Thursday, September 18, 2008

BBAW: Tooting My Own Horn

Today's Book Blogger Appreciation Week Topic:
Well, the awards are being handed out and congratulations passed on, I hear there's a best dressed/worst dressed in book blogging edition to come, but the truth is you are all pretty darned spectacular. So for today, why not show it off?

Go hunt through your archives and find your favorite review, or author interview where you asked just the right insightful questions, or another post about something totally unrelated--a post where you think you're at your best and share it here! So today, it's really important to link to your specific post and NOT your general URL. OR. If you can't decide on just one, write up a new post containing the links to your favorites. It's your it whichever way you want!

This should help us all get to know you a little better!

Bragging about myself has never been my strong suit. I take humility to the extreme not because it is a virtue, but because I am a perfectionist and nothing is ever perfect. That is a concept I do accept, by the way. I am not perfect, and I can live with that. Not being perfect does not make me lose sleep or freak out (not most of the time anyway); so you don't have to worry about me there.

I think my most favorite posts are the ones I didn't write. I recently had the opportunity to go on vacation, and I made arrangements with several authors and a publicist to stand in during my absence. Getting up the courage to ask my guests to post was a big accomplishment for me and then to put it all together took some work as well. There were a couple of moments when I wondered why I was doing this. My faithful readers would not begrudge me a vacation after all. At the very least, it would be one less blog post they would have to read every day. I also reminded myself that there have been days I haven't posted and the world still rotated, and so why was I so insistent that I have fill-ins?

I wanted to offer a gift of sorts to my readers. I wanted to honor you and those who I blog about. I read all these books (not nearly as many as some of you), review them, offer up bookish chatter, and rarely take time out to thank the people behind putting the books in my hands. The internet has made it easier for readers to interact with authors and I am still awed that authors would want anything to do with me. When an author contacts me about reviewing a book, I have a moment of "Oh my goodness! Is he or she crazy?! Why me? I'm nobody!" And then I shoot off an e-mail to my husband if he's at work or turn to him if we're home and share my astonishment with him. He does not understand why I am surprised. He thinks I'm rather awesome (and he should since he married me, right?).

I knew I was asking a lot of these authors to take time out of their busy schedules to write up a post for me. An interview might have been easier for each of them, admittedly, but I was going on vacation and didn't want to give myself that much work. They each did a wonderful job--even better than I could have hoped for. But what made it even more special for me were the comments left by those who stooped by, whether you responded to each post or not. You all made me feel like my extra effort was worth every drop of sweat I put into it. It isn't about the stats; it was about me wanting to do something for you that you would find useful and entertaining--and I am so glad that many of you did.

Why am I going on and on about this? It's because I am trying to rack my brain to think of a stand out review I have written to link here. I really am terrible at singling myself out like this. What stands out for me are the books themselves and not so much what I have to say about them. It kind of defeats the purpose of the exercise, doesn't it? I'll just pick one at random, how about that? I especially enjoy writing reviews that touch me in a personal way. One of the big professional reviewer no no's is using "I" statements, especially if the reviewer goes so far as to talk about him or herself. And yet, those are the reviews that I like the most as a reader. My review of Ann-Marie MacDonald's The Way the Crow Flies is an example of this.

A couple of years ago, I got on a kick of summarizing my reading each month in what I thought was a rather creative way for my online reading groups. I wanted to do more than just offer up a list of the books I had read during the month. It seemed to be a big hit, and I decided to carry it over to my blog. It lasted for two months. To this day, I still love the idea and wish I was motivated to start back up with it.

Now that I seem to be on a roll, I have to mention The Booking Through Thursday memes, which have been great inspiration for me. Some of my favorites include:
  • Booking Through Thursday: Indoctrination
  • Booking Through Thursday: Enough About Books
  • Booking Through Thursday: After the Honeymoon

  • Then there is my rating scale, which I am quite fond of. I can't take all the credit for it, but it is a masterpiece if I do say so myself.

    It has been really exciting to watch my little blog grow over the last two years. I still cannot believe anyone would want to read what I have to say, but here you are.


    1. Yep, great minds think alike.

    2. That's one of the things I really like about blogging book reviews - I can state my own impressions AS my own, using personal pronouns, and I don't have to phrase things so objectively :-). I agree that the best reviews to read - and for me, the most fun to write - are those that have that personal angle.

      And I know exactly what you mean about that "What? Me?" feeling when an author offers you a book to review, but I could get to like it myself.

      I like those reading summaries you did. Maybe if enough people tell you that they like them too, that will be your motivation to start them up again!

    3. Every once in awhile you do have to admit your own abilities. Modesty becomes you.

      Wow, does that make any sense at all? I'm getting a head cold and my IQ is plummeting.

    4. You have every right to toot your own horn and I give you my blessings. LOL!

      Great job you've done with your blog, Wendy! Actually, I was quite 'worried' when you announced you're going on vacation. But then you filled us with so much goodies in your absence. I even bought all of Colleen Gleason's books - thanks to you! I finished the first book in the series and moving on to the next one. So there, you did a mighty fine job. *GRIN*

      I tried clicking on the summarizing link but it didn't work...

    5. That is a great rating system. You should be bragging about it. :)

    6. One of the best things I like about you is you're always so humble, Wendy! :) I love reading your blog; you always have great things to share and your reviews are always so good and thoughtful. As you can tell, I'm one of your faithful readers. ;) And finally, thanks for being a friend!

    7. I always enjoy reading what you have to say, Wendy. And I think you have a way with words.

      I know all about the "Me??? But I'm a nobody!" reaction :P I often have it myself. But you know, we're just ordinary people who love books, but in our own way we're doing something to keep the conversation going, to keep the love of reading alive. And that's important too, right?

      Also, I completely agree with Florinda about being able to be personal. That's what I love the most about book blogs. I get to read the thoughts of a person, not the statements of some sort of institution. To be honest, I think it's impossible not to be personal when discussing books. There's no such thing as an objective review. Professionals just happen to disguise their opinions as facts.

    8. When I look at the blogs that I read I find it interesting that I don't always have the same books I love in common with the other person. I don't read the thrillers you do or the sci-fi and fantasy that Nymeth does or the mysteries that Joy reads so much of. But I keep visiting because I love what you all have to say--and Wendy, you say it very well. I love reading your thoughts on the books and how they speak to you or fit into your life. Your efforts are never lost and they make me want to be a better blogger. And I would totally get a kick out of the montly reviews--very fun!! :)

      You should toot that horn of yours--and loudly!

    9. After the Honeymoon is one of my favourite of your BTT posts too! Though really, you always write such thoughtful posts.
      And I don't think I'd ever read your rating scale before. Very fun! :)

    10. Rebecca - Yes, they do! :-)

      Serena - Thank you.

      Florinda - I definitely like hearing from authors! I will give serious thought to starting up those summaries again. They are fun to write.

      Carrie K - LOL I know what you mean. :-) I do hope you feel better soon! Hopefully the head cold will decide to peter out before it starts.

      Alice - Thank you! I am glad you enjoyed the guest posts. :-) I fixed the link. Thank you for pointing that out!

      Amber - Isn't it neat? My husband pitched in a lot of help with that.

      Melody - You are so sweet! Thank you!

      Nymeth - Oh, thanks so much! You are right. We are doing something important in our own way. It may not change the world, but every little bit helps. :-)

      You are so right about professional reviews! You said it much better than I could.

      Trish - Thank you! There have been times when I've come across a blogger review of a book I had dismissed and suddenly I become curious because of what that blogger had to say. And it's fun getting to know each other better through our reviews, even of those books we may not be interested in.

      Nat - I went off on a big tangent on that one! LOL Thank you!

    11. See, once you get started thinking about this, there's a lot of great corners of the blog to point to!

      I love your rating system; I don't have mine defined it writing ... in my head it translates to the star/word system used on Netflix.

      It's great that decided to ask for guest posts when you were away. You knew that your blog was in good hands, and it's fun to mix up the content every once in a while.

    12. Dawn - Yes, that is true. :-) My husband pointed out that my rating system is a lot like the one used by Bookmarks Magazine. I hadn't noticed that before, but he's right.


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