Over to you!

In a break from usual proceedings, today I am asking for your help with a project I am really excited about.

I plan on starting up an after school blogging club for my students when I start teaching in September, enabling them to write individually or collaboratively about topics that interest them, to have the thrill of being ‘published’, and to enjoy stimulating and participating in debates through interacting with their readers.  I also want to get the girls thinking about the nature of online communication and its differences from other forms of print. To help them with this, I need to understand more about what readers look for in blogs and how they choose to interact with bloggers. I obviously have my own opinions, but I’m interested to know whether my thoughts and experiences are shared and whether there are any aspects of blogging that I haven’t thought about.

As such, I have a few questions that I’d be most grateful if you could answer for me. If you want to take part but don’t feel comfortable commenting publicly in the comments section, then please feel free to post as Anonymous or email me with your thoughts instead. Please be as honest as possible – all comments – negative or positive – are welcome and useful. I’m definitely not angling for compliments! Thank you very much in advance if you can take the time to respond. Once I’ve received all the answers, I’m going to write a mini report on the findings, which I will post on here as well as give to my future students!

Here are the questions – answers can be as brief or as detailed as you wish!:

  1. Do you subscribe to my blog in some form? If not, why not?
  2. Do you find some of my posts to be more interesting than others?
  3. If yes, can you explain what posts would be most likely to turn you off?
  4. I clearly state that this is a book blog. If I post about a topic that isn’t book related, do you still read it?
  5. Do you value personal commentary or do you prefer objectivity? Do you find my blog too personal, or not personal enough?
  6. Do you regularly read other blogs?
  7. If yes, do the other blogs you read tend to be in the same genre (books) as mine, or do you read widely across genres?
  8. If you don’t read other blogs, why have you chosen to read mine in particular?
  9. Would you say my blog has any distinctive features? Or is it fairly typical of other book blogs?
  10. Do you prefer long or short posts, or do you have no preference?
  11. Do you appreciate photography or images embedded within a blog post, or do you mainly visit for the text?
  12. Does the layout and general appearance of my blog give you any particular impression/assumption about me as a person or about the style or content of my writing?
  13. Does a blog’s layout and appearance matter to you?
  14. What moves you to comment on one of my posts? If you have never commented, why?
  15. How frequently do you expect my blog to be updated, and do you find that posts appear too frequently or too infrequently for your liking?
  16. Do you have any other comments or observations you’d like to make?

Apologies for this diversion from the usual service; I will be back shortly with a review of the brilliant and heartbreaking The House in Paris!

60 comments

  1. Hi – well I think that sounds like a very interesting project. I do subscribe to your blog – and very glad I am that I do. I mainly read book blogs – but there are a couple of other blogs I dip into from time to time. I do think the look of a blog matters – as it is all about first impressions when someone clicks through for the first time. I love reading your book reviews – they are detailed and well thought through. I love the pictures on your blog – the whole appearence is classy and always makes me wantt to read the post. To be honest I am less interested in people’s personal life stories unless I know the person in real life. That is why I generally stick to book blogs – and don’t put much of a personal nature on my own blog – and when I do it is still book related. But that is just me. I think a lot of people would really enjoy hearing from teenagers putting forward their thoughts and opinions. I must say I also use the book blogs I read as inspirartion for making my own blog/reviews better. I only moved to wordpress earlier this year – having been buried invisiby on livejournal for years. I renewed my interest in blogging and started reading lots of blogs that were new to me. I like detailed informative book reviews best – and have added lots of books to my TBR as a result of them : )
    As someone who works with kids I can’t help thinking esafety, so I am assuming that you will be running the blog for your students – and that the kids won’t be interacting with strangers online themselves. Having said that one of the things I love about my own blog is the comments I get – and I expect your students will get a real buzz out of people’s reactions to things they have written. Good luck with it.

    1. Thank you so much for your responses, I am so grateful that you took the time to think them through. Thanks also for the mention of esafety – that is something I need to consider. I envisage them having their own blogs, but obviously some sort of monitoring system will have to be put in place, especially for the younger ones. I’ll ponder on that!

  2. 1. I subscribe to your blog in my Google Reader.
    2. It depends on whether I know the books you are discussing or not. If I haven’t read a book, I try to stay away from any discussions about it no matter how interesting they may sound, so those posts hold no interest to me. When it comes to books I did read, I really appreciate the posts that discuss particular aspects from a book (as opposed to traditional reviews).
    3. –
    4. In your particular case, no. I do read personal posts if the blogger manages to make me interested in their personal life through their reviews (for example, on blogs that emphasize the “reading as a life journey” theme).
    5. I value the mixture of them. I don’t read book blogs for impersonal reviews, but at the same time I really appreciate posts that try to make valid & informed points beyond what the blogger felt reading the book. Your blog is less personal than most of the other blogs in my reading list, but I don’t mind that.
    6. Yes, both book blogs and blogs on random other subjects.
    7. I mostly read blogs that focus on the classics.
    8. –
    9. When I think of your blog I think of unusually long posts, a serious tone, and observations that are well thought out/researched. This combination sets it apart.
    10. I have no preference. If I’m really interested in a topic and you manage to fuel that interest throughout your post, I am going to read it, no matter how long it is. But for longer posts the title and/or the first paragraphs really have to grab me, otherwise I might not invest the time to read.
    11. I appreciate the images, especially if they are relevant to the post. I don’t like posts that are too image-heavy if there’s no obvious purpose behind posting those images (if someone wants to review a book through a series of funny internet memes, for example, I won’t mind the image-heaviness).
    12. The first time I visited your blog the words that came to mind were “classy” & “understated.” I also thought that your posts would be serious, because of the small font. I don’t know why I associate walls of text in small font with Serious Writing, but I do.
    13. The content is overall more important, but the layout & appearance matter too. For those blogs that I visit for the first time and I am not sure if I should keep reading, a really bad or really good template can really make a difference.
    14. I haven’t commented before. I only found your blog a couple of months ago and commenting on old posts has always seemed awkward to me. And as for the (few) newer posts about books I read, the truth is that sometimes your posts are a little intimidating. They are very intelligent and informed and they set a high standard for the discussion. After I read, I feel more like thinking about the things you said than contributing to the conversation.
    15. Your blog is okay in this respect. I like blogs to be updated regularly, at least once per week or something like that, so that they don’t look abandoned. I love it of course if someone updates more often.
    16. Your project sounds great.

    1. Thanks so much for your responses, Claudia – it’s always lovely to hear from people for the first time and I really appreciate you taking the time to give such honest replies. I’m quite amused that I come across as serious – I’m really not AT ALL in real life! Though I am sorry to hear that you can find my posts intimidating – that is never my intention and I like to think that this is a place where people from all backgrounds feel they can jump in and contribute their thoughts and feelings. It’s interesting how different your own perceptions can be to those of others. That has given me some food for thought, so thank you!

  3. Hi Rachel – Hope you are well and looking forward to hearing about your new career path….not long…..

    To answer your questions:
    1) I just log in most days – think I tried to subscribe once but it didn’t work…or maybe I am just a bit useless;
    2) Of course some are more interesting and relevant to me – books I have read and am interested in your views on, or new authors or books that get put on my TBR list – in my pile of current loans from the library are the Sybille Bedford books which I have started reading…..p40 so some way to go….
    3) Posts most likely to put me off – just books for some reason I am not interested in, or maybe your travel ones if I am in a book reading mood – but I do read them all.
    4) As per above…..
    5) I think there is no such thing as objectivity when it comes to books – we are all defined by our experiences and shaped by our responses to experiences, which after all is the same with authors – like art, its all personal…..
    6) Yes I do regularly check out a few blogs but always hit yours first – I also like Jane Brocket and Fleur Fisher’s blogs.
    7) I think genre wise your tastes are more similar to mine so that is why I read yours more than any others…I personally find modern day books are poorly written and less rewarding (thought provoking or illuminating) than older books, so I tend to stay clear of anything written much after the Second World War
    8) NA
    9) I like the easy layout and content of yours – it is easy reading and within a few minutes I have often made a new discovery;
    10) I think yours are generally about the right length – too short can be insubstantial, too long and unfortunately I wouldn’t have the time….;
    11) I think sometimes photos can be lovely – Alicia Paulston’s are often lovely to look at but sometimes it features too heavily for the content written and I must say that has put me off her site somewhat – I don’t read it on a daily basis – more often its a weekly or even fortnightly look……I visit for the text though…. Jane Brocket, as per her books features divine pictures on her site.
    12) Not sure on this one……I think blogging is like any type of writing a form of art and what you see / read, is not necessarily what that person is about or like. It doesn’t give me the impression that I know you or we would be best buddies if we met, but I do come back to read again……:)
    13) Yes of course it does – some blogs are very hard to see on mobile as they are more like internet pages and therefore I don’t read them!
    14) Mmm again I suppose its personal – I enjoy your posts but not sure I often have anything valuable to say to you or your readers, therefore I dont comment…..;
    15) One of the things I like about your blog is that often there are daily or every other day postings – so it means I check it out daily to see what you are reading. I have read Bowen recently and Mrs Minivier so will be interested to see what you have to say when you post about them;
    16) I suppose I hope for the opposite, but suspect you will struggle to be so prolific a blogger with the advent of what I know to be a very tough and time consuming job, but I hope you carry on keeping us up to date with some new reading matter…..

    1. Thanks Jane – no not long now at all!! Thank you very much for taking the time to give me such detailed answers – I can’t wait to analyse all the responses for my report! As for your last point, I really don’t know how things will go this year but I am going to commit to write at least once a week. It’s important to me to make time to do the things I love and this blog brings me so much pleasure that I have no intention whatsoever of abandoning it. I won’t be as frequent, I’m sure, but I’ll still be here!

  4. 1. No. I have you on a blogroll list which I randomly visit blogs. If you happen to be a blogspot blog, I would use google connect. I might add you to my google reader but I have so many blogs I prefer to use my blogroll list when visiting blogs.

    2. Yes but all depends on my interest. But mostly post on books. My first interest in your blog was a book discussion on Jane Austen’s Persuasion and I pretty much come here for book discussion after that.

    3. I don’t visit often enough to be able to pick out any particular post but I really don’t remember any post that turn me off.

    4. I would still read non-book related post if it interest me.

    5. I do respect other people’s opinion more. To me, any blog is partly personal because you are giving an opinion by choosing to talk about this book and that book. But I think your blog is not so personal, that’s my impression.

    6. Yes, I regularly reads lots of blogs.

    7. The blogs I read are wildly different and book blogs are some of them.

    8. —-

    9. It’s a bit different than other blogs. I get more insights to certain books and I find you explain things so much easier.

    10. Long or short, I have no preference. It really depends on what interest me.

    11. It doesn’t matter to me. although it is nice to see photos in a post but it’s not necessary. If the post has a photo, it should reflect the subject. I do read because of the subject and not just for pretty photos unless that is the subject.

    12. Yes, from the looks of the blog and the way you write, I think you have an elegance to you and your taste of books also tells me you’re quite intellgent and loves reading, although that’s a given.

    13. Yes, I would not read a blog if it is clutter with too many gagets and links and ads.

    14. If something interest me, I would comment but only if I have something to say or contribute.

    15. Since I visit randomly, mostly once a week or more, I don’t notice the difference in updates. But I do think you’re quite consistent in posting. or at least I always find new content when I visit.

    16. I always find your views on certain book discussion more intriguing than the book your talking about. Sometimes the perception of a book is better than the actual read.

  5. That sounds like a wonderful project, Rachel. I’ve worked on a couple of articles about blogging with students for work, so if you’re interested in reading those, let me know. As for your questions:

    1. Yes. I subscribe on Google Reader
    2. I think your posts about books I’ve already read are most interesting because you often help me see things I hadn’t thought of before.
    3. None of your posts are complete turn-offs, but if I don’t have time, I’m less likely to read a post that isn’t book-related or one about a book I’m not interested in (although sometimes posts about books I wasn’t interested in can get me interested, so I will read those if I have time).
    4. It depends on the topic and how much time I have for blog reading that day.
    5. I like a mix, and I think you have a good balance.
    6. Yes
    7. Most of the blogs I read are about books, although I follow a few on other topics that interest me, such as fitness and religion.
    8. N/A
    9. I’d say long posts. Also the fact that you mix passion and enthusiasm with incisive commentary about what you’re reading.
    10. No preference. I want posts to be the right length to get the job done.
    11. I mainly visit for the text, but I appreciate seeing some images.
    12. I think the general appearance, with the focus on text rather than images, sets a serious tone, but the colors and images convey a romantic outlook.
    13. It only matters when the text is hard to read or when there’s lots of clutter and animation that distract me. (A little animation goes a long way.)
    14. I don’t comment as much as I’d like, mostly because I don’t have time. I generally make a point of commenting when I feel I have something to add to the discussion.
    15. I don’t have any expectations. You update often enough for me to know you’re here but not so often that I feel overwhelmed.
    16. Just an observation: I suspect the answers you’ll get will skew toward a preference for the kind of blogging you do. A similar survey on a different blog might get entirely different results.

    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to reply, Teresa – I really appreciate your views and I found your comment really interesting – I didn’t think of that so it’s definitely something I need to consider when I’m making general comments about blogs. I’d love to read the articles you worked on if it’s not too much trouble – they’d be fascinating, I’m sure, and might give me some more ideas. Thank you for offering!

  6. 1. Yes – via email.
    2. Hmm… not really. (Oops, that didn’t sound right.) What I mean to say is that they are all interesting. I enjoy reading your views on authors I already read or books I’ve read; I also value hearing about books/authors I am *not* familiar with.
    3. N/A
    4. Definitely. Sometimes it’s nice to get personal glimpses, or to hear random views on different topics. Though I primarily read your blog for the book connections.
    5. I like a balance. I like to hear opinions, backed up by justification/explanation and/or examples. I find your blog personal enough. Definitely not too personal.
    6. Yes.
    7. Mostly book blogs, but also a few garden & homeschool oriented ones.
    8. N/A to the first bit. I chose to subscribe to yours because I liked your book choices & your “voice”.
    9. I like your intelligent discussions. I think it is fairly typical of some of the other book blogs I enjoy, which also tend to be quite in-depth & thoughtful.
    10. I prefer medium to long posts. Short ones are Ok occasionally just to see the blogger “check in” – sometimes life is busy & I apreciate a long post may not be possible, but a short note is preferable to silence!
    11. I like images if they enhance the post, or if they are occasional “glimpses into the life” of the blogger. I primarily visit blogs for the text though. Images help me orient myself, though, if that makes sense.
    12. It’s clean & well organized. I dislike messy, hard to read fonts, or elaborate, confusing layouts. Yours looks (I’ll say it again!) intelligent, and the posts reflect that. I would assume you are a reasonably well-organized person, with well-thought-out opinions and excellent communication skills, at least through the medium of writing.
    13. Definitey. Too cutesy or messy – not interested. I wouldn’t be attracted enough to read the content.I greatly dislike animations or too high a reliance on images, or in-your-face sarcasm or incessant “humour”. Though humour can be very good – just keep it reasonably subtle &/or to the point!
    14. I think this may be one of the first comments I’ve made on your blog. Can’t remember – maybe I commented on the occasional older post? Often I’m too pressed for time to comment as thoroughly as I’d like; if there are a lot of short responses I tend to avoid adding to the crowded list, even if I like a post or agree with it. Not commenting is in no way a reflection of my dissatisfaction. Or satisfaction. Often I am agreeing or commenting silently in my head. Perhaps I should comment in print more often?
    15. Seems to me your updates are reasonably well spaced. Once weekly is fine, or more often if that’s how it plays out. Silence of longer than 3 or 4 weeks generally leads me to lose interest in a blog; I like to keep an internal dialogue going with the blogs I read regularly.
    16. Not really, just that I hope your club goes well!

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions – I really appreciate your thoughtful answers and I’m chuckling away at the idea that I appear organised – hahahaha you should see my desk!😉

  7. 1) subscribe by email. 2) I loved your travel posts, book reviews. 4) Mostly books but I like lifestyle, and vintage stuff blogs. 6) I read lots and lots of blogs 7) Yes I will read contemporary fiction, historical fiction, memoirs, travelogues.9) shorter posts 10) love photos/images 13) I dislike when the blog background color makes it difficult to read. Also tiny fonts make me mad! sometimes a blog is cluttered with lots of images on the sides – it overwhelms me.

  8. 1. Yes 2. No 3. as before 4. yes 5. personality needs to come through in a blog, yours does. 6. yes 7 widely 8. – 9. great reviews/travel 10. shorter. 11. love photos, my favs have photos. 12. yes, serious about what you do. 13. yes, I’m an aesthete 14. just plain old interest. 15. I don’t mind, if it wasn’t updated for 6 months I would prob lose interest but I sometimes only blog once per month myself. I keep interesting ones in my side bar, I edit them when I no longer read them.

    1. 1. Yes
      2. I guess some appeal to me more than others. It’s usually about the subject matter – in general I enjoy almost all of the book posts – when it’s about other things like your trips or a place you’ve seen it depends on whether or not it catches my interest quickly – mostly it does but occassionally I think “not for me”
      3. Yes – but as said above this is when my enjoyment of what’s written is more likely to vary.
      4. I like the personal and I think you balance personal view with objective perspective really well
      5. Yes
      6. Yes
      7. Most of the blogs I read are book related although I also read a couple that are music related
      8. NA
      9. There’s an enthusiasm in it which isn’t always the case elsewhere. But I think it’s most distinctive feature is the way it gives a real sense of you as a person – and that’s not just from “how” you write – you mix snippets from your personal life into the blog frequently – I like it and yet I don’t think I’d want to do that myself!
      10. No preference
      11. I like photos and images. However sometimes on the non-book related posts in the blogs I read, I find too many photos and images can put me off
      12. The structure and layout doesn’t but I think the typeface and image do. There’s a slightly nostalgic and romantic feel to your blog – and it feels feminine (I mean that as a compliment!) – I think that’s mirrored in the way you write, in the things you write about and in the books you frequently read and review.
      13. It’s not the be all and end all but I like the feel of some more than others. There’s a calm and relaxed feel to yours – I like that
      14. Partly it is the subject and partly because I think blogging is at it’s best if it’s a kind of dialogue – there’s a solitary feel to the writing of a post but there’s a different feel once people comment and interact with it – reading a post and others comments makes it more of a shared experience commented,
      15. I don’t have any expectations as such but I like to have them at least a couple of times a week because that helps me feel connected to what you write – but I like your writing so if you posted every day I’d enjoy it even more!
      16. For students to get into blogging they will need the encouragement of people reading what they have written and commenting back on whatever they write about – I’d suggest you could try using your own blog again, to promote their blogs once you have it up and running – I’m sure that others who read and/or follow you, would be like me and be more than happy to read and comment on blogs by your students. Good luck!

      1. Thanks very much for your thoughts and for taking the time to reply so thoroughly, Col. I 100% agree with you on the needing people to write to them once they’ve started – I will be giving them a platform and it’s lovely to think that you and others will be interested in interacting with them!

  9. 1. A list of some of my favourite blogs are on my sidebar, that’s how I keep up with new posts.
    2. If I am not interested in the subject matter the issue is all mine but at least I usually learn something!
    3. Posts about the odd American author but like I said, it’s just because my preference is for English authors. Most of the time but not always.
    4. Yes! Your ‘strolling’ posts are some of my favourites.
    5. It has to be personal, definitely.
    6. Yes
    7. Same genre.
    8.
    9. Your writing is both entertaining and educational, just like one of my other favourite bloggers, Simon.
    10. I read posts in spurts of spare time, usually a tea break, so if they’re too long I might be guilty of skimming every now and then.
    11. Love photos!
    12. It’s all about the content for me. Put ‘Book Snob’ in a naked banner and I would continue to be interested in what you’re reading or reviewing.
    13. No, which is odd because I love to think about changes I would make to mine. It’s the equivalent of moving the furniture when you’re bored, that’s it.
    14. Supporting someone who likes the same books that I do is important. I hate to think that a blogger has taken a lot of time and thought to share something and all they get back is the sound of crickets chirping in the night…so to speak.
    15. Your frequency is spot on for me.
    16. I really admire the way you connect with everyone who comments on your posts. Some blogs can be self-indulgent venues and that’s fine if it’s what the creator intended but most of us reading these blogs desperately want to connect with someone who shares the same fondness for a certain kind of book. Both creator and follower reap the reward of a kinship and it can make all the difference in someone’s day.

    Phew, I did that with three minutes to spare before getting ready for work. All the best, Rachel!

    1. Three minutes well spent, Darlene! Thanks very much for replying – I love your thoughts about commenting and community. I totally agree – the reason I started this blog was because I had no one around me who shared my taste in books. I would be so disappointed if no one came to talk to me about their thoughts or mentioned other books I might like. Yes it takes time to reply to everyone, but it’s all part of the fun – what I post is just the beginning of what I always hope will turn out to be a great discussion. With wonderful people like you!

  10. 1. Yes, by email.
    2. I find them all very interesting. If I have read the book you have reviewed, I’m curious to learn about your impressions. If I haven’t read the book in question, your review is likely to make me want to give it a go.
    3. Nothing turns me off from your blog. Some posts are more interesting than others, but that doesn’t mean that the latter are not worth a read.
    4. Definitely. I particularly like reading about your travels
    5. Personal commentary hands down. That’s why I read blogs. Otherwise, I would just read academic publications (which are also personal, but to a lesser degree). Your blog is not too personal. I think you strike the right balance; although you write about your personal life, what you choose to say is never too private.
    6. Yes.
    7. Books, vintage lifestyle, vintage fashion, (vegan) cooking, etc.
    8. –
    9. It’s got things in common with other book blogs, but it’s also got some personal touches.
    10. No preference. Long posts usually translate into more food for thought, but sometimes short & sweet is better.
    11. I love the pictures you choose to illustrate your points. They are always very appropriate.
    12. The layout and general appearance of your blog go hand in hand with its style and content, and although I don’t know you personally, I’d say that they also reflect your personality to some extent. Judging from all those cues, I’d say that you are serious but fun-loving, sensitive, discerning and detail-oriented.
    13. Yes, it does. Content is what matters the most, but if the presentation is poor it can turn you off.
    14. Different things can prompt me to leave a comment. Mainly I write if I can relate to something you have said or if I want to give my two cents about a book I’ve read, or simply to thank you for recommending an author or book that sounds interesting.
    15. I’ve never understood how it’s possible to read so fast, write excellent reviews, get back to your followers, go on wonderful weekend escapades, hold a full-time job and still find time to sleep, eat and maintain your sanity. I’m so jealous!
    16. Keep it up and good luck with your project!

    1. Azahara, thank you so much for taking the time to write such detailed responses. I really appreciate that. As for how I find the time – well, I don’t sleep very much. And I maximise every second of time!!

  11. Here are my answers
    1 yes on google
    2 no I love them all but books are my number one
    3 dogs cats and chic lit
    4 I read all of your blog
    5 I like personal – you do it just right
    6 I read Justine Picardie’s blog
    7 same genres
    8 I like books and love the pictures on yours
    9 It is wonderful as you read old favourites and discover books in second hand shops
    10 no pref
    11 I like photos
    12 yes definitely the picture at the top appeals so much
    13 yes
    14 I enjoy what you recommend and love that it is not the latest best seller
    15 I look every day
    16 I love your blog and it has lead me to so many authors.
    As a teacher I would think that young people would want to blog about tgheir own enthusiasms. What about trying to get kids in other countries to subscribe to their blog that would be great.
    I await your Elizabeth Bowen review with joy

    1. Thanks very much Enid, wonderful responses – and you’ve led me to Justine Picardie who I am now enthralled with, thank you!

      An international element to the blogging would be very interesting, wouldn’t it? I’ll have to think about how I can incorporate that!

  12. Hey, great idea for the project. I hope it’s a success with the kids.

    1. Yes. on google reader
    2. I think your “meandering around the city” kind of posts more fun than the book reviews
    3. No posts turn me off. I may not read certain reviews because of I know I will never read the book but it’s nothing todo with the post itself. I like your detailed book reviews but I mostly read blogs at the end of the day so sometimes I have to earmark a really long post to be read later. But I still like them
    4. I actually like that you talk about other stuff coz it makes it more personal and gives us an idea ofwho you are. It makes me care about what you read because your non-bookish posts help me relate to you
    5. A bit of both. I think your blog is right amount of personal
    6. Yes
    7. I do read a lot of blogs on travel, environmental activisim and yes on books
    8. N/A
    9. I think the most distinctive feature of your blog is the quality of writing. In today’s world of user generated content there are no editors and quality control becomes difficult. I know that I may never visit the places or read the books that you talk about, but atleast I can read intelligently about them.
    10. I prefer shorter posts than what’s on your blog, maybe 100 to 150 words shorter. Blog reading being on a computer becomes a more breezy affair than snuggling with a book or dare I say, Kindle. So it’s not easy to be attentive to a very long post..but this could be just be me
    11.Photography is preferred
    12.I like the layout of the blog but at a conscious level I have not made any associations with you as a person
    13.Yes. It impacts readability/ eye-strain/ ease of navigation so it matters a lot
    14. Strong agreement or disagreement on a topic. Sometimes if I have read the same book then just wanting to share an opinion
    15. The frequency is fine.
    .

    1. Hi Vipula, thank you very much for your answers – much food for thought in there! I’m glad you like the idea of the project – I hope the kids will too!

  13. Sounds like an interesting project:

    1- Yes, through Google Reader.
    2 & 3- For your book related posts, this really just depends on whether or not the book you’re writing about catches my fancy. In cases in which it doesn’t, I wouldn’t say that my reaction is as extreme as being turned off by your blog. It would be more accurate to say that the posts I find really interesting are the ones that make me add something new to my To Read list, or that discuss I book I’ve already read in a new and interesting light.
    4- Yes.
    5- I like personal commentary. When I feel like I share a similar taste with a blogger, I value and trust his or her personal opinions. I think you achieve a good balance of commentary and objectivity.
    6- Yes.
    7- A read a range of genres, primarily literary, lifestyle, fashion, and food.
    8 & 9- One of the distinctive features of your blog that has kept me reading it is the variety of books you write about. I like the mix of classics and lesser known works that I don’t see on a lot of other blogs. I feel like I often discover something new to read from your blog.
    10- Both are fine, although at times when I’m really busy and unread posts (for all blogs, not just yours) start to pile up in my reader, I’m more apt to skip over a really long post in the interest of time.
    11- Yes, I like photos, or any images, that break up the text.
    12- To me, the clean layout combined with the image in your header says that this is a blog that’s serious but not stuffy.
    13- Yes. Sometimes this is more in theory than in practice, since after the first few times I visit a blog I’ll likely just read it through Google Reader. However, if the design is really busy or loud, it can be enough of a turn off to make me not subscribe or revisit a blog.
    14- I’ll comment if I feel like I have something relevant to add to the discussion. (Or if a book sounds so good that I can’t help but say “Sounds great, I’ll have to check it out!”)
    15- No expectations. You seem to update at an appropriate pace.

    1. Thanks Miss Bibliophile, I really appreciate you taking the time to reply, and I found your answers really interesting. Especially about google reader – I do that too and rarely actually click through to someone’s blogs. Though I probably would never have subscribed in the first place if I had found someone’s blog off putting anyway!

  14. 1. I do subscribe to your blog via email and is the only one which I do subscribe to – the other blogs I have on a blog roll on my own blog and view them from there.

    2. Certainly some posts are more relevant to me because of the books or places you have shared in your posts but it sometimes depends on how busy I am with other things whether I read them all the way through or not.

    3. Nothing to date

    4. Depends if I have the time. If it is something which interests me then yes.

    5. I like a mixture of both. I think that if you have a flair for writing and can make the mundane sound interesting and witty then I wouldn’t object to personalising a book blog. However I find text speak, poor punctuation and grammar a real turn off.

    6. Yes I do like I said above. I have wide interests and have blogs to cater for (nearly) all of them.

    7. I read a wide range of blogs: crochet, art, frugal living, etc

    8. n\a

    9. To be honest I don’t read other book blogs! I happened upon your blog and loved the style and we agreed on some books but there was a lot of books that you love and I wanted to try so I subscribed.

    10. No preference – it all depends on the topic I think, Although I will add that if I haven’t read a book that is being reviewed and it is on my TRL, then I will skip it until I have too, read the book. I don’t like spoiling the story for myself.

    11. 12. I think pictures adds to the overall blog appearance and style and can break up large chunks of text but I come to read.

    13. No not really.

    14. If it is something that directly relates to me – or I feel the need to answer questions (like now) or just to share a common experience with the blogger. I don’t tend to comment that much.

    15. I don’t expect anything from bloggers. It is a lovely surprise to see a post pop up in my inbox that isn’t offering me any kind of enlargement or trying to con me out of my money!

    1. Thank you so much for your time in replying, Vicky, and it’s lovely to hear from you. I am very flattered that my blog has enticed you in, and it’s a pleasure to be a welcome presence in an inbox- I know what you mean!

  15. 1. I subscribe to your blog but, as you know, I look every day to see if you’ve posted. A habit I’ve had for ages, my evening treat is to read my favourite half dozen blogs.

    2. No, I can honestly say that all your posts interest me. I have learned a lot from them, not only about books but, for instance, about parts of London that I’d like to visit.

    3. So, no turn-offs!

    4. Yes, without exception.

    5. I think a blog has to be personal, by definition. Anyone who thinks along very different lines to you won’t come back often, if at all.

    6. I read other blogs but not many other book blogs. It’s possible to pick up fairly quickly a certain feeling for books that I either sympathise with or don’t. I’ve tried quite a few too.

    7. My preference (after book blogs) is for craft blogs and one or two ‘this is the way I lead my life’ blogs.

    8. –

    9. What has always struck me is your incredible enthusiasm for the book you’re reading. It makes me want to instantly order a copy. The outstanding feature of your posts is their intelligence and thoughtful insight. Not always to be seen on other sites!

    10. The length seems about right. I always make time to log on and am not impatient to get to the end of a post.

    11. You won’t be surprised to hear that I love photography. In fact, a post without pics puts me off. Solid lumps of text aren’t inviting.

    12. No, not particularly. It’s a very cool, discreet design. I would say that you come over as capable of exuberance, even wildness! I loved it, for instance, that time when you said you could talk the talk! I don’t mean you wouldn’t be cool and discreet where necessary.

    13. Layout and appearance, all things visual, are very important to me. There are some truly horrible blogs out there, dotted about with masses of ads and links and so on. Garish colours, over-decorative fonts, too much happening.
    I think, to be taken seriously, you have to have a clean, well laid-out design. So yours is fine.

    14. I like to speak my tuppence worth! Also, I think it’s important to support a good blogger by commenting. And, what’s lovely about Book Snob is that you reply to every comment. That is almost unique in blog land.

    15. I hope for at least a post a week, more if you’ve read a lot and have the time to review.

    16. Only to say that I hope you’ll always find time for your blog. Perhaps you’ll let us have some insight into the teaching side of your life too – if that’s allowed. I always felt a little mystified about the job you had in America whilst appreciating that you were already letting us into the fun side of that year in the US.

    That was fun. Now to read what everyone else has said.

    1. Thank you so much Chrissy. You are always far kinder and more appreciative than I’m sure I deserve. I love what you said about garish blogs – I quite agree. Even if the text is good, I can’t get past the assault of badges and buttons and sparkling things. Clean and simple is best every time! I think commenting and conversation is what makes blogging what it is – there’s no point otherwise. If I wanted to just talk to myself, I’d write all this in a diary! Don’t worry – I am going to ringfence time in my week to write at least one blog post. I am not going to let this fall by the wayside. And yes, I will write about teaching because I will want to look back and see how I fared over the course of the year. You really didn’t miss anything about my job in New York – it was dullsville which is why I never wrote about it! A means to an end, unfortunately, but thank you for being interested!🙂

  16. Do you subscribe to my blog in some form? If not, why not?
    No. No need.

    Do you find some of my posts to be more interesting than others?
    Sure. Your main interest is female interest books. Which excludes me somewhat, as a chap. But no matter.

    If yes, can you explain what posts would be most likely to turn you off?
    Not really applicable. I just like your blog, R.

    I clearly state that this is a book blog. If I post about a topic that isn’t book related, do you still read it?
    Yep!

    Do you value personal commentary or do you prefer objectivity? Do you find my blog too personal, or not personal enough?
    About right, R.

    Do you regularly read other blogs?
    Hmm now there’s a question. I can probably say R, in all honesty, your blog is the one I’ve frequented regularly/most for the longest time

    If yes, do the other blogs you read tend to be in the same genre (books) as mine, or do you read widely across genres?
    I have other interests, sure.

    If you don’t read other blogs, why have you chosen to read mine in particular?
    I do. But I return to yours. Because you’re R.

    Would you say my blog has any distinctive features? Or is it fairly typical of other book blogs?
    Cheerful, encouraging, and tolerant of mad Bop wittering. Does it for me.

    Do you prefer long or short posts, or do you have no preference?
    Middle.

    Do you appreciate photography or images embedded within a blog post, or do you mainly visit for the text?
    Yes I like photos. Too much text is unwieldy on the internet.

    Does the layout and general appearance of my blog give you any particular impression/assumption about me as a person or about the style or content of my writing?
    Ravilious😉

    Does a blog’s layout and appearance matter to you?
    Yep. Its like clothes. Etc.

    What moves you to comment on one of my posts? If you have never commented, why?
    You do, R.

    How frequently do you expect my blog to be updated, and do you find that posts appear too frequently or too infrequently for your liking?
    About right. Usually something new, whenever I visit.

    Do you have any other comments or observations you’d like to make?
    Sure. But for the moment, I won’t😉

  17. Yes, I subscribe to your blog.
    I find all of your posts interesting, Rachel, and look forward to reading them.
    I enjoy your personal posts and posts about your travels and adventures with as much interest as your book reviews.
    Being that this is your blog, I do not mind personal commentary at all. In fact, I relish it. We should be passionate about what we read and how we relate to it.
    Yes. I read quite a few others blogs. While they vary from personal to gardening to aspiring writers, they all write about books as well.
    Yours was the very first book blog I ever read, Rachel. I was hooked from the very first one I read, which was about 2 1/2 years or so ago. I was attracted to your style and the types of books you read. Being someone who is old enough to be your mother, I felt a sense of renewal and hope in the future by your excellent writing and style, your passion and sense of fun and adventure.
    I enjoy pictures as well as your words.
    I like your layout. Even when you change banners, they always seem to reflect your style. They tell me you are serious about life and what you read, but, that you have a playful nature.
    Yes. I guess layout and appearance do matter. If a blog isn’t visually appealing to me, it is likely to distract me and I may not return.
    Hum. Well, when you right about a book or something that moves me, inspires me, excites me, enlightens me, I feel I want to comment. I also want you to know I am reading you and appreciating the post. Unfortunately, these days, I don’t get to do it with each post.
    Your reviews are so well written and thorough, I don’t expect you to write every day. I always assume you have taken some time with your words and thoughts, and I know how time consuming that can be.
    You have led me to books I would never have sought out, or even know existed, Rachel. I look forward to your posts. I don’t mind the length of your posts and sometimes wait until I have the time to truly dedicate to them before reading them. I sometimes refer back to past posts if I am looking for something to read.
    I have discovered quite a few other bookish blogs through your blog. A joy, indeed.
    Phew! I know as soon as I hit Post Comment, all my typos will rear their heads.

    Good luck.

    1. No typos at all, Penny! Thank you so much for taking the time to write such thoughtful and kind answers. Your support and encouragement has always meant an awful lot to me, and I’m really touched by what you said about finding a hope for the future in what I write – thank you, truly. And thank you for the good luck – I hope this will be successful but you never know with teenagers!

  18. 1.Do you subscribe to my blog in some form? If not, why not? No, I have bookmarked blogs I read and I already get enough in my inbox.
    2.Do you find some of my posts to be more interesting than others? Yes.
    3.If yes, can you explain what posts would be most likely to turn you off? None are a turn-off, just some books interest me more than others.
    4.I clearly state that this is a book blog. If I post about a topic that isn’t book related, do you still read it? If it was all books, I probably wouldn’t visit as often. I really enjoy your “other” posts, they give me a glimpse into places I either remember fondly or haven’t been.
    5.Do you value personal commentary or do you prefer objectivity? Do you find my blog too personal, or not personal enough? I value personal commentary. That’s what makes your blog unique.
    6.Do you regularly read other blogs?Yes.
    7.If yes, do the other blogs you read tend to be in the same genre (books) as mine, or do you read widely across genres? Lots…books, knitting, cooking, travel.
    8.If you don’t read other blogs, why have you chosen to read mine in particular?
    9.Would you say my blog has any distinctive features? Or is it fairly typical of other book blogs? I think you give the most wonderful, insightful reviews. I love that you introduce me to books I might not have heard of and a taste of what to expect if I read them myself.
    10.Do you prefer long or short posts, or do you have no preference? I like both. I tend to read blogs at the end of my day, so sometimes I don’t have the time or energy to read the longer posts, but return later to do so.
    11.Do you appreciate photography or images embedded within a blog post, or do you mainly visit for the text? Photos and images are a must for me. I never choose to read a blog that is only text. Visual appeal…font, images, layout…definitely affects whether I make a blog a regular visit for me. But I am a very visual person (who is also passionate about reading).
    12.Does the layout and general appearance of my blog give you any particular impression/assumption about me as a person or about the style or content of my writing? I guess I would say straightforward, fairly serious, earnest. But you know what they say about assumptions:)
    13.Does a blog’s layout and appearance matter to you? Emphatic yes. See 11.
    14.What moves you to comment on one of my posts? If you have never commented, why? I tend not to comment on most blogs because of time. It takes enough of my time just to read the ones I am interested in.
    15.How frequently do you expect my blog to be updated, and do you find that posts appear too frequently or too infrequently for your liking? No expectations, it’s your blog afterall. That said, I tend not to visit blogs that post less than a couple of times a week. I like how frequently you post.
    16.Do you have any other comments or observations you’d like to make? You have a real passion for books and that comes through in your blog. And you have a gift for it. Keep up the good work.

    1. Hi Shelley, thank you very much for taking the time to respond. I liked what you said about personal commentary making a blog unique. It’s interesting how some people don’t like any personal commentary and some people won’t read a blog without it. I don’t see how writing of any form can’t be personal, in a way, but maybe that’s just me.

  19. Hi Rachel, it’s nice to be able to have the opportunity to do something for you in exchange for all those wonderful posts!
    1. yes
    2. yes (and see 3. below)
    3. I only read 3 blogs on a regular basis, and you are one of them. The hook is the books and the reviews (I gave up book club), your writing style, your personality. Knowing a little bit about your life makes it personal. The turn off will be the length of the blog if I don’t have time.
    4. sometimes it’s nice to have a change of pace. Love your descriptions of your trips and your time in New York.
    5. just right
    6. (see 3. above)
    7. I used to read more craft blogs but due to time constraints I now read only 3 or 4 blogs regularly and they are all different (in fact none are craft related), but the one thing in common is the writer’s voice
    8.
    9. there are so many blogs it would be hard to be unique, but I think it comes down to voice, to style, honesty, sharing, rather than showing how clever you are, a bit of colour, but not too much, some pictures, but not too many
    10. long or short? This is a hard one, because if it’s a book review and I haven’t read it, then I might skim, if it’s a book I have read then I will read the whole thing, comments and all, if it’s about something you did, then I will be interested to find out what you are up to – sorry that’s not very helpful I know
    11. you. must. have. images.
    12. I see the blog as a product, a piece of work, that you have created, it sets a certain tone, the layout is very carefully considered, the reviews are well thought out, but there is still a feeling that it is personal
    13. yes it has to appeal to me visually
    14. I have left a comment but I can’t recall why! I think it’s nice that you sometimes reply to comments it shows you are reading them and want to engage in discussion
    15. how do you manage to read so many books?! Although I think pre children I read 40+ a year, but I wasn’t the author of a blog as well! If it’s a blog about books, then I think less regular blogs are absolutely fine. But as a general rule you need to be regular otherwise you will lose readers
    15. I had a room full of young teenagers (3 boys, 1 girl – not all mine) so I asked them what they thought about whether they would write or read a blog….
    None of them reads blogs, some of them read Tumblr, one is addicted to FB.
    From my experience I would make the comment that they like things fairly short and sweet, and images are needed to grab their attention. And unfortunately nasty comments are also de rigueur for teenagers. Surely not such a problem if you have a class of like-minded girls?
    Good luck!

    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to reply, Kerry, and in such detail too! I really appreciate that!

      I read fast – that’s my trick! Years of experience of skim reading at university!🙂

      Thanks for the comments from the teens – I will bear that in mind, especially the nastiness. I don’t want to have cyber bullying on my hands!!

  20. Hi Rachel
    It’s probably high time you made us all work for a change and give you something in return for all your hard work, so here goes::

    1. Yes
    2. Yes, but that probably depends as much on my mood when reading them as on a particular subject matter
    3. I don’t always read them when they first come in. I save them up for later, particularly if a blog arrives when I’m meant to be working and it’s a lengthy one.
    4. Although I follow you because of the books, I do actually enjoy your non-book topics. I often make a note of museums and houses you mention with a view to visiting them in the future. Often, it’s the non-book topics that make your site more personal.
    5. Actually, I think a little personal commentary is what makes your blog enjoyable and brings people back. It takes away the anonymity of the internet and makes you feel that you are sharing your love of books with a “family of readers”.
    6. I occasionally read other blogs but I don’t subscribe to any others.
    7. I come across other blogs when I’m searching for background information on authors and reviews of books we might be reading in my book club.
    8. I first saw your blog when you were out in New York. My son, a similar age to you, is also there, and I just started reading and have been following you ever since. Obviously, it was the book review and not the NYC thing that started me reading, but I guess that illustrates how personal commentary can help keep you hooked.
    9. Your blog is beautifully presented. You have somehow managed to give it a very English feel. Most blogs I come across are American. Nothing wrong with that, of course – I just like the “flavour” of yours. The photographs and illustrations seem to give it that English quality.
    10. On the whole I prefer the shorter blogs. I tend to read those straight away. If a review is particularly long and detailed, and it’s of a book I haven’t yet read, I’m always a little worried that it will spoil the book for me (too much information and all that), so I file it away for after I’ve read the book. I confess, this now leaves me with a pile of unread reviews. Must read more!!
    11. I mainly visit for the text. It is, after all, all about the books. However, your photographs and images are what makes your blog stand out from the crowd.
    12. I think the detail that goes into your blog; the layout ; the quality of the writing; shouts out that this is someone who cares deeply about it. But humour also shines through.
    13. Appearance does matter. It is carefully and beautifully presented and thus is very user friendly.
    14. I comment from time to time, usually if you are discussing something I’m familiar with and feel passionate about.
    15. Frequency isn’t really an issue for me. I dip in and out. I always open the email but some I read right away others I file for future reference.
    16. I’m really pleased to hear that you are introducing your students to this. I had imagined that you would be so busy next year that your blog would appear less frequently.

    Good luck for September and, the weather not withstanding, enjoy the rest of the summer

    Debbie
    x

    1. I am so grateful to you for taking the time to reply so thoroughly, Debbie – thank you! I also love how you found me – and that even though I’m not in New York anymore you’ve stayed reading. I’m so pleased that you have!🙂

      I have every intention of keeping up my blog, but definitely with less frequency – I might not have much time to read anything!

  21. 1. I list your blog in my “favorite blogs” on my blog.

    2./3. Your book reviews are among the best I read in blogs; I think I have similar tastes in literature so I usually seriously consider your opinions. And I am an Anglophile, so I always enjoy your posts about touring London and other parts of England and Great Britain.

    4. Yes. As I stated above, I enjoy your descriptions of your home/life in England.

    5. For my tastes, your blog has a good balance. I am not comfortable sharing personal information on a public platform, but I enjoy reading the details of other people’s lives!

    6. Yes

    7. I like book blogs, craft blogs, and home-making blogs.

    9. Again, excellent book reviews and interesting life and setting.

    10. Not too long; can’t spend too much time at the computer in one sitting.

    11. Yes, I like to see book images and personal photos.

    12. I would say you have simple, elegant taste and a good command of the English language.

    13. Yes. I don’t like busy or tacky-looking blogs with lots of widgets embedded. I think yours is clean and attractive.

    14. I have only recently begun to comment on other people’s blogs.

    15. I sometimes “give up” on blogs which are not frequently updated (like my own!) I like that yours is updated pretty frequently.

    16. Keep up the good work!

  22. 1. I don’t really subscribe to blogs…or does it count if I follow them on my own blog? When I log on I can see new entries.

    2. My favourite posts on any blog are ones in which the blogger expresses their own personality and individuality so it’s not like reading an essay, but really hearing their unique voice. More like a friendly conversation than an academic article…

    3. So I’m turned off by posts that are like an article I would read in a text book. I don’t like cold, objective type writing. I think blogging is about connecting with people and expressing your own voice so I’m not drawn to overly formal, neutral writing.

    4. I love all of your posts, including the non-bookish ones. Actually, the non-bookish ones make me love your blog more because I enjoy hearing about your travels and adventures🙂

    5. Personal commentary is essential and I think your blog is well balanced.

    6. Yes.

    7. I also read about other genres but within the same overall scope if that makes sense. I like old-fashioned, crafty, cozy, artsy, homemade, etc. sort of things so I read blogs about those things for inspiration.

    9. I love your writing. It’s not like reading the generic back cover of a book but like reading a beautifully written book itself. Your words sparkle and bring everything you describe to life. I also like that even though your writing is so intelligent and kind of academic in style, you are still able to make it personal and expressive as well.

    10. No preference really. If I like the writing style, I don’t mind reading long posts.

    11. I’m quite visual so I need at least one picture per post to pull me in. If I visit a blog and it’s all text, I usually leave right away.

    12. I love the style of your blog, to me it feels very elegant, classic, and not overly busy/cluttered. I think it mirrors the high quality of your writing.

    13. Yes, very much. If I visit a blog and the layout makes it hard to read (ex. too much text/too many pictures, clutter, etc.) then I will not read it. For me the visual aspect of a blog is super important and I’m drawn to ones that are beautiful and visually inspiring.

    14. Your writing always inspires and moves me. Also, half the fun of following blogs is in the conversations and connections that take place. I like that interactivity and sharing of ideas.

    15. I think it’s perfect. In general, I like when bloggers post at least 3 or 4 times per week.

    16. Thank you for your fantastic blog, I’m so glad that I found it!🙂

    1. Thanks so much for your lovely thoughts, Lucy – I feel so flattered! You are so kind and I really value your enthusiasm for my writing – it means a lot!

  23. I tried to post before and think I wrote so much it crashed the system! Anyway, I’ll try to reconstruct what I wrote before (no, I didn’t save before I posted), but if this is a duplicate, I do apologize.

    1. Do you subscribe to my blog in some form? If not, why not? No, but this is no reflection on you, I don’t subscribe to any blogs.

    2. Do you find some of my posts to be more interesting than others? Yes, but I think that’s true of all blogs–some topics are more interesting to me than others and that has nothing to do with your ability to write about the topic.

    3. If yes, can you explain what posts would be most likely to turn you off? See my previous response.

    4. I clearly state that this is a book blog. If I post about a topic that isn’t book related, do you still read it? Yes. I especially enjoy your posts about your travels and the photographs you take.

    5. Do you value personal commentary or do you prefer objectivity? Do you find my blog too personal, or not personal enough? I like the personal commentary. I really don’t know how a blogger can be “objective” about a book unless all they do is just provide a clinical recitation of the plot–and I wouldn’t need to read a blog for that.

    6. Do you regularly read other blogs? Yes (see next question).

    7. If yes, do the other blogs you read tend to be in the same genre (books) as mine, or do you read widely across genres? I mostly read book blogs, but several of them are more genre-specific than yours (crime, mystery, romance, etc.).

    8. If you don’t read other blogs, why have you chosen to read mine in particular?

    9. Would you say my blog has any distinctive features? Or is it fairly typical of other book blogs? I think your entries tend to be longer and more descriptive and thoughtful than many of the other blogs I visit.

    10. Do you prefer long or short posts, or do you have no preference? I have no preference. I like a post that covers the topic–whether that takes 50 words or 5000.

    11. Do you appreciate photography or images embedded within a blog post, or do you mainly visit for the text? I enjoy the photographs that accompany many of your posts.

    12. Does the layout and general appearance of my blog give you any particular impression/assumption about me as a person or about the style or content of my writing? It tells me you love the written word, but also visual arts.

    13. Does a blog’s layout and appearance matter to you? I don’t like blogs that are too busy or seem to have too many styles or fonts or text colors. Let me stress that yours is clean and nice to read (although if you could make the text color just a little darker, I’d love that–my eyes aren’t what they were!).

    14. What moves you to comment on one of my posts? If you have never commented, why? If I know of a book or author that reminds me of your post, or if I have a “fun fact” to share.

    15. How frequently do you expect my blog to be updated, and do you find that posts appear too frequently or too infrequently for your liking? I generally check in a couple of times a week and there’s usually at least one new post–that seems about right to me.

    16. Do you have any other comments or observations you’d like to make? I hope your future students will appreciate what a great teacher they’re going to have!

    1. It just got ‘pended’, Deb – but this comment got through so no idea why that happened! Thank you for taking the trouble to reply twice, that was very good of you!

      Thank you very much for your lovely comments – I am touched and hope that I will indeed be as great a teacher as you hope I will be!

  24. 1. No. Booksnob is bookmarked in my favourites folders. Log on most days – email gets congested; don’t subscribe to any other blogs.
    2. I enjoy all of your posts – some books interest me more than others and I loved your American posts. Having said that I also enjoy your travels around the UK.
    3. See above.
    4. Yes.
    5. I think you strike the right balance between personal and objective. You involve your readers but keep your privacy. (Hard to get that balance.)
    6. Yes.
    7. I read other book blogs and food, gardening, news commentary, general blogs.
    8. See above.
    9. You have your own voice and a freshness of approach which never fails to engage your readers and the resulting discussions are always interesting. You found something new to say about Persuasion for readers who are familiar with Jane Austen, and I’m sure you have encouraged a new generation of Jane Austen lovers.
    10. No preferences. Depends on what you have to say…
    11. Images do break up the text; I’m not too fussed about images on book blogs – I do like your uncluttered and clean layout.
    12. You are young and have good eyesight. I have poor eyesight so I magnify your font size.
    13.If it’s about books – No. If it is,say, a food blog I really appreciate a good photograph so I can see what the food should look like in case I want to use the recipes.
    14. If I’ve read the book or have an opinion I like to comment and,as other readers have said, you always go to the trouble of replying to your readers which is why your blog feels personal and friendly.
    15. It’s your blog and I think updates are up to you. I reckon you’ve got the balace right.

    Thanks
    Sue

    1. Thanks so much for your responses, Sue. I hate to think of you struggling to read the small font – I’m going to see if I can do anything about that for you!

  25. I’m sorry; I just saw this.

    1. Yes. 2. All the posts can’t be interesting to all, so yes – some appeal more than others. 3. None of them turn me off, but I know I’ll never read many of your reviewed books, so I tend to skim over those posts. 4. I enjoy your traveling posts! 5. I don’t think it’s possible to be entirely objective; especially for a young person, like yourself.🙂 It’s your blog, and should have your opinions. You seem open-minded enough to be pleasant to everyone whose opinions may differ from your own. 6. I read a few blogs regularly. 7. The other blogs I’m drawn to are nothing like yours! 🙂 – 8. – 9. I am unfamiliar with any other book blog. 10 Your posts tend to be long, but your details are not boring, and are well expressed. 11. Photography is very important – especially the lovely English countryside! 12. That’s hard to answer because I think I know you a little, and your blog has changed a few times since I started reading it. I would say the present arrangement wouldn’t tell me anything about yourself at all, really. 13. Appearance matters a lot, although my own blog is rather dull! It’s kind of a “clothes make the man” sort of thing. I think. 14. I comment whenever I have anything to say, even a small thing. I cannot understand a reader who doesn’t want to say anything – it seems thoughtless to me. I would much rather have commenters than “followers”. And you are always so friendly to all your commenters. 15. It isn’t up to me how often you should post, nor should it be. Whatever you do is fine – if I don’t like what you’re doing, that’s ridiculous! 16. Good luck to you! and God bless.

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely responses, Lisa – I really appreciate your thoughts and I like what you say about opinions – I think they’re entirely necessary too!🙂

  26. 1. Yes, google reader.
    2. No, I find your tastes in books very compatible with mine.
    3. –
    4. Yes.
    5. I think a mix is good – no one’s tastes will be the same, but one gets to know bloggers whom one trusts.
    6. Yes.
    7. Widely, but little YA, sci-fi or chick-lit.
    8. –
    9. Nicely curated choice of books from authors one doesn’t always read nowadays.
    10. No preference, but somewhere in the middle.
    11. Both, if relevant.
    12. Yes. I find it a very clear layout, which says something about you!
    13. Yes, but I read most full posts in google reader so it doesn’t always impact on me.
    14. If I have something to add that is relevant, or if I really enjoy a post.
    15. I read many blogs, so I don’t really notice frequency. Perhaps twice a week?!
    16. –

  27. Hi, it sounds like a great project and one I’m sure the kids will find both informative and really enjoyable so good luck with it. In answer to your questions ….

    1) I have your site bookmarked and check for the latest posts whenever I happen to log on which is usually three or four times a week.
    2) All the posts are interesting but inevitably those about a much loved novel or an author I particularly admire are of particular note. Having said that part of the fun of following a blog is reading a post about an author, for example, whose work you are unfamiliar with – it is, after all, a great way to discover new books and ideas.
    3) N/A
    4) Yes – as mentioned above if you feel on the same wavelength as the person writing a blog then there’s a fair chance you’ll have some affinity with their interests beyond the world of literature.
    5) I think that comes down to personal taste. I sometimes post reviews on Amazon and I have the same problem. If I try to be purely objective I see myself coming across like some sort of dusty old academic, reeking of pipe smoke and snobbery and taking himself far too seriously. If I’m more personal I worry I come across like an old bore in a pub eager to collar all and sundry about his latest enthusiasms. I guess there’s a balance although I think a few personal opinions and passions go down well. Enthusiasm for one’s subject is always appealing. I think your recent post on Bowen’s The House in Paris is a good example – your love of the book came across really well and that adds weight to your observations on Bowen’s story and the quality of her prose. It made the whole post more engaging.
    6 & 7) I tend to follow a few book blogs – Dovegreyreader, A Striped Armchair, Desperate Reader to name but three. In addition I drift in and out of forums relating to football, films and music but for blogs books tend to be my first love.
    9) I think I like your blog because it is so well written and you like the same sort of books, artists and places as I like myself. Take that banner at the top for example – Eric Ravilious! I mean, I adore Eric Ravilious …..
    10) No real preference between long or short posts. Interesting comments on an interesting subject can work well over 100 words and over 1000 words.
    11) I think photos are important. They draw people in and set the tone. The photo of the dustjacket for your copy of The House in Paris really caught my eye and it’s a lovely thing in itself so it was great to see it there accompanying your comments.
    12 & 13) The layout suggests someone with an eye for what works stylistically and what looks attractive; and someone who has a passion for beautifully-written books. That’s enough to gain my interest and I wouldn’t presume to look beyond that.
    14) I rarely comment on posts. If someone writes about a book I really love I might – I can rarely let a post about Daphne du Maurier pass because I adore her books so I always feel inclined to wade in. Beyond that I’m happy to sit quitely at the back.
    15) I think that’s up to you. Blogging should be fun so, if the mood takes you to post seven items one week and only one the next then that’s fine. It is, after all, your blog.
    16) Only that I seem to have droned on a bit here. I read a lot of Henry James for my MA and some of his lengthy prose style, albeit devoid of James’ elegance, seems to have worn off on me. Good luck with the project! To return to where I came in think it’s a great idea!

    1. Greg, thank you so much for taking the time to reply – and I love your answers! You are nothing like as dull as Henry James (I don’t get on with him at all!) and I am delighted to find another Ravilious fan!

  28. 1. Yes – via email
    2. For sure – some posts would appeal more than others. It tends to be something ephemeral such as whether I connect to something – I think that too many words may turn me off
    3. I’m not too upset by unrelated content – particularly if it is about food😉
    4, Ah well – I reckon blogs are personal aren’t they? So I want them to be personal without being mean if that makes sense.
    5. Yes indeed.
    6. I’m a family history and knitting nut so they are my other genres…
    7. N/a
    8. Pretty typical.
    9. Shortish posts – because of time.
    10. I’m a sucker for good photos/images
    11. You’re on WordPress – that automatically gives me a sense of refinement and good design sense – both of which I sorely lack.
    12. Yes indeed and I envy those who can get it right….
    13. If I connect somehow – which is a clumsy way of saying if your writing provokes me enough to respond. Sometimes posts (and I’m not talking about yours in this instance) are deeply moving but I can’t find the words to reply – so silence rules – think of an awkward social moment where one is lost for words or feels that no matter what one says it will never be good enough. I’m not sure what is worse – silence or inadequate words.
    14. I don’t mind how frequently your blog is updated but I have heard that one’s blogs should be fresh – perhaps like one’s knickers – daily? Oh if only I had the time and didn’t labour so long over posting!!
    15. I wish your students all the best with their blogging and hope that they find it as rewarding as I do both personally and socially. I have met the nicest virtual friends in the blogosphere and have learned so much from them and from my own reflections.

    1. Alex, thank you so much for your thoughts! I really appreciate you taking the time, and I quite agree with you on the benefits of blogging. I have met so many wonderful people I would never have found otherwise and they have really enriched my life!

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