Hello friends! I honestly cannot believe that I have been book blogging for a whole year already, or rather a year and a month, I confess I’m a month late writing this post, but better late than never right?
How It All Started…
It started on a whim. At 2am. 2 weeks before my end of year exams, on the 12 of September 2020.
I was feeling downcast and uninspired.
Until I discovered WordPress.
Despite my first few posts being absolutely cringe-worthy, despite the blog featured images being larger than the actual post, despite my abysmal blog aesthetic (if you could even call it one), I fell in love with blogging instantly. I’m sure many of you could resonate with a blog being a comfort space. There’s something inherently lovely about a little corner of the Internet belonging to you and your passion for books.
… And How it’s Going
After a ridiculous number of blog makeovers, as well as learning from other bloggers, these past few months, I can finally say that I am satisfied with my blog, to the extent of even being able to say that it’s an extension of my personality now.
By nature, I would consider myself rather opinionated, with a tremendous penchant for rambling, and blogging has given me a way to channel all that excess of words and ideas into something somewhat polished and thoughtful.
At first, I thought blogs were private journals, and that my pathetic attempts to include a follow button in the sidebar would only result in 6 followers (ie. the 6 different email accounts I had for myself). As of today, we’ve reached 477 followers, I can’t express how grateful I am that people are reading and interacting with my content.
Blogging has enabled me to…Become more confident of myself, and be more eloquent in sharing my thoughts – Despite having a ton of opinions, I’ve always this fear of voicing them out to people I’m unfamiliar with, with putting them forth to be judged. I’ve a penchant for rambling, beating around the bush and talking at the same speed which my thoughts flow (that is supersonic fast). But blogging, especially reviewing books, has given me the courage and comfort to share freely without the fear of being judged (unpopular opinion or not) or seeming verbose, as well as nurtured my writing style and personal voice in words to something I deeply resonate with. Read more critically and diversely – I’m sure nearly every blogger feels this way and I’m no exception. Before blogging, the way I found books was simply those that were popular (ahem Sarah J Maas, or those dystopian novels though The Hunger Games is still a favourite of mine), I was never aware of how white-dominated my reads were until I entered the blogosphere. Only then, did I take a turn and read books from authors of different backgrounds, races, ethnicities and more, and in the process, found books that I could see myself in, something Western authors never achieved. Meet incredible people who share my fervent passion for books – The book blogging experience is lacking without community. Through blogging, I’ve met so many other incredible bloggers whom I can gush/rant/scream about books with, and have thoughtful discussions with! (Yes, you all <3) Learn how to Canva and become even more obsessed with my favourite colour – My artistic skills, has always been and still is non-existent. I cannot do art for nuts. I’ve always stared at all those pretty blogs in deep awe and admiration, wondering how people could create something that *aesthetic*. My blog is far from gorgeous, but it looks decent (I mean come on, anything that is pink looks good), thanks to the many hours spend figuring out how to use Canva, the graphic design tool that is a literal lifesaver.
Books that have shaped my blogging yearI know, I am a broken record.
I’ve talked about these books enough so I’ll do my best to keep this section short, but I just wanted to share about these books once more, specifically how they are representative of the different phases of my blogging year.Starting Out (Sep/Oct ’20): Lovely War – This beautiful historical novel always marks the start of my book blogging journey for the simple reason, of being my first review (and first post!) I ever published on this blog. Jumping on the Hype Train (Nov/Dec ’20): Six of Crows – This duology needs no introduction, and to me, it encapsulates that period whereby I tried to be a bit more well-versed in the bookish world by reading many popular books, some of which I loved like Six of Crows, and many of which did not live up the hype, sadly. Finding books that resonated deeply (Jan/Mar ’20): These Violent Delights – This Romeo and Juliet retelling set in in 1920s Shanghai was a brilliant, compelling read, but what made it so special was seeing Chinese culture inside fleshed out in a way that I could resonate with, this was the first book that I saw myself and my culture in, and that paved the way for many more diverse books I’ve come to appreciate. Books that have changed my life (Mar ’20 and Beyond): The Poppy War – I’m not being hyperbolic at all, because this grimdark fantasy that parallels the events of 20th Century China, gave such critical commentary on themes like power, morality, lore and war, as well as changed my entire perception of the history of colonialism, nationalism and war that my ancestors and my race had lived through.
My Favourite Blog Posts
- If You Liked That Marvel Movie, Read This Book!
- 2021 Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag | Relishing the chance to scream about my favourites (again) + Showcasing a fraction of my huge 2021 TBR!
- Blog Tour: Jade Fire Gold by June C.L. Tan | A Dramatic 武侠 (wuxia)/仙侠 (xianxia) inspired YA fantasy filled with Chinese culture [Review]
- Review: These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong | A Brutal, Atmospheric and Kick-ass Romeo and Juliet Retelling set in 1920s Shanghai
Over the past year, I’ve met so many wonderful people. (Honestly the amount of people following this blog is insane to me hehe, but I’m grateful) Thank you guys for motivating me to blog, all the screaming/ranting and discussions, for increasing my TBR and so much more.
Here’s the bloggers who I’m grateful too. (I’ve met too many bloggers to count, so it’s inevitable that I’ll miss some of you. If we’re new acquaintances or not as close, I look forward to getting to know you better in the year to come!)
Ahaana, you’re the sweetest, yout taste in books is immaculate (I mean, TVD? TOWMTF? SOC? I can keep going) and I admire your efforts in supporting diverse books! // Abby, you’re one of the most sincere bloggers, reading your posts always brings a smile to my day, I still remember starting out fangirling about musicals with you haha, hope you’re doing okay! // Eryn, thank you for being my first friend and follower on the blogosphere, it means a lot! // Ashmita, you are such an inspiration, I loved running Books Go Boom with you! // Diya, ahh I’m so glad you loved The Poppy War (because of me hehe), your poetry is amazing as well! // Sam, thanks for all those random IG messages, and thank you for being the one that got me into An Ember in the Ashes ahaha. // Karla, thank you leaving such sweet and thoughtful comments, I really enjoyed buddying reading with you, hope that The Burning God doesn’t destroy you… (also, Bloodmarked!!!) // Katie, I hope you’ve been doing well – we’ve missed you! // Becky, hope you’re doing okay too, you have the cutest blog ever! // Phoenix, I still remember your epic monthly wrap ups haha, I love reading your discussion posts too! // April, your blog has so much personality, you’re hilarious and passionate!
Sanah, I love how thoughtful all your posts are, I love your reviews, thanks for getting me hyped up about TVD! // Aarushi, your posts are such a joy to read too, I really enjoy your books recs (that non fiction posts was everything I could ever ask for!) // Madeline, another queen of diverse book recs! // Veronica, I love your enthusiasm for your favourite reads, you made me so hyped for books like DOTMG and SCC! // Saima, I have no idea what genius skills you have, but apart from such timely posts, your blog aesthetic is gorgeous and I’m always in awe! // Janhavi, you were a relatively new book blogger but I couldn’t tell because your content seemed so seasoned, I hope you’re doing alright on your hiatus! // Jan, thank you for being so supportive, I hope you hiatus has been fruitful as well! // Eleanor, you post such well-written discussions, I still remember the one on political intrigue sticking with me!
Rachel, your book recs are the best, I’m a sucker for your fun fact intros haha. // Azu, thank you for your incredibly thoughtful reviews, I hope that October has been treating you well! // Saniya, your blog radiates happiness, and so do your posts! // Ritz, glad to see you back in the blogosphere, you write really creative posts! // Rania, I loved your blog glow up, I hope you’re doing alright! // Cherry, your love for We Hunt the Flame is infectious, thank you for all the other great recs (I’m off to scavenge for if We Were Villains!) // Birdie, omg queen, thank you for advocating for diverse books so fervently, your reviews are pretty awesome! // Ali, your blog was one of the first few I found, I love your blog aesthetic especially! // Kaya, your book lists are the best! // Mesal, you seem to have read every new release I’ve anticipated haha, thanks for all those eloquent reviews! // Kashvi, your taste in books is awesome, period. // May, thanks for the lovely comments, thanks to you I’m so excited for Iron Widow! // Gauri, from the first post, I was in love with your blog! // Lia, you always write such detailed and eloquent reviews, I’m in awe!
Riddhi, I look up to your dedication to blog a lot, as well as your involvement in the bookish community! // Nehal, thanks for writing the most hilarious (but at times, painfully real too haha) posts. // Aanya, teach me how to write a book please, you’re amazing. // Emily, you’re discussion posts are the best (I didn’t comment on it, but I found the one on politics in YA particularly thoughtful!) // Yesha, I’m in awe of how often you churn out great bookish content! // Trisha, hope you’re hiatus has been meaningful! // Isha, thank you for the meaningful Book Bloggers Nook project your started, I loved reading the first interview! // Isabella, your bookstagram especially is an inspiration! // Jayati, you have the best taste in books, I’m so glad we both love The Poppy War and Jade City ahhh, I still have to get to so many of your recs! // Sofii, thank you for being so supportive of the bookish community, your posts are truly a joy to read! // Allison, your bookstagram is amazing, and your blog is too – thank you for that review of OVE which got me both hyped up and dead-scared for it haha! // Dezzy, May, Jawahir, Kim, haven’t seen you guys in a while, hope things have been okay! // Belle, Karina, Tasya and Sumedha, you guys are #blogginggoals.
Feedback from You ❤
Lastly, I would deeply appreciate if you could fill in the feedback form below, as on this milestone, I’m thinking about my plans for my blog in the upcoming year and would love to hear from you. HERE is the link too! Thank you!