Most Book Bloggers, like any good aficionados of a particular entertainment industry, thrive on the cutting edge, the new releases, the newest and hottest craze, and the year's award winners. I am not that Book Blogger. I am behind the times; I lack insight and interest into the newest releases or the most promising new authors. To be frank, my method of finding and reading books doesn't lend itself well to Book Blogging at all.
A few years ago I went to Books-A-Million to pick up a copy of Divergent. The film was coming out, and I was looking to increase traffic to my Blog. I figured reading and reviewing Divergent could help drive a few more views. (In reality it did just that; my review of Divergent is one of my more widely read posts). I found Veronica Roth's book, put it under my arm, and began to casually peruse the rest of the store. At that point I began to debate with myself. Should I spend 10+ dollars on a young adult fiction book I don't really care about or pick up a book I feel would be more substantial and far more interesting? I tried to remember why I was there. Read and review a currently popular book to increase views on my Blog! Simple mission. Simple task. I ended up walking out of the bookstore with Life of Pi by Yann Martel. (As previously mentioned, I did eventually buy a copy of Divergent and gave it a scathing review; sometimes my first impressions are correct).
Herein lies my problem. I don't care that much about what is popular, what is "fresh." I just want to find and read amazing books. Often times that criterion doesn't align all that well with new and popular books. I also don't care when the book was published. I am prone to get just as excited about reading a book published twenty years ago as I am with a book published twenty days ago. While attending Church several months ago, I came across a large box full of books that someone was giving away. I searched through the books ravenously. I picked out two books—From Beirut to Jerusalem by Thomas L. Friedman, published in 1989, and Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather, published in 1927. I was as excited to get those books as I would have been if I had pre-ordered Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee and Amazon delivered it the day of its release. This is exactly why I pay no attention to published date when I select my Best Books of the Year. I don't care when they were published. What matters to me is when I read them.
In addition to a lack of concern for what's current or new, I also find myself gravitating to some books which may not have the largest audience or market penetration. This is mostly done accidentally and not deliberately. In other words, I don't go out of my way to be a contrarian. My interests sometimes don't align with many others. As many are reading the latest James Patterson book, I'm wading through Two Treatises on Government and a Letter Concerning Toleration by John Locke. I can't even keep my reading habits narrow enough to be a Science Fiction or Fantasy Book Blogger. I like both genres, but I don't read either exclusively or even the majority of the time. Just this last year, I went from reading The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien to reading The Lord's Way by Dallin H. Oaks. Considering my goal of reading 1,000 books in my lifetime, it would be much easier to read mystery novel after mystery novel and admire my quickly rising Books I Have Read list total. Yet, I have no interest in that. I love variety—science fiction to American history, fantasy to social commentary, southern literature to biography. All of this is great as an intellectual exercise, but it's not great for Book Blogging.
And so I read on and blog on. I'm not a terribly great Blogger, but I can read with the best of them. Although the books I'm interested in may not find happy homes on many bookshelves, I certainly know I have found some extraordinary books which may not have found an extraordinarily large audience. And when it comes to my readers, I guarantee that at least a few times I'll be able to point you in the right direction. The books may not be current, may not be the most widely read, but they'll absolutely be worth reading.
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