World Book Day was designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and is marked in over 100 countries around the globe. World Book Day is a partnership of publishers, booksellers and interested parties who work together to promote books and reading for the personal enrichment and enjoyment of all. A main aim of World Book Day in the UK and Ireland is to encourage children to explore the pleasures of books and reading by providing them with the opportunity to have a book of their own. For more information and further resources on how to participate in World Book Day please visit the official website: http://worldbookday.com/
As part of the World Book Day campaign, I have been asked by MVC to tell my story about what literature means to me and how I started blogging.
My day job is teaching Latin and Ancient Greek to high school students in the United States, so people automatically assume that I am an avid reader because of my chosen career. An appreciation for literature was actually instilled in me way back when I was a high school student, especially in a junior year English class in which we started reading British Literature.
I was always a diligent student in school, so I would read everything that was assigned in middle school and in my 9th and 10th grade English courses But something really changed for me in 11th grade when I was exposed to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and Charles Dicken’s David Copperfield. It did not matter that these books were lengthy or that the language was difficult, the stories and the time periods in which they were set absolutely captivated me.
I began to research British History on my own and to read additional novels that were set in various time periods, especially the 19th century. Two additional books that I discovered and have reread often are Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre and Daphne DuMorier’s Rebecca. To this day, Classics and Historical Fiction novels are still my favorite genres. Successful historical fiction novels will stand out, in my mind, if they makes the reader want to know more about the time periods in which they are set.
I decided to start my blog about year ago mainly so that I could connect with other like-minded readers. The philosophy behind my blog has also expanded to include giving away books to my readers to spread around the enjoyment of good literature. I have also come to believe that it is important to help authors become a bit more connected with their readers through interviews and guest posts.
When I started my book review blog one of the most pleasant surprises I experienced was the direct contact that I had with authors, especially through electronic and social media. Never in a million years did I think I would have the opportunity to ask an author for an interview for my blog or even discuss a particular aspect of a book directly with its creator. I have learned that the community of writers with which I have interacted is, for the most part, creative, kind and inspiring.
I will say two more things about my philosophy of writing reviews and blogging. I never, ever publish negative reviews on my blog. Period. If I read a book and cannot find anything positive to say about it then I will not post a review of it on my site. I do have books with two star ratings on book review sites, but even when I give a book a low rating I try to make specific comments about why a book missed the mark for me. Authors put their heart and souls into their work and just because I do not like a book doesn’t mean that others won’t like it either.
Finally, I know that some reviewers, whether on book purchasing sites, blogs or in professional review publications, do sometimes write a rather lengthy narrative about a book. But I believe that they best way for someone to get a feel for a book without spoilers is to keep the review as succinct as possible. I also find that if a review is too lengthy then readers start skimming or give up on the review altogether. And, in the end, if you really love a book then an author and fellow readers will truly appreciate any review, even if it’s only a few kind words. It is really the best way to spread around one’s love of great literature.