Thursday, September 17, 2009
All week long, My Friend Amy and her most-amazing team have been gathering at their hearth the book bloggers of the world who have, in my humble opinion, rescued books from oblivion. I was a judge for one panel, I was a nominee in a different category, and I was also invited to write an essay about book bloggers, and why they matter. That essay was originally posted here, alongside a whole lot of good stuff from great bloggers. But just in case you haven't yet mosied over, I reprint it below.
The question, the theme, is why I appreciate book bloggers. The thoughts in my head are urgent and many. I appreciate book bloggers because they redeem, energize, and fortify an industry that would, I firmly believe, be in an untenable position without them. Few can rally readers to books the way that book bloggers do. Few can herald, in true blogger style, titles yet to come or books that too few of us notice. Few care as much as book bloggers care about covers, issues, themes. Book bloggers are readers, they are teachers, they are bookshop employees, they are librarians, they are parents, they are neighbors, and they love books. They summon and articulate their passions on a regular basis—not for pay, not for honors, but on behalf of stories, authors, and the written word.
I think of the time (and money) that book bloggers pour into their craft—all that reading, posting, commenting, all that mailing and sorting, all those events—and I ask myself: How did this come to be? And, Where would I be without book bloggers?
For truly: Where would I be? I am a writer of literary books—no commercial giant, no Personality, not the glam gal on the limo tour. I care—enormously—about the books that I write. I want them to find their right readerly homes. I know that, without readers, I do not have a writing future. But I have little control over the fate of my books. They are released into the world, and I wait.
It’s the angels with wings who move in after that—angels, by which I mean book bloggers. Those souls whom I have never met, who live in places I have never seen, who take an interest. On the release date of Nothing but Ghosts, this past June, I woke to a virtual book launch party that had been engineered by no other than My Friend Amy and Presenting Lenore. I had not seen it coming. I could not believe my eyes. I told everyone—for weeks afterward—that something extraordinary had happened. “They threw me a party,” I kept telling friends. “They believed in this book, and in me.” They had thrown open the doors to their own community, and invited me in, to stay. I have met extraordinary bloggers in the aftermath of that party. I have found, within myself, a deeper faith in the kinds of books that I try to write—literary books that cross genre borders, that will live or die solely on the recommendations of readers, readers who also happen to be book bloggers.
I am getting teary-eyed writing this. I am thinking about all those book bloggers who have come into my life since I myself started blogging two years ago—the stories they’ve told me about themselves, the books they’ve insisted that I read, the love that they have given, so freely, to me. I would be not be who I am without these souls. That’s a fact, firm and unyielding.