I try to count my blessings and express gratitude often. Every week I write down at least one “thankful thought” in my planner. It’s a reminder of how much good exists in my life even if at times it feels like the universe is plotting against me. Thanksgiving, of course, is the ultimate day of thankfulness. Every year at this time spend a little extra time thinking about what I am grateful for. In that spirit, here are a few of my bookish thankful thoughts for this Thanksgiving.
I’m Thankful for Online Book Communities
My love affair with books and reading started early and ran deep. I was the type of kid who smiled upon receiving a summer reading list and who didn’t really mind writing book reports. In addition to reading books, I liked discussing them. No doubt I bored plenty of people talking about the books I loved and disliked.
Except for the rare times when everyone got excited about the same book (Flowers in the Attic was super popular in my eight grade glass), for the most part I didn’t meet a lot of other readers, especially not ones my age. To be honest, I didn’t totally mind being one of the few passionate readers in my peer group. People thought me of as the reader and I took that as a compliment. It made me special. Still it was always wonderful when I met someone who was passionate about something they had read and wanted to talk about it. Even if it was a book I had no intention of reading, I enjoyed hearing other people talk about their reading life.
I realized there were other book nerds out there but their paths didn’t often cross mine. By nature we book nerds tend to spend a great deal of time socializing with fictional and nonfictional characters as opposed to actual living people. Then came the internet and online book communities. These communities made books and reading something I could more easily share with other people. Sites like Goodreads, Book Riot, and numerous book blogs helped me find my people, so to speak. Goodreads, in particular, had a massive impact of my social reading life. It led me to my IRL book club, Mocha Girls Read. And for that, I am especially grateful.
I’m Thankful for National Novel Writing Month
In addition to Thanksgiving, November is also National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). For thirty days aspiring writers write the novel that’s been swirling in their heads for years. I’m grateful for NaNoWriMo for giving me an excuse and the motivation to take a creative leap. Before NaNoWriMo I thought about writing but could never justify spending time to do it. I can’t explain why but somehow having a clearly defined goal (50,000 words), a deadline (November 30), and the receipt of a digital winner certificate was all the motivation I needed to finally sit down and write.
Five years in a row I put pen to paper, or really fingers to keyboard, and dutifully typed up 50,000 word masterpieces. Okay, so maybe they weren’t masterpieces. More than anything, NaNoWriMo showed me just how difficult is to write a truly good novel. I mean, I can come up with 50,000 words, I just can’t promise those 50,000 words will all make sense together. Still I did it. Whether or not my NaNoWriMo novels are ever read by anyone isn’t the point. I tried. That matters.
I’m Thankful for Book Podcasts
Podcasts about books and reading appeal to me largely for the same reason online book communities do. They present opportunities to listen to people talk about books.
The first two podcasts I subscribed to where The New York Times Book Review and Books on the Nightstand, two wildly different podcasts. The NYT Book Review reflects its institution. Listening to it reminds me of when I used to reading the paper version. Books on the Nightstand featured two friends who were also work colleagues chatting about books. It is my favorite book related podcast of all time.
Books on the Nightstand has since ended and I am no longer a regular listener of the NYT Books podcast, in part because there are so many other podcasts to sample. In fact there are so many book podcasts now, I sometimes feel overwhelmed by the choices. Nevertheless, I appreciate the variety in perspectives – from professionals in the publishing world, to friends chatting, and everything in between. I am never bored during my commute, while doing chores, or driving.
What about you? What are you grateful for this Thanksgiving, bookish or otherwise? Share your thankful thoughts in the comments.