Why I do Whatever it is that I do (Top Ten Tuesday)

We all get stressed every once in a while, right?  The "To Do" list begins to resemble a short story (or maybe even a novel) and we start wishing for more hours in the day.  There's household chores, work duties, family commitments and there never seems enough time to do it all... let alone write out a blog post, or two, or five.  So why blog?  Why spend time that could be devoted to other things in life writing out thoughts, feelings, and ideas to spin out into cyberspace never even knowing if anyone in the universe will read them?  And better - or maybe worse - why a book blog?  Now not only do we place upon ourselves the undue burden of writing, but now we must also read.  And write reviews.  And read enough that we have meaningful commentary to provide on a regular basis.

What level of insanity is that?!??


That question brings me to this week's Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Things To Love About Book Blogging.  Or as I have posted it, what is it about this craft that keeps me hooked despite the busyness of everyday life?  It's a question I ask myself fairly often when I feel like this blog is just taking up my time.  Why do I blog, and why a book blog?  The lovely folks over at The Broke and The Bookish are celebrating their one year blogiversary - Happy One Year and Here's to Many Many More - and I'm pleased to join in their festivities by sharing with you my top ten reasons for being a book blogger.

1. Books.  Stating the obvious, right?  "I love book blogging because I love books."  It doesn't get more basic than that, but it also doesn't get any more important.  I love to read and it's often hard to find people around me that read as much and as diversely as I do.  However, in the book blogging community bibliophiles abound and I've never had trouble finding people who share my expansive and eclectic tastes!

2. Writing about books.  I love to write.  I've dabbled in composing novels but all my writing has always been for the fun of writing.  it's hard for me to describe the passion I possess for putting words on paper (..err.. computer screen?)  I like reflecting on any number of thoughts but especially when it comes to sharing books, I really enjoy writing about what I read.  I've never had any great talent in music or art, but writing is my outlet of expression.  It's my means to create something new and original every time I approach a pen (...errr... keyboard) and I love it.

3. Comments.  I honestly believe I would keep this blog up and running even if I never had a single hit on it, but there is something euphoric about receiving comments.  I know I write mostly for me, but I do a little (okay, a big) happy dance every time someone leaves a comment!  I keep telling myself that I'm really not in this for validation from others, but at the same time, the whole pursuit is more enjoyable as a conversation rather than a monologue.  I like to be challenged, affirmed, contradicted, congratulated, and second-guessed.


4. Discovering new (or old) works.  Book blogging has expanded my reading horizons.  I would venture that this item is going to appear on many, many lists today so I won't over-expand here, but I do want to say thank you to everyone who has recommended a book to me in the past.  Whether it's an author or publicist seeing that my tastes match their current stock of ARCs or a fellow blogger chiming in with "if you like x, you have to read y", I love recommendations.

5. Discussing bookish topics.  As much as I enjoy writing book reviews, some of my favorite blog-based conversations have developed when a book review turned into a thematic discussion of something literary that transcended the original work that brought it to my mind.  Three such examples were books in the digital age (The Book by M. Clifford); alterations to classic literature (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain); and the stereotyping of genres for genders (A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin).

6. Connecting with other bloggers.  I suppose this goes hand-in-hand with number three, but if writing my own bookish posts is two scoops of ice cream, reading great posts by others is the hot fudge, whipped cream, and cherry on top! 

7. Memes.  Not all of them, mind you, but there are a few that have been so immeasurably fun to post that I can't help but join the pro-meme bandwagon.  Along with Top Ten Tuesdays (from The Broke and The Bookish) and Fairy Tale Fridays (from Tif Talks Books), I've started a few features of my own including A Weekend to ReCOVER, Series in September, and Indie in Summer and it's been really fun to have others comment on and link up to them.

8. Authors.  There would be no book blogs without books and there would be no books without authors.  Another fabulous thing about becoming a book blogger is the platform it has given me to interact with authors.  I've always felt that great books inspire dialog and conversation and I'm immensely grateful for the opportunities I have had to carry out those dialogs with authors and catch a glimpse of the people and personalities behind the pages.  Here's a link to the ever-growing list of authors I've had the pleasure of interacting with on this blog. 

9. Giveaways.  Is it crazy-selfish of me to list this one?  Seriously I like hosting them as much as I like entering them, but I'd be lying if I failed to mention FREE BOOKS as a reason why I really do love being a book blogger!! And for those new to Her Book Self, check back later this week for a giveaway of R.T. Kaelin's Progeny: The Children of the White Lions!  (A few details were announced yesterday...)

10. YOU!  Okay, strip away all the generic stuff about me loving comments and loving to connect with other bloggers - it's all true, but really, from the bottom of my heart, you are a reason I love being a book blogger.  Now even if you're saying to yourself, "Self, I don't even know this lisa person."  That's okay.  You're reading this, and that's awesome!  I do write for myself, but trust me when I say I'm very glad you're reading.
"I speak to these people, and I speak to you because I cannot help it. It gives me strength, almost unbelievable strength, to know that you are there... How blessed are we to have each other? I am alive and you are alive so we must fill the air with our words. I will fill today, tomorrow, every day until I am taken back to God. I will tell stories to people who listen and to people who don't want to listen, to people who seek me out and to those who run."
-Dave Eggers, What is the What
Once again, Happy Blogiversary to The Broke and The Bookish!  I think I speak for many bloggers when I thank you for your wonderful blog and the way you infuse community into the book blogging world.  I have found many a wonderful blog through your site and I am always cheered when I hear of people stumbling onto Her Book Self through you!  Looking forward to reading all the other great entries in this fun edition of Top Ten Tuesday!

22 Response to "Why I do Whatever it is that I do (Top Ten Tuesday)"

  1. Helen Smith says:
    June 21, 2011 at 4:44 PM

    Great list, Lisa!

    Have a fun week.

  2. Ellen Stewart (aka Ellie/El/e/Mrs. Seaman) says:
    June 21, 2011 at 4:45 PM

    Self,
    I do know this blogger, and I like her a lot, even though I don't comment as much as I should!
    me

  3. Megan says:
    June 21, 2011 at 8:08 PM

    I love those posts that get at the bookish topics behind the books, too. It's so interesting to see everyone's takse on literary "issues."

    #2 is a big one for me, too. I know one of the reasons I got into this game was that I just missed having the opportunity to get my thoughts out in writing. I was that weird kid in college who would much rather write a paper than take a test, and once I graduated, I missed the whole writing process. Yay for blogging to get some of that back!

  4. Red says:
    June 22, 2011 at 7:31 AM

    Great list!Having the opportunity to regularly write is one of the items on my list. Are you still trying your hand at novel writing?

  5. Sarah says:
    June 22, 2011 at 8:04 AM

    Awesome list! It's so true that even though we all try not to think too much of what others thinking, and whether they're reading our blogs are not... comments are SUPER awesome. It makes us book bloggers feel HEARD!

  6. lisa :) says:
    June 22, 2011 at 10:46 AM

    Helen & Ellen - (hey, that rhymes!) Thanks, you know I love it when people take the time to leave their two cents!

    Megan - The issues posts were an unexpected surprise for me in book blogging. I took a bunch of philosophy classes in college and I never realized how much I enjoyed/missed the aspects of debate and intellectual discourse. And definitely the writing too! I was one of those that never dreaded term papers either!

    Red - I "won" NaNoWriMo (national novel writing month) each of the past four years, but I've used it more as an experiment to challenge myself to create stories rather than to seriously write something publishable. I'm still trying to identify my voice as a writer (something with which this blog has helped) but I know I need work (and practice) to tack down the art of good storytelling. Are you dabbling in novel-dom too?

    Sarah - Thanks! I know a large motivation of my writing is my own joy, but as you said, it is great to feel heard!

  7. Red says:
    June 22, 2011 at 11:19 AM

    I haven't done any fiction writing in a long time, but I would like to start. Maybe go with short stories before tackling a novel. Congrats on winning NaNoWriMo. I'm impressed by anyone that manages to finish that challenge!

  8. rockyriverteenlibrarian says:
    June 22, 2011 at 6:04 PM

    I do love the memes! I think I will have more than 1 favorites of 2011 list. That's the beauty of the book blog-I can make do what I want. So, 11 favorite audiobooks, 11 favorite SF books, 11 favorite debuts...I can have 11 favorites lists if I want! Let me know if you have any ideas for more lists.

  9. Jennifer Perry says:
    June 22, 2011 at 7:43 PM

    Good list, Lisa! Your blog is alway energetic and fun.

  10. SweetMarie83 says:
    June 23, 2011 at 11:31 AM

    I love your reasons, they're my favorite so far, and you said it perfectly and beautifully! I haven't been book blogging long, but now I can't imagine NOT doing it, not only because I love to read, love to write, and love getting comments (I had to laugh when I read your point about comments, it's like you read my mind), but because of awesome people like YOU! :-)

  11. lisa :) says:
    June 23, 2011 at 4:22 PM

    Red - You should give NaNoWriMo a try! My thought on it has always been, even if you only write 1000 words, that's 1000 words you would not ahve written otherwise!

    rockyriv - I like your idea of multiple lists! I'll let you know if I think of any you should include!

    Jennifer - Thanks so much!

    SweetMarie - You're so... sweet! I noticed a lot of bloggers had similar things on their lists but one of the things I enjoy about Top Ten Tuesdays is that even when people have similar picks, they can still manage to be unique because each person puts their own spin on them!

  12. gautami tripathy says:
    June 23, 2011 at 11:13 PM

    I love blogging. PERIOD!!!

    Here is my Top Ten post!

  13. Hilde says:
    July 17, 2011 at 7:47 AM

    "if writing my own bookish posts is two scoops of ice cream, reading great posts by others is the hot fudge, whipped cream, and cherry on top!"

    Brilliant analogy! :)

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