The world of book blogging has grown enormously and sometimes it can be hard to find a place. Share your tips for finding and keeping community in book blogging despite the hectic demands made on your time and the overwhelming number of blogs out there. If you’re struggling with finding a community, share your concerns and explain what you’re looking for–this is the week to connect!
I think maintaining community in the world of book blogging comes down to one thing—participation. I only follow book blogs that I actively read, and I do my best to add meaningful comments to posts. “I read this book too!” comments are nice and all, but discussion—the lifeblood of bookish communities—doesn’t grow from that. (Oh, man, did I ever tell y’all about the time I was talking about Malinda Lo’s Ash in class, making a point about the nebulous and marketing-based divide between young adult fiction and adult fiction, and a girl just went “Oh, I read that book!” very loudly—to me—while I was talking to the entire class? That’s not discussion, that’s an interruption.) Personally, I use co.mments to track responses to my comments, wherever I leave them, which allows me to pick up the discussion more. And discussion makes the world go round, builds better relationships between people, so on and so forth. I also recommend Twitter, if you don’t already use it, to talk with your fellow book bloggers—I know Cass makes me crack up on a nearly weekly basis when we have conversations.
But I will admit that I would love to meet and follow more book bloggers that come from fandom. (Incidentally, They Came from Fandom is my next science fiction film.) I try and keep my fandom life and real life very separate, so I never have to worry about what I say, but being a fan is still a very large part of who I am and fandom was what first trained me to look critically at texts, especially back during the first wave of Harry Potter fandom. The fannish view towards texts encourages interacting with, criticizing, and even changing the text, even as you love the text; after the release of 2009’s Star Trek, fanfiction and other fan media began cropping up examining the true consequences of a supposedly diverse world where white American men are still mostly in power or at least the most visible. The Book Smugglers approached this sort of viewpoint when reviewing Sisters Red, whose abominable victim-blaming I used in a paper last year. Obviously, thinking critically about texts is common (or should be common!) among book bloggers, but I would really love to meet some more fellow fannish book bloggers.