1001 Blog Posts

Without even realising it I published my 1000th blog post yesterday. It certainly doesn’t feel like I have published so many posts nor does it feel like I’ve been blogging for very long as I’m still learning stuff about blogging. 

When I feel pessimistic one of the things I think about to rally my spirits is the wonderful community and support I encounter from blogging. This is the reason blogging is so much more than keeping a diary. If I just kept all these posts to myself it would be a huge loss to me personally as I would not have the wonderful feedback and comments from fellow bloggers. 

Thank you all for tuning in and reading my ramblings, I hope I have something interesting to say in my future posts. 

Is it self-promotion when you don’t make a penny? #Sundayblogshare #bookbloggers

Recently I removed myself from a FB book lovers group. It is a big group and I had contributed now and then commenting on posts if I had read a book and quite a few of my fellow bibliophiles were on there. Overall it was a friendly book group and I had been a member for over a year at least. 

Every once in a while when I think I have written something of interest on this blog I post the link on a book group. I don’t post a link to my blog on book groups every time I blog a book, nor do I regularly post links in certain groups even when it’s welcome, simply because as much as I enjoy increasing my readership I don’t want to feel mercenary whilst doing it. 

However, posting my top ten books of the year is a special post and I have never had any financial interest in the books I read/review or rank on my top ten. So I was a bit taken aback when a moderator, whom I had ironically never seen post before, reprimanded me for posting a link to my top ten books of the year. 

The gist of his reprimand was I needed to post and get involved more in the group before I could post about my blog. Honestly, I felt, and still do feel, stung by this rebuke. What abritary hoop did I need to jump through for this book group fascist to justify posting about the top ten books I have loved last year? 

Why would it be self-interest or promotion when I don’t make a penny from this blog? Why is sharing a link to my top ten books of 2016 any different to posting that list directly on a book group? Allegedly, as someone on Twitter pointed out, it’s because I’m increasing my status and glory. If this is the case I have no knowledge of my status and couldn’t recognise glory even if I tripped over it.

I never have had any financial interest in the books I review. I’m simply a reader who keeps a catalogue of books I’ve read on a blog rather than typing it out numerous times on book groups. 

When my blog stats increase my bank balance remains the same. This is not a job for financial gain, this blog is a record of books I read and various life experiences I like to keep track of, it does not afford me any income. Even using the tracked Amazon links to date has brought me no income. I put the links there mainly so my fellow bibliophiles can access the book online easily to add it to their wishlist/reading list. 

It’s hard to be slapped down incorrectly as an opportunist when you do something out of passion for no financial gain. Perhaps I should let this slight go, but I feel very strongly still about being scolded online period, but being scolded by a stranger for posting my top ten favourite reads of the year, because of some perceived financial gain, really sticks in my craw. 

Maybe I’m wrong and the fame I get from being the writer of this blog has gone to my head, either way folks, what do you think? Is it self-promotion when there’s no financial gain involved? 

(Possibly) Last Blog Post of 2016

This year has seen a modicum of uncertainty that my previous years as a blogger did not encounter. This has been largely due to my worsening physical health, which has been seen in the fewer books I have read this year, 210 as opposed to 235 last year. Even as I write this post I am aware 24 hours ago I was quite ill and couldn’t finish the book I had scheduled to review before 9 a.m.yesterday. I also haven’t been able to engage social media or the blogging community as much as I would have liked but I have immensely enjoyed reading the various blogs I have felt up to this year.

In the event I am unable to post a book review between now and New Years Day, I thought 2 a.m. on 31st December 2016, was a good a time as any to write a little insurance post, so as not to let the ending of 2016 and my four year blogging anniversary go unmarked.

I am seeing the year out with my husband who will be unusually home to share the evening TV line up with me. Our days of raucous partying was over years ago. More likely than not it’ll be green tea and mint Matchmakers with a cat each on our laps, which suits us both fine.

Despite the celebrity losses, Brexit, and various disappointments I have shared with my fellow man, it has overall been a good year for me. I discovered two things I thought I had lost: happiness and gratitude. I think it virtually impossible to have one without the other and as I go blindly into the abyss that is 2017 I do so with an overwhelming sense of gratitude for everything. 

The year will start with my fast approaching appointment with transplant assessment clinic, which on paper sounds like quite a tiring day of medical scrutiny. I was hoping not to think about this so soon, but any illusions of further delay were extinguished when an appointment letter arrived a couple of days ago. My OCD and resulting competitiveness will mean I will be attending as if competing in exams of yesteryear, but I’m not sure I want to win any prizes in these tests.

I’m hoping I learn to take it at a pace that allows me to keep going next year and do all that I plan to do. Wishing everyone a Happy New Year! 

Blog Reader Book Choices Third Quarter of 2016

These are the book reviews that got the most blog traffic in the last three months.

July 2016

The Martian by Andy Weir


August 2016

The Devil’s Serenade by Catherine Cavendish



September 2016

Belgravia by Julian Fellowes


Blog Reader Book Choices: Second Quarter of 2016

Every quarter I write a blog post telling my blog readers which book reviews had the largest audience in each month. Being so close to the end of June, and the most popular reviews having such a clear lead, I have decided to publisher’s post a few days early.

My most popular book reviews from April to June:

April 2016

The Dance of Dimitrios by Patrick Brigham #RBRT
I really enjoyed this mystery crime thriller, it was well written and mature, but may be upsetting to read post Brexit as it is set in mainland Europe and Greece. I have the sequel waiting on by Kindle.

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May 2016

The Playground by CS Boyack #RBRT
A chilling fantasy thriller about sinister toy dolls which connect to a wireless network. What could possibly go wrong? But an unlikely and unsuspecting super heroine steps into the breach. An interesting read.

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June 2016

The City of Mirrors (The Passage Book 3) by Justin Cronin
This epic concluding part to The Passage Trilogy was a long time coming, but what a conclusion! Revelations galore and a bittersweet ending tie up this extremely popular series.

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Blog Reader Book Choices for The First Quarter of 2016

So we are in the fourth month of 2016 and its time to recap the most read reviews of the last three months.

January
A Gangster’s Grip by Heather Burnside

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February
Me Before You by Jojo Moyles

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March
The Good Neighbour by Beth Miller

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This doesn’t necessarily reflect the book I most enjoyed by month but the most viewed reviews of the first three months of the year.

Work Hours

As a blogger and a reader I don’t realise how much time I devote to getting my posts up, reading other blogs and engaging in social media related blog activity. It only becomes apparent when I have other demands on my time. So I decided to keep track over the last week or so. My blogging, although time consuming, is definitely not simply nine to five.

I found I spent between 4-6 hours a day writing posts, reading review request emails, organising my book review list and reading other blogs. The majority of this time is spent reading other blogs. Particularly time consuming are blog awards where you need to pass on the honours to numerous fellow bloggers, but I believe these awards are at the heart of the spirit of blogging.

I have no set hours so this time could be spent any time of the day, and more usually the night, online. There are days when I have spent around ten hours reading other blogs. I also do not cease blogging at weekends or holidays. So I spend about 28-42 hours a week blogging. It’s certainly not all I do, but it is an ersatz occupation, which is what I have made it into to be productive on my own terms. I’m not a huge fan of watching TV and I needed something to focus on and work at when I discovered blogging.

This does not include the time I spend reading books to review for my blog, nor the time I spend looking for books on various social media platforms to read and review. I use my social media mainly to find other book lovers and bloggers and connect with them. I am certain my propensity for routine and the familiar is responsible for my compulsive blogging.

After realising just how much time I devote to this blog I took Sunday and Monday off to go do other things: watch the film Deadpool and inadvertently ending up in bookshops looking for more books to review. Since the start of 2016, I have made a point of going out weekly to the cinema and or brunch to make sure I don’t find myself in the familiar depression of having not left my home for days on end.

I am sure I didn’t spend this sort of time blogging three years ago and have put more and more time into this blog and posted more regularly as time has passed. As much as I enjoy blogging and reading, I am torn between my compulsion to do both and also do things outside my home for the sake of my own mental clarity and wellbeing.

With my wellbeing in mind I think I need to spend more time doing other things, but I’m so used to having a book in front of me or my tablet glued to my hands I am not easily persuaded to leave either in the pursuit of other activities. So I have decided I need one or two blog and book free days a week.

I’m not sure I can successfully stay away from blogging or reading without feeling at a loss, however, I feel it necessary to have days off to maintain my enjoyment of and enthusiasm for both.

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Ajoobacats Blog: My Journey in Books and OCD

I started writing this blog three years ago as a log of where I was with my multiple illnesses. It was a blog, rather than a personal journal, because I wanted to connect with others, who like me have felt limited, intimidated and shunned because of physical and mental illness. I needed to find a way to speak out and express myself, as very few people actually know me.

In an era where so much of our perceptions are shaped by what we read on the internet, I wanted to step out and have my view heard too. As I became more self aware as an individual, living with chronic illnesses, I didn’t want to do so alone and in self-imposed isolation, which arguably is one of the factors at the root of my anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder.

As I continued to write my blog it was inevitable I would write about the books I read, as I enjoy reading so much. I never really fully realised how much I read and how central to my life books are, until I started keeping track.

This blog has evolved into mostly a book (b)log of books I have liked and loved. Although I still drop a line or two about how I’m personally doing from time to time. As much as I invite authors, publicists and other book bloggers and book lovers to recommend or send me books, mostly ones that I have truly enjoyed make it onto my blog.

I originally only had one or two readers, then I was delighted as more than ten people read my blog and now I get around seventy to eight readers a day. I have spent a lot of time and effort utilising advice, tips and help from other passionate bloggers to get my blog out here, let it shape and grow.

I make no money from blogging, my book recommendations are not made with any competing interests or financial gain. It is reward enough to be swept up in a book and being able to pass this along to someone else who may also experience similar passion for a book.

I immensely enjoy sharing what I have read and in lieu of being in a physical sociable environment discussing books with fellow enthusiasts and connecting with others who have enjoyed the same books as me, I channel the part of me that would like to chat books here. In my offline life I have no fellow book friends.

I enjoy being retrospective about the books I have read and started compiling my best reads list of the year in 2014, which was a popular blog post and last year’s top ten reads should be coming up soon. These are the books I have awarded five stars and were, in my opinion, my best reads of the year.

This blog has introduced me to many new authors and a great community of bloggers. It’s nice to be out here.

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Blog Reader Book Choices for the Second Half of 2015

Earlier in the year I published a blog post that gave the most viewed book reviews of each month from January 2015 to June 2015. It is now time to tell you which reviews were most read from July 2015 to  December 2015. It may seem like this post is a couple of days too early but with such a clear winner for December, I couldn’t hold off writing this post today.

July 2015

Wayward (Wayward Pines Series Book Two) by Blake Crouch

  
August 2015

The Photographer’s Wife by Nick Alexander

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September 2015

Playing With Fire by Tess Gerritsen 

  
October 2015

The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike Book 2) by Robert Galbraith 

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November 2015

A Banquet of Consequences (DI Lynley book 19) by Elizabeth George 

  
December 2015

The Paths We Choose by Robert Standen

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These aren’t necessarily the books I enjoyed the most in the months specified but they are all books I enjoyed reading and reviewing.  Please watch this space for my top ten reads of 2015.

The Secret Life of a Book Blogger Tag

  
I was humbled and delighted to find I had been ‘tagged’ to answer eleven questions. Thank you Geoffrey Valentine at  High Tea Dreams for nominating me to do this. I enjoy reading your reviews very much. 

1 How long have you been a blogger?

Since December 2012, just over two and a half years and it has been a pleasure to learn and do something new.

2 At what point do you think you will stop? 

When I am no longer able to read books and type! 

3 What is the best thing?

Reading reviews of books I have read from kindred book bloggers.

4 What is the worst thing? 

Finding a book that isn’t for me. I would ideally like to love every book I read.

5 How long does it take you to find/create pictures for your post? 

A few minutes, I screen shot covers for my book review posts and look for stock photos for anything else. 

6 Who is your book crush? 

It’s been a while but my last book crush was Ben Hope from the Scot Mariani books. I love a deep, moody and capable hero and am willing to overlook the smoking as he’s only on paper.

7 What author would you like to have on your blog? 

I still get incredibly starstruck when an author contacts me after I have written a review about their book and that often leads to total mental block and I end up responding with the most nerdy cringeworthy tweet or comment. I would love to have Tess Gerritsen on my blog. 

8 What do you wear when you write your blog posts? 

Usually a couple of cats on my lap!! But seriously something comfy and light I can do a few yoga poses in. 

9 How long does it take you to prepare? 

Minutes. I like to capture my feelings on a book after I’ve reached the last page and express what lasting impression I have of the book. If I have read something that has been particularly affecting I may choose to sleep on it before writing a review, but that is very rare. My reviews appear, on average, within 15 minutes of my finishing a book 

10 How do you feel about the book/blogger community/culture? 

I love it. I spend more time reading and finding blogs than writing them which suits me fine. 

11 What do you think one should do to get a successful blog? 

Success is extremely subjective but I think keeping at it and posting frequently is imperative to being a blogger.

I Would Like To Nominate The Following Wonderful Blogs:


Coffeeholic Bookworm
For My Love of Books
Book Guy Reviews
The Book Venom
Rosie Amber
Low Country Book Lover