Today is my blog-iversary!
It's hard for me to believe, but today I have been blogging for five years.
Five years ago, I was reentering the world of reading for pleasure. While I read voraciously as a child, my pace slowed considerably during high school and college, as it does for most students due to the work load and the amount of textbook reading required. After graduation, though, I found myself once again returning to literature as a form of relaxation and self-education. And I wanted a way to talk about it with others.
Enter: From My Bookshelf.
Oh yeah. That's what it was called back then. Naming things has never been my particular strength and I wanted to spend more time focusing on content rather than coming up with the perfect name. I went with the first thing I thought of. After all, I hardly had grand expectations. I just wanted a place to process what I was reading and hopefully get to chat about it a bit, too. I wanted to read 52 books over the course of 2012. I wanted space for analysis and discussion. I wanted to push myself.
Here's what I wrote that day:
I'm not the type of person who starts something without preparation or forethought. I like lists and records and evaluations. Such it is with this blog. Last year I read just under 40 books. That was awesome and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, but having a simple list of those books didn't seem like enough. So, while I'll post that list here, I want to go a step further with the books I read in 2012 and beyond. If nothing else, this is an exercise in digging deeper into the literature that I'm consuming. I miss the days of high school AP Literature and AP Language where we were forced to venture into analysis. I love to learn and I want to continually push myself to the next level in everything I do. Therefore, I will be posting a review of each book I read this year. It will help me keep track not only of what I have read, but what I thought about the books and how worth my time they were. I may even do a few posts about books I read last year. I read a very wide variety of books, so there should be something for everyone...if anyone besides Kevin actually reads this.So, here's to the journey, whatever it holds."You cannot open a book without learning something." - Confucius.
Since then, so much has changed. In my life, of course, but also here on the blog. I completed the 52 Books Challenge in 2012 and have only grown in number every year since then. I started the 100 Best Novels Challenge. I changed the blog name to Read.Write.Repeat. in 2013 - although, admittedly, it's still not the most creative name. I joined Goodreads and created social media presences for the blog on Facebook and Twitter. I finally got a redesign beyond the basic Blogger look in 2016 and things are so much prettier now. I have gone from 54 pageviews that first month of blogging to over 10,000 last month. I have reviewed somewhere around 500 books. I've made friends in the book blogging community and am so thankful to be a part of it.
Not everything has been a success or even always fun, but I have never considered stopping. I love doing this and as long as I have time, I want to be here talking about books.
Most of all, I have read. I have read so much.
And all that reading has changed me. It has educated me. It has challenged me. It has expanded my horizons. It has made me read and think more critically, to seek more diversity, to see others with new eyes. It has done everything we expect books to do and more. If you had asked me five years ago what type of doctoral program I wanted to enter, I doubt Literature would have made the short list. Yet, here I am, my love of reading reignited and looking at Ph.D. in Literature programs. I want to spread this love of reading in every way I can.
If you are reading this, you are part of this journey and I am so thankful for you. It's never been about readership stats for me, but I cannot deny how happy it makes me to see the discussion here growing, to make new book-loving friends, and to see people get excited about the books about which I am excited. So, thank you. Thank you for reading. Whether this is the first post you've read or you have been here for the full five years, I value you. You have made this journey so sweet and I look forward to continuing it with you.
If any one quote can sum up how I feel about my years blogging, it may be this one by John Green:
"Great books help you understand, and they help you feel understood."Thank you for joining me as I learn to understand and for making me feel understood on countless occasions. Those times have not gone neither unnoticed nor unappreciated.
Here's to many more years shared with you and the books we will share.