Today marks the third anniversary of the day I wrote my first book review and sent it out into the world. I’ll be the first to admit that this is a bit of a strange thing I’m celebrating here, but it’s an important day for me for a number of reasons.
I don’t have anyone in my life that reads the books I do. This makes reviews my only way of telling anyone who will listen just how spectacular, frustrating, stressful, heartwarming, heartbreaking, or any other visceral reaction a book was.
I wrote my way through my childhood. Somewhere along the way life shook my confidence and I morphed into someone who wouldn’t allow anyone to read what they’d written. Finally this devolved into not writing at all. Starting to review books was my way of tentatively testing out my love of writing again.
I also knew my refusal to allow anyone to read anything I wrote needed to be challenged. I figured I could do this and simultaneously hide myself from the world if I used an alias. I’m all for finding cheats to make difficult things just a bit easier, even if you’re consciously doing it to trick yourself into acting braver than you are. With an alias I knew no one would actually know who I was so it felt safer for me to write that way.
Then there’s the fact that I’ll find any excuse to celebrate. Life can get so serious and I love to balance that with finding some joy in things that mean something to me, even if everyone else thinks they’re silly.
There have been some unexpected benefits of reviewing that I didn’t consider when it was all about me finding my brave. I’ve met kindred spirits all over the world, other reviewers and authors, from the comfort of my home. Some have become friends and I’m grateful to have them in my life. We may never meet in person but they’re my people. We talk books and about our lives outside the pages, and my life is better for having met them.
Looking back over the past three years, so many things have changed. I feel like I’m doing what I am supposed to be doing with my life at the moment and this is the first time in my life I’ve felt sure about that. I’ve branched out more with the types of books I read. I take more risks on new authors and genres I would never have attempted previously, and I’ve been rewarded with new favourites.
Some things remain the same. I still have to write reviews as though no one will ever see them. If I didn’t do this I know I’d censor myself and spend so much time making changes that it wouldn’t sound like me anymore, and I need this part of my life to be authentically me.
So, here we are three years into the journey. While I expect I will continue to pretend that you’ll never read anything I write, I am thrilled to have you along for the ride.
I’ll be using this anniversary as an excuse to eat something made almost entirely of sugar and am giving you a pass to do the same. While I haven’t decided what my sugar rush is going to look like, I did find this amazing book cake by Kathy Knaus (I found it here) that I’m going to drool over in the meantime.