Monday, September 14, 2009

BBAW : Personal Shortlists

So, it's Book Blogger Appreciation Week 2009!

Per teh official BBAW website, "Monday September 14. The shortlists for the awards will be announced next Monday, September 7th. The first day of BBAW, Monday September 14th, we encourage you to write a post thanking and spotlighting your favorite blogs that didn’t make the shortlists."

Colleen, always articulate and thoughtful, posted her personal shortlist at Chasing Ray last week. Much of what she said about blogs and blogging had me nodding my head in agreement.

For example? I blog for me. I write for me. What am I interested in? What am I exploring? While why I blog may be selfish, at the same time, I'm aware this isn't personal, it's public. So yes, I also blog for an audience. I realize that there are people who are reading this who aren't related to me. I know that the blog, while a "hobby" in that I blog during my own time, is at the same time professional -- I include it on resumes. Speak at conferences. Write articles. It's part of my professional face, and what I blog about (and don't blog about) is affected by that knowledge.

I blog because I like to talk about story; whether its in books, movies, or film. It may be a picture book or a children's book or a young adult book. You really cannot label Tea Cozy; and I wouldn't want to limit myself or what I write in seeking one label or another.

This all bleeds over into what blogs I read. I read a lot of blogs; admittedly, sometimes it is just skimming. Sometimes its more. Sometimes it depends on what day it is, what I'm interested in, how much time I have. I may follow a link or Tweet to a new blog.

Usually, I read via bloglines. Which means while I appreciate the artistic talents of other bloggers, I don't usually see it. I have my basic Blogger template; and if people think my blog isn't as good because I use that basic template, so be it.

What is a personal favorite? What is best? What is good criteria? Put two bloggers in a room, you'll get three opinions. I'd say no jacket copy or publisher's blurb original writing only; someone else would say why not, the opinion is what needs to be original; someone else would say, well, it all depends on how you credit the source. Do we really want to end that discussion by saying one of those is the only one true way to blog? The act of creating a definition is controversial because it creates a standard where there hadn't been one and it leaves some people meeting it and others not.

A favorite can depend on many things. Who are my favorite bloggers? Those I link to. Those I comment at. Those I follow. Those I email and tweet with. The ones I read and don't comment at, but my reading shows in your statistics. Basically, it's those I read.

Those I read. And who do I read? Those I know. Have I shared my blogosphere as cafeteria analysis? Different bloggers eat at different tables in the caf. It's not about cliques; just about who you know and have fun with and talk with. But it's important to remember that there are many tables in the lunchroom and many lunchtimes, and maybe even the caf is open for breakfast and dinner so there are those times and tables, also. And each blogging group has -- the way groups do -- their own protocols about what blogging is and isn't. So when I find "new to me" blogs (not new blogs!) I try to keep that in mind. The diversity. The groups. The different tables. Not to assume there is only one group, one table, one lunchtime. And to realize this diversity has to be acknowledged and considered and respected.

Do I have favorites? Hell, yes. It may be someone who just by mentioning a book, I want to read it. Or someone sharing industry news. A wry take on things that makes me laugh. A great voice. Interesting interpretations on books. Writing that shakes me up. Writing that makes me welcome. Should I begin listing all my favorites, I'd leave someone out, and who wants to do that to a favorite?

What else is there to say?

I blog because it's fun. I enjoy it; and I read your blogs for the same reason.

So, I guess this isn't what BBAW had in mind. But that's part of blogging, isn't it? Bloggers get inspired, but not necessarily by what you'd think. I may read something about puppies and get inspired to write about picnics because of the connections made in my head; a post by someone else may have a major point and one throwaway line, and what will I react to? The throwaway line. Here, the throwaway line was favorite. It got me musing... what is a favorite? What is best? Who decides? What does it mean to use those words? What does it mean to have a favorite?

So, that's my take on personal shortlists! Head over to the BBAW site for other shortlists.

What else to expect during this week at the BBAW site?

Tuesday September 15
Blogger interviews

Wednesday September 16
Reading Meme

Thursday September 17
Books discovered via blogs

Friday September 18
Blog goals

© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy


Susan Thomsen said...

Amen to that. Rock on, Liz B.

sassymonkey said...

The throwaways lines are always the best.

Jen Robinson said...

Thanks for writing this, Liz. I've been struggling with the topic, too, but you summed it up perfectly for me: "Who are my favorite bloggers? Those I link to. Those I comment at. Those I follow. Those I email and tweet with. The ones I read and don't comment at, but my reading shows in your statistics. Basically, it's those I read." Exactly!

Colleen said...

*Nods head in agreement* This is all excellent, Liz. Thanks for sharing.

Liz B said...

Thanks! And the whole popularity element just gives me pause. Hands down, the best blogger (highest quality, best writing, diversity) for YA out there is Jen Hubert of Reading Rants. No argument. But because her target readership is primarily teens themselves, followed by librarians/those who work with teens, not other bloggers, her blog doesn't get the popular vote, apparently. Does it make those other blogs "best" and hers not "best"? Hell to the no.

Brimful Curiosities said...

Yes, I also had problems picking "favorites." But because my blog is read by many non-book bloggers, I wanted to list a few and further publicize kidlitosphere. Better than not saying anything at all in my opinion.

Melissa said...

Hi Liz. I clicked through from your comment on my blog, and re: favorites, it looks like I may have discovered a new one! I'm looking forward to future Tea Cozy posts.

Kelly said...

Liz, you hit that pesky nail-head here. I was thinking about doing a "fave blog" post today, but it just never felt quite right to me. How could I call out just a few when there are so many I read regularly?

I think instead, I am going to find a way to feature other blogs on an ongoing basis, to encourage more of that conversation across blogs that I find so valuable as a blog reader myself.

Michelle said...

Liz once again you have a way of putting things into perspective. I too struggle picking "favorites" so I tried to create a personal shortlist that allowed me to showcase blogs that I love to frequent (whether commenting or lurking)without making others feel as if they were somehow lesser. I also took the day to tweet links to other blogs I follow in the hopes that they too would enjoy some sort of appreciation from me. Whether I truly achieved that I couldn't say.

I freely admit I've always struggled with the act of giving and receiving awards but I do truly believe in BBAW and what it's purpose/goal is as it relates to the book blog community.

I enjoyed your comments here they gave me more to think about :)

SuziQoregon said...

Well said! I read a wide variety of blogs for the same reason I read a wide variety of books. Different people at different times will speak to me, touch my heart, make me laugh or just add life to my day.