So here I am, a first-time novelist whose pub date was the same as Franzen’s FREEDOM. I’m not complaining, but I am saying that if it were not for the book bloggers I’d probably be in an asylum by now.
It seems to me book blogs are nothing but good. If someone categorically objected to them, I think my next question for that person would be, Do you have something against rainbows? Because how can anyone object to the book blogs? These people are out there reading and thinking, organizing their thoughts and writing. They are making plans, setting goals, keeping book lists, offering recommendations, conducting interviews, orchestrating giveaways. A book blog is a carnival celebrating what it means to care about books.
They have personalities, idiosyncrasies, particular likes and dislikes. And they are friendly to each other! It may be the case that the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times email each other excitedly about books received and their plans to drop everything in order to read a certain book immediately, but I doubt it. And maybe that’s the key—a book blog offers more than a book review. It’s a view into a reading life. What a privilege for all of us.
So instead of packing for the asylum, I have begun reading regularly the beautiful book blog of author Beth Kephart—the very first place my novel was reviewed. And I have looked at my computer late at night and learned that because of another book blogger (Devourer of Books), my novel now sits on a staff recommended shelf in a bookstore in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, adorned with her blogger bookmark. And yet another book blog (Seeing the World Through Books) has stunned me with her gathering of historical photos to accompany her thoughtful review.
Bless the book bloggers. Their work has charmed and consoled me, and I can’t be the first.
Jessica Kane is the author of The Report available now from Graywolf Press.