Well, everyone seems to be participating in Armchair BEA, and I am not as immune to peer pressure as I wish, so I figured I'd join in, too ;-) I've never been to BEA before, but I do want to interact with more bloggers as I haven't really reached out to find new ones in a long time, and I bet a lot of you out there are TOTES awesome and people that I should know. So here I am, making my introduction!
1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging?
I feel this question is cheating by putting four questions into one! Therefore, I am going to answer selectively. My name is Aarti, and I have been book blogging for about 7 years now. I haven't been blogging super-consistently over that time, but I have been very consistent over the past three years or so As to why I got into blogging, see above- probably got into it because everyone else was doing it. It's a sad answer, I know, but it's the truth.
Now, of course, I tell people that I got into blogging because I wanted a record of the books I read and to track my reading over time. I would like to give my younger self credit for that forethought and sensitivity, but I can't really. Now, though, I DO blog because I want a record of the books I read and to track my reading over time. So... I have matured.
2. What are you currently reading?
I am reading the behemoth A Suitable Boy, by Vikram Seth. As an Indian, I generally give myself a Get Out of Jail Free card for reading books by Indian authors. Mostly because a lot of Indian books are about Indian immigrants to other countries and how difficult it is to straddle two such different cultures. Well, I know that from my own experience and don't need to read a book about it.
BUT reading books that actually take place in India is different because I do not have that experience at all and those books cover all sorts of different topics, not just arranged marriages (though those often come up), and so I figured I should make up for years of neglect by reading one book that is basically the equivalent of 6 regular books. Also, one of my best friends says the book is amazing and I trust her judgment. So far, it is pretty awesome.
3. Tell us one non-book-related thing that everyone reading your blog may not know about you.
I hate butterflies.
4. Which is your favorite post that you have written that you want everyone to read?
Hmm, I don't really know. I think I have written a lot of posts that I wish more people would read and comment on ;-) I was really sad when my review of Incognegro didn't really get any comments. In general, my reviews of non-fiction books also don't get as many people clicking through to read. I don't know why- people seem really scared of non-fiction in a way that doesn't really make sense to me.
But I guess the posts that I feel most deeply about are the following:
Clearly, I was very introspective in January 2010.
5. What is your favorite part of the book blogging community? Is there anything that you would like to see change in the coming years?
I feel like most people's answer to the first part of this question will be "I love the community and the people." As I don't think I'm really a central member of the community at all, and because I don't want to say the same thing that everyone else says, I'm going to say something different. I love that book bloggers expose me to books that I'd never have stumbled across otherwise, and that the community has really challenged me to think more critically about the way I read. When I started blogging, I read almost solely historical fiction and fantasy, and while those still comprise a good chunk of my reading material, I can also say that I've become more of a feminist and much more widely-read in the past few years than ever before in my life. I mentioned all this in a post I wrote earlier this year.
As for what I would change in the community- I think we are unkind to each other. Book bloggerdom has gotten so competitive, and it makes me sad. There are so many flare-ups and hurtful comments made in the community. People are accused and vilified for so many ridiculous things, and there is so much strong reaction to everything, to the extent that my Google Reader will be filled with "responses" to current drama in blogosphere and that blogger's specific reaction to the drama. Seriously, I don't need you to tell me that you do not condone plagiarism in a blog post manifesto. I just want to hear what you think about the books you read. So I guess if I could see change in the community, I'd want people to worry less about what other people are doing and how many followers they have and how many ARCs they get and how many exclusive parties they're invited to and how welcoming they are to new bloggers. Just focus on yourself and your blog and the books, and DROP THE DRAMA.