A little over five years ago – on November 4, 2009 – I started this blog. I was largely inspired by reading Eva’s blog, A Striped Armchair, particularly her Library Loot vlogs, which were like Reading Rainbow episodes for grown-ups.
Except for that first year, when I threw myself into challenges and memes, I’ve never been a very prolific blogger. But writing review posts has become part of the pleasure of reading, for me. I often feel like my experience of the book isn’t complete until I’ve written about it. I also enjoy being a part of the book blogging community, whether it’s following up on a recommendation from another book blog, commenting on others’ posts, participating in a readalong, or meeting other bloggers in person.
As I was thinking about five years’ of blogging, I decided to look back at my older posts. And then I had the idea to highlight ten reviews/posts that stood out to me personally:
1. Random Family by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc. Review posted Nov. 5th, 2009.
– This was my first review post so of course I had to include it. Random Family was one of my favorite reads that year too: a nonfiction book about a group of young people growing up in the Bronx. It was probably good to start off my reviews with a book that’s easy to praise.
2. Defiance by Nechama Tec. Review posted Jan. 1, 2010.
Defiance is a nonfiction book about a Jewish partisan community – the Bielski Otriad – that survived World War II in the forests of Belorussia. This is one of the few book / movie comparisons I’ve done on this blog, and I was really happy with how it turned out. I really took the movie to task, ha ha.
3. Stasiland by Anna Funder. Review posted Nov. 24, 2010.
Honestly, I think this review of a nonfiction book about the former German Democratic Republic is one of my favorite posts because I like the quotes I included so much.
4. Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell. Review posted Mar. 20, 2011.
I wrote this review after re-reading the book (the first time I read it was in 2006, pre-blogging days). Winter’s Bone is one of my favorite books and I felt like I was able to articulate the merits of the book as well as what elements struck me in the re-reading experience.
5. Into the Heart of Borneo by Redmond O’Hanlon. Review posted Jul. 9, 2011.
I am terribly fond of travel writing and have reviewed a number of travel nonfiction books in my blog. I think I like this post because I liked being reminded of this book again. Into the Heart of Borneo is not a book I think of a lot normally, but when I saw it in my review index, I was awash in bookish sentiment over it.
6. Making Toast by Roger Rosenblatt. Review posted Sept. 10, 2011.
I remember that I spent a lot of time thinking about how to review this memoir about the author’s sudden loss of his daughter. It was difficult to write because I didn’t like the book and I had a hard time unpacking why I didn’t like it.
7. Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens. Review posted Dec. 10, 2011.
I feel a sense of accomplishment regarding my two-paragraph overview which attempts to describe what Our Mutual Friend is “about”. The review itself is also one of my better ones. I think I spent more time on my posts then.
8. Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen, translation by Tiina Nunnally. Review posted May 1, 2012.
I loved reading these Fairy Tales and really indulged myself in writing this lengthy review, calling out a number of the stories for particular mention.
9. The Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs. Review posted Oct. 1, 2012.
I like this post simply for the novelty of reviewing an entire series (not including trilogies) and pulling together my thoughts on all six novels. (Two more have been published since then.)
10. Reading my ancestor’s journal. Posted Nov. 17, 2013.
This was a non-bookish post where I talked about and included excerpts from my great-great grandmother’s journal, which I had been copying over into a Word document. My great-great grandmother lived in Williamsburg, Massachusetts and kept the journal from 1888 to 1902. I was surprised and delighted by all the interest that the blog post gathered and posted a few more times with excerpts from the journal. I hope to return to copying over and posting about the journal this winter.
Though I have no intention of stopping, it’s hard to imagine blogging for another five years. I have no idea what blogging will be like in 2019, much less what I will be doing with my life in 2019, but I hope that when that year comes I will still be discussing books with a community of online readers. (I have no doubt I will still be reading!)