Today on a book blog: a bookish blog post about the delights of book blogging.

We're not meta, you're meta.

This is, of course, hardly the first time we're rhapsodizing about blogging, extolling its virtues, and attempting to justify why in the name of Athena one would choose to: 
(1) read amply *gasp*
(2) review and analyze such amply read books *gasp*
(3) spend 495349 hours in a day immersing oneself in the bookish community
(4) basically market the publishing industry for free, what's wrong with you, you could be doing something meaningful with your life like stress, anxiety, procrastination, and a general sort of disquiet about where your life is going.

Great news, naysayers - stress, anxiety and procrastination can be found in even greater quantities around these parts. (Nothing like reading about 16 year-olds saving the world to bring forth an existential crisis.) Just imagine the benefits, then, that outweigh that sort of cost.

Or, rather, don't imagine a thing. Stick around and find out firsthand.

1. Excuse to talk books, of course

Picked by: Natalie

When you're like me and none of your friends read, you have nobody to gush to. But luckily, there is this magical thing called the internet where we can chat to people of similar interests. And a blog is basically all that, times a million. Here, we have license to discuss (and we are expected to discuss!) books to our hearts' content, 24/7, every single day. And just as importantly, we also have the freedom to talk about why we disliked a book - maybe even hated it with a raging passion -  with no fear of repercussion. It's what we are supposed to do! It turns our need to discuss books endlessly into an invitation to discuss books endlessly. And that's all the recommendation I need!

2. It's a self-expression platform...

Picked by: Lexie

... wherein individuality is the first order of business. Far more than mere book discussion, a book blog is a place to express yourself in any way you like. Brighten someone's day and champion positivity. Cook delicious (and previously fictional) food. Share snippets of your own writing. Post your bookishly-inspired fan art. Host a bookish photo challenge. A book blog, in other words, is exactly as creative as you make it. And if it occurs to you that this is true for every blog of any type - remember that we do this with a book in one hand, a camera in another, a notebook in our teeth, and while balancing between 3 and 954032 to-be-read books atop our crazy heads. (Paints a beautiful picture. Which is sort of the point.)

3. Practice 

Picked by: Natalie

For someone like me who studies English and wants to work in publishing, a book blog is great practice. It keeps me writing around the clock, and it keeps me up to date with what is happening in the publishing world at all times. Getting the kind of feedback we get, where people respond intelligently and comment on our posts helps us learn what we're doing right, what people like, and what aspects of literature others respond to. The blog also helped improve my writing and English skills - and it keeps us learning year-round, even on breaks from Uni and the lack of educational material and writing assignments. Have to keep up writing a ton, I have years to go yet!

4. The community!

Picked by: Lexie

In my absolutely unbiased and wholly magnanimous opinion, the bookish blogging community is the best in the world. It takes almost no effort at all to be kind and supportive (though the internet at large sure is doing wonders to dispute this), but it takes a special sort of assemblage to actively discuss sensitive topics, disagree on issues, post controversial opinions, engage in risky confessions... and then still be kind and supportive at the end of the day. (Fight me on this. I'll just sic everyone on you and you'll lose. The community, man. Beware an intelligent and unified community.)

5. Archive of books

Picked by: Natalie

"Wait, did I read this? When was that? And did I like it?" 
For all of us with poor memories, a book blog is like an archive of what we read, when, and our exact opinions on it. Goodreads does the same, in a way, but in far less detail - and limited to book ratings and reviews alone. The blog, on the other hand, is so much more. I love going back and seeing what we put for previous Top 10 lists and how my tastes and opinions have changed with respect to my discussions, reviews, and in my own tastes. It's both funny and eye-opening to go back to the first review we wrote and see how different our perspectives were compared to the ones being written today. We take pride in having a visual representation of how how far we've come, and it's a good reminder that patience and perseverance can certainly pay off. *hugs the blog and my co-blogger*

6. All the ARCs!

Picked by: Lexie

Casually hiding the ARC pick in the middle of the list in hopes it makes it seem like we're less of ARC hogs. Which we are. Which we absolutely are. Advanced Reader's Copies are a thing of wonders. It's an early copy of a book. Sent months ahead of its release. To you. For free. Because your opinion is deemed valuable and trustworthy enough to review said book ahead of time regardless of what said review might contain. Just imagine. Other communities might have paid sponsorships and cookie-cutter template praise - but we have honesty and trust and integrity and all those traits the Sorting Hat likes to commend to sell you on a less savory house it's about to stick you in. (Hey, I don't make the rules. I just announce them in a thoroughly uncomfortable manner.) We also have - early copies of eagerly anticipated books. Not to disparage anyone, but one of these is better than the other.

7. It's fun! Sometimes...

Picked by: Natalie

Okay, it's not always fun and games, running a blog. It takes a long time to write a review, a list, a discussion, or pretty much any other post. Writing it, re-writing it, editing it, formatting it, making sure it looks good, taking pictures, editing those, and then adding them where appropriate. At times it inspires a reading/blogging slump.  (These are the worst things ever, by the way.)
Most of the time, however, it's still a lot of fun. A book blog is a place to chat to fellow book lovers, bloggers, authors and publishers, to be reminded of our favorite books and discover future ones. To introduce others to your own favorites and get them to share your enthusiasm and develop lifelong friendships over a shared love of magical places, strong characters and fantastic themes.

8. The Great And Wonderful Bookish Network

Picked by: Lexie

Just when you thought a book blog was the height of bookish enthusiasm, and where most of its community converged...
Oh, grasshopper. If only.
A book blog, really, is a starting point. Consider it the living room in a giant house that is The Great and Wonderful Bookish Network. Sure, it's the central point, the centerpiece, and where all members will most often converge. But it is by no means the only point.
Enter Bookstagram. Booklr. The hilarious ingenuity of bookish Twitter. Pinterest. BookTube. Bookish panels at conventions. Real-life bookish gatherings.
We are everywhere.
And while a book blog is by no means a requirement for any of the other platforms, it tends to help center all of the rest of it. It's not that a house can't exist without a living room. It's just that it's a bit harder to snack, hang out, and read books in a joint space without one.

9. Get those creative juices flowing

Picked by: Natalie

After writing a review or a post, I tend to feel in the mood for doing something creative. That usually means writing - but it's not limited to just that. And for anyone with story ideas that are still unfinished or unwritten, getting inspired tends to help tremendously. When discussing other ideas sharpen your own and make you just want to keep tapping at your keyboard or be productive in any way you choose, it makes all of the rest of it more than worth it. Why, thank you, blog, for always giving me that jolt that I need!

10. Basically, we write for a living

Picked by: Lexie

Well, not 'for a living', exacty. 'For a living' would imply that there was money involved. Which there isn't. Depending on who you ask, the book blogging community is either the last passion-fueled, independent, unpaid frontier, or we are all collectively out of our minds. The jury is still out on that.

Whichever stance you choose to take, though, the bottom line is that we, the book bloggers, write almost every single day of our lives. (Thereby inadvertently adhering to a number of (in)famous quotes about how 'You must write every single day of your life'. Not that those are necessarily hard-and-fast rules to follow.) And whether we dream of someday writing books, or writing for a publication, or venturing into publishing or marketing or wherever else we choose to go - we have years of honed and sharpened self-expression skills under our belt. And for the most part, it was entirely effortless.

What have we learned, then? (1) Between to-book-blog and not-to-book-blog, there is no question. And (2) the reasons to do it are about as varied and as far-reaching as we make them. Most of all, a book blog virtually has no limits, and only requires a chunk of your soul, a piece of your sanity, and potential death at the hands spines of your TBR.

With the benefits, though? A small price to pay.

Talk to us, pumpkins! Do you own a book blog, or are you thinking of starting one? Which benefits beat the potential-TBR-demise for you?