I’ve been mulling over starting a book blog for months. Here are the reasons I finally committed:
1. Quarantine: While quarantined with my family, I’ve had the opportunity to think about the things that make me happy and the way I want to spend my time. I’ve also come to realize how important having a digital community is. Quarantine has also given me the downtime to figure out the backside of the blog (I’m doing my best) and to have some time away from my 24/7 all-academia-all-the-time lifestyle. I’ve enjoyed picking up new hobbies (quilting, embroidery, paint-by-number), but I’ve most enjoyed doubling down on my old-faithful — reading! And “Why Seltzer?,” I’ve been straight up chugging sparkling water during the entire quarantine. I’ve always loved it, but now it’s a lifestyle.
2. Nevertheless, my seltzer tastes are #BASIC. Seriously, I pretty much stick to LaCroix and White Claw, unless I happen to be at Trader Joe’s — who doesn’t love TJ’s prices! When I lived in Vermont, I was Polar all the way, but in Chicago we can only get a handful of the most basic flavors, and it’s expensive. I want to use the blog as my excuse to explore other brands and even create my own. I’ve already seized the day (or plucked the day, to stick closer to the Latin) and ordered more than a few cases of non-LaCroix/White Claw sparkling beverages.
3. I *SHOULD* be writing my dissertation. So, instead I write this. But, seriously I do believe that writing is a habit, and I desperately needed some low stress opportunities to get my words on the page and my thoughts out in the world. We academics can take ourselves extremely seriously, and I wanted to have a space to explore my other interests. I’ll occasionally post updates about my dissertation and review some books from my dissertation that might be of general interest (and are reasonably available/affordable for those of you who don’t have access to an academic library). I’ll also post some of my tips and recommendations about academia, university-life, and graduate school.
4. My love for reading has grown in the past years. I thought I didn’t have time to read, because I should be studying and writing all the time. I was BUSY busy. My life has been so much better and more productive since I’ve slowed down, focused on developing non-academic interests in my free time, and taken time out of every day to do something I enjoy. I also fell in love audiobooks. My preferred leisure activity is to kick back on the couch or cook a nice meal while listening to an audiobook. When I discovered the Libby app (by Overdrive) through the Chicago Public Library, my reading easily doubled or even tripled. I had been reading 20-60 books a year and then suddenly with a free way to enjoy audiobooks, I easily read over 150 books last year. (And, yes, listening to audiobooks is REALLY READING. Fight me!) I’ve also discovered the world of Reading Challenges and the community side of Goodreads. I’ve participated in BookRiot’s Read Harder challenge for the last two years, and I’m currently working through Read Harder, Reading Women, and POPSUGAR Reading Challenge. It helps me expand my reading horizons (I’m pretty eclectic in my interests already) and figure out what to read next. As I read more and more widely, I’ve became increasingly interested in all aspects of books and book culture.
5. I LOVE sharing my opinions. I am an academic; being opinionated is my natural state. I also love writing, talking, meeting new people, learning new things, and discovering new places. So, a blog seems right up my alley.