Friendships that are Real by Natasha of Maw Books Blog

womenreadingOnce upon a time, there were these people.  These people liked to read.  A. Lot.  But when they turned to their families and friends to talk about what they read, they often received blank stares in return.  As much as their friends and family loved them, they simply did not understand this thing called reading.  Not to say that they didn’t support them, because they did, they really did, but sometimes these people needed somebody who spoke their language.  Who understood exactly what it was that reading did to them.

And then the internet happened.

Suddenly, these people could go online and find forums where they could talk about books without having to endure the eye-rolling and blank stares from their family and friends!  People just like them loved books as much as they did!

And then blogging happened.

Suddenly, forums weren’t enough.  These people could write their own book reviews and bookish musings for the entire world to see.  And then something amazing happened.

The. World. Wrote. Back.

A comment!  Somebody cared about what they had to say.  A connection was made regardless of their shared or differed social status, race, family background, wealth, or location.  This thing called blogging brought two people together.  People who loved books.  Pretty soon, it just wasn’t just two people.  It was three, then four, then a dozen, then a hundred, then thousands.  A community was formed.

Pretty soon they just weren’t talking about books anymore.  They were sharing in each others moments of happiness and moments of grief.  They celebrated engagements, marriages, births and deaths together.  All the while sitting in the comfort of their own homes.  And then some of the people started to get crazy ideas.

What if they *gasp* actually met?

Would it be weird?  Would it be awkward?  For many, this meant the return of the blank stares from their family members and, for some, outbursts of “But you could get killed!  What if these people are really crazy?!”  But these people knew without a doubt that book bloggers were among some of the most amazing people they knew.  They weren’t about to let a little eye-rolling or the threat of imminent death stop them.  For some this meant buying airplane tickets and flying across the country to attend book festivals or expos in which the highlight of the trip was inevitably the squealing as long lost friends were finally freed from the barriers of keyboards and computer screens.

I know many of us can relate to these experiences.  While I myself, have forked out a pretty penny to fly across the country to meet some amazing bloggers, I have been fortunate to literally be able to walk outside my door and within minutes be connected to dozens of local Utah book bloggers and authors.  I don’t know what we have in the water out here, but seriously, all of you need a taste of it.

Not only does Utah lay claim to amazing authors such as Shannon Hale, Sara Zarr, Brandon Mull, Brandon Sanderson, James Dashner, Carol Lynch Williams, Chris Crowe, J. Scott Savage, Ann Dee Ellis, Emily Wing Smith, Jessica Day George, Mette Ivie Harrison, A.E. Cannon, Anne Bowen, Richard Paul Evans and a dozen others that I fear I will be offending for lack of inclusion but Utah also boasts an amazing population of book bloggers.  Within a few hours of each other there are literally dozens of us who can claim that we blog exclusively about books.

It was during the following experience that I had a light bulb moment.  Myself, my husband and two kids attended a fun Children’s Literature Festival last spring.  It wasn’t until I got home and wrote my own post about the event and then checked my Google Reader to discover that Suey at It’s All About Books had also blogged about the event.  Both she and I comment regularly on each other’s blogs but it was then that I realized that neither of us knew what the other looked like!  Suey’s family was literally standing in front of us in one of the signing lines.  A friend so close but yet so far away.

utah-book-bloggers-buttonsmallI knew then that I wanted things to change.  No more of not knowing that we were unknowingly standing shoulder to shoulder with one of our friends (as strange as that sounds)!  Since then we have had two socials – The Utah Book Bloggers Bash and the Utah Book Bloggers Social – and our size has grown from half a dozen to literally 30+ bloggers.  Our local authors are very supportive of our grassroots literary scene and have attended our events as well.  As Suey says, “It’s great that we’ve been able to get our Utah book bloggers together and are now on the road to becoming in-real-life friends. It’s fun to be able to put a face and personality to everyone’s blogs. I love it!”

Utah Book Bloggers who should be on your radar:

We can be found at the Utah Book Bloggers Group and you can subscribe to our own feed which will also keep you updated on new blogs as they enter the Utah literary scene.

If you have book bloggers in your area, I would highly recommend organizing yourselves and having meet ups.  It’s a great opportunity to relax and feel as though somebody is truly speaking your language.  And we are proof that book bloggers truly are the kindest type of people – nobody got killed.  And that’s a good thing.

Natasha blogs at Maw Books and can also be found on Twitter at @mawbooks


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