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2021 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama
- Alaska
- Arizona (1)
- Arkansas
- California (4)
- Colorado (1)
- Connecticut (1)
- Delaware
- Florida
- Georgia
- Hawaii (1)
- Idaho
- Illinois (4)
- Indiana
- Iowa
- Kansas
- Kentucky (1)
- Louisiana (1)
- Maine
- Maryland (1)
- Massachusetts (1)
- Michigan (1)
- Minnesota (1)
- Mississippi
- Missouri
- Montana
- Nebraska (1)
- Nevada (1)
- New Hampshire (1)
- New Jersey (1)
- New Mexico
- New York (4)
- North Carolina (1)
- North Dakota
- Ohio (6)
- Oklahoma
- Oregon
- Pennsylvania (1)
- Rhode Island (1)
- South Carolina (1)
- South Dakota
- Tennessee
- Texas (2)
- Utah (1)
- Vermont (2)
- Virginia (3)
- Washington (3)
- West Virginia
- Wisconsin
- Wyoming (1)
- *Washington, D.C.

International:
Australia (2)
Canada (3)
England (6)
France (1)
Ireland (1)
Switzerland (1)
The Philippines (1)
Wales (1)

My Progress:


28 / 51 states. 55% done!

2021 Fall Into Reading Challenge

My Progress:


0 / 24 books. 0% done!

2021 Children's Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

2021 Children's Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
(Hosted by Yours Truly!)

My Progress:


7 / 25 books. 28% done!

2021 Popsugar Reading Challenge

My Progress:


34 / 50 books. 68% done!

Booklist Queen's 2021 Reading Challenge

My Progress:


35 / 52 books. 67% done!

2021 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

2021 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

The 52 Club's 2021 Reading Challenge

My Progress:


40 / 52 books. 77% done!
Saturday, August 07, 2021

Happy Blogiversary to Me: Celebrating 15 Years of BBB (with a Giveaway!)


It's hard to believe—really hard to believe—but I started Bloggin' 'bout Books 15 years ago today!  On August 7, 2006, I published this post welcoming folks to the new home for my "reading journal."  At the time, that included exactly three people: my husband, my mom, and my little sister.  In my naivete, I honestly thought that I had invented book blogging!  It was only when I started Googling around that I realized there was a whole, big book blogosphere already out there, just waiting for me.  That realization changed my life.  My reading life anyway.  I had found my tribe, but even still, I never could have imagined that my little blog would become such a great source of joy, connection, and community for me.  If you'd told me that I would still be going strong here at BBB 15 years later, I would have laughed you out the door!  

I have no idea how many books I've read or how many reviews I've written over the last decade and a half, but I do know that I've learned a lot along the way.  Here are ten lessons that 15 years of book blogging has taught me:

1.  The book/publishing world is always changing.  Back in the day, I'd get paper book catalogs in my mailbox and heavy cardboard boxes packed with glossy reads on my doorstep.  While publishers still send a number of "real" books my way, I also receive tons of links to e-ARCs on NetGalley and Edelweiss.  In some ways, publicists and authors are more accessible now than they were; in other ways, they aren't.  Especially in the COVID world, mostly in-person author events have changed to mostly online author events.  The point?  The book world is constantly changing.  I've had to change with it (I still remember what a huge concession it was for me to buy an e-reader)!

2.  Book bloggin' people = the best people.  One thing that hasn't changed is the awesomeness that is the book blogosphere.  Yes, bloggers come and go.  Some of my favorites have disappeared because of other commitments, waning interest, and even death (R.I.P. Dewey from Hidden Side of a Leaf and Grace @RebelMommyBookBlog).  I'll always miss their contributions, but I'm thrilled that so many new book blogs are still cropping up all the time.  I've made so many wonderful friends in this warm, happy, supportive community.  It's been such a pleasure to talk books with you, whether you've been hanging around BBB for a decade or just for a week.  

3.  Authors aren't always right—and neither am I.  Once I started getting a reputation as a tough, tell-it-like-it-is blogger, I started getting a little...ahem...cocky.  When it came to reviewing books, I didn't hesitate to call 'em like I saw 'em, even at the risk of offending writers I admired.  Because of that, I've received hate mail, strongly worded comments, and radio silence from authors who personally asked me to review their books.  I've softened a bit over the years and I've definitely been humbled by what I've gotten wrong.  A particularly embarrassing example: a certain author called me out over misquoting a section of her memoir that I could have sworn said she had taken drugs while on duty as a doctor at a mental hospital.  No matter how many times I combed over her book, I couldn't find the passage I referenced because it wasn't there!  The writer was grace itself when I apologized profusely for the error.

4.  Book blogging is hard work.  If you think book blogging is all fun and games then you must be doing it right!  For me, it has involved a great deal of time, effort, and money.  Between reading, writing reviews, visiting and commenting on other blogs, marketing my own efforts, etc. it has sometimes felt like a full-time job.  It's been worth it for the pleasure book blogging has given me, but I can't deny that other things in my life (most notably the cleanliness of my home) have suffered because of it.  Last year, I finally gave up scheduling reviews and participating in blog tours.  It was just causing too much stress for me.  Now my blogging is less rigorous, less pressure, and lots more fun!  

5.  It's my way or the highway.  Closely related to #4 is that I've learned to blog in the way that feels most natural and right to me.  I don't worry about other bloggers having more followers or a bigger influence.  I just do me.  It's worked pretty well so far.

6.  There can never be too many books.  Or can there?  When I first started receiving review requests from authors and publishers, I was so excited that I accepted everything that came my way.  Soon, I was inundated with books, some of which I had no actual desire to read.  After forcing myself to plow through volumes I normally wouldn't, I had to learn that it was okay to DNF a book that wasn't working for me.  I also had to learn not to accept books just because they're, you know, books.  Although I still accept far too many review requests than is wise, I've become much, much more selective about what I'll read and review.

7.  Reviewing books really does change how you read them.  I saw this article on Book Riot and was struck by the truth of this statement.  The way I read has changed irrevocably in the years since I started reviewing books.  For one thing, I now take copious notes on non-fiction and novels, jotting down anything I think I might want to use later in a review.  I'm more critical of an author's efforts, analyzing their world-building, character creation, plot decisions, and prose choices.  I can no longer read for the sheer pleasure of reading and, honestly, that's kind of sad.

8.  Books are not hair dryers.  I used to always say that I review a book in the same way I would review a hair dryer, by asking the same kind of questions:  What worked for me?  What didn't?  Is this product worth spending precious time and money on?  Why or why not?  It's just a product review, nothing personal.  Well, I've realized over the years that books are very personal to their authors and that they don't always like having their babies criticized.  I've also realized that I'm not as objective as I think I am.  My reviews contain my opinions.  You may not like them.  I get it and it's okay.  You can send me hate mail if you want.  You won't be the first!

9.  Books are powerful.  The wonderfully rich, diverse book blogosphere is a beautiful example of  how influential books can be in bringing people together, opening their minds, and touching their souls.   

10.  BBB would be nothing without you!  Truth is, I would probably post book reviews even if no one read them just because it's a fun creative outlet for me.  But, it would not be nearly as much fun without your interaction.  I love reading your comments, visiting your blogs, basking in your kindness, and dishing about books.  Thank you for making my little ole book blog such a delightful place to hang out.  It would not be at all the same without you.

To celebrate my blogiversary and to thank you for being such an integral part of BBB, I'm hosting a little giveaway.  If I were rich, I'd give away great quantities of money or, even better, towering stacks of books.  I'm not, so I'm just going to offer up one book—a book of your choice (up to a $20 value) on Book Depository, which delivers all over the world.  Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter.  I will choose a winner on August 21.  Good luck!

Also, please tell me:  How long have you been blogging about books?  What have you learned from your own journey with this wild and wonderful hobby?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Also, also:  If you haven't filled out my survey yet, please do so.  It's short and it will earn you one entry into the giveaway.  I appreciate the feedback!


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<i>Reading</i>
The Gold in These Hills by Joanne Bischof

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<i>Listening</i>
Glass Houses by Louise Penny



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