Actually, I ask myself that question about blogging with some regularity. In fact, I occasionally consider abandoning the blog, a thought that comes up when I’ve got a number of books to review and feel a bit pressed for time. A lot of people probably think bloggers blog because they believe everyone is
obligated entitled to hear their opinion. There may be a bit of truth to that but Mark Athitakis recently mentioned something that resonated with me.
Writing about a panel he was on that discussed “The Future of the Book Review,” Athitakis shared his responses to questions sent him by the moderator. He noted that book bloggers have “removed the Olympian tone of the traditional book review,” tending to write more personally. But here’s what really struck me: “Any book blog that lasts for a while is a reflection of the enthusiasm somebody brings to it–because they’re more likely than not writing for free, they’re doing it because they care about books.”
I think that’s perhaps a fair statement of why I keep blogging. I like having an outlet but the enthusiasm isn’t for blogging; it’s for books. I hold out a small hope that sharing my love of books and reading might make that passion a bit contagious. I’ll tell anyone who will listen exactly what I told my kids — a love of reading enables you to accomplish almost anything.
It’s been just more than seven years since I started doing book reviews. In that time, I’ve averaged about three reviews a month here. And they are about as far from an Olympian tone as you can get. But my ardor for books tends to overcome those moments when I’m asking why I do this.
For books are more than books, they are the life, the very heart and core of ages past, the reason why men worked and died, the essence and quintessence of their lives.
Amy Lowell, “The Boston Atheneum,” A Dome of Many-Coloured Glass