10 years ago, I posted my first book review on a blog (not this one, these were livejournal days)! I would link to it here except that I really hate reading my old reviews. Anyway, the first book I reviewed was Sharon Kay Penman's The Sunne in Splendour. A book I really enjoyed and still own. So funny; nowadays, because I blog, I am often nervous about tackling long books. Before blogging, I was all about the chunksters that used to dominate fantasy and historical fiction.
My reading tastes have changed drastically over the past ten years. It's hard to parse out how much of that is due to blogging and all of you and how much is due to my own personal growth (or lack thereof). Regardless, I'm so happy with the way my reading tastes have evolved and broadened over time. I love that I read so much more widely now than I used to, and I think I am a kinder, smarter and better person because of it. Books can have such massive impact on individuals and on society as a whole. When I consider my personal mourning for Terry Pratchett and our national mourning for Harper Lee, I know that there is so much power in words to be agents of change in the world.
Bloggers, then, are the conduits through which books can reach people so that they can effect change. All of us worry, I think, that we spend a lot of time and effort writing about books that no one ever reads. But one thing I have learned about myself is that there's a long game. It can take me a long time to get around to reading a book I've heard about, but that doesn't usually lessen the impact that book has on me. Even if you told me about a book or an author years ago, and I just get around to reading it now, you were still that link. You made a difference.
Similarly, the impact of a story can be felt long after I've finished reading it. I remember so clearly reading The Awakening in high school and it not registering very much with me at all. But now, even though I've never read The Awakening again, I think back on how prescient it was about life as a woman and the decisions and trade-offs we must make. The effect may be delayed, but it's no less important.
So I'd like to thank you all for the influence you have had on my reading and on so many other people's reading. Perhaps you are lucky enough to see an immediate response to your recommendations. Or maybe you are struggling, wondering if anyone out there has read your impassioned post about a book that changed your life that seems to have hit the internet and faded so quickly. I promise you, the impact you have is often hard to track and invisible to you, but that doesn't mean it's not there. All of you have had an immeasurable impact on my reading. And because of that, you have influenced who I am as a person. (And let me tell you, I'm pretty amazing :-) ). Thank you!