviews – who do we trust when we buy anything? The ‘experts’ or our peers? Our peers, every time! That’s why amazon set up reviews, and people check Tripadvisor before they book a hotel. An impersonal review from a person being paid to write something intellectual and scathing about a recently released book is not going to induce me to buy anything. A gushing, personal review from a book blogger who I trust – then I’ll part with some serious money!

    I blog for the conversations that ensue – blogging, is, for me, mostly about the community atmosphere, the friendships, the great discussions, and the new ideas gained from reading other people’s posts and engaging in conversation with them. Not all of us are lucky enough to have a large group of similarly minded literary friends – I adore my friends, but most of them have no interest in what I read or in discussing what I am reading with me, so my blog is my outlet for such discussions. It does annoy me that bloggers are often painted as antisocial, internet addicted weirdos – as if we don’t have a life outside of our computer screens. Of course we do! They’re just an addition to already busy and full lives!

    Most books I buy or borrow are due to blogger recommendations. Only rarely do I pick up books on a whim (usually as a result of spying over someone’s shoulder on the tube). Blogging has revolutised my reading and I wouldn’t be without book blogs for the world. I don’t know what I’d be reading if I hadn’t discovered them!

  15. I started blogging because I realised that whilst I read a lot of books I wasn’t retaining enough of them. It wouldn’t be long after finishing one that I would struggle to remember even basic details. I figured that a bit of good old fashioned discipline might help so I committed myself to writing a review of each book I read. That really helped with my aim and then I started to read other blogs and interact through through the comments. Before I knew it I was connected to a network of interested readers, publishers and other bloggers with a similar passion for reading. It’s hard to keep it up, it requires a lot of time and effort but just when I think I might pack it in someone will write something that perks me up or reminds why I started doing it in the first place.

    There are a few blogs that I read regularly, each one seems to satisfy a niche of my reading habits. I also discover new ones all the time through comments or Twitter. I also read reviews in the press, there’s a place for both, but I increasingly find myself making my own mind up or getting recommendations from blogs.

    I’m always buying books as a direct result of blogs, it’s hard to stop!

  16. Question 1: I was recommneded to start blogging to help me practice writing as I wish to continue on to a masters in Creative Writing. However I felt uncomfortable about writing just simply about me so I decided to pick something I enjoy i.e. reading and books. It feels more worth while to be sharing info on books and I also think sharing is essential in reading whether its face to face or via a blog.

    Question 3: I much prefer a blog review to a press release. I find that blog reviews are more honest, open and down to earth.

    Question 4: I certainly have borrowed books from the library due to reading book reviews on yours and others blogs. Examples include the Agatha Raisin series, The Little Stranger and most recently Cold Comfort Farm which I’m really looking forward to. And can’t say that so far I’ve been disappointed it my recommendations.

  17. Ash

    Well firstly I want to say I don’t understand the logic. People buy movies, books, and music all based off of reviews they see in newspapers or magazines, so blogs really aren’t any different from that because you don’t know those people either. In fact I think you know people on blogs better than professional reviewers because you get a sense for what they actually like over time, whereas a professional reviewer gets sent those books and often told by their editors which ones they have to review.

    I started blogging because I felt like I had something to share with others and wanted to find more people who loved reading like I do. And the blogging community has definitely helped me do that. I often buy books based off of other people’s recommendations. One great example of this is Michael from Books on the Nightstand. I’ve found that we have very similar reading taste and I read two books just because of him– they’ve turned out to be two of my favorite books of all time!

  18. I have been both a book blogger and a blog reader.

    In 2005, I started blogging about books and continued until mid-2008. I began with the intention of creating a record of the books I read and the thoughts and feelings I had about them. At the time, I had no idea that other book blogs existed – my project was solely for myself. Little by little, I discovered other book blogs and it was a fantastic discovery. I learned from other book bloggers and strove to add more content to my own little blog. I eventually gave up blogging because of real-life constraints – I wasn’t reading as much for fun in grad school and when I did, it seemed like a bit of a chore to write the reviews. I’ve been blog-less for about 2 years now, and it’s something I’m thinking about revisiting in 2011, albeit with different goals in mind.

    As mentioned above, I discovered other book bloggers when I was a book blogger myself. But even after deleting my own blog, I have continued to read a variety of book blogs. The book blogging community is one of the most diverse and dynamic on the Internet. There’s a blog for every kind of reader – romance, classic lit, children’s and YA, science fiction, dystopia, mystery, graphic novels, Russian lit, etc. – you name it, someone is blogging about it somewhere.

    The variety can be overwhelming at times, but it’s also deeply beneficial if you’re a reader, particularly if you’re interested in any sort of niche. Some of my favorite blogs (e.g. Savidge Reads, things mean a lot, Nonsuch Book, A Work in Progress, Cornflower Books, A Reading Life, etc.) have introduced me to little-known classics and literary fiction that wouldn’t have even been on my radar and yet have become a staple on my bookshelves. At the same time, when a book blogger ventures out to read something out of his/her comfort zone, I’m more willing to give it a try because I know we have shared experiences with other books. (E.g. I never would have tried graphic novels if it hadn’t been for a book blogging festival on that very subject.)

    I also love the community atmosphere of book blogs. I’ve never been a member of a book club. In some cases, we tried to organize and failed, in other cases, my friends and I had too dissimilar of tastes. Right now, I’m living apart from most of my close, bibliophiliac friends. I communicate with them via the Internet and telephone, but sitting down and having a really good conversation about books, whether formally or informally, is often not an option. Book blogs fill my need for discussion and general bookishness.

    I read both press reviews and book blogs, but each serves a different purpose. Book bloggers are like friends to me – they’re ordinary readers reacting to a book and most often, their reactions are genuine. There’s no hidden agenda, they’ll give me their thoughts and opinions straight up. Press reviews, on the other hand, are usually more high-brow (I’m thinking of the NYTimes, the Guardian, New Yorker, etc.). I’m certainly interested in what they have to say, because they’re more well-read than I am and maybe can point out themes or symbolism that I would miss otherwise. But I don’t view them as “ordinary people” – their job is reviewing literature for a living. I remember when the 1001 books list first came out, one NYTimes reviewer noted he had read 115 books on the list. Most “ordinary people” probably wouldn’t be able to boast the same number. Press reviews are important because they often indicate what will be winning awards, but there are a lot more books out there that are underrated by the press. I find that press reviewers point me in the direction of what to read or to avoid in terms of award winners or hyped books, and book bloggers fill the large gaps of everything in between.

    *Sorry for such a long comment – I wanted to explain everything thoroughly! And I’m enjoying reading others’ thoughts too.

  19. I blog because I love sharing about the books that I’ve read (bad and good). I started reading blogs after I read an article in the Guardian about them and since then I’ve become rather hooked on them. I have bought books as a result of reading a blog – definitely a great way to expand one’s reading horizons.

  20. These are all great questions, especially given the fact that bloggers are often torn to shreds by the more prestigous book reviewers. I’ve been blogging about books for over three years–I needed a book outlet after graduating from grad school (English degree) and moving to a small town surrounded by non-readers. Yahoo book clubs weren’t cutting it, but I noticed that people were blogging about books. What a novel idea.

    For me, blogging about books is an ongoing discussion. If I’m really excited about a book, sure I want others to read that book as well, but mostly it’s a way for me to talk about what I’m reading and maybe share some conversation about said books about others. My favorite part about book blogging, though, is the discussions where people aren’t necessarily reviewing a book but talking about bookish topics in general (Sunday Salon is a great tool for this).

    In terms of book blogs and why I read them–same reason why I blog about books. It’s a great outlet and ongoing discussion. The neat thing about it is over the past three years I’ve “met” bloggers who are like-minded and I’ve found that I can pick up a book upon his/her recommendation and love it, too. Mostly because book bloggers tend to focus on the “I” factor–big no no from the bigwigs, but something that is real and works very well. I want to know why you loved that book and why it spoke to you. How it made you feel and why you want to tell everyone about it. I could give two … about what the book is about and why someone I don’t know and have no connection to wants me to read it.

    A lot of blabbing, but this is a great topic. The validity of book bloggers has been debated for years, but I like to think that in some way we’re spreading the word of books–within the community and outside of it. If hear about X book, read it, love it, then get all my personal friends to read it. PS–cool that your mum and her friends read your blog. No one in my real life “gets” it. 😉

  21. Very good questions, Simon. I can say that I blog about books because, well, I like hearing other people’s views of them and I like sharing my own. Books are wonderful things to converse about.

    Do I read press releases more than blogs? No. I prefer blogs because, honestly, there seems to be some more integrity AND diversity in the blogosphere than the obvious advertising the releases are meant for. Given even the NYT has been recommending (become a sycophant) certain authors who leave me shaking my head and/or fist over has only secured in me that I would rather read a few bloggers’ opinions over the big rags.

    Do I read books recommended by bloggers? Absolutely. Sometimes it takes a while, but I do eventually wind up getting around to them. Of course I don’t read ALL the books people recommend, though my TBR list has expanded greatly over the last year as a direct result of the blogs I read.

    Keep blogging, Simon, and I do so hope you’re on the mend.

  22. I blog because I love it and I love books and I love writing about them and sharing my love for certain authors and genres and hope that somebody else will enjoy what I enjoy. I read reviews in the papers and sometimes take note of what they say, but I would rather heed what a blogger says any day of the week. From mycomments I know that people take notice of my reviews and I have been accused often of making the bank balance of my visitors go down as I encourage them to spend! I have visitors who say they trust me and always read what I recommend and that is quite a responsibility I can tell you.

    I have taken note of recommendations from other blogs and though I cannot think of one at the moment, I know I have had plenty of reads that way that I would not have even glanced at otherwise.

    I know!! Jonathan Strange and Dr Norell was one recommended by Dovegreyreader I think – I bought, read and was engulfed by this book for a week. I had seen it in the bookshops and had thought it was not for me.

    Amazon likes their customers to review the books they have read. Why? Because I trust Mrs Bloggs down the road to write an impartial review more than the lead writer in the Guardian. I dont earn anything from my blogging and have no influenes except my own impinging on my thoughts.

    Gosh I am now rambling so will stop. To sum up – I blog because I simply love it…x

  23. Geraldine

    I don’t have a blog myself, but do read a number of blogs on a daily basis. Thanks to these blogs I’ve been introduced to many books that may not otherwise have come my way. I have borrowed books from the library and purchased books as a result of blog reviews.

    Blogs for me when it comes to reviews, you get to know which bloggers have similar tastes in literature.

  24. Some great questions — I’ll give it a go:

    If you are a book blogger then why do you blog and what drew you to it and what keeps you blogging? I started to blog about books because I wanted to remember the books that I read, and also to participate in an online community with other people who shared the same love for books that I did. I also enjoy writing, so blogging was a way to accomplish several goals at once.

    If you’re a book blog reader (whether you have a blog too or not) what is it that makes you head to book blogs? I like to read book blogs because I enjoy coming across book recommendations from *real* people who love to read. I also enjoy sharing and participating in this online community and having some pretty rip-roaringly fun discussions on the themes, issues, and situations that are presented in the stories we’ve read.

    Book blogs or press review pages, which do you prefer and why? I prefer book blogs only because I feel better getting a recommendation from someone who hasn’t been paid to review it. A press review page or a newspaper in any way just doesn’t make me interested to read it other than the summary of the book that they’re writing about.

    Have you actually bought or borrowed from the library any books you have seen because of a blog (I don’t just mean mine but if you have do let me know) and was it the perfect read?) and was it the perfect read? Yes, book bloggers make up 90% of the books I select when shopping, going to the library, or requesting through Paperbackswap.com

  25. Great questions! I started blogging because I wanted to be able to talk about the books that I read. I wanted to talk with people about what was good, what wasn’t, if they agreed or not, and etc. I’ve had some great conversations on twitter and in comments which is just what I wanted. It’s also a bit of a diary for myself about why I loved (or didn’t love) a book.

    I read book blogs for recommendations. No book publicity or press pages for me please – I want to know what other readers thought, their true and honest opinions. Blogs give that. They say what was good, what wasn’t, and aren’t afraid to point out flaws. I love it!

    And I’ve bought and borrowed way too many books on blogger suggestions (including a few suggested by you – like The Loved One!).

  26. I can’t remember exactly why I started blogging in 2007 but I’m glad I did because it gives me a focus for thinking about my reading and I’ve met virtually some fabulous people. I use both blogs and book press (eg NYRB, Literary Review, Slightly Foxed) to direct me towards things I might like, but not newspapers. And I have come to know which bloggers have similar tastes to mine so I pay particular attention to those. Plus I like a lot of genre stuff which just doesn’t get reviewed seriously outside specialist publications. And it’s all just great fun….

  27. I read both books blogs and reviews. Both give me plenty of brilliant reading ideas, but the added bonus I get from reading and responding to blogs, as other commenters have suggested, is a sense of belonging to a like-minded community. Through blogs I get to have the sort of social conversations I thought I would get at university but seldom did.

    Why do sections of the media loathe blogs and yet love Facebook? Could it be that well-written blogs – unlike poking, sheep-throwing and “unfriending” – are seen as a threat?

  28. Replying just question 1 and 4 only! I love to blog as I can express myself freely and I also feel that I am accepted by people of a similar ilk! These people understand.

    I always look at book blog reviews of blogs I like and follow and follow their recommendations. Havent been disappointed – I may not choose all the books they recommend but certainly those of the genre I like.

  29. I started to blog and continue to blog because some days it feels like the only thing between me and a total meltdown. I read other blogs for the same reason. I no longer go to the press for book recommendations but often find things via blogs and have bought far more than I can afford to on the back of them.

    The thing I didn’t expect from engaging with blogs and the thing that really helps after a long day is the feeling of community. I don’t know the real Simon, but Savidge reads etc are friends who provide when I need to step back and spend some time enjoying things I love with like minded people totally on my own terms. Blogs are great.

  30. Why I blog:

    *to express myself with thoughts and photographs
    *to build community with other bibliophiles
    *to discuss books which so many of my friends don’t read
    *to be enriched by the genres and challenges blogs expose me to
    *to keep a record of what I’ve read/reviewed
    *to receive the honor of review requests from publishers and authors

    XOXO, Bellezza

  31. Carol Roberts

    I do not have a blog, but have been followng many book blogs for several years. I love everything about books and must say I’m fairly addicted to reading the blogs. I have several, in particular, that I love…for instance, Random Jottings, Harriet Devine, Letters from a Hill Farm, Stuck in a Book…I could go on and on. I would much rather take the recommendation of a blogger who I am familiar with, than that of a press review. In fact, I have many times. When you read the same blogs over a period of time, it is almost as though you know the bloggers and can choose which ones have reading tastes similar to your own. And lastly, I have bought more books than I care to think about from recommendations found in book blogs!

  32. I am; therefore, I blog (sum ergo bloggo)

  33. I feel like I jave answered the first two questions A LOT in the last two years so although they’re good questions I’ll skip them and head to the second two.

    I hate to say I prefer book blogs to the printed press, because that just seems to encourage this us vs them divide the media seems so determined to perpetuate. I do read many more blogs than printed reviews BUT I do like the Times book pages in the Saturday culture supplement, Waterstones reviews and sometimes the reviews in the Sunday Times magazine (although that is a gauntlet to run). I do find myself much more frustrated with the way print reviewers review than the way bloggers do BUT that’s more about the fact that printed reviews are all kind of reviewers, good and bad, collected in one paper and pushed at me in one go, while if I choose just not to click on a blog link because I don’t like the reviewer’s style I never have to hear of them again. So it’s not that I don’t like printed reviews, its that some printed reviewers get on my wick and I will start avoiding reading papers in order to cut the annoying reviewers out of my life (or skipping reviews as soon as their tone starts to get on my nerves).

    I have bought many books based on blog reviews and have many, many more sitting on my to be bought or borrowed list. Some are perfect reads, some less so, all good time spent reading.

  34. There are only a handfull of press book reviews in America anymore. Newspaper started cutting and then closing their book review sections several years ago. I used to read four newspapers a day, all of which had book review sections. I can’t think of the last time I read an actual newspaper cover to cover, now.

    So….as Ghandi said “You must become the change you want to see in the world.” I started writing my own reviews. I’ve discovered that I prefer blog reviews to press reviews now. With a press review you do get a trained expert opinion, and you will get a level of depth that is still rare in a blog review. They are like reading a professors commentary, and they do have a lot to offer along those lines. But with a blog review you get the opinion of regular readers and you get a much wider range of material reviewed. Press reviews are almost always limited to what is newly published. Blog reviews cover all there is, new, in print even out of print books. I’ve found I read many more books found on blogs than I ever found in press reveiws.

    And, I have regular contact with readers all over the world. It’s fun to hear what’s going on in Canada, the U.K., Korea, India, New Zealand, The Netherlands, the Philippines, Australia. Press reviews in the U.S. were almost always about American books. Blogs are world wide.

  35. Like many of the other commenters I’m very much motivated by the social aspect of blogging. Self-expression also matters to me, and I enjoy having a place where I can keep a record of my thoughts, but what makes this whole thing so enjoyable is the fact that it’s a way of meeting like-minded people. I completely agree with Claire (and others) when she says we *do* know each other. It’s impossible not to when you’re regularly reading someone’s thoughts, be they bookish or not. As for picking up books on bloggers’ suggestions, yes, I often have. And some of them ended up becoming new favourites (where had Sarah Waters or Dorothy Sayers been all my life?).

  36. Pingback: Reading Guides, What Do You Make of Them? « Savidge Reads

  37. When I was reading In Search of Lost Time last year, I began looking for anyone on the internet who’d done the same and who’d written anything about it, just to have something approachable and not scholarly to read about it, someone to share it with, even if silently. I found Claire of kiss a cloud and eventually had to join in with a blog of my own (for the Zola Classics Circuit earlier this year) just to start sharing about the books I love too. I work in a library, but I get asked how to use the computers more than I ever get asked for a book recommendation and I was just bursting to talk about the books I’d read. Ideally I would love to be back in university studying literature again, writing about it, being challenged in how I think about it. Reading at home, trying to do that on my own, was lonely. Not anymore. I love the passionate community of booklovers here — and honestly don’t think I can think of a single English student I met in university who was this excited and knowledgeable (and also friendly) about books!

    I used to read the Guardian book section online at work, but now rarely have time for it, since I’m reading book blogs. And I’ve definitely found more books I’ve actually loved that way, especially Persephone books and the Bloomsbury Group reprints, which I have bought and borrowed. Most print reviewers seem to focus on pretty highbrow books, as if everyone literary wants to spend all their time reading James Joyce or the latest prize winner. Book bloggers have helped me find the comfy early 20th century forgotten middlebrow novels that I now so enjoy, beautifully and insightfully written good stories that aren’t insultingly pink and fluffy or too difficult to enjoy when you just want a break.

    As the book industry narrows its marketing on fewer and fewer big books that everyone is supposed to buy, book bloggers represent individuality.

  38. I blog because I found out some time ago that I really enjoy analysing books. I also love writing in general. What keeps me blogging is the books that I’m interested in reading and the blogging community. The community makes finding good books easier and gives you somewhere to discuss them.

    I read book blogs because I like to know what other people thought of books, whether they’re ones I’ve already read or ones I’m interested in reading.

    I don’t mind press review pages but they often lack the personality of blogs, and you can be more sure that a blogger is reading a book because they want to, rather than a press reviewer because they’re being paid.

    I have bought a good number of books because of recommendations. Mostly they were good, a couple weren’t but those that weren’t I at least had a lot to say about them.

  39. Jimesa Wilson

    Hi Simon, I am an avid reader of book blogs. I began reading blogs at first because of a book podcast I was listening to. Through the podcast I learned about a few blogs and from those blogs a few more. At the moment I think I read about 15 or 16 blogs all the time, yours included. I find that yours and others blogs introduce me to many new areas of reading, authors, and publishers that I would have never known about otherwise. I have purchased many books on reading about them on blogs and my to be read list has grown twice its size at least. I find blogs an awesome source and love bloggers for taking the time to share with everyone. So thanks.

  40. I am an inadvertent book blogger – my blog has begun (and still is) really just as a record of my reading and my thoughts, still waiting for my first comment!

    I read many book blogs – for the recommendations (many of which I have acquired/borrowed, esp books by Maggie O’Farrell) and for the sense of community – a whole set of book lovers right there at the click of a link.

    I don’t read the press review pages very often, and greatly prefer book blogs as the recommendations are easier to save up (rather than cutting out the review in the paper, I can just bookmark blog pages)

    Hope the recovery keeps on track!

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