BBAW 2011: Community

Wow. Just like last year, Book Blogger Appreciation Week blindsides me (I did this last week, while shaking my head at the fact A Discovery of Witches made it onto a short list for anything. A Discovery of Witches, people! I thought we were better than that) and rescues me from the last few reviews in the buffer I built up over the summer. I’m getting the feeling that this is going to be an annual thing… anyway, this year’s Book Blogger Appreciation Week is focused on the community of book blogging, so let’s get started.

While the awards are a fun part of BBAW, they can never accurately represent the depth and breadth of diversity in the book blogging community. Today you are encouraged to highlight a couple of bloggers that have made book blogging a unique experience for you. They can be your mentors, a blogger that encouraged you to try a different kind of book, opened your eyes to a new issue, made you laugh when you needed it, or left the first comment you ever got on your blog. Stay positive and give back to the people who make the community work for you!

Oh, man, you can imagine what fear a question like this strikes into the heart of me. I’m pretty ruthless when it comes to organization, including book blogs I follow—you see that blog roll over there? Those are blogs I’m excited to read every morning. But because of that, I feel like I can’t have a list without leaving off someone I really, really do like! But there is a compromise, and it’s featuring one book blogger, because the implication is that next year I’ll feature someone else I love to pieces, which I will! I get to focus on one person and give them all the attention they deserve. See? It’s a win-win scenario.

So this year, I’m featuring Fyrefly’s Book Blog, which was one of the first blogs I followed back in the day and remains a delight to read. (Two years ago. Man, that feels like forever ago!)

Simplicity is a huge thing for me, and simple is a great way to describe Nicki’s particular neck of the woods. The layout is straight-forward and soothing, she only does memes she cares about, and it’s easy to navigate. (You’d think this would be the least I could ask of a book blog, but you’d be surprised.) This places the focus on her content, and that’s where Nicki shines.

Like me, Nicki is an enormously eclectic reader—unlike me, she is also a biologist. Most of the bloggers I follow in the book blogosphere are writers, librarians (or aspiring librarians), or working in the publishing industry. You know, humanities people. Nicki’s background as a biologist gives her writing and general outlook on books a different flare; when reading popular science books, she’s happy to point out the holes in their thinking (if they’ve any, of course) with the authority invested in her as a scientist. It’s great to see someone take that knowledge to everything, not just nonfiction.

She’s also remarkably adept at making things both succinct and deep. I usually don’t care for short reviews; I make sure my own run between seven hundred and a thousand words, because I feel that’s enough to cover what I want to cover without boring the reader. But Nicki starts off every review with a haiku—often hilarious—and covers a lot of ground in short order. Not that she can’t also write a fabulous long review. She makes reread reviews into something beyond just another review by revisiting her original review and seeing how the two reading experiences differ, such as her reread of A Song of Ice and Fire.

On top of everything else, she ends every year with a fancy spreadsheet full of statistics about her reading for the year, which I think is just fantastic. And she’s also the creator of the Book Blogger Search Engine, which makes it easy for anyone to find book blogger reviews of books and, personally, makes writing my Literary Horizon posts every week much, much easier.

In short, go follow her blog now.

13 thoughts on “BBAW 2011: Community

  1. Awww, thank you so much! I’m seriously all misty-eyed now. I’ve been feeling a little blah about blogging recently – I don’t think I realized it was BBAW before this morning – but this post absolutely made my day, and is giving me a much-needed kick in the pants to get back into blogging gear. 🙂

  2. I get so many great recommendations from Nicki! She’s the whole reason I read THE MAP OF TIME, which has emerged as one of my favourite books this year, and she’s responsible for all the Lois McMaster Bujold titles on my wishlist.

  3. I only knew about Nicki in the context of the Book Blogger Search Engine, which I use all the time. I will check out her blog! I like when people bring unique perspectives to their reading/reviewing (such as being a biologist). And yes…clean layouts and easy navigation are wonderful!

  4. Pingback: Book Blogger Appreciation Week: Appreciation « The Literary Omnivore

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