Monday, September 12, 2011

Book Blogger Appreciation Week: Community

Today represents my 1000th post to Jen's Book Thoughts, and what an appropriate post for #1000. This is the first day of the 4th Annual Book Blogger Appreciation Week, and our topic for today's post is Community. That's what blogging is all about, right? It's the way we're able to experience our love of books with people all over the world who share that passion. The bloggers I'm going to highlight today won't be unknown names to those of you who read here regularly. And they shouldn't if they're part of my community, right? If you're new to Jen's Book Thoughts, these are four of my fellow bloggers who not only inspire me but support me in all that I do...sane or harebrained they're on my side, rooting me on. How lucky am I?

I've been so incredibly blessed when it comes to the book blogging community. I met the most generous woman, blogger and librarian, Lesa Holstine. She's fostered not only my love of the mystery genre, but also my love of blogging. She's supported me, advised me, encouraged me and indulged me. It's been through her generosity and kindness that I've been able to build my sense of security and my willingness to take a risk. While Lesa and I live on opposite sides of the country now, we both share a background of Northeast Ohio. We discovered each other through blogging, and it is my distinct pleasure to call her both mentor and friend.

Another blogger who is a vital part of my community is Naomi Johnson at The Drowning Machine. Naomi and I both live in Ohio: me in the Northern realm and Naomi in Central Ohio. We met through our mutual love of Robert Crais and began talking on a Crais discussion board. She was one of my first "regulars." Since then I look to her for everything from advice to laughs to attending book events with me. I look forward to every chance I have to interact with Naomi, as I know my heart will be in a constant state of smile.

Michael Alatorre is the author of It Rains...You Get Wet. I also met Michael on the Robert Crais discussion board and he too was an early regular of Jen's Book Thoughts. In addition to our shared love of Robert Crais and crime fiction, Michael is my guru when it comes to audiobooks. He is such a wealth of knowledge and he's incredibly generous with his willingness to share it. I often find myself emailing him with pleas for help. He never bats an eyelash, he's so tolerant of me! I made my first visit to Los Angeles for the L.A. Times Book Festival in 2008 and Michael shared the whole experience with my sister and I. His generosity went above and beyond. I returned to the Festival in 2009 and was able to meet Michael's family, who are as wonderful as I imagined from his hilarious stories. And I'm looking forward to seeing him again this week when the Craisies converge on St. Louis where Robert Crais is a guest of honor at this year's Bouchercon. I'll be giving RC a special thanks for bringing both Naomi and Michael into my life and my blogging community.

The last blogger I'm going to mention today is another blogger in the crime fiction community as well as the book blogging community and that's Pop Culture Nerd. I met PCN through Michael Alatorre because she too shares a love of Robert Crais with us. I'm continually inspired by PCN: she's energetic, fantastically funny, smart as a whip and creative. I wish I had a fraction of the wonderfulness in this spitfire! PCN and I will be embarking on a project together soon and then I'll be able to sponge off her wonderfulness. ;-) It's a special kind of person that you can disagree with but still completely respect the opposite opinion. With PCN, I know we can always have great conversations whether we completely agree on a topic or not. There's always a mutual respect and understanding. I cherish that part of our friendship. I am honored and humbled to call her friend.

I could write about the wonderful bloggers that make up my "community" for days and days. Tomorrow I'm going to share another small group of bloggers because I was unable to participate in the blogger interview exchange this year - Bouchercon and all. I hope you'll stop by and I hope you'll check out the blogs of the folks I've highlighted here in this post. They are wonderful, wonderful bloggers and well worth checking out! They inspire me regularly!

Before I wrap this up, I'd also like to take this opportunity to remember a very special member of our collective community (myself and my friends I've mentioned above). Corey Wilde started The Drowning Machine and due to his health, asked Naomi to join him in maintaining the blog. When he could no longer contribute, Naomi took the blog over completely. We haven't heard from Corey since that time and feel his absence regularly. He helped to nurture the community we are all a part of. It wouldn't be the same without his contributions. While I think of Corey regularly, today, I think of him especially. This blogging's really about far more than the books.


mel u September 12, 2011 at 2:19 AM  

Hi, I am stopping by to visit your blog via the list of posts for Day one

Please Stop by My Blog if you Like

I do not normally read mysteries so I am not aware of any of the blogs you mentioned-I will take a look at them and I liked a lot what you said about the book blog community

Jan von Harz September 12, 2011 at 5:06 AM  

Fabulous post. While I concentrate on the books that appeal to my students, I do love reading about adult books just to see what I am missing. All the bloggers you highlighted sound like they make this community richer for their contributions.

parrish lantern September 12, 2011 at 5:19 AM  

a great subject for this milestone post & thanks for the intro to some blogs i was unaware of.

Beth F September 12, 2011 at 8:20 AM  

Community is what adds that spark of motivation to blogging. Great list of blogs.

Congrats on 1000!

bermudaonion September 12, 2011 at 8:46 AM  

A couple of those blogs are new to me - I'm going to check them out now.

pattinase (abbott) September 12, 2011 at 9:06 AM  

When I met Naomi this summer, I asked her about Corey and was so sad to hear his ill health prevented him from participating any longer. You do grow attached to the people you touch base with online. It's hard to explain it to people who don't blog or read blogs.

Trisha September 12, 2011 at 9:27 AM  

Congrats on your 1000th post! You've given me a list of new-to-me bloggers to check out, which is super exciting.

My list of influential bloggers, if you are interested!

gautami tripathy September 12, 2011 at 11:35 AM  

Wonderful list you got here!

I had a hard time choosing. But I opted for totally unheard of blogs. Isn't that the intention of community? To spread far and wide!!

Here is my post:

BBAW 2011: Community

le0pard13 September 12, 2011 at 12:26 PM  

First off, congratulations on reaching a 'K', Jen. You are not only prolific but show a caliber and consistency with your work that make others envious. Well, we would be jealous that is, if you weren't such a fantastic person. You make everyone you meet better because of your joy and personality (which BTW comes across in your writing).

I second your spotlight of Lesa, Naomi, and the one we know as 'PCN'. They are a great set of folk, friends, and bloggers. I look forward to catching up with the Ohio contingent of the 'Craisies' this week in St. Louis! And thank you very kindly for the shout-out, Jen. It's no secret you are a prime reason I do what I occasionally do in blogosphere, and I'm grateful.

See you soon :-).

Marce September 12, 2011 at 1:25 PM  

Since Crime, Mystery etc is my favourite genre I must check out your choices.

Jenners September 12, 2011 at 1:32 PM  

You're so right … this blogging thing is about more than just the books. I've been astonished and blessed to realize how many good friends I've made via blogging who I've yet to meet in person. But I know that when we do meet, we'll be able to talk for hours!

Happy BBAW … and I just love your header!

carolsnotebook September 12, 2011 at 1:40 PM  

When I first started blogging, I was not aware of what a huge, wonderful community it is. And I continue to be introduced to wonderful new blogs. Thanks.

Pop Culture Nerd September 12, 2011 at 3:17 PM  

Hi Jen!

I disagree about our disagreeing. What do you mean, I respect people who disagree with me? Do you not know me at all?

OK, kidding. I'm so flattered you put me in such heady company. You are among the most generous people I've ever met and I'm going to make sure I pay my HOA dues on time every month so I won't get kicked out of your community.

Congrats on your 1K. I appreciate you right back.

P.S. I also miss Corey and think about him often.

nigel p bird September 12, 2011 at 3:49 PM  

I think a lot about community and how it should work for us in all of its different forms, so it's nice to hear of your tightest.

I'm also delighted to have a page of generosity to lift general spirits.

Thanks Jen.

Erin September 12, 2011 at 4:41 PM  

1000th post? How perfect! I'm not sure you could have timed that better if you'd tried. Congratulations on making the triple digits!

Naomi Johnson September 12, 2011 at 7:41 PM  

Jen, thanks so much for the kind words. Thanks even more for remembering Corey. Without him, my part in this community would be as near nothing as makes no difference.

Michael, PCN, and you: The very best kind of Craisie!

Lu @ Regular Rumination September 12, 2011 at 8:28 PM  

I could write about this for days and days, too. That's what makes this community so great. There are definitely some blogs on here that I've never read, so I can't wait to check them out!

Jen September 12, 2011 at 9:21 PM  

Thanks everyone for your wonderful comments. I sooooo appreciate you stopping by today. I'm in St. Louis getting ready for this year's Bouchercon and trying to juggle a little of BBAW too. You're all wonderful! :-)

Lesa September 16, 2011 at 8:50 AM  

What a perfect way to celebrate your 1000th post and BBAW. You're such an important part of my blogging community, Jen. The friend, and blog I would include, along with yours, is Kaye Barley and Meandering and Muses. Another person who has become a friend, although I've not yet met her. As you said, it's what community is all about. Love you, Jen. And, thank you.

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