Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Celebrating 7 Years of GReads with Lauren

All month long I'm celebrating my 7th year of book blogging with the help of my bookish friends. To learn more about the event, please visit my introduction post I've linked just below. There, you can also enter to win a book by one of the fabulous authors who will be joining me this month to celebrate, as well.

Today on the blog, I'm excited to have Lauren from Bookmark Lit here to share her own reading journey and the books that inspired her to create her own blog. I first "met" Lauren a few years ago through the bookish twitter chats. It wasn't until last year when I was selected to be her Secret Sister (through the On the Same Page Secret Sister project) that I truly got to know her better. We both love contemporary YAs, so naturally it's what has kept this bookish bond strong. I love her blog, and her creativeness, she's definitely been a gift to me & this community. Please welcome Lauren to the blog...


I'm so excited to be here and chat about my blog and books with you! I wanted to take you through my reading journey and a bit of my personal life to lead into how I started my blog. I feel like there are so many things in my life and reading history that led to the creation of Bookmark Lit.

Early & Teen Reading

I started reading incredibly early, according to my mom. She thinks it was because she always read books to me and I picked up on everything pretty quickly. It helps that both of my parents are HUGE readers. We'd go on vacation and spend half of the day reading books on the beach or porch of the Cape Cod house we rented. My mom and dad both read mystery/thriller books by similar authors (James Patterson and Stephen King). My dad reads a little more widely and also loves high fantasy and historical books (nonfiction, biographies, etc.). My mom says she won't really read a book unless a murder happens in the first few chapters. 😉  So clearly I inherited my love for reading from them, but not the genres of books!

Harold and the Purple Crayon The BFG Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)

I specifically remember the books above as being pretty instrumental in keeping my reading going throughout the years. I loved revisiting them throughout my childhood. Harry Potter was really special for me, like most people around my age. I'll never forget hearing some of the story for the first time during a sleepover at Cape Cod from my family friend. I made my mom call her mom after we got home to find out the name of the books so I could acquire all of them.

I continued to read a lot throughout high school and was lucky to have a few friends who were readers. They helped me get into books like A Great and Terrible Beauty, which is still one of my all-time favorite books series. I loved to read during the summertime and before bed every night, even though I got my license and spent more time with friends instead.

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)

College was a bit different because I really had no time to read. I lugged a crate of books for pleasure reading back and forth to my new dorm room every single year, never touching any of them. I insisted I could make time to read for myself (instead of textbooks) and it just rarely happened. There were a few books that stand out that I was able to read during college. The Hunger Games books had been coming out and my roommate was obsessed with them, so I was able to squeeze them in between classes. I remember trying to read A Discovery of Witches during my trips to the campus gym, but that fitness routine ended quickly (and I still need to restart that book!).

Private (Private, #1)Pretty Little Liars (Pretty Little Liars, #1)

I was able to maintain my reading habits during the summertime though, especially on my lunch breaks at my internship. Fluffy books or addicting mysteries kept me reading during those days and I'm so grateful for some of those book series. Without being so addicted and wanting to know what would happen next, I definitely wouldn't have kept reading between college years. It was so tough, like everyone said, to find time to pleasure read among all of the studying and reading for class. All I did was binge-watch Netflix until 2 AM.

Post-Grad Reading & Blog Creation

I graduated college, moved in with my boyfriend, and started reading again. I spent way less time watching Netflix in bed on my laptop (I definitely miss those days still!), and started picking up more books. I got back into reading more often and chatting with my high school friend who was also a reader. I started using Goodreads again, which is something I randomly stumbled upon during one of those summers home from college. I was absolutely anal about tracking things on Goodreads, so I'm grateful I have some records of my pre-blog reading. I remember reading some really bizarre (for me and my reading tastes) books back in 2013-2014. I'm proud of myself for getting out of YA for a little while, but I definitely felt it calling to me again in April 2014. I'll never forget the night I decided I wanted to start a blog and what those early days looked like.

I read Before I Fall (which is still one of my all-time favorite books) and started reading some of the reviews on Goodreads. It was around midnight and I just kept scrolling through people's thoughts on the book. A few of the reviews had links saying things like "this review and more can be found on {insert blog name} here!" It suddenly clicked in my head - I could make a book review blog! I had dabbled in websites and blogging in the past but absolutely nothing stuck for me. I didn't like clothes enough and was too cheap to buy anything that great. I didn't have in-depth movie analysis because I didn't care enough about them. I didn't do anything super fun to have a "lifestyle" blog at the time. Books, though? I could handle that.

So, in July 2014, Bookmark Lit was born. I worked on it ALL DAY for a long time (yes, during work, while my boss was on vacation and we didn't have much work to do). I started focusing mostly on reading YA with some other random books in between. I became super reliant on Goodreads reviews for picking up new books. I don't know how I started finding blogs to follow but my early friends were Andi from Andi's ABCs (through the Isla is Coming Readalong) and Brittany from The Book Addict's Guide. The rest is history. Since then, I've continued to maintain a pretty heavy schedule of book reviews, discussions, lists, and memes. I read anywhere from 150-180 books per year. And I love every minute of it!

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