Friday, October 20, 2023

I'm Back: Are You Still Reading?

Years ago, I got to attend an unofficial book blogging conference (we called it UnCon, because it was right before the Book Expo America Conference, but not actually part of it -- shout out, old Book Riot crew!). At one point, we went around the room and talked about our book blogging pet peeves. One person mentioned how so many bloggers would not post for a long time, then come back with an apology for being "gone" -- and then justify why they hadn't posted (it was always a variation on "life intervened"), as if all their readers had been waiting on pins and needles for the next post. She rightly pointed out, yeah, no one really noticed you were "gone." It's not like people had stopped reading books because you were suddenly not writing about them. Point taken. Messaged received.

So you may not have even noticed my last post was more than two months ago. You probably didn't. And that's totally fine. But I'll tell you why I'm back now (which is a MUCH more interesting story, I think, than why I've been away, which is basically because life intervened lol). 

I was at a wedding this past weekend, and my wife's aunt (Hi Aunt Ruth!) pulled me aside and told me she'd really gotten into reading this year, and that she'd recently read I Could Live Here Forever, by Hanna Halperin. She'd gotten that suggestion from me and she'd really loved that book. (It's one of my favorites of the year too!) We had a great conversation about the book, she told me again how much she loved reading now, and she wanted more book suggestions. I don't know if Halperin's terrific novel or my book ramblings here were a catalyst for her newfound reading love, but I like to think they played a small role. And if that were true for Aunt Ruth, maybe it's true for other people I don't know about. 

Here's another reason I'm writing here now, and am determined once again to be more consistent: I'm writing fiction again! I wrote one story this summer and am working on another now, and I freaking love it. But the fiction muscles are still atrophied and pretty raw. And these stories aren't good. Yet. But they can be. Or at least the next one might be. Or the next one after that. It doesn't matter if they're good. It doesn't matter if anyone ever reads them. Right now, it's just fun. And that more than anything else is encouraging. 

But so, if you're wondering what writing in this space has to do with writing fiction again, it's this: Writing is writing is writing. I've actually been keeping a journal since early summer too, and the more I've written there, the more I find it's easier to write when I sit down in front of a story. And so writing here, about books, about reading, about things like this, will definitely help writing everywhere else (again, whether or not anyone's reading, lol). That seems like common sense, maybe. But it's a lesson you seemingly have to re-learn over and over and over again.

One final thought: There's probably room for discussion here about how useful books blogs generally and THIS book blog specifically are in this day and age. I have no idea anymore how many people read The New Dork Review of Books, or how many of you are reading this actually on my website, got this in your inbox from Substack, came here via social media, or found this from other means. (Hey, if you wouldn't mind dropping a comment below and letting me know how you got here, I'd be most appreciative.) 

But I'm not doing this for numbers. There was a time I obsessively checked traffic. Don't care anymore. I just want to write -- about books, about reading, about anything that occurs to me. I hope if you're still reading to this point, you'll stay with me for a little longer. 


  1. Reading on the blog. Got to this specific post via social media, but just checked the blog last week when I realized it had been a while since seeing a recent post. Glad to see you are posting again. A significant number of books I have read in the last 10-15 years have been because of posts here.

  2. Hi Greg, Aunt Ruthie here. I think it was your ‘book ramblings’ that inspired me. I have 2 books on hold at the library, one is the ‘Deluge’. As soon I finish the unabridged version of Count of Monte Cristo (OVEY!) I will start on the Deluge. Keep your blog going so I can read some more good books. Thank for the shout out.

  3. This is great Greg! Linked up on Facebook. I love that writing is writing is writing. So many of our friends have let their blogs fizzle out which is always sad for me to see.

  4. Congrats on getting your writing practice on! I follow your blog via RSS reader (old school!) and have enjoyed your reviews for years.

  5. Hiii, found your blog today because of the Philip Roth Letting Go review. It is my first Philip Roth book. Thoroughly enjoyed the review.

  6. I personally get really into “reading” (audio book Queen). Then I get a few ok books and I take a break and listen to podcasts to new music. Then I get bored there and get back into books. I think that staying curious and keeping your brain movie helps. I will say I always get back into reading when someone mentions an amazing book and I am so curious, that I have to “read” it. I often check your blog and it’s exposed me to lots of books and I enjoy them 80% of the time which is pretty damn good. Waiting to read your book!

  7. I'm on the blog, came from the link on your Goodreads page, as I'm posting there again for the first time in years. I'm really bad at keeping up with non-Wordpress blogs so I haven't been keeping up, hopefully Goodreads will remind me to do so!