Book Reviews

Happy Birthday Booker Talk

Exactly one year ago today  (I even watched the clock so I could say that) I pushed the publish button on my first post on this blog.  The first few posts were very tentative forays but like all new babies, this offspring developed rapidly thanks to the help and encouragement of many other bloggers. I’ve even mastered some of the lingo (I no longer need to reach for the dictionary to decipher blog hops, memes and readathons).

babylegs So what have I learned?

Lesson number 1:  Make Time to Blog. writing and managing a blog takes far more time than I ever anticipated. Blogs do not write themselves. Writing, finding photos, replying to comments, thinking of the next topic, playing with the design. Phew……this could easily be a full time job.

Lesson number 2:  Think Beyond Numbers I’ve discovered that I am ridiculously thrilled when someone posts a comment or a ‘like’ — it  tells me that there is someone somewhere out there that is interested. I’m not interested in building a large number of followers —I’d rather have a small number that engage in a discussion with me than hundreds of followers who never bother to say anything. Fortunately I’ve made many new virtual friends who regularly drop in on this blog and whose blogs I follow regularly. And they’ve been kind enough to help me find my feet.

Lesson number 3: Be Flexible. The blog has undergone a few changes since I started. In the first post I said I planned to read all the Booker prize winning novels and to write about them.  I thought I would be writing only about the Booker prize or about the authors themselves. But I quickly realised that was too limiting a topic and there were so many other aspects of reading that interested me (plus I am not disciplined enough to confine my reading just to those authors). So now the topics are much broader – from classics to world literature and more recently, the history of the novel.

Lesson number 4: Blogging about Books is Risky.  I already had a Alpine size pile of unread books when I started this venture a year ago. That’s now grown to Rockies proportions and just keeps growing. Every time I read a posting on another blog, I add it to my wishlist and look out for it next time I’m in a charity shop or bookstore. There are now easily 3 years worth of books to read and that’s not counting ones I want to re-read or ones that I haven’t even bought yet but which I know I will buy (my excuse is I need them because they are Booker winners or on my classics club list or on my Reading the World challenge….)

Lesson number 5; Experiment I write extensively in my professional life so I thought writing a blog wouldn’t be that difficult. But it requires a different style of writing than I’m accustomed to using. I’m not convinced I’ve found the natural style I want yet so I keep trying different tones of voice and approaches.

Lesson number 6: Join the Party Writing a blog can be a lonely experience if all you do is commit your thoughts to the virtual page and press send. Blogging is all about communication and communication is a two way street. So unless you just want a personal diary (in which case go and buy a notebook) then you need to participate in other groups and engage with other people. The more I’ve followed other blogs and commented on them, the more interesting this enterprise has become. I get a window on the lives of many people and can share their love of literature even if we agree to disagree on certain authors. How else would I get to know what a book club in Singapore was reading last week?

Mistakes – of course I’ve made a few, but then again too few to mention. So I won’t…….. I’ll just say thanks to everyone who follows, comments or just reads – and look forward to celebrating my next birthday with you all.  OK it’s time to blow out the candles now…


What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

16 thoughts on “Happy Birthday Booker Talk

    • Thank you for the guidance! Also, you’re not the first one to tell me it was an unusual blog name! 🙂 I had a friend I showed it to a few days back and they also wondered why I chose “Samuel Johnson Enthusiast” to be the name of my blog. The main reason is that I decided my blog should focus on sharing my views about different books and poems; sort of like a critic (who better than Dr. Johnson to name it after, if that is my goal). Also I’m kind of obsessed with him. 🙂 Thank you again!

  • Congratulations! Your tips will be very useful to a new blogger like myself, I especially agree with Lesson number 2. Here’s to many more years of blogging!

  • Happy Blogoversery! And I can’t agree more with Number 6!

    • This is by far the most interesting thing that I experience through blogging. I just wish I had more time to do it Geoff.
      Thanks for dropping in….

  • Happy blog birthday! Great things you’ve learned – true too!

  • Pingback: Sunday Salon: reasons to be cheerful | BookerTalk

    • Hello Australia where I can be sure it is a lot warmer than it is over in the “old” South Wales. Thanks for joining my birthday celebration and bringing a gift to the party. I took a look at the link and it seems you want me to answer the same questions?
      As for the photo well I confess it isn’t mine and in fact I think it just came with that theme from WordPress so I don’t really know where in the world it is. I keep looking for one that is close to home but haven’t found a good one yet.

      • Thanks for that. There’s a new set of questions further down the page, a bit different to the ones I answered. I”m in Victoria, a bit further south than New South Wales and today it has been a mild 33 degrees.

  • Happy birthday! I definitely agree with no. 3, I’ve switching blogging topic and style a couple of times in the past before realising that for me what works is one blog to bind them all. Mostly books with bits of other topics is what works best for me, I’m changing my layout in April to make it easier to navigate but honestly I find it surprising how many blogs start with a narrow focus and dwindle away rather than broaden their scope! I’m enjoying your wider focus and the tone you’re finding for yourself. Here’s to the next birthday. 🙂

  • Happy Birthday, BookerTalk! Thanks for pointing out the lessons that you learned because these are lessons that one doesn’t pick in one instant. I think they are constantly being relearned, particularly lessons 3 and 5. I’m hoping for more posts from you on your blog’s second year. 🙂

    • Thanks for the birthday greetings Angus. I’m pretty sure I will keep on experimenting and changing. And I can say with certainty that the book mountain will keep growing no matter what resolutions I make.

  • Happy blog birthday. I’m glad you’re blogging. Great posts. Makes me think I should step back and think about what I have learned, what mistakes I have made. I know I write too long, for example, but it’s so hard to write short.

    • That would have been a good point to make for me also Barbara. I. Also have a tendency to over write. Thanks for keeping in touch.


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