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Blogging about Books

Zoe Strickland, Guest Blogger

Zoe picRecently, Jessica Parker asked me to write and post a blog post about how I began blogging and my experiences as a ‘popular’ blogger. I’ve been a book blogger for a little over three years, at a book review website entitled Zoe’s Book Reviews. I’m currently 15- so I began blogging when I was 12, which in retrospect is a pretty young age to be thrown in to the magical abyss that is the online blogging world. In order to explain how I began blogging, I first have to explain how I got into reading. For me, those two things are really inter-mingled.

When I was younger, I honestly despised reading. I loved the Junie B. Jones, Nancy Drew, and Judy Moody books, but I didn’t read them regularly. Sadly, from the time I started reading until the end of my 5th-grade year that was all I read. Then I read seven of the most iconic and influential books of the modern era- the Harry Potter books. It was after that, that I tried to get my hands on anything and everything that I was interested in reading. In the process of finding new books to read, I stumbled on a few websites that had reviews of books. I read through the archives of these blogs for hours. They hosted book giveaways, interviews with authors (who were like celebrities to me), and tons of other really cool content. Eventually, I just bookmarked the blogs and used them as guides to determine what books I should and shouldn’t check out at the library.

After what I think was a few months, I started reading more and more. It came to the point where I wanted to talk about the books I was reading with everyone. After I spent weeks talking to my family members about the books, I finally caught on and noticed that they were getting a bit annoyed with my constant chatter. Then I remembered those fantastic, magical blogs I had discovered a few months earlier. I could do that, right? Be like one of those book reviewers who I had put up on a pedestal. I decided to have a go at the blogging world. I wasn’t confident at all, and I was sure it would only be a matter of weeks before I gave up. Well, needless to say, here I am- three years later- and I don’t plan on stopping my blog anytime soon.

The funny part is that those bloggers I idolized? One of them is one of my best friends; one of them has helped me through a hard part in my life; and one of them is one of the nicest bloggers I’ve ever talked to. I don’t think of myself as a popular blogger, and I probably never will. As I’m writing this, I currently have 497 public blog followers. I also have about 240 followers privately, through Google. There are bloggers who have followers into the thousands. Though I don’t consider myself a ‘popular’ blogger, I have certainly had some unique experiences that I wouldn’t have had if I wasn’t blogging.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have had amazing opportunities that most 15-year-olds don’t have. Since I started blogging, I’ve spent 2 years volunteering at a used bookstore, interned for two authors (I recently started my 2nd internship for an author), helped organize the Sonoma County Book Festival, introduced 3 authors at book signings, met over 10 bloggers from various locations, upheld a relationship with various marketing people at Copperfields Books (I had a Zoe’s Recommendations shelf at the Santa Rosa location for about 2 years), and I had the amazing chance to come in and talk to Jessica’s class.

Thank you so much for having me, here at Teaching Tech Savvy Kids! You can find me online at my review blog (zoesbookreviews.com), or you can email me at zaser_jam@yahoo.com.

About Jessica

Associate Prof of Education at Sonoma State University.

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