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Not All Who Wander Are Lost

August 31, 2011

As the long lists went up for Book Blogger Appreciation Week, I’ve gotten a chance to really check out some blogs that I usually don’t venture over to. It turns out that there are some really fascinating things out there. Well, ok, not “turns out”; I knew that there were. I think that I often think that I have such a strange and varied taste in books that I tend to write off other readers in my literary escapades and have applied my failures in my “real life” to my trepidations among the blogging community. It took me a long time to feel comfortable enough to actually leave comments on other bloggers’ posts and it’s taken me even longer (nearly two years) to actually leave comments of substance on any old blog that I choose. Yes, like with opinions and more than two words and everything.

I think that my biggest fear in all of this comes from a perceived constant rejection in that previously referred to “real life”. I feel like in the Match.com of readers, I seriously suck at connecting. Sometimes I feel like a snob and sometimes I feel like a teeny bopper. Sometimes I think I’m just plain old weird. While this last part is probably true (emphasis on “true”, ignore the “probably”), I think I’ve managed, over the years to come up with why I just don’t feel like I fit in.

Things that put me in a the “reading snob” category:
I don’t like memoirs or celebrity tell-alls unless they are written by Ernest Hemingway and called A Moveable Feast.
I didn’t like The Help or The DaVinci Code but have enjoyed better written pieces on racism and/or creepy European art fetishes.
I read, watch and understand Shakespeare. I make jokes and reference songs that allude to things like Hamlet and Julius Caesar but do not think that this is weird.
I expect seriously good quality when reading children’s books and YA novels.  This I blame on my parents and will ruthlessly inflict on my children.
Vampires give me the gosh darn creeps. Period.
I consider Orwell and Bradbury “YA Dystopian Lit”.
I can and do use “existentialist” and “transcendentalist” in what I consider to be relatively normal, everyday conversation.

Things that put me in the “teeny bopper” category:
I do enjoy well-written and purposeful YA Dystopian fiction.
Werewolves do not creep me out as much as vampires, most likely because I have always lived with at least one dog but have never snuggled on the couch with a bat. Poor suckers (literally) never had a chance.
The Giver is in my list of top ten books of all time.
I find Libba Bray absolutely hysterical and would love to marry her if we were not both already taken. I also do not think this is creepy. (Is it creepy? Ok, it’s creepy. Sorry.)
I do, in fact, “give a darn” about who casting powers place in The Hunger Games. Oh, and I’m still pissed that they turned it into a movie. (see: Things That Put Me In The “Reading Snob” Category)
My staff, at school, is currently in possession of about half of my personal library and know that I will probably come up as a positive source of almost any teen-related book published in the last five years. (Guilty as charged.)
I initially picked up Sartre’s Age of Reason because of The O.C. Season Four. Please don’t tell anyone this. It will totally destroy my street cred.

Things that put me in the “weird” category:
You really need more things than what you have?

Any way, why the strange, mildly self-deprecating, sort of self-righteous post? As I look through others’ blogs. I sometimes gather that I have no theme. Other people seem to have reading direction or focuses. Do all of my strange rules or preferences leave me with a wide open  span of unlimited reading opportunity or do they just put me completely out of the running for my reading or blogging to ever amount to anything concrete? I honestly have no idea.  All I know is that I’m going to keep reading and I’m going to keep writing. Maybe I’ll find my way or my niche or maybe I won’t. As my mommy used to say, “the future’s not ours alone to see”.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. August 30, 2011 10:15 pm

    I have been contemplating something similar over the last week. I have come back to blogging after a few months off while I attempted to overcome morning sickness – and I feel like my blog lacks direction aswell. It is just such a purposeless combination of posts.

    I look back to my goal at the beginning which was just to review every book I read so that I really thought about what I was reading. I am achieving this, but after almost 2.5 years, I feel like I am ready to move in a more concrete direction – just have no idea what that direction is. I am never going to be someone who reads all one kind of book, so what else can I do other than what I am doing? Part of my problem is that I am an entirely analytical person (comes from being a lawyer) and I lack any form of creativity.

    Maybe checking out this Book Blogger Appreciation Week will help me too.

    Good luck with everyone, I am sure you will find your way/niche

  2. August 31, 2011 10:16 am

    I think that as long as you’re pleased with your blog, enjoy what you’re doing and enjoy the books you’re reading, nothing else is very important. I can see how the book blogging world can seem very vast and often “clique-ish,” like high school (ack), but I really contend that it’s not! Really, truly don’t be afraid to reach out and leave comments — that’s the lifeblood of our community. I can count on no hands the number of times I’ve reacted badly to something thoughtful a visitor has written. All feedback is good feedback!

  3. August 31, 2011 12:32 pm

    I don’t think you sound all that over-the-board! You know what you like and read it! Just keep being yourself. That’s what matters in flogging. I pretty much like a little of everything too….although It’s been settling down for me to more of classics. There was a time I read much more eclectically, but it just wasn’t as satisfying. That said, I did like THE HELP, and other lighter fiction, his not YA dystopia he he.

  4. August 31, 2011 12:39 pm

    I also feel like I am a little strange as a reader, and even though I like a lot of popular things, I also like a lot of weird stuff that nobody has ever heard of before. This doesn’t come out as much when I am reading review books, but a look at my personal shelves tells me that I am not like most readers. I sort of also consider myself a reading snob, and have gotten myself into embarrassing situations while decrying the uselessness of Dan Brown. So I get you. I don’t let it bother me all that much, because if someone doesn’t like my taste, they are free to go on to other blogs, but it does sort of make me feel a little unsure of myself as a blogger and reader sometimes. I do read a lot of things that appeal to most people, but my real passion is for the weird and dark. And if you don’t mind my saying so, I love your blog. I know I am always going to find well written and thoughtful posts about books that may have slid past my radar when I come here. It’s one of my favorite daily stops.

  5. August 31, 2011 7:33 pm

    Your post makes we wonder if a lot of us who prefer NOT to read within a couple of specific genres think we’re “not like other readers.” One of the things I’ve loved about book blogging is that I’ve found readers who actually are a bit more like me in their habits, and that’s been very rare in my off-line life.

    A focus for your book blogging isn’t a bad thing, but enjoying what you read – whatever it is – is better. Randomness is underrated sometimes :-).

  6. August 31, 2011 10:00 pm

    I think there is a ton of tolerance in the book blogging community for eclectic tastes. Heck, I’ve written more than once of my complete and total dislike of James Patterson but no one did anything bad to me. Read and write and blog on without fear!

  7. August 31, 2011 11:05 pm

    This self-assessment is both serious/introspective and light/entertaining – kudos to you for pulling that off!

    Goes to show that eclectic is the name of the game, evolution is constant, and “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

    And … I wish I could read/watch and understand Shakepeare! Perhaps you’ll partner up and do a readalong with me (of a well-known play, which I’ll be able to watch in movie format to boost up my understanding of the written format!)

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