Saturday, July 23, 2011

Celebrating 5 Years of Blogging

For several years before I jumped into blogging, I had kept a reading journal. Nothing fancy. It was just a place where I could keep track of what I was reading, writing down my thoughts, however brief. Then, with the encouragement of my husband, I took my reading journal public. Musings of a Bookish Kitty was born. Today is the 5th anniversary of this blog.

What began as a reading journal eventually blossomed into something more. My quiet existence on the internet slowly grew as I discovered other book bloggers, joined reading challenges, participated in memes and began making friends. I remember the thrill of receiving my first comment, a feeling I've never quite lost with each new comment I get. I squealed with the delight the first time an author commented on my blog--and again when I was offered my first book for review. Over the past five years my blog and I have gone through many changes. I experimented with formats, backgrounds, topics and features. My readership grew. I count many of you among my friends. We've shared more than just our love for reading and books.

It hasn't been without its challenges, however. There were several times I considered giving up blogging for one reason or another. I have seen my share of ugliness among book bloggers, something I sometimes found extremely disheartening. Early on I think I just took it too personally--even though it wasn't aimed at me directly. Nowadays I roll my eyes, think "not again," and move on. Most of the time. Perhaps my biggest hurdle, however, which I still sometimes struggle with, is being overwhelmed. When my blog was at its height, I suddenly found myself struggling to keep up. I had trouble finding a balance between all the review books coming in, responding to comments and visiting other blogs. I could not keep up no matter how hard I tried. And that made me feel guilty, of course. I do not feel like I ever completely recovered.

Somehow I have stuck through it all, and I am so glad I did. There are many aspects of book blogging I have come to love. The community being top among them. The best part of all is the friends and acquaintances I have made. I am not sure I would have continued so long without you all. Reading is a solitary activity; it's just the book and the reader (maybe the author too). But when you add book blogging to the mix it becomes so much more than that. I also have enjoyed being able to meet and interact with authors, the people who create the stories and characters I love. And of course the books! The books! Thanks to you, I have learned about so many more books than I ever knew about before. You have expanded my reading horizons. I have discovered new authors, traveled to places via the pages of books I never imagined I'd go, and I have grown as a person--not just as a reader.

Because of recent life changes, book blogging has taken a relatively low place on my priority list. I have only recently begun to jump back into it, even if in a limited capacity. I miss the writing aspect of blogging more than I thought I would. Last year when I learned I was pregnant, I went back and forth about whether to continue blogging. I decided that if I did, Musings of a Bookish Kitty would not change. It would be all about the books. I am a relatively private person and that suited me fine.

The closer it came to the birth of my baby, the more I let my personal life spill out onto my blog. I couldn't help it. I was going through a lot of changes and writing about it helped ease some of the pressure. Many of you have been with me through it all, and I cannot even begin to express my gratitude.

The other day I had a thought that perhaps I should start a second blog, one of a more personal nature. I do not care if anyone reads it. I just want to write. Then Jennifer of Tropical Fruit Bowl suggested I could combine the bookish talk with the personal. I immediately thought of Florinda of The 3 R's Blog: Reading, 'Riting, and Randomness and Trish of Love, Laughter, and a Touch of Insanity, both bloggers whom I admire and respect. It makes more sense. Especially given how difficult it is for me to write about personal stuff sometimes. Plus, do I really have time to keep up two blogs? I can barely keep up with one right now. And if I did mix more personal with bookish topics on a regular basis, would I have to change my blog name? I don't know. I am just thinking out loud--or rather in writing. I hate to ostracize my readers who would prefer I stick to bookish topics. Regardless of what I decide, I am not ready to give up blogging any time soon. I just may end up taking a break now and then.

I have seen the book blogging community grow by leaps and bounds. It is a wonderful thing. It is also impossible to keep up with it all. My blog is just one of many, but it is my home. I don't go in for pretense or formality. I like to think of it as that proverbial kitchen table where we sit down for an afternoon snack and refreshment and chat about books and about life. I hope you will join me!

In honor of the 5th anniversary of Musings of a Bookish Kitty, I am giving away a gift card to a bookstore (winner's choice between Powell's, Amazon or Book Depository). The giveaway is open world wide. There are a couple of catches though! First, you must have a valid e-mail address. And second, please share with me something you especially like about my blog, whether it be a favorite feature, post, or the way I always use the phrase "swept off my feet."

Just fill out the form below and you'll be entered in the drawing for the gift card! The winner will be chosen at random and notified by e-mail. Deadline to enter is Saturday, August 6th.


© 2011, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved.If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

47 comments:

  1. 5 years-totally awesome-I just made it to two years-I agree it turning out to be the book bloggers community that is one of the best things about book bloging

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  2. Congratulations on 5 years of blogging! Yours was one of the first blogs I followed when I was new to this 4.5 years ago. I didn't realize you were such a "newbie" then -- your blog was so polished! Well it still is, of course. I'm glad you're finding time for it still, and I am also sure the right mix of topics will emerge. Just do what feels right and gives you pleasure!

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  3. Congratulations on 5 years! That is quite an accomplishment. I think keeping up 2 blogs is too much work and people enjoy personal posts.

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  4. Wendy, a very happy 5th blogversary to you! Your blog was one of the first I read, even before I had my own I think. I think that you should do as you like here. I don't think any of your readers would mind personal items - in fact, I think most people enjoy it. It comes from becoming friends with the person behind the book reviews or whatnot. Trish and Florinda are good examples, but many of us started by talking about books and have shared all kinds of things. The title of the blog is incidental in my mind. It's just your "handle" (remember the CB radios?). You're Wendy and you have a life outside of reading and we love you and enjoy whatever you have time to share with us. Hugs to you, girlfriend and hugs to your sweet little Mouse.

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  5. CONGRATULATIONS WENDY! Five years is an amazing milestone in this cyber world. I am glad that you did not give up on blogging and I, for one, enjoy reading your personal reflections on this blog :)

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  6. Five years is an amazing milestone, Wendy...and I think I've been following your blog for most of those five years now! I agree that melding the personal into your blog is better than starting a separate blog (it works for me!)...I think it is very hard to keep up more than one blog...I struggle with keeping up challenge blogs and A Novel Challenge, and sometimes just want to delete those so my focus is in just one place. But, regardless of what you do, as long as you keep doing what you love, I have every confidence you will be successful!

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  7. Well done Wendy! Your blog title still applies, as it is your musings, whether they be bookish or otherwise. I love stopping by your kitchen table for a gab about books or just life. I can count on hearing a new mystery author.
    I felt so bold, four years ago, asking to read Sherlock Holmes along with you but I am so glad I did.

    Kay is right. We all started talking about books and it naturally evolved into friendships around the world.

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  8. Congratulations on 5 years, Wendy! I only discovered your blog about a year ago, but it's one of my favorite places to stop by and get the latest review or a little baby news. I agree that the book blogging community is one of the best things about blogging, and I have made so many friends and have had such wonderful and life changing experiences through the blog. I can see that you have too. Happy blogoversary, my friend. I hope to see you here for another 5 years!

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  9. Congratulations. I took a number of years off blogging and just restarted by blog. You are an inspiration to me!

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  10. Congratulations on five years! I'm so glad I found your blog - and you! - and I look forward to many more years of heartfelt posts, about books and Mouse and whatever else you want to share with us. Hugs to you, my friend. :)

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  11. Congrats on 5 years! That is awesome!
    I think people like hearing about your family including the four legged ones. It makes your book reviews more personal somehow.

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  12. Oh, I do hope you just combine the books and the personal in this one blog! That's my vote anyway! :) Congrats! I won't be too far behind you...

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  13. Congratulations on 5 years of blogging. That is phenomenal! I love the idea of your blog evolving right along with you. I will always be a reader and enjoy the tidbits you are comfortably sharing about your life with your new baby girl.

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  14. Congrats on 5 years! Like you, I'd be wondering whether my blog should be a 99% book blog, or include more personal stuff so my readers would get to know me as a person better, and where I can document my non-book stuff too. Maintaining 2 blogs seem too daunting... so I haven't made up my mind yet! Thanks for the giveaway!

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  15. congratulations on 5 years, wendy! I hope you combine both your life and books, because in the end, they are intertwined, I think. I've enjoyed getting to know you and your book choices over the past two years. The wonders of the blogging world are really the friends we make here talking about books and life.

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  16. Congratulations on 5 years of blogging! I just celebrated my 5th a week ago, as well. :)

    If you choose to add more "real life" to your blog, I think the name still fits.

    Happy Blogging!

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  17. What raidergirl3 said: "Your blog title still applies, as it is your musings, whether they be bookish or otherwise."

    Ditto for me.

    We are glad that you have stuck around for all these years. Your voice has been heard and we hope to continue hearing it, even if it's not as often as we might like. At least, we're still hearing it.

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  18. Congratulations and Happy 5th Blogiversary, Wendy! I enjoy reading your blog and I'm so glad we're friends!! :)

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  19. Congratulations on your fifth year of blogging, Wendy! That's such an achievement.

    I think we've all wrestled with how much we let ourselves out on our blogs. I have enjoyed getting to know you a bit better, though, and I think it would be perfectly acceptable to combine the two (I love Trish and Florinda's blogs). I know I could never maintain two blogs.

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  20. Congrats! Please don't stop blogging Wendy!! I agree your blog name is perfect the way it is. What I love about your blog, besides the cats, is that you are always exposing me to books that I either have not heard about or would not have picked up to read if you had not written about them.

    ladybook21 at yahoo dot com

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  21. Happy blogiversary Wendy! 5 years is a big achievement and I am glad that you have pushed through those periods of doubt, which we all have, and continued on.

    In terms of your blogging, I would suggest that you just post what you feel like posting! If your blog doesn't keep evolving you might get bored with it in due course!

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  22. Congratulations on 5 years! I left a big comment on the form, but I think combining is just fine, obviously. If people don't like it, then they don't have to read.

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  23. Happy blogiversary! I hope you have many more years of blogging fun. I love the mix of personal and books and it really is like you're chatting with us! :)

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  24. COngrats on hitting 5 years! I personally like a mix of books and personal life. I feel like I know you and I like reading about what's going on. I had started my own personal blog and have found it very difficult to keep up both, so I don't post much at my other one. I to feel overwhelmed...been feeling like that with the blogs for awhile, but I know it will pass and I'll get my blogging legs back and jump right back in where I left off.

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  25. Congratulations on five years! I love a good mix of the personal and the bookish. I usually end up feeling like I know bloggers more that way and usually find out we have even more in common than books. :)

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  26. Congrats Wendy! I'm so glad for the priviledge of getting to know you. Do start another blog. You don't have to post all the time but it would be nice to see updates on Maggie and your new home. Yes, I see the sweet pics you post on fb but the stories behind it would be great!

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  27. Congratulations on 5 years! It's hard to keep up, especially with a little one who needs attention. I think one blog is plenty to keep up with. When I had Gage I knew I wouldn't have time for as many book posts so I started Sundays with Gage just to post about what was keeping me from reading! Sometimes I have serious posts and sometimes (like the last one) they are not so serious. It's also nice to have a catalog of the first year for friends and family (I plan on changing it considerably when he turns 1 in October)
    You have a great blog, so whatever you choose to do will be the right thing.

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  28. Congratulations on your bloggiversary Wendy! It's always such a delight to stop in and visit with you.

    Blogging has been hard for me to keep up with this year as well but I'm trying to just do what I can and not put any pressure on. There's no sense in that right.

    Anyway here's wishing you many more wonderful years ahead!

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  29. FIVE YEARS?! High five, lady! :)

    I know what you mean about having a hard time keeping up with the community. I'd love to see more personal posts on this blog...no need to start another blog. :D

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  30. A HUGE congratulations on the 5 years of blogging! I wish you the very best in the future as well :)

    Thanks so much for the giveaway!

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  31. You are aware that I too have been blogging for five years or so. You are one of my first book blogging friends. You were the first one where I won a Jodi Piccoult novel!

    I love to read your blog,which I do on my google reader!

    And keep writing this blog!

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  32. Five years is simply amazing! Way to go.

    I agree that blogger drama is complete nonsense too. F'real. lol

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  33. Mel U - Congratulations on making it to 2 years! The time goes by so fast, doesn't it? I really do love the book blogging community. You all have been with me through the ups and downs. It truly means a lot ot me.

    I am always on the look out for good Asian fiction. I enjoy reading books about cultures other than my own and places I've yet to visit or live. Thank you for your kind words and entering the giveaway!

    Laura - Ah! Thank you! I thought the same about your blog all those years ago. You are such a good writer and express yourself so well.

    I am thinking through ideas for non-bookish related posts. I have a feeling I'll continue to write mostly about books--I can't help myself.

    Kathy - Thank you! Two blogs does seem like an awful lot of work. I'm not sure how those who keep more than one manage it! I tried for awhile to keep the personal out of my blog--at least the non-bookish personal but it always seems to find its way in anyway. :-)

    Hillary - Thanks! :-)

    Kay - Thank you for your kind words, Kay, and your input on my idea of adding in more personal content here. I definitely think I'll give it a try. I've already got a few ideas--now just to find the time to write. LOL

    I will definitely pass along the hugs to Mouse--any excuse to give my little girl extra hugs. :-)

    Molly - Thanks so much! I haven't had a chance to comment on your blog recently, but I have been following along just the same. You definitely went through a lot of transition--both wonderful and terrible all at once. My heart goes out to you. I look forward to our expanding our blogs together.

    Wendy - Thank you, Wendy. You have been such an inspiration to me over the years. All of you have really. Juggling more than one blog does seem like more than I can take on, especially right now, that's for sure. You do such a great job with all of yours--A Novel Challenge is such a great resource. I am glad you were able to get help with that one as I can see keeping up on that one would be very time consuming, especially given how many challenges are out there nowadays.

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  34. Elizabeth - Thank you! It'd probably be impossible not to let the personal in, as close as we've all gotten, wouldn't it? I do remember you asking me to read Sherlock Holmes with you--and being so excited at the opportunity. And a little nervous too!

    Heather - Thanks so much! It's hard to believe we've only known each other a year! It feels like so much longer. I am so glad to have gotten to known you. I confess to worrying people will get tired of all the baby talk so I've tried to keep it to a minimum. I do owe you all another photo or two though! :-)

    Book Gal - Thank you! I am glad you are back to blogging again!

    Carrie - Thanks, Carrie! While I may be a bit reserved when it comes to sharing my thoughts and feelings in person, I admit to wearing my heart on my sleeve when writing. I really like the idea of combining the personal with the book talk the more I think about it. I am glad I'm not the only one considering it!

    Carla - Thank you! I haven't talked much about my furkids lately, have I? Those poor neglected animals! I need to remedy that.

    Suey - Thanks! It seems like the natural progression of my blog, I think. We'll see how it goes . . .

    Kathleen - Thank you! I can't believe it's actually been 5 years! "Evolving"--I like that! I think that's how I will think of the addition of the more personal in with the bookish talk. :-) I like how you add in the personal with your blog. And I can't believe I missed your birthday! Happy birthday, Kathleen!

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  35. Christa - Thank you! I think perhaps if I had more time and had more to say about non-bookish topics, another blog might be worth it, but I can't see it at this point in my life.

    Susan - Thank you so much! Your comment on the giveaway page brought tears to my eyes. And you are right--my life and books are intertwined. I can see it in how I read books. I can't help but personalize my reading. I'd be a terrible objective reviewer.

    Our cats are definitely blogging buddies! :-)

    Joy - Thank you, Joy! We're practically blogging twins! Congratulations to you too.

    Unfinishedperson - Thanks! When I have thoughts of giving up blogging, I realize it is just not possible. I love to "talk" too much.

    I think you and Raidergirl are right about the title. :-)

    'Nise - Thank you (for the congratulations and your kind words about my blog!). :-)

    Melody - Thank you, Melody! I am glad we are friends too. :-) You were one of my first blogging friends!

    Meghan - Thank you! I don't know how brave I am in talking about other things--so I imagine it will be a gradual process. I am glad to know my blogging friends are okay with the idea!

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  36. Elisabeth - Thank you! Book blogs are a great resource for finding books to read, aren't they? I can't begin to count the number of authors and books I've been introduced to since I began blogging and reading blogs!

    Marg - Thank you, Marg! Yes, we certainly all have had our slumps and moments of doubt, haven't we? It's good to know we aren't alone.

    Lisa - Thank you so much, Lisa, for your kind and thoughtful words. I really enjoy your blog, even if I haven't been much of a commenter lately. I loved your blog when you talked mostly about books and I was just a reader--and I love it still when you talk about your children, projects, and other activities--especially now that I am a mother too.

    Anna - Thanks, Anna! I am so glad that my blog does have a more personal feel to it. I really strive for a more casual air and it's nice to know I achieve it. You were the first person I interviewed for my A Page in the Life feature. I was so nervous about asking you. LOL Now I wonder why! You are such a nice person.

    Kris - Thank you, Kris! We all have had those moments, haven't we? When we consider whether to give up or not? I am glad we haven't! I keep meaning to tell you how much I love your Friday Smile feature. I may have to copy you someday--with your permission (and full credit to you) of course!

    Alyce - Thanks! You are so right! The more I think about it, the more I realize how many of my favorite bloggers (you included) share bits of their personal lives on their blogs. It seems to be a natural progression.

    Jaimie - Thank you, Jaimie! I could talk about little Mouse forever . . . :-) I consider you a friend too. :-) I appreciate all of your kind words. It means so much to me coming from you.

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  37. Donna - Thank you, Donna! :-)

    Stacy - Thanks, Stacy! You know first hand how difficult it can be juggling a new baby and a blog! I love your Sundays with Gage posts--I look forward to them every week. :-)

    Iliana - Thank you, Iliana! Taking out the "obligation" I felt for blogging four or five times a week was a huge relief. I don't feel as guilty anymore. I do though wish I was able to comment more on others blogs (like yours). I feel bad about that--even though I know I shouldn't.

    Trish - Hard to believe, isn't it? Five years goes by so fast--and yet in other ways it seems like a lifetime ago. I guess having a baby can do that to you, something I'm sure you understand. :-) Thank you so much for your support over the years--and all the great books you've sent my way!

    Sonia - Thank you, Sonia! It's a great quote, isn't it?

    Gautami - Thanks! Another blogging twin--kind of. :-) I count you among one of my first blogging friends too, Gautami. I enjoy reading your blog too--isn't Google Reader wonderful?

    Steph - Thank you! Cats and books go good together. :-)

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  38. Luise - Thanks so much! I love the personal touches of other book bloggers too--I don't know why I think no one will want to read mine. :-) And as you mentioned, the baby is so much a part of my life--I can't not talk about her.

    Jill (Rhapsody) - Thanks, Jill! I find it impossible not to be personal, even in my reviews. :-)

    Lori - You're so sweet! Thank you. I imagine I will still mostly write about books. My personal life isn't all that interesting. LOL

    Kelly - Haha! My TBR collection is a bit on the big side. :-) I think you're the only one who knows how big it truly is. Thank you for your kind words, by the way!

    Kristy - Thank you for your comment, Kristy. I love interacting with others on my blog. Like you said, it's not about getting readers--it's about connection and friendship for me. I admit I've fallen behind with keeping up with comments and visiting other blogs as of late, but I try to make my best effort when I can.

    Linda - You are too nice! Thank you, Linda. I am so glad to know you.

    Ti - Thank you, Ti. I really look up to you and am so glad you enjoy visiting my blog. I haven't been the best at responding to comments lately--and can't seem to make up my mind whether to respond by blog or e-mail lately--but I appreciate you sticking with me. :-)

    Pam - Oh, thank you, Pam! I appreciate so much that you've followed me through this journey. It means a lot to me.

    Sarah - Thank you! I do like variety when it comes to reading. Hopefully I will be reading some of my older books--they seem to get lost with all the newer books being reviewed out there.

    Spav - Thank you!

    Mystica - Thank you so much! And to think I thought the title of my blog was too cutsie when I first came up with it. :-)

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  39. This was such a wonderful post. I loved every word. I am always happy to be here. I'm a big believer in one blog. When someone has more than one, I just can't do it. I see myself as the whole of me, not sections like a reader, a cook, vegetable planter. I love reading your personal and your book posts right together.

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  40. I'm sorry I'm always late to your parties! 5 years is an awesome accomplishment! I was thinking that you don't need to change your blog name if you are going to start including more personaly posts...Musings of a Bookish Kitty doesn't limit you to just books, at least I don't think so...

    Did I tell you I started another blog...a more personal one in the hopes of helping me as well as other folks. I called itI'm Amy and I'm Disabled although now I'm thinking about changing. On the other hand the title says what I want to say so....

    I always talk to much here, too..Sorry!
    Thank you for a generous giveaway. It's very sweet of you!

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  41. Just wanted to say congratulations. Isn't five something like 62 in blog years? ;-) Here's to five more wonderful years.

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  42. Happy anniversary Wendy. Yours was one of the first blogs that I started reading a little over four years ago so by that point you were already a veteran. ;) I don't remember how I stumbled across your blog--was it maybe a reading challenge?--but I always looked up to you and your blogging.

    It's amazing how the book blogging world has evolved and I can see it continuing to evolve. I'm not sure I always like it--the drama seems to always loom, huh? But I'm glad so many "old folks" have stuck with blogging and I'd surely miss you if you moved on.

    On the other hand, I'd be thrilled if you blogged more personal. For me the transition seemed natural--we share so much of ourselves, whether we mean to or not, through our love of reading and books that finally it felt weird not sharing other things about my life. I just declared today officially that I'm not longer considering myself a book blogger, and that's hard...but what can you do?

    I don't want to make this comment any longer but I wanted to say that I look forward to seeing whatever it is you blog about. You have such a way with words. Thanks for being such an inspriation. ;) And I agree that your blog title doesn't necessarily limit you to books. Musings is the key word, right?

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  43. Nan - Thank you, Nan! You bring up a good point. We already follow so many blogs; adding to the mix might be too much for our reders.

    Amy - Thanks so much, Amy! I didn't know you started another blog! I'll have to check it out. I think it's a great idea.

    C.B. - Haha! I think you're right. Five years is a long time in the blogging world. A few decades at least. Thank you!

    Trish - Thank you, Trish. I remember feeling the same about you when I first discovered your blog--still do. :-)

    You wrote a brillant post about switching from book blogger to blogger. I could identify with it on so many levels. It was as if you were in my head. You've been there a lot lately though going by many of your recent posts. :-) I wish we lived closer. Not only for the girls but for us too!

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  44. Jenny - Thanks!

    Marie - Thank you! I love the idea of your movie blog. I wish I was around more to keep up with it. :-( I think once the baby's older it'll be easier. Much older maybe, but eventually. LOL

    Amanda - I think that's what I'll end up doing in the end. :-)

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