Wednesday, September 9, 2009

state of the blog

I've been a quiet blogger over the summer for many reasons. The biggest: I had the most amazing internship at a fantastic library. I worked forty hours a week, and I commuted 90 minutes each way, every day. I found myself craving NPR more than audiobooks, and I became the best informed person in my small circle of friends. Second, with all the news cursing through my brain, I found I didn't want to come home to read most nights. Instead, I longed for the simplicity of television. Thankfully, I gorged myself on So You Think You Can Dance, which had it's weakest season of the last three, but it was still the perfect antidote to my long, wonderful, exhilarating and exhausting days. Third, I'm in the midst of planning my wedding. I know many people do this each year, but I am not the traditional bride, and I don't want to be. Somehow it's a harder job to make it a unique day, as I have more ideas of what I don't want than what I do. I do have the dress (a lovely, simple, strapless, royal blue number) and the location (a library, naturally), but the rest of the details are tough. Deciding on the guest list, creating a budget, and making the hard decisions about what not to include bring down the euphoria level.

Most importantly, in terms of this blog, I did a lot of thinking (remember those three hours a day I spent in the car?), about what I want this blog to be. When I started it, I reviewed the books I read, tv shows and movies I watched and other things. Over time, it shifted into purely a book review blog. Last spring, there were as many posts promoting books as there were reviewing them. I was grateful for interested publishers and authors who wanted me to review their books. I love free books, but I began to notice the same books being reviewed by a whole community of book bloggers. The publishers didn't want me; they wanted anyone and everyone. I can't say I blame them; publishing is struggling, and the non-bestseller authors need all the press they can get. I also noticed that most of the books I was reading were published in 2009. One of the things that drew me to book blogging was finding lost gems. I loved the feeling of reading a book published ten years ago, loving it and whining about no one telling me how amazing and brilliant it is. I read a lot of magazines, and I'm aware of what books are coming out. I wanted to find and provide reviews of books from many years. With so many review books from publishers, my focus, and the focus of my fellow bloggers, is on the new. Why is it so thrilling to read a book a few weeks before it's publication? I carry it on the bus with pride, but no one else ever seems to be shocked or excited I'm reading a book that's not even published yet.

I'm making some changes to this blog.
1. Yes, I will still accept books for review, but I'm accepting far fewer. I'm only taking books I would normally request from the library immediately upon publication. For the most part, these books will include authors I've read before. I am certainly open to new authors, but I will do more research before accepting authors I haven't read before. I won't simply read a two-sentence synopsis and say yes. To this end, I will have a manageable number of review books, so I won't only be reading review books.
2. I'm not doing reading challenges. They are fun, but I found I actually read less because of them. I get into reading ruts very easily, and I want to read for enjoyment rather than obligation. Trying to find a book to read simply because I need the first letter of its title is more stressful than fun for me.
3. I'm not only covering books. I thought about creating an entire set of nomad blogs (nomadeats, nomadtv, etc.), but I simply don't have the time. I do hope to have a nomad network one day, but until then, I'm going back to posting more on tv here as well. I love tv, and I love to read, so I'm covering both.
4. I'm not hosting contests for books I haven't read. I'm grateful for publishers garnering attention for their books by donating copies to giveaway. The traffic giveaways bring to the blog is not real traffic. Most of those visitors don't hang around and comment or come back (I'm guilty of this trend too).
5. I'm making a conscious effort to read books not published this year. Yes, I love the new, especially when it's a new author or a new book by a favorite author. There's never enough time to read all the books I want to, but I do want to add more variety back into my reading. I want to read the classics I haven't read and read all of the books by my favorite authors.
6. I'm blogging again. My goal is to blog at least once a day, but I'll settle for five days a week. Help hold me accountable. I have a tendency to post five times one day, then not again for a week. I'm working on it.

Thanks for sticking around. There are some changes, but I think they'll make this blog more fun to read because at nomadreader you'll find books you may not see on other blogs, and those of you who missed my tv coverage, welcome back!

First step: catching up on reviews for the little summer reading I did.

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