Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Why I Blog and Recent Reads

Danielle tagged me for the Why I Blog meme and I have spent some time thinking about this. I have read some wonderful responses to this question and I think I will just ramble on a bit and hopefully some clear thoughts will emerge.

I think I discovered blogging rather late, but once I did I was hooked. I remember viewing Yarnstorm, Cornflower, Random Jottings, A Work in Progress and others (see all my great sidebar links) for the first time and being amazed that such a community existed, that such creativity existed, that people were sharing and conversing and being part of a community. That is why I began - I wanted to be part of the group. It took some courage, but I jumped in and wrote a few posts and starting actually commenting on other people's posts instead of just peering in, and to my great surprise, they responded. The main thing I do on my blog is write about books. I have been keeping a paper journal for a few years now, but blogging really helps me to articulate my thoughts about what I have read in a way that I hadn't done before. I love the community of people and conversation that goes on in the blogging world. I certainly know people in my daily life who read, but it is so amazing to find people who read as much as I do (in many cases, much more!), who have similar reading taste to mine, people who probably get asked as I do 'How much do you read?' , 'Do you always have a book with you?'. Here I am understood. Where else in my daily life could I have found so many people who have read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle or Adele Geras' books - and want to share their thoughts with me? I'm going to guess nowhere. I think having a blog is a good mental exercise as well. I am not a writer, would never claim to be one, and writing does not come easily to me. It is challenging sometimes to come up with things to write about, and to find the right words.

That's it, I suppose. I won't tag anyone, but if you'd like to answer this question please do. Thank you to all the wonderful bloggers out there who share their thoughts with me on their own blogs and my own. It all really means a lot.

Now on to some books. I did some 'light' reading last week, going into my vacation and during it and finished two books. The first was Markham Thorpe by Giles Waterfield. I first read about this novel on Cornflower.



Markham Thorpe is about a young woman, Ellen, who goes into service at the same place as her sister and elder cousin who is the housekeeper. There is great detail about daily life as a maid which sounds absolutely exhausting. I often think about the fact that my position in life would have probably led me to a life in service and I can only be grateful that I was born when I was. The housekeeper in this novel has evil schemes in mind, and uses Ellen, our heroine, to help her achieve her goals. I enjoyed this book, it was a light and easy read about a period of time I enjoy reading about.

The second book I finished was A Step in the Dark by Judith Lennox. I came across this on bookcloseouts. It is described as:

A breathtaking journey from Colonial India through wartime London to the remote wilds of Scotland,.....an unforgettable story of love and loss, greed and desire, and the secrets that can bind a family - or ultimately destroy one...

This was again, another light and easy read, in the same genre I would say as Penny Vincenzi, though not quite as enjoyable as a Vincenzi. This book is full of drama, betrayals, complicated relationships, and some mystery as well. Overall, it fit the bill for a relaxing yet absorbing vacation read.

After all this light reading I decided I needed something a bit heavier, so I picked up Atonement by Ian McEwan. I finished this last night but am still thinking about it.

11 comments:

StuckInABook said...

I completely agree with you - blogging is all about being part of a community. They can seem like egocentric activities to outsiders or the media, but it's all about being in a circle of people, commenting and cross-commenting. That's certainly the main reason why I started.

Cath said...

Yes, I joined Blogger to be part of the book community even though I have another book blog elsewhere. It just struck me that there are so many more book fiends here than there. And yes, I also know a few RL people who read a bit but no one with my eclectic tastes - there are plenty of those around here and I love it!

I really must try Adele Geras...

BooksPlease said...

I agree too. I'd been reading other people's blogs for about a year and finally took the plunge in March (after a false start in July last year). I only know a few people personally who read as much as me, so it's great to 'meet' like minded souls (other addicts!)

Bookgirl said...

I enjoyed reading your answers. Although I do belong to a couple of book groups I still wasn't "talking" enough about books to suit my needs so I got a blog :) Glad you are part of the book blog community!

Jill said...

Tara: I think you hit on a very important part of the process which is actually leaving comments on the blogs of others. It's part of the process of building community.

But it is the sense that there are others reading and responding to your thoughts -- the conversation. Where ever you might live, it is sometimes hard to find others who think about their reading the way that active book bloggers do. I find the commentary to be well above average, well beyond the simple "Ooooh, good book. I loved it".

Nan - said...

I loved reading about why you have a blog. And I'm so glad you do!

Lesley said...

Great post! I posted about why I started my blog in my 'about me' section, and we have a lot in common - as I'm sure we do with most other book bloggers!

Tara said...

Stuckinabook - well said!

Cath, do try Adele Geras! If you like those family sagas with a bit of discontent, you'll love her.

Booksplease, it is wonderful to share the reading experience with others who appreciate it as much.

Bookgirl, thank you! And I agree, there is some talk in my everyday life about books, but not enough, or at least enough of the sort of books I love to read.

Jill, I agree. I love when someone loves a book and just effuses joy in their post. That is why we all love reading so much, and it's wonderful to share that feeling.

Nan, thank you - and I am so glad you do as well.

Tara said...

Lesley, I loved reading about why you blog and I agree that this has quickly become my favorite thing about being online, as well.

Danielle said...

Thanks for doing the meme--wonderful answers. I totally agree with the idea of being part of a larger group. I also use my blog as a sort of online journal. I thought the Waterfield book was a good read as well. I will have to check out the Lennox--it sounds like it might be up my alley. You find some good books at Bookcloseouts. Is it a local store? They also sell online, but I wonder if the stock is different?

Tara said...

Danielle, all my bookcloseouts shopping is done online - no real store that I know of - they are headquartered in Canada. I often search through their new arrivals, and it's very easy to an 'advanced search' and look for UK or Australian publishing companies if you know the names. I have a recent new stack I haven't even shown yet!