There's a secret society hiding in plain sight all around us. I'm not spreading Illuminati rumors, I'm talking about book bloggers. While you go about your work day, grocery shop or catch some rays at the pool, there is a faction of prolific readers reviewing books, writing literary essays, running contests, organizing reading-related events and sharing their literary lives. Book bloggers are millions-strong and as diverse as the books they read.
If you are not a blogger yourself what can this community of bloggers do for you?
In much the same way that people go to the library and ask a librarian for book recommendations, an integral service called reader's advisory, bloggers can fulfill a similar need. With a full-time job and a family in tow, it is notably difficult for me to go to the library because their hours are restrictive. I tend to order books online and opts for e-books for their instant availability, and since I am online a significant amount, I get my recommendations from my fellow book bloggers.
If you are looking for book recommendations, book bloggers could be your new best friends. Kim Ukura, the reader and journalist behind the blog Sophisticated Dorkiness specializes in non-fiction reading. Back in June 2013, she created a semi-regular feature called the Nonfiction Recommendation Engine wherein readers submit their topical requests and Ukura combines her own reading experience with research to produce a list of recommended reading.
"Book bloggers are, in my experience, voracious readers, of both books and of other blogs. That makes book bloggers good resources for readers who are trying to find great books," said Ukura. "If we haven't read a book, often we've read a review of that book or know someone who might be able to make a recommendation. Over time, it's also possible to get to know a blogger's individual tastes, which makes it easier for a reader to decide if they're interested in a book based on a review that blogger writes."
Because the book blogging community is so large and varied, knowing where to start exploring can be a challenge. I recommend Google's blog search tool. An easy way to begin would be searching for a book you have enjoyed in the past or a specific genre. To narrow your search further, here are some blog recommendations based on their specialties. Many of these bloggers read and write about a variety of genres, but I've highlighted some of the genres or topics that help them stand out.
- River City Reading: contemporary, literary and historical fiction
- The Book Wheel: books and politics
- A Lovely Bookshelf on the Wall: short fiction, nonfiction, parenting and music
- Jenn's Bookshelves: mystery/thriller, horror, young adult and mainstream fictions
- Books and Sensibility: young adult fiction and adult crossover with quality discussions of diversity
Now you're set with a little more knowledge about book bloggers and what they can do for you. We would love it if you leave a comment below about bloggers you find or any other bloggers you already follow.