2013 Armchair BEA: Blogger Development

I meant to combine both topics for today, but then I got wordy. Two posts it is!

I’ll be honest here–I feel like, as far as this topic is concerned, I have almost no idea what I’m doing! I am terrible at marketing, even when I really believe in something, or when it’s something I’m proud of. But considering I’ve been blogging for seven years now, it seems like I should be a little better at this. I love some of the cool features that other blogs have, but I have had a lot of trouble coming up with any for myself.

Recently I have started a few things, though:
– Participating in Top Ten Tuesdays. I find the topics really helpful in kickstarting my brain when I just don’t know what to write about, and that way I have at least one post per week.

– Also, posting more frequently. Even if I’m not putting up a full review every day, I can talk about what I’m reading.

Picture Book Monday: I read a lot of picture books and early readers for my job, and I wanted a way to talk about them. I try to do about one a month. (Which reminds me!)

– I also do several book displays for my job and I’ve started talking about those occasionally. I’m working on a crazypants display for Summer Reading, so look for a post on that coming up shortly!

– Since pretty much the beginning of the blog, I’ve written a post about the books I read each month. Most of them should be here, although I think I’ve missed tagging a few.

– I’ve also started talking about the new releases that I’m excited about each month. I don’t have a specific tag for this one, but it’s fun!

I’ve also been working on developing my favorite authors page, and I hope to eventually translate that into a bit of reader’s advisory–ie, if you really like Megan Whalen Turner, you should try this author! Overall, I think that my blog is developing partly as I’m learning more about librarianship. For instance, I’m trying to mention who else might like a particular book–Hunger Games fans, or LM Montgomery fans–even if I myself didn’t necessarily like it.

I do comment on blogs occasionally, and I interact a lot with authors and fellow bloggers on Twitter. (Oh, Twitter, I ❤ you, never leave me!) I could probably do better about this, and about reaching out to the wider community. I don't quite know how people go about doing partnerships and readalongs and so on, but right now I'm (mostly) okay with that.

Really, overall I'm quite proud of the work I've put into this blog, although I'm sure there are things I could or should do differently*. Mostly, I think I'm learning to just be myself–enthusiastic, nerdy, sometimes slightly awkward, overly fond of semi-colons. And at the same time, I'm learning to challenge myself to try new things and share what I love. I don't know if I'm there yet, but I think I'm getting there.

* I really am open to suggestions!

bookish posts reading notes

I Capture the Castle: reading notes*

by Dodie Smith

I watched the movie for the first time with my roommate in the last few weeks of school. I enjoyed it more than I expected to (which is to say, it’s quite good) but I did miss all the little funny lines which they couldn’t put in without it being constant narration. Naturally, when I got home I found my copy of the book and started it. It’s just as lovely and tantalizing and downright frustrating as ever. I completely understand the literary value of the ending, but I suppose I like my old-fashioned desire for a satisfying resolution.

It strikes me once again how central London is to the English consciousness (major generalization alert). In Austen it’s simply called “town” and while here it’s called London, it does seem to have that same sense of a center which bounds the whole country. That sounds very literary theory. Derrida maybe? I don’t know–I’m forgetting it all after two years.

The depth of allusion is astonishing! Just look at the names. Cassandra, of course, but also Cassandra Austen. Héloïse and Abelard, who I only properly appreciated after my Medieval Intellectual History course this semester. Rose has that connotation of being very bound up with love–the symbol of love and also the object which is desired and won. Leda’s name is particularly interesting given that in the book she seems to be cast more in the role of the swan than of the ravished maiden. And of course there are all of the conversations about books–Rose and Cassandra arguing about Austen and Bronte, for instance.

I own the St. Martin’s Press version, which has some rather silly questions in the back. “What is the meaning of the book’s title?” for instance. I’m fairly sure that it’s supposed to be one of those things which you just understand, like Cassandra’s image of Midsummer’s Eve as a cathedral-like avenue. Ah well.

I love the little sketches at the beginning of each section. They’re so lovely and capture the surroundings without being overly specific.

* Reading notes? A possible new feature I’m trying. Less formal than an actual review and more specific. We’ll see if it lasts. Since it’s more me blathering on than anything else, don’t necessarily expect anything sensible.