1. Straightening thoughts. It's a great way of straightening thoughts in my head. I try to review all the books I read. When it comes to that book that I just can't get out of my head it's a great way of getting all those thoughts out there. It helps me to move on to the next book. Not just books but issues affecting books or the publishing world or even just questions that pop into my head (although I haven't done one of those posts in a LONG time - I do have one planned for this week).
2.Debate. I don't mind disagreeing with people about books or having people disagree with me. Life would be boring if we all liked the same things. Sometimes there is nothing better than a good debate and if one of us walks away rethinking it's worth it. Many a time I have decided to consider reading a book again because a friend convinces me to give it another chance. I like the fact that I can be honest here and that others can be honest in how they felt about the same book. We may not agree but the one thing that I have noticed that is universal in the book blogs I follow is that everyones opinion is respected.
3. Like Minded. On the other side isn't it great when you find someone who likes the same books as you? It gives you someone to rave with. I think people who don't read books can't understand that feeling. It puts a spring in my step for the rest of the day. Especially when it leads to talk of other authors we each may like. When I dislike a book too I sometimes wonder if it's maybe just me. Especially when it's a book that is held in high esteem. I still put my thoughts down but love it when someone chirps up that they felt the same way. Takes the edge off my guilt of hating a book I should love.
4. Book Recommendations. I have no problems going into a book shop and finding at least one book (or ten) that I want to read. That doesn't stop me from enjoying book recommendations. I probably would have read The Help eventually but it was thanks to the reviews that I saw all over the blogosphere that I decided to pick it up sooner. Glad I did as it's now one of my favourites and I'll be passing it along to a number of my friends (much like my copy of One Day which has been read by so many people I have lost count). I also have a huge list of authors that people have recommended either through directly suggesting or through their own reviews. There is not enough hours in the day to read all these books but I will have a go at it.
5. People to Share. All through school I was a big reader but rarely had anyone to share that love with. Very few of my friends were readers. I had one best friend in primary school who read a lot and then in high school it was rarer still. In fact one or two I knew were readers hid that fact because they thought it was uncool. I never hid that fact though and was always quite proud of it. At university there were fewer people again who were readers (this surprised me). So when I finally got the chance to work with books and lots of people who loved them it was hard not to be excited about it. Sadly those days are gone now but thanks to blogging I still get to share and others share with me. It's maybe not quite the same as in person (although I do get to meet with my work colleagues every now and then) but I still love it.
6. Learning. I love to read for so many reasons but one of the reasons is that I get to learn about so many different places. The number of times a family member or friend has asked where I learned something and I have answered 'in a book'. I especially love reading books set in countries I have never been before. At the moment I am reading Shantaram and I am LOVING learning so much about India. I learned an awful lot about Japan through various Japanese authors. It's also increased my need to go and visit all these wonderful places. I still haven't read as many translated books as I would like but it's something I am working on.
7. Escapism. I know a lot of people who can't concentrate on books when they have a lot on their plate but I don't have a problem with it. It's a good way of escaping from it all. Granted if I have a lot on it's probably best that I read something light and fluffy but that just shows you there is a book for every mood.
8. Inspiring. I find a lot of books or authors to be quite inspiring. The first time I came across this was reading The Diary of Anne Frank when I was about 9 or 10. I read this book over and over again and I was in awe of the young girl who wrote it. I'm not one for keeping quotes that help me through tough times or reading self help books. I'm very much the kind of person that worries about something for a time and then decides to do something about it. Books though do have an effect on my life now and then.
9. Challenges. I usually challenged myself even before I blogged. I would challenge myself to read more female authors or more Scottish authors. Every year I would challenge myself to read more books than the year before. Then there was the a-z challenge my friend and I did. Since becoming a blogger though I have came across so many. I have to resist joining them all. I have joined one which is encouraging me get through my tbr pile (a badly needed challenge). I know if I was to join them all I would be setting myself up for failure plus it would also mean buying more books which I'm trying not to do. I am enjoying the one I am taking part in and I do enjoy reading about others challenges. Something I would miss if I wasn't a blogger. I also know that I can take part in more later.
10. Readalong. I have taken part in two. The first one whilst I enjoyed the book the readalong itself was disappointing as there wasn't much interaction between bloggers. It still got me reading a book that I was putting off because I thought it might be too challenging and for that I liked it. The one I am doing now I am loving for the interaction. The book I would have read anyway (as it's also a challenge book) but it's nice having others to talk about it with. Plus we are reading 100 pages a week which is a slower pace than I would normally read. I am enjoying that fact though. Will definitely be taking part in more of these.