Although this may not have been a particularly post-heavy year, it has been a year simply saturated with books and bookish things, and I have Simmons College and my introduction into the wonderful profession of librarianship to thank for that. I’ve had the opportunity of learning about cookbooks during my internship at the America’s Test Kitchen library, submersing myself in a mostly unexplored genre in my YA class, and discovering the field of Reader’s Advisory (the art of recommending a book) in my independent study. I’ve learned life-altering bookish behaviors – such as how to exploit the power of WorldCat to locate any book I want – and how to successfully use a library catalog. Also, living in Boston, I’ve gotten a chance to frequent some first-class libraries, such as the Simmons library (my all-time favorite), the BPL (decaying but venerable), the gorgeous Cambridge Main Branch, and my daily library: the Brookline Public Library.
Despite the statistical trend towards fewer posts over the past year, the BookLion has continued to add more features and has quite a few plans for future changes. The ‘What do I read Next‘ feature, a survey which allows me to create a personalized ‘next read’ list for every participant, has been a subtle success: about fifteen people have participated so far. The survey focuses on recommending books based on your current mood and reading behavior, instead of recommending based on your past reading preferences or, worst of all, my reading preferences. Future growth of the blog will be based on my research of book reviews, which explores similarities between successful posts. The first change will be instigating an action-based rating system (i.e. instead of stars, the rating will recommend an action such as ‘buy’ or ‘avoid at all costs’). I also hope to divide the posts up into more formal sections to help structure my thoughts.
I have seen that it is the preference of most of the book blogging world to do this type of ‘award list’ on January 1st, but for me, personal anniversaries have always been more meaningful. It is just crazy for me to reflect that two years ago today I didn’t have a blog, I had no clue I would soon be going to graduate school for Library Science, and I was still wondering what on earth I was going to do with my life. To me, this Blog represents my dedication to reading, to books, to libraries, and the hope that by helping other people find their next book, I can assist with overcoming ennui, depression, stress and any other ailment that comes with having a book-free existence.
The BookLion awards differ from other more ‘famous’ awards (such as the Newbury, for example) because they are awarded solely from my completely random selection of books over the previous year, having nothing whatsoever to do with publication date. Also, the final awards are made from the standpoint of a person slightly biased towards classical literature and away from the current trends, such as fast-paced YA fiction. Thus, these awards should serve as more of a guide to this blog over the past year instead of an objective view of literary merit.
Best Books Read This Year:
Lucia by E. F. Benson
Middlemarch by George Eliot
Seventeenth Summer by Maureen Daly
Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons
Wish I Wrote:
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Favorite YA book:
Feed by M. T. Anderson
Best Graphic Novel:
Bunny Drop by Yumi Unita
Best Cook Books (I may not have posted about them, but I certainly read them):
The Art of Living According to Joe Beef by Morin, McMillan, Erickso
Modernist Cuisine by Myhrvold, Young, Bilet, Smith
Bouchon by Thomas Keller
Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook (I include this out of pure lust, not institutional loyalty)
Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff
Personal Favorite Post:
Favorite Bibliographic Tool:
Forever by Judy Blume