BBAW 2011: A toast to some favorite bloggers

Monday, September 12, 2011



After months of preparation and waiting, the Book Blogger Appreciation Week is finally here. Last year (being my first year of blogging), I was mostly watching the buzz from the sidelines. This year though, I volunteered to help Amy (BBAW founder) with any background help. And let me tell you, there was just a ton of work to do. It didn't matter that this has been running for 3 years already - there was still a lot of paperwork involved and clarifications to make, fine tuning of processes, and changing whatever didn't work last year to something more reasonable. And now, after all that hard work, I'm glad to sit by and do some posts in celebration of this event. There are a bunch of daily topics up at the BBAW site for this week, if you're interested in checking them out. I may be participating in some or all of the topics, depending on how busy things are at my end.

Today's topic is all about 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!" [from the BBAW site]

I can honestly say that one of the best decisions I've ever taken was to start a book blog. I am sometimes known for not completing things I start (which is not really a bad thing, sometimes I don't know in advance if I'll enjoy something), and when I was considering mixing my love for writing and reading on a more public level, I was definitely worried that I won't stick to it. Part of the motivation was all those book challenges being hosted annually. As I've learned since, they can be a terrible magnet that'll keep you planning lists for a long time, and the challenges rarely get finished. Still, I caved in, made up a design that pretty much smacked of beginner material, and settled on a name before wondering if the choice will come back to haunt me later. It's been a wonderful experience mostly because there is an incredible community to share the journey with. Sure, we have our dramas, we have been directly and indirectly ridiculed by professional reviewers, but we've also lobbied support for authors and rallied together vehemently when something crazy was happening in the book world. And then we have events like Armchair BEA and BBAW that only reinforce the meaning of this community further.

During my almost two years of blogging, I have seen a lot of regular visitors and a lot of changing faces. There are some who have quit blogging and some who have gone from just visitors to best blogging buddies. There are many bloggers I truly admire, whose blogs I visit almost every day, and whose recommendations I trust - Helen's Book Blog, Bermudaonion's Weblog, Tales of Whimsy, Raging Bibliomania, Tea Time with Marce, English Major's Junk Food, Bibliophile by the Sea, Caribousmom, Mental Foodie, A Bookish Way of Life, to list a few. Today, I feel more or less comfortable with what I do here, and once in a while, I try to shake up things to keep the novelty going. So, when I read this question, I went back to those first days of blogging (when you're basically blogging in the void and you feel weird joining in any blogging conversations).

I tried to find out who my very first commentor was, and I wasn't surprised to see that it was J. Kaye. J. Kaye used to blog over at J. Kaye's Book Blog, but when she decided to focus on her writing, it was taken over by Rachel. I have since lost touch with her (and if she's still reading book blogs, I hope she leaves a comment so that I can find her). I remember joining a few challenges at her blog, and she had many wonderful ones going on there. And then one day, she gave me a shout-out at her blog, which was kinda like being the shy girl at a party and then pushed into the limelight to all those stares, but it was oddly satisfying too. I found my readership climb since then, and I realize I could have stayed at low stats for a longer time, if not for the wonderful J. Kaye. It's not the stats in particular that flattered me, but more the sense of being finally accepted by the blogging community, and getting over the new-kid-on-the-blog feeling. Of course, it's all in the head, but it's still a wonderful transition.

43 comments:

Marg Bates said...

I didn't really think that I would stick at this book blogging thing either after failing miserably at keeping a diary for years and years! Somewhat surprisingly I am still going nearly six years later!

J Kaye was certainly a very prolific and inclusive blogger while she was around!Enjoy BBAW!

Jackie said...

It is nice to learn a bit more about your introduction to blogging and that is a lovely list of bloggers. Caribousmom was a big influence on me when I started blogging too. Happy BBAW!

bermudaonion (Kathy) said...

Thanks for the kind words, Aths.  I'm flattered to be included on your list.  I love your blog and would never miss visiting it - I don't know how you do all that you do!

Chrisbookarama said...

Great list! Thanks for being part of the BBAW team. It was great working with you.

Trisha Dandurand said...

Great post. I know quite a few blogs on that list, but there are a few new-to-me ones that sound awesome. Thanks for the suggestions!

My list of influential bloggers, if you are interested!

Gautami Tripathy said...

Wonderful list you got here!

I had a hard time choosing. But I opted for totally unheard of blogs. Isn't that the intention of community? To spread far and wide!!

Here is my post:

http://readbookswritepoetry.blogspot.com/2011/09/bbaw-2011-community.html

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.... said...

What a cool list. I'm so honored to be on it. *hugs*

Meg @ write meg! said...

I remember my first shout-out from a "popular" blogger and how I finally felt sort of accepted, too. It's a fun feeling. Enjoyed your post -- it's fun to think about those who have helped us so much along the way!

Ash said...

Aww thanks for including me on your list! J. Kaye was one of my first commentors as well, if not my first. She was a fantastic resource for the early blogger!

Jan von Harz said...

J Kaye was my first commenter too. She was also very inspirational and helped me in my first few month, which by far is the hardest.

nomadreader said...

Great picks! And how did I not realize you have only been blogging since last year? Impressive! J. Kaye was a huge influence on me too. She made me realize I wanted my blog to be a book blog and introduced me to wonderful world of challenges. I don't do them anymore, but they helped make me the reader I am today. Happy BBAW!

zibilee said...

I think you picked a lot of great bloggers today, and I am honored to find myself among them. I unfortunately never got to know J. Kaye, have heard a lot about her. It's so cool that she was the one to get you comfortable in the waters of blogging and I can imagine that she hols a special place in your heart. Very nice post today. It's nice to see all the blogging love!

gary moon said...

am familiar with some but not all the blogs here, so thanks for the intro.

Florinda said...

I wonder what J. Kaye's been up to. She was very influential and encouraging back in the day, wasn't she? Thanks for sharing some of your other influences too!

I wasn't sure how long I'd stick with blogging either, but four and a half years later, I think I'll stay around :-).

Anna said...

What a great list!  Thank you for putting so much of your time into BBAW!

Amy said...

This is a terrific post.  Thank you for helping Amy to make this BBAW a fantastic week! I'm glad you discovered you liked book blogging and kept at it. I have been reading your blog more often recently and promise to do a much betetr job commenting.  I remember getting the first few comments from other book bloggers and how thrilling it was!

I hope you have a great BBAW week!

Helen Murdoch said...

Thanks for the shout out from you! I hope I get around to doing a post on this topic today because it's such a great one, but this week is kinda' crazy for me. Anyway, know that I appreciate your blog, your comments, and your recommendations!

Wendy said...

Oh, J. Kaye was so awesome - I really miss her blog (and she was incredible with the book challenges!!). Thank you so much for mentioning my blog - I am happy that you are a regular reader, as I am to yours! You listed a couple I don't know - and so, I am off to visit them! Have a wonderful week!!!

Jennifer G. said...

I'm pretty sure I found your blog after J. Kaye mentioned you!  Those are some great blogs you mentioned!

Bailey - window seat reader said...

Great post!  I follow several of the bloggers you mention, and they are great!

Marce said...

You are an amazing blogger Aths and I'm glad to a blogging friend. I'm thinned you included me thank you. I appreciate the emails also HUGS

You also made my list.

Good luck this week you deserve it.

Athira / Aths said...

That's exactly why I was worried about whether I would continue blogging. I had a personal blog that I rarely updated, before that I had a diary that I struggled to write into, so I'm glad that this place of books plus life is staying! And 6 years is a long time, Marg! Cheers to you!

Athira / Aths said...

Thanks! I loved looking at everyone's BBAW posts today. It was nice looking at how someone has influenced another blogger!

Athira / Aths said...

Kathy, thanks so much for coming by every day! I love visiting your blog too, and I am incredibly proud that we have the Hokie spirit in common too!

Athira / Aths said...

It was wonderful working with you too! I am looking forward to doing all this next year as well!

christa @ mental foodie said...

Thanks for the shout-out - totally honored! I definitely enjoyed reading your blog. You often say it much better than I do :)

christa @ mental foodie

Shelleyrae @ Bookd Out said...

Hi
Visiting from BBAW! I'm going to poke around a little :)

Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out

Giving Reading said...

That was a lovely post... and most of the book blogs you mention are in my list too  including yours. J. Kaye and Bethany were the very first commentors on my blog and I feel indebted to them for encouraging me :)

Marie Cloutier said...

GREAT list of bloggers! Many of these are favorites of mine and it's always good to be reminded of them- and find some new ones! Happy BBAW!

Athira / Aths said...

I hope you follow some of them! :)

Bibliophilebythesea said...

Aths, this was a great post. There are SO MANY great blogs out there (yours too of course). Each day it seems llike I am discovering yet another new and wonderful blog.

Thanks so much for the shout-out. I appreciate it!

jennygirl73 said...

J.Kaye was one of the first people i discovered also.  I can't believe this is only your second year.  I think your blog looks great and your insights to some books are interesting.  
Kudos for helping Amy out and making this community as wonderful as it is :)

Athira / Aths said...

It certainly is! I hope you find some more new blogs to follow!

Athira / Aths said...

You have a fabulous blog, Juju! I'm so glad that I found it!

Athira / Aths said...

J. Kaye certainly was! I was constantly amazed at how she managed to keep up with so many blogs and find new ones!

Athira / Aths said...

I agree with you - it's certainly a fun feeling. Not something you go actively looking for, but when it happens, you feel welcomed!

Athira / Aths said...

I'm glad too. Now I can't imagine life without it either!

Athira / Aths said...

She was such a wonderful blogger and person! She definitely helped a lot of new bloggers, as I can see from the comments!

Athira / Aths said...

J. Kaye was definitely a wonderful blogger and person. I loved how she helped a lot of new bloggers get set up!

Athira / Aths said...

I love visiting your blog every day, Heather! Keep up the fabulous work! J. Kaye was just an amazing person - I have no idea how she did so much!

Athira / Aths said...

You're welcome! I hope you find some great new blogs to follow!

Athira / Aths said...

Yay! I can't imagine my life without blogging either. I wonder too what J. Kaye's up to now. She was such a wonderful person to know!

Athira / Aths said...

Thanks! I had a lot of fun too!