BBAW

Book Blogger Appreciation Week: Blogger Burnout

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I thought I would jump back in the Book Blogger Appreciation Week with day 5, which is a topic very dear to my burny heart – blogger burnout.

I’m going to keep this short, sharp and sweet. I haven’t really managed to counteract blogger burnout. I have noticed a pattern to my burnouts however – I get busy with work/school/uni and don’t have time to blog, and then I don’t come back once life gets easy again. It’s okay to get busy and devote less time to blogging – that’s healthy unless this is your job (and it definitely isn’t my job!). However, I need to find ways to come back when things get less busy. Otherwise Ranty Runt of a Reader will be that thing that I ‘used to do,’ and I enjoy blogging so much I don’t want to lose another hobby.

I’ve decided that I’m going to aim for one post a week while I am studying – and hopefully by not committing to more than I can handle I will still stay passionate about my blog. The other thing I want to remember is that I’ve made a commitment to quality over quantity. If I post one well written and considered review a month, that is better than ten rushed posts that don’t really speak to who I am and what I have been doing.

Also, I’m giving myself permission to not write posts for days 3 & 4 of the Book Blogger Appreciation Week – I’ve had a great week talking to my fellow bloggers, made so many new friends and been reinvigorated about my blogging.

I can’t think the wonderful bloggers over at The Estella Society for resurrecting BBAW for 2016, and I am looking forward to participating in this next year, hopefully with even more new bloggers!

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Book Blogger Appreciation Week – Day 2 interview

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The task today for #BBAW was to conduct an interview with a fellow book blogger. This activity for me was more difficult than I would have liked, I haven’t interviewed anyone since I was in high school! I kept thinking over and changing my questions and it didn’t help that the person who I was interviewing is one of the bloggers who I have not so subtly stalked in the past. Andi at Estella’s Revenge is so gracious and I really enjoyed interviewing her. I loved being able to ask questions of a blogger way more experienced than I am, and she was very enlightening. Onto the interview…

1)      Could you share some blogs that inspire you? Who do you turn to in the blogging world when you need to bounce ideas? Any favourites that you keep coming back for?

Heather from Capricious Reader is my bestest bud and one of the most creative bloggers I know. I envy her writing “voice”. She’s such a beautiful blend of quirky, funny, and observant, and we do a LOT of bouncing ideas around. I also find myself going to Outlandish Lit, Shaina Reads, River City Reading, and so many others for inspiration because of their fabulous content and great wellspring of creativity.

2)      Being mother to Greyson, running a literary blog and working in higher education, I assume your life is filled with many excellent books, but as bloggers we don’t talk children’s books very often- could you recommend some children’s books?  (Also, how do you get time for all your commitments and all that reading?!)

Oooh, I do love a good children’s book. Some of my (and Greyson’s) favorites are: anything by Matt McElligott who wrote Even Monsters Need Haircuts and Even Aliens Need Snacks. Since Greyson has just really hit the ground running with reading this year, and he loves animals, we’re mutually addicted to the Biggety Bat books by Ann Ingalls. And finally, my child loves Halloween and monsters all year, so we recently grabbed The Hallo-Wiener by Dav Pilkey from the library about a weenie dog whose mother dresses him up as a hot dog for Halloween. We have two weenie dogs, so this one hit close to home and was really fun.

As for commitments and reading….I used to be REALLY good at burning my candle at both ends, but these days I find myself clearing out responsibilities in order to blog at Estella’s Revenge, Book Riot, Panels, AND work in PR AND teach online. Something has to give, but I’m still figuring out just what!

3)      You have been blogging at Estella’s Revenge for a long time, and reading through your blog I can see that you still come up with new and creative content. How do you manage to keep things fresh? Any advice to newer bloggers such as myself for maintaining a quality blog? I have a 30-minute commute each way to work. I tend to come up with my best ideas either on that commute or in the shower. In the case of the commute, I depend heavily on voice text to record notes about new ideas on my phone, and I keep a running list of potential post ideas. And with 11 years of blogging under my belt, I’m not opposed to bringing back an old topic to give it a new spin.

4)      Do you have a favourite genre of book? Do you have a favourite book from that genre? Hmmmm, I read across most genres, but I tend toward literary fiction…especially books with a sf/fantasy or magical realism twist.  I can’t really think of any genres that are totally out for me. Westerns are probably my least-read genre, though I still have a favorite from it! I loved The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt a few years ago.

5)      If you could change one thing in the publishing and/or blogging world, what would you change? This might be a cop out, and it’s totally personal rather than industry-related, but I would get to meet more bloggers in person. I’ve had the pleasure to meet quite a few over the years, but I’m a glutton for book talk and for knowing the people behind the blogs I love. Luckily, I will get to attend BEA for the first time this year, so there will be much meeting and hugging and wine drinking.

Thank you so much, Andi. I’ve been interviewed on Estella’s Revenge,  where I talk way too much about books set in Vietnam. If you don’t already, check out Andi’s twitter, @estellasrevenge I have been stalkfollowing it for awhile now and she tweets some very interesting things!

 

 

Book Blogger Appreciation Week – Introduction

I’m excited to be participating in Book Blogger Appreciation Week, thank you so much to all the wonderful women at estellasociety.com for bringing back this wonderful week. I wasn’t around to participate in the previous years, but I am so excited to be involved this time.

The challenge has been put to us to select five books that represent you as a person or your interests/lifestyle. This was a HARD task, but these are the books that I went with.

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It’s hard to select a book that represents you, but so much of what makes me is my family and friends. I identify with Joe Pickett’s family, they remind me so much of what I had growing up. A father who was loving but had a time consuming and job – with strange and variable hours. A mother who would lay down her life for her children. And my sister and I are the two girls in this book – we fought tooth and nail but when it came down to it, always had each others’ backs. Our relationship has matured and become stronger with time, and I love seeing the same happen with the girls in the Joe Pickett series.

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Tracks by Robyn Davidson resonated with me. I grey up in the “Outback” although we usually just call it a rural area. I was raised on red soil and harsh hot summers. The beach was a form of salvation for me, that you could just step into the water and be cool. I grew up during drought where there was hardly any rain and everything was dry, we were on strict water restrictions so our showers were very quick affairs. We had a pool, which was a luxury, but we were not allowed to fill it with water. Tracks is the only book I have ever read that captured the feeling of dry from my early childhood. That it ends when Robyn ends up at a beach, her goal? Poetic.

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It would be remiss of me to write an introduction without the book that directed my career path and led to my greatest hobby. All Quiet on the Western Front was one of the first “serious” books I read, and I loved it. It led to me pursuing history and English at university, and then adding on an education degree so that I could share my love of books like All Quiet with students. I’ve gone on to read so many other books about war (and quite a few I have liked more than All Quiet), but this one firmly has a place in shaping who I am as a person.

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Men and Women of Australia is a book I never would have read if it wasn’t for my blog. It was one of my first netgalley reads, and I was excited to read some of the speeches from Australian history. It became much more than that – so many of these speeches remind me of the corresponding time from my life. John Howard’s speech reminds me of my dad’s hero worship for the Prime Minister. The apology to the Aboriginal People of Australia for the genocide of their people (not that any Aussie politician will ever call it genocide) and how little it did, but how needed it was. Gillard’s misogyny speech, which we quoted in university classes “I will not be lectured by you…”. I loved Cosgrove’s speech, and watched his unflinching address to his own armed forces with awe.

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Hard Landing is on this list for yet another family reason, but this one very bittersweet. This is the first book in the Spider Shepherd series, which is my favourite book series of all time. I read it when I was 15, on holiday in a wine region. I was on a romantic long weekend away – with my dad. He had booked it for my mum a few months before, and then she passed away unexpectedly. He decided that we should still go. Up to that point, I had been somewhat upset but not really connecting with what had happened. Dad let me choose any book from the newsagent for the trip, and I chose Hard Landing. I had read one of Leather’s other books (after I had been forbidden to do so by mum) and he was the only author I recognised on the shelf. I remember vividly that on the second day of our trip tragedy struck for the main character – his wife was killed in a car accident, while he was away for work. It struck such a cord with me, my own mum had just died, while my father was out of town. What really got me was the pain that the character was feeling and the indecision – it made me feel so bad for my dad (and also for myself) that I spent the next few hours bawling my eyes out. My dad was taken aback, his daughter having a melt down over a book. It actually taught me that it is okay to be sad when bad things happen, just like it is okay to be happy when good things happen. I’m certainly not crying right now. (okay, maybe a little).

Okay, so… sorry for that little mini essay about my feelings about Hard Landing, but these five books do describe my life and journey pretty well. Thank you again to our lovely hosts for doing all this work. If you want to participate in #BBAW, please get involved!