I have a personal blog where I post random stuff and talk about anything that comes to mind. It used to be active during its first two years, but it’s been inactive for months now because life happens and I can’t find the time to update it anymore.
I used to write posts about the books I’ve read on my personal blog. And they aren’t the “book reviews” we know today – they’re more of reactions, because they’re very spoilery. I wrote about how I felt while reading certain scenes, and there were times when the posts were too detailed because I couldn’t contain the feels.
These were the “book reviews” on my personal blog:
- The Fault in Our Stars
- The Time Keeper
- Monster High
- One Crazy Summer
- What I Didn’t Say
- Under the Never Sky
- I’ve Got Your Number
I couldn’t forget that one time when my classmate in high school told me that he started reading Matched because he saw it on my blog. We ended up talking about the entire series after Reached was released and I guess the reason why I still remember that memory is because I felt something really strong at that moment: my blog matters.
If my posts on my personal blog led someone to discovering a book they ended up liking, what could possibly happen if I dedicate a blog entirely for books?
That’s when Bibliophile Soprano happened.
Back in 2014, when I was thinking of a blog name, I wanted something unique in it. Inspired by the book playlist posts I see, I thought of actually singing the songs that I believe would be fit for the books I read.
Two years later, here I am, writing this post – because I myself needed a reminder of why I blog.
I notice a trend going on here. Every year, I write a seemingly controversial post where I end up realizing a lot of things and loving the bookish community more.
Two years ago, I wrote a post about “some issues” – the abundance of PH Book Fandoms for the wrong reasons and book piracy.
That post led to a lot of complicated things, and I even lost a friend because of it. I wrote a post days after, and it was about the lessons I learned because of what happened.
Some of you guys know the story behind this, and I would like to thank you for your understanding. To my bookish friends who don’t know what happened afterwards, I would like you to know that my friend and I are very much okay now. In fact, I consider her as one of my best friends in the bookish community. That incident was a test, and I am truly grateful our friendship survived it.
I wrote a post last year about books, book blogging, and the bookish community.
I also lost friends because of that post and what happened afterwards, but I’ve accepted that while there are people who understand me, there are also people who don’t and I can’t really do anything about it.
Try reading the posts again and think about the root of it all. I’m saying this because I’m trying to figure that out, too. Below are the nominees for the root.
Nominee #1: Review Copies
Whether it’s an ARC or a finished copy, as long as it’s sent by a publisher (or author) for review – review copies are powerful. They could bring out the positive and the negative in the bookish community.
Review copies can make someone’s day beautiful. One of the best feelings in the world is receiving a package with a book inside for you to read. It even gets better when authors send them with a heartfelt message that makes you feel appreciated. Book mail day is every blogger’s favorite day of the week, probably excluding book signing day – which happens at rare times.
On the other hand, review copies can reveal green eyes. I guess this is one of the downsides – jealousy over review copies. I’ve been through this phase and at times, I still feel it – but I don’t let it win anymore, because I don’t like what it does to me.
Review copies can both act as motivation and pressure to blog statistics. There are publishers with specific criteria when it comes to sending review copies, and bloggers can use those as goals. Having a goal could inspire hard work and dedication. However, when this gets out of hand, it could lead to blogging pressure. I’ve also gone through this phase and I didn’t like myself when it happened, so every time I start to feel pressured, I take a break. (Take yesterday, July 7 as an example – I didn’t post anything for my blog event yesterday, but I didn’t want to stress over it. #KeepCalmAndStayHappy)
Nominee #2: The Forum (and blogger events in general)
Both posts from 2014 and 2015 mention the Bloggers’ Forum of National Book Store – which is one of my dreams as a book blogger. There are a lot of reasons as to why this became a dream, and while I hesitated on talking about those, I wanted to be honest because I did realize something important last Sunday during my first time to be invited as a book blogger.
Being invited would mean I reached “something”. Not everyone gets invited to the forum and receiving an invite became some sort of a “confirmation” – a milestone. This works both ways, because milestones are great, but they shouldn’t define your worth. I am already “someone” before I got an invite – a thought inspired by a quote I’ve read somewhere. I’m Fay, I’m a book blogger who sings. I’m an author. I’m the president of Veronica Rossi Philippines. I have a unique set of characteristics and that makes me special. I tell that to myself every time I tend to compare – because while comparison may be part of human nature, it’s something better off avoided.
Being invited would mean meeting my friends. It’s really exciting when you recognize a face you’ve only seen online, and it makes the whole thing real.
Being invited would mean more time with the author/s. This means a lot to me because book signing events don’t happen every day and they’re opportunities every bookworm treasure.
But you know, as I type this post, I’ve realized the most important thing, which turns out to be the third nominee.
Nominee #3: “That Feeling”
Writing this post made me realize what I truly want. Deep down, all I want is to feel the same way I did when someone read a book upon seeing it on my blog. I realized that I wanted to have review copies and I wanted to go to the forum because I believe those would help me reach more readers. Because I really miss that feeling and I wanted to feel it again.
I love books and I love talking about them and readers mean so much to me. I miss “that feeling” – when my blog used to be a collection of book recommendations for my friends. Being a book blogger changed that in a way – because there are times when I find myself blogging for the sake of review copies, and improved blog statistics (which means more review copies and book blogger perks). I admit that there are times when I choose to read a book because I know how much people love it and posting a review about it would attract more followers. Sometimes I find myself wanting to read (or reread) a certain book but choosing not to because I need to finish reading more important books. I admit to be conscious of blog statistics because to me they meant progress. I admit that I often forget the reason why I blog and that KILLS ME.
Last month I watched a TED talk by Lisa Cron and tears were forming in my eyes because it went straight to the heart – I realized I forgot why I write and for the past few months, I’ve been writing to see my work in bookstores and to have an income source at my age. I realized why I had a writing slump. And Lisa Cron’s talk made me remember why I write. I wanted to share my words with the world because life is unfair and the world is not getting any pretty but we are humans and we can be there for each other. I write because I get sad and I experience heartbreak and I wanted to let it out because writing saves me every time I feel like giving up on life. I write to keep breathing.
Lisa Cron mentioned a quote in her talk and it was a THIS quote – the kind that you would highlight a thousand times upon seeing it on a book.
Indeed, feelings don’t just matter–they are what mattering means.
— Daniel Gilbert
I write because I feel. And I’ll keep on writing as long as my heart is beating.
This applies to my book blog, too. I blog because I want to share my thoughts and feelings for the books I have read. Because all of these books affect me, one way or another. I blog because my heart longs to meet people who feel the same about books and how they help us in more ways than one. The bookish family is my family, and our love for books keep us united.
This is why I started this blog event. I wanted to encourage my bookish friends (and people in general) to read. I’ve read a quote that goes like, “Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you’ll be criticized anyway.”
I believe in that – I believe that all of us can read whatever we want. Books tend to be discriminated against because of that fear of being judged – you choose not to read a book because some people might think of you differently upon finding out that you read a certain book. I do feel that way at times, but I remind myself that liking a hated book doesn’t make me a bad person. Not liking a well-loved book doesn’t make me a bad person, either. I do my best to always give the books I read a chance – because the book (and everyone who made the existence of that book possible) deserves it.
All of us are flawed, but that’s why we’re human. We might have done things that we shouldn’t have done, but what’s important is to strive to be better versions of ourselves. And whenever you’ve lost the drive to do something, always, ALWAYS remember why you do it.
To my bookish friends, thank you for all your support. Thank you for reading my posts and sharing your thoughts about them.
To my author friends, thank you for writing. You inspire me to keep writing and to
To the publishers, publicists, and book people I work with, thank you for all you do to take my blog this far.
Whoever reads this, THANK YOU. Thank you for reading this, despite its length. It took a lot of courage (and effort) to write this, and I appreciate the time you’ve shared with me. You have been part of my growth as a book blogger, as a writer, but most especially, as a person.
You all mean a lot to me. Remember that. ❤