I am constantly asked this question by friends, relatives, colleagues – everyone, really. Some don’t understand the need to voice my thoughts online, others might call it narcissistic. Most consider it to be a loveable quirk; I’m their nerdy friend who blogs…and stuff.
So why do I do it?
I’m no expert critic; I didn’t study English beyond school and my criticisms are based solely on my experiences. Neither am I that well-read – I grew up in a family where studying maths was more important than reading ‘silly novels’. When I did get my hands on books, they were borrowed from friends and usually a fantasy of some sort – the list of classics I’ve read is pitifully small.
Putting aside the theoretical arguments for a moment, there’s also the practical implications. Blogging is a full-time job for many people and a huge drain on my time. A book review takes around an hour to write – that’s if I feel inspired or have a specific point to make. Sometimes I enjoyed a book for no other reason than I just liked it – how the heck do you get that down as an engaging post?
Blogging successfully means regular content; that’s around one book review a week, book-related posts and getting involved in challenges, memes and read-a-thons. Forget the writing time – you need to be reading at least one book a week. All do-able for a book-nerd like me, but even I suffer from book slumps and have found myself avoiding big books and choosing reads with the intention to get a blog post done quickly, rather than for enjoyment.
So why do it? Should I enjoy the books I read in private? Discuss them with friends and leave the reviewing to someone more qualified? Get back the time I spend blogging and use it to follow other hobbies?
Well, no. I blog because I love reading – it’s that simple. I read voraciously and blogging has helped me stop and think about why I loved a book. Sure, I could write my thoughts in a book journal (and do) but writing a post for the world to see is a hugely different experience. I can’t just throw words and doodles on a page, leave questions unanswered or arguments half-formed – I have to really think. How would I argue my opinion to someone who disagrees with me? How can I convince them to read a book I think is wonderful?
Because at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about, right? I have something in common with millions of people in this world. Reading. Blogging allows me to talk about what I love with the rest of the world and if one person falls in love with a book I recommended, that’s more than enough for me.