Thursday, March 31, 2011

Month in Review: March

The month of March is drawing to a close and I'm still here, blogging away. This is actually a pretty big deal for me. I've started and stopped numerous blogs (personal blogs, political blogs, current event blogs) because after a while I'd either really have nothing to say (personal) or I'd find that I didn't have enough time to keep up with everything that was going on in the world around me (political/current event). Blogging about books, however, seems to really resonate with me. For one thing, I get to dictate how I spend my time and what I spend my time on. For another thing, there's a huge community of book bloggers out there who are supportive and inspiring.

I guess what these monthly reviews (I plan to do one each month) are about is looking at where I was and how far I have come since then. It gives me encouragement to keep moving forward even on those days or weeks when I'm not feeling up to it. I can look back at this month, for example, and say, "Hey, remember that time that you were sick for, like, a week and still managed to review three books and blog every day in spite of that?" Yeah, I'm a sappy guy, but I'm okay with that.

Without further ado, this is what happened here at Gabriel Reads for the month of March:

Once Upon a Time...
I started this blog out on WordPress. I'd used it before and was familiar with the interface so I figured that was the way to go. I found, instead, that Blogger offered me more of what I was looking for so I decided to make the switch over here. And I'm really glad that I did. The community here is amazing and I feel like changing hosts is one of the reasons that I was able to keep blogging all month long like I did. I'm hoping it's what'll keep me blogging for years to come.

Meeting Goals
When I first joined Book Blogs I jumped in on this discussion.

I set out the following goals:

  1. Get people to read my blog.
  2. Help make the comments section a place where people can discuss and debate.
  3. Use blogging as a way to legitimize my reading addiction.
  4. Read/review 1-2 books a week
  5. Post something every day
  6. Meet new people/find readers who have similar interests
I'm proud to say that I met each of those goals in March. I've never, ever met every single goal that I've set so this is pretty huge for me. 

Wait, People Are Actually Reading This?
I started the month out with zero followers; I'm now up to 15 (not including the ones who follow my blog not using Google Friend Connect). People are leaving comments, having debates, discussing things. It's really been amazing to watch how this blog has grown in the last few weeks. 

I've had readers from all over the world, including France, Canada, South Africa, Iran, India, UK, Germany, Bermuda, China, and Columbia.

Thanks to Nonners, I won the Stylish Blogger Award. (Nonners also receives the coveted Most Frequent Poster award but I don't have a shiny badge for it so I'll just tell you all to go visit her blog.)

None of my other blogs ever received this level of recognition and it's growing every day. And I have all of my readers to thank for that. 

Reviews, Reviews, Reviews
One of the things I was most worried about when I started this blog was that I'm really bad at managing my time. Because of this, I didn't think I'd get anywhere near reviewing 1-2 books a week, let alone reading that many. But as time went by, I realized that this was actually really easy. I love reading, I love writing. Obviously I was going to make time in my life for this project. 

I reviewed 8 books in the month of March (which is pretty impressive considering that I didn't really start blogging until the second week) and I actually finished all of my reading a day early. Here's the links to the reviews I've done this month:
And I'm doing challenges. In addition to the challenge I've set myself this year of predominately reading only within set themes each month, I've added the additional challenges of reading 100 books by the end of the year and rereading at least 20 books this year for the Read Me Baby, 1 More Time Challenge.

As for those monthly themes, I managed to make it through a whole month of reading almost nothing except for dystopian, apocalyptic, and post-apocalyptic books. There were times when I was getting sick of the genre, to be honest, but I've proved that it can be done so I've elected to continue doing the themes for the rest of the year. It'll be nice to get into a different type of book next month, but I've actually had a lot of fun reviewing books of a similar nature. This month I lived vicariously through a plague, a couple nuclear wars, and several dystopian societies. And that, I think, is the real beauty of books. In addition to taking us to magical places we only wish we could know, they also take us places we wouldn't ever want to go in real life. They allow us to run the full gamut of the human experience. 

It's the Little Things
There were other milestones for me this month. The biggest of these, I think, is that I've actually started to use Twitter, which I'd never seen any use for before now. I think I actually finally understand the point of it, although I still haven't become one of those people who tweets everything they do (thankfully).

I've also become a part of Book Blogs, GoodReads (the only website where I would ever be allowed to call myself a "friend" of Neil Gaiman), and Shelfari. I think this is the most social media I've ever used in my life. Now if only I could figure out how to make a decent Facebook page for this site. I've had a personal one for years but for some reason making a page for a blog is akin to rocket science.

Favorite Book: 
There were several books that I really liked but I think I'm going to say A Canticle for Leibowitz. I gave it 1/2 a star less than Atwood's novels because it got kind of preachy at the end, but the humor and the characters of Miller's story really stuck with me.

Least Favorite Book:
The Road. The only reason that book got two stars instead of one is because the book didn't suffer from bad grammar and spelling.

On to Next Month
I think that's all for now. I know I've probably bored you to tears and I apologize. The monthly review posts are really for me, although I guess they could act as an intro for new followers. Who knows?

Anyway, I'll be changing things up a little for the month of April (new design, new monthly theme logo) but for the most part it'll be the same Gabriel Reads. Not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing, really, but there you have it. 


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