For Day 3 of Book Blogger Appreciation Week, participants are asked to talk about what we’ve read and loved because of book bloggers. Without bloggers I probably would have stayed stuck in my little literary fiction corner, never realizing that labels are more about marketing than anything. Since I started blogging, I’ve read so many terrific mysteries, thrillers, and YA novels that I never would have picked up otherwise. Here are only a few of the bloggers who have directed me to some of the best books I’ve ever read (and might never have read without their recommendations).
I can always trust Teresa (at Shelf Love) and Jenny (at Reading the End), who have influenced my reading greatly and in the last few years convinced me to read both Hanya Yanagihara’s The People in the Trees (Teresa, Jenny) and Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (Jenny), for which I will be forever grateful. I think I could have convinced myself to skip both of those books for something easier on the heart and the head, but they were just too convincing. Whenever one of them raves about a book, it goes on the wishlist, no questions asked, even if I don’t read it right away.
Another book blogger I always trust (and who is one of the kindest people I have met online) is Ana (Nymeth) at Things Mean a Lot. If it weren’t for her wonderful reviews and sincere enthusiasm when she loves a book, I would never have read such terrific books as (links to her original reviews) The Knife of Never Letting Go or The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks (because they were YA, one of those genres I didn’t “do” before bloggers like Ana convinced me that good writing is good writing, marketing and pigeonholing be damned). I’m also sure she’s responsible for getting me to read Sarah Waters and A.S. Byatt, who became fast favorites.
And although she’s not participating in BBAW and blogs less frequently than in years past, another book blogger who influenced my reading greatly is Jackie at Farm Lane Books Blog. Because of her reviews, I’ve read so many amazing books (all links go to her original reviews): Skippy Dies, A Fine Balance, The Devotion of Suspect X, The People Who Eat Darkness, Stone’s Fall, and Lamb—among many others.
Of course, the difficult part is when bloggers you trust disagree. While Teresa and Jenny both hated A Little Life, Jackie rated it her favorite book of 2015. I have it on hold at the library. Things could go either way!
The other difficult thing about blogging is recommending books to people who have done such a wonderful job at recommending them to us. As book bloggers, we want to give back as good as we get, to share everything that excites us about reading. It can be difficult to have reviews fall on deaf ears, or to realize that others might even think we’re nuts for loving a specific book. I guess it’s all part and parcel though, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.