Monday, September 12, 2011

Community (Book Blogger Appreciation Week 2011)

Monday September 12th: Community

While the awards are a fun part of BBAW, they can never accurately represent the depth and breadth of diversity in the book blogging community. Today you are encouraged to highlight a couple of bloggers that have made book blogging a unique experience for you. They can be your mentors, a blogger that encouraged you to try a different kind of book, opened your eyes to a new issue, made you laugh when you needed it, or left the first comment you ever got on your blog. Stay positive and give back to the people who make the community work for you!
This past year of blogging has been pretty rough for me, due to real-life upheavals. I entered my senior year of college, wrote a 140-page thesis, graduated college, and moved to the other side of the world to start my first full-time job. In the meantime, my blogging has fallen by the wayside. I don't read as much as I once did. I find it harder to write reviews now. Some days, I don't even have the energy to check my email or go on Twitter. And I admit that I haven't read blogs in months. Sometimes it seems like the only connection I have remaining to the YA world is through my hourly perusals of Goodreads (can't stay away, love that site) and the review books that my parents tell me still show up for me at their home back in the States.

I'll admit: many days I wonder if I should even continue blogging. I don't have as much energy as I once did, nor, unfortunately, the motivation. There are a lot of things going through my mind right now that I'm struggling to fit into my understanding of myself and my identity. Some days I wake up and feel like I've completely lost the part of me that knew how to read and talk about books and maybe even write. I don't feel much like myself right now, and I don't know if it's because my new experiences have yet to have worked their way into my identity, or if it's because I'm really changing, and letting some things in my past go.

Anyway, it needed to be said. It's why I haven't been around, and why participating this week will be really hard for me. I'm going to try, because BBAW is such a wonderful way of recognizing the strength of the book blogging community. But it's a community that I find harder and harder to be a part of, and at the moment I have no solution or inkling of how things will turn out.

This past year, the bloggers who have mattered the most to me are the ones with whom I've formed friendships outside of blogging, those who have become more than just a blog name or Twitter profile pic. Those who know me halfway well know that I don't make friends easily. I can do the acquaintance or stranger thing, but the friend thing is a whole different story. That being said, once I make a friend, I typically keep a friend. I feel fortunate that I count the following incredible people as friends, despite the distance, or the scarcity of contact, or whatever other things may separate us:

Totally taken from Jamie.
Jamie of The Perpetual Page-Turner: fellow blogger turned in-real-life blogging acquaintance turned precious and lovely friend, whom I was devastated to have to leave behind when I left the Philly area. Somehow, Jamie cuts through all of the nonsense and overthinking that usually surrounds me like a shroud and took me under her gorgeous wings as a friend. She might say that I am the senior blogger and the one whom she looks up to, but she is the one who has the blessed ability to turn online relationships into real-life ones. In short, she represents all that is important about blogging and community-building.

Capillya of That Cover Girl: another blogger with the knack of making lasting connections with bloggers. Not only is her blog unique, smart, and sassy, but Capillya is also a lovely person, always willing to say something that makes me smile.

Adele of Persnickety Snark: I guess I technically met up with Adele in person for the first time last summer, during the previous year's round of BBAW, but I have a feeling that that won't be the only time I see her. I have so much respect for this accomplished and intelligent woman, what with her seemingly single-handedly running the YA librarian/blogging bizness down in Australia. Adele, I'm closer to you now, so I'm planning to visit you soon!

And these ladies here:
Lenore, for being pretty much the first blogger to comment on my blog back when it was shiny and brand new over two and a half years ago. I will never forget. And Frankie, who is cool and talented and brings the sun with her wherever she goes. Other Philly book-loving people who have bonded over the past year because all the cool kids seem to be in NYC and we made our own parties in the Philly area.

And my friends on Goodreads, for making me feel like I'm still in the loop in terms of YA talk, and for accepting what little I can give in terms of comments, status updates, and reviews. Including but not limited to: Nomes, Nic, oliviasbooks, Gabrielle Carolina, John, Aleeza, ohgodmybrainisshuttingdownandIcan'tremember.

Author friend who has become a role model for me not just in terms of literary talent: Beth.

To people in my life who were friends first and then bookish connections second. I love having friends who also love to talk YA books with me. Never stop being you.

And... just, everyone else that I forgot and shouldn't have. Basically everyone and anyone who talks to me on Twitter and makes me still feel like a normal, fully functioning person. Thank you; I need to go back to my cave now.


  1. Steph, I think it's awesome that you continue to blog in spite of all the changes that have happened in your life. I mean, you're based in a whole different country right now! I hope that you'll continue to blog and write about bookish things because I love your posts. I'm also familiar with most of the bloggers that you mentioned in your post and I have to agree, I think they're awesome. :)

  2. STEPH. I haz tears in my eyes at WORKKKK. I heart you. Seriously, if you move back to the are going to move right next door to me. I demand it. Then we can start our YA book club!

  3. Oh, Steph. I loved this post. I love your raw honesty and the way you express and write it. Which is interesting because the more I read what you write (reviews & personal posts alike) the more I feel like I'm reading some sort of wonderful story. This may sound extremely weird, but I've always been an admirer of how you compose yourself both on Twitter and on the blog. You seem to be resilient, fun-loving and humble all at the same time, and I really do want to hug your neck IRL some day, friend. =)

  4. Aww, Steph! Great post! I want you to know that I check your blog and Lenore's almost every day (even though I don't comment often), and I am thankful for your presence in the blogging community because I trust your reading taste IMPLICITLY. Thanks for being a go-to when I need a fantastic recommendation.

  5. Steph, just checking in to say that your friends over on LT miss you, but I'm happy to hear about graduation and the new job!

  6. Well aren't you the darnedest! I don't do emotional very often but you just wrote some very lovely things about some valued friends (and myself). Just know that we are just as fortunate to have you in our lives as well.

    Also, I totally will hold you to that promise. There are many people down here in Melbourne I need to introduce you to.


  7. i really REALLY love your blog, hey.

    and it's impressive how strong you continue to go, even when everythign has changed so much.

    i have not even been blogging nearly as much as you (only 18 months) and i have to say, i often wonder if i should continue. there have been some awesome times, for sure, but it is hard to maintain and remain motivated for...

    i much prefer the community and interaction on goodreads, so much easier to chat and mingle and connect, whereas i often find it a burden to have to go around and comment on blogs from my google reader. and then i feel guilty for not visiting blogs, etc ;)

    also ~ love how you named some of my fave bloggers in this post <3

  8. oh what an awesome stash ~ all the way in China :D

    i expect donna and tara;s books will be awesome. and am curious about the tess one :)
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