Tuesday, September 15, 2009

shameless blog adoration: things mean a lot

A lot of people know about Nymeth's blog already. She's a fixture in the blogging circles I lurk in, anyways. But because this week is Book Blogger Appreciation Week, I thought it would be a very appropriate week to highlight things mean a lot, because it was the blog that got me started. This is actually a harder post to write than it should be, because I hold Nymeth in such esteem and I want to keep my head on straight -- no feckless fangirl gushing. Trying to keep the squeeing to a minimum.

Let's go back to the beginning. things mean a lot was the first book blog I ever read. I wasn't aware that there was such a thing (or that there were so many!) and I can't for the life of me remember how I stumbled upon this blog in the winter of 2007. I was just learning about RSS feeds, I remember, and it's possible that the things mean a lot feed popped up as something recommended for me in my reader, or that I followed a random link somewhere -- I have no idea. But from the moment I started reading Nymeth's reviews, I was hooked. And then I started following her lists of links to other reviews on other blogs, and lo and behold, an entire new world opened up to me: the book blogosphere, where people love books and love to write about them and share them with the world.

I was floored. And really, really excited.

Fastforward to the end of 2008. I'm done school, just started a new job, and I'm desperate to start reading books for myself again. The number of book bloggers I follow has grown from that single wonderful blog to many wonderful blogs. And I get an idea: hey, I can do this too. I can read stuff and write reviews of it, and it will be a way to keep track of what I'm reading, and keep me reading. So here we are, creeping towards fall in 2009, and I am very pleased with how this experiment has worked for me so far. And it's all because of Nymeth, who planted that seed.

things mean a lot still holds a special place in my book blogosphere pantheon, and for far more than sentimental reasons. Nymeth is, I think, a stellar example to follow; she upholds an incredibly high standard for book blogger conduct. She is always fair and positive in her reviews, even when she doesn't particularly enjoy a book. I really, really like that.

She also always has something intelligent to say. Her posts are thoughtful and thought-provoking in a way I only wish to be. Whether posting a review or about anything else, she clearly thinks very carefully about what she wants to say, structures things to support her point, and then lays it out in accessible language. It may help that I agree with her on many points, but I always want to cheer when she writes something I've always thought -- when she puts it in print, it seems so perfect.

Her blog is beautifully organized, things are easy to find -- if I want to look back and see what Nymeth thought of a book, it's easy to do so. And then I can find everything else she's read by that author, and see what she thought of that, too. Or I can click on the links she adds to the ends of her reviews, to see what other bloggers have thought of the books she's reviewed.

Her organization is important because Nymeth is prolific. She reads so much. And then she reviews it. And then she takes the time to respond -- individually -- to all the comments she gets, dozens of them per post. And then she travels around the book blogosphere, offering comments and encouragement and enthusiasm and support for us newbies, and does things like volunteer her time to help out with BBAW, and more. I don't know how she does it without constant burnout, but it's obvious that she loves it -- she loves reading, she loves sharing books with the world, she loves thinking and writing about books, and she loves to hear what people have to say. It's a joy to read her thoughts, and in these ways, she embodies everything I aspire to as a book blogger. So please keep up the awesome, amazing work Nymeth! It's tremendously inspiring. Happy BBAW!

Please check out the BBAW site! There are lots of wonderful things going on. I'm not formally participating this year (this post is the closest I'm getting) but there's still time if you want to participate in the events and giveaways, of which there are many many. I think it's a wonderful idea and props to Amy and all who have helped her to put it together this year.


Ana S. said...

Kiirstin, thank you so much. I still remember how excited I was when I first discovered the book blogging world. It was Stainless Steel Droppings that opened that door for me, and it makes me so happy to know I have done the same for someone else.

I do love writing about books and interacting with people, but I've actually had a few moments when I felt overwhelmed and considered stepping back :P But I never did, because I know that I'm at a point in my life when I can do this, and that won't always be the case. I'm saving to move and start library school, and I have no idea what will happen to my blogging habits once I do. In the meantime, though, I want to make the most of it!

Paperback Reader said...

What a lovely post! I agree with everything you have said. Things Mean a Lot is a wonderful book blog and Nymeth a prolific, friendly, and inspirational blogger. I also love her lolcats :). I have come across mention of great books on her blog that otherwise I wouldn't have and even have a couple sent from her (along with beautiful artwork and handmade bookmarks) on my bookshelves waiting to be read; a lot of my TBR pile at the moment is made up of her recommendations as she opens me up to new (to me) literature.

Unknown said...

Nymeth - You are more than welcome, of course! I completely understand the overwhelming feeling, and I do think it's always important to listen to that little voice that says "I need a break" otherwise blogging (or anything, really) just isn't fun anymore. But I'll keep reading as long as you keep posting!

Paperback Reader - The lolcats! I forgot to mention! I agree with you, too, Nymeth is very hard on my TBR list.

Nan said...

Kiirstin, wow! This is a wonderful post, and I'm going to go visit her blog.

Amy said...

This is a great post!!! ;) And you are right on in everything you say!

Unknown said...

Nan - Yay! My plan worked ;) I think you'll find there's lots to read and enjoy.

Amy - Thank you! I'm glad you liked.

Cecelia said...

Lovely tribute! (also, HEART your new template. classy!)

Unknown said...

celi.a - *blushes* thank you! on both counts. :)