In late 2007, when I knew that what started out as an online journal to record each of the 52 books I planned on reading that year was going to continue on long after I met my goal, I brainstormed names for my blog with my husband. He is often a mad genius, but I had no idea just how ironic the title he came up with would be until today. Until I read your article published on SantaCruz.com in fact. You see, although my book blog is called The Literate Housewife Review, it is much like my taste in books (and your article I might add): mostly fiction.
Just as you assume about me by virtue of the fact that I’m a book blogger who *gasp* tweets, I am going to assume you’ve never read my blog. I want you to you know who I am, so here are some basic facts about me:
- I will be 40 years old in October. Although I actually fit into your assumed 20 – 50 age range, I’m much closer to 50 than 20.
- I am married and am the mother of two daughters. I do mention my husband and daughters on occasion, but this does not make me a “mommy blogger.” Being a) a mother and b) a blogger doesn’t marry the two. Although I’m open to correction, I believe “mommy bloggers” are those women (not girls) who blog about parenting. My blog, you see, was something I started to carve out a place in my life for me. I love my family to death, but I need and deserve a little place where I can be myself.
- I work full-time, and usually more than 40 hours per week, as a Senior Business Systems Analyst for a local dental insurance company. In fact, over the past 10 years, I’ve had several promotions. I began my professional career as a technical writer after completing my Masters Degree. While I may daydream about the prospect of staying home all day and reading, my husband and I both work very hard to support our family. Even if I were a housewife, I know from experience that the life of a housewife is a far cry from lounging around and snacking while reading. I watched my mom growing up. It’s hard work. Underrated by some such as yourself, Daniela. I know myself well enough to understand that I would struggle as a housewife.
- I am on Twitter (@lithousewife). A lot. As of last night I had 2750 followers, something that humbles me. I guess you can write me down as having 27.5 hundred followers.
Here are some facts about my reading life:
- While I don’t read much romance, I’ve been known to indulge from time to time. Just as with any other book, if it’s well written and tells an interesting story, I enjoy it. If I reads it, I review it. For example, here is my review of Fire and Ice. I liked it’s fire. A lot. There are many spectacular book blogs out there that focus on romance. I’ll point out just one (I worry about your attention span based upon the hurried generalizations in your article): Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. Go there. You’ve much to discover. She’s on Twitter (@smartbitches). She has an incredible 13,384 follows. Please mark her down for having 134 houndred followers. Yes, I am aware that I rounded up. She’ll be at 13,400 by the time you read this.
- You group horror and vampire novels together. I’ll let someone else tackle that, as these genres, like romance, are not ones I visit very often. I have, however, read one horror novel and one zombie book this year (zombies are different from vampires, but I am sure you meant the full spectrum of ghouls in your article). The horror novel was Horns by Joe Hill. It was marvelous. It was thoughtful. It was well written. It gave me sympathy for the devil. I would follow Joe Hill anywhere. He doesn’t court anyone unremittingly, even though he is on Twitter (@joe_hill). He has an astounding 93,492 followers. Please mark him down for having 935 hundred followers. You know the drill. The zombie book I read in audio. It’s Paul Is Undead by Alan Golsher and narrated by Simon Vance. I’ve never laughed so hard reading a book in all my life. Daniela, you need to understand that while reading does broaden one’s horizons and leads to deeper thinking, but it also provides entertainment and joy. Joy. Seriously, imagine that.
- Let’s move on, then, to paranormal books. Yes, I do read them. I just recently read and reviewed Justin Evans’ The White Devil. In 2009, I dedicated the entire month of November to reading Neil Gaiman. I even one a Top 10 prize for my review of Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger. I fear, however, that these weren’t the books you were thinking of when you painted all book bloggers with the same brush. Every genre contains books of literary value. Ever single one.
Moving on to my blog:
- If you were to ever check my About page, you’d see that my most favorite genres are Literary Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Gothic Fiction. My reading tastes and desires do fluctuate. Sometimes I love to read Historical Fiction and Chick Lit. Occasionally I read non-fiction and memoirs.
- I have been blogging about books for almost 4 and a half years. I’ve been through the “OMG! I got a book in the mail – FOR FREE” phase. I’ve been through the “WTF am I going to do? I’ve accepted way too many review copies” phase. I’m now in a much more comfortable place where I accept only what I really want to read and only accept under the condition that I may not be able to get to the book.
- I still buy books. A lot. I buy books in print, audiobooks, and eBooks. I like books in whatever format and, honestly, in whatever color.
- Here are the books I’ve read just this year (in addition to most of those mentioned above):
The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine
The King’s Speech
The Kitchen Daughter
Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 1
Heads You Lose
The Book of Tomorrow
Born Under a Lucky Moon
Picking Bones from Ash
Tipping the Velvet
So Much Pretty
The House of Tomorrow
Pictures of You
The Mistress of Nothing
Miss Entropia and the Adam Bomb
You Don’t Love This Man
The Fates Will Find Their Way
A Thousand Rooms of Dreams and Fear
The Winter Sea
What I fear you may not grasp is that all readers have unique tastes in books. If you’d still like to put me in the box which is the argument in your article, so be it. I personally don’t know how I would characterize myself as a reader. I don’t have eclectic a taste as say @devourerofbooks (39 hundred followers), @bookladysblog (76 hundred followers), @bethfishreads (49 hundred followers) or @skrishna (30 hundred followers), but I never stay in one place for long. There are an equal number of those who specialize. Why shouldn’t they? We don’t read because it’s our job. We read because it’s our passion. Why do you read?
You seem to almost take delight in the so-called death of the book. The fact that you paint a group of people to which I am honored to belong is a curiosity to me. We may now be considered media as a result of the digital age, but we began as readers who love all things books. If we all lived in the same neighborhood, we’d have one hell of an awesome book club. We don’t. Instead, we meet online. We discuss things on Twitter. We consume books. We love them. We support publishers large and small. We spend our money in local bookstores as well as at larger chains. We frequent public libraries. We are not girls. In fact, some of the best among us are men. We are in our teens, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s. In that I could even be wrong. Why shouldn’t there be book bloggers in their 70s and 80s? I think every single one of us would agree that we’ll stop reading when we’re dead. Even then, heaven will be packed full of books.
Daniela, when you’d like to paint a group of people you do not know and do not seem to like into a nice, tiny package you’d like to tie with a bow, do a little research first. Your publication seems to consider you a “great critical mind at work.” I suggest you never let them down again.