I've been thinking about the reasons why I enjoy blogging, and also an addition which will probably prove to be worthwhile.
Keeping a book blog is a good, cheap hobby.
Not long ago, I was toying with the idea of trying to make soap or bath bombs, thinking it might be nicer and more cost effective than buying them from shops. It took no time to see that the prices of citric acid, scents and other things I'd need would add up quickly to more than I could spare. My daughter reminded me how much money she's poured into her craft hobbies, which she's earned from her part time jobs. I can't really follow her example, because I never have a spare dollar lying around.
Working on this blog, however, can be kept down to free, if I plan it right. Requesting books from blogging programmes, borrowing them from the library, or accepting people's requests for reviews costs nothing. The craft I am working with is my own thoughts. So not only am I not spending money, but I'm also saving money, in the form of free books.
It helps what I've read to stay in my head.
When I was still homeschooling my two elder kids, I used to set them the challenge to find something good, memorable or interesting about any book, movie or event, no matter how tedious it might have seemed on the surface. I remember when my pastor challenged us all with something similar. He'd been speaking about the story of Balaam and said, 'If God can speak through a donkey, he can also speak through me.' If you don't record impressions though, they're more likely to filter through your brain without leaving a trace behind.
Processing my thoughts about books often turns into a keepsake for me. I even print some of them off so I can keep them in a folder to refer to when I need a bit of a mood boost, or reminder of why some particular author impressed me so much. And of course, I do the same by skimming through the titles of all the fiction and non-fiction I've now reviewed up the top of this blog.
So I'm looking forward to providing even more this year. But here is the change from now onwards.
I've decided to start adding genres and categories.
In the past I didn't bother so much with classifications. I believed that where it hasn't been obvious, it didn't matter because a good book is a good book for everyone. However, now I'm writing more of a variety of reviews, I thought it might be helpful after all. I've been writing the occasional review for RISE Magazine, a South Australian publication focusing on Christian content. This year, I've also started doing some reviewing for The Book Curator, a magazine designed to help school librarians make their selections with all sorts of books.That means I'll be reading more Young Adult novels than I have for several years, which I'm looking forward to. In both cases, I have permission to use reviews on my blog too, if I tweak them a bit so they're not completely identical.
So from now on, I'll be including a line up the top of each blog review, indicating the main market the book is aimed for, whether children, YA or adult, and also whether it's aimed at the Christian or General market.
I hope you'll stick with me and keep getting ideas for your reading pile.