There is More to Me than the Classics: A Conundrum

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I am wrestling with the focus of my blog. I fear I have limited myself to writing almost solely about 19th and early 20th century classic literature (which does make up the bulk of fiction that I read) and wonder if there is room for the history, pop culture and religion I also read?

The phrase relevant obscurity has always been directed at me personally, because the emphasis on the above nonfiction for most of my life made me so suspicious of fiction (I would like to write a post on that) that I am discovering classic literature for the first time. The relevance of these books and how they help me see the past and a period of history I love has added so much to my life.

IMG_4775And yet, I have been reading books on religion and spirituality since I was 12 when I was given a book on Hanukkah; that brought God into my heretofore agnostic worldview and set me on a seeker’s path of which I still walk. And the Medieval history I majored in and the American studies courses I took later still figure strongly in what I read now, though I don’t share any of that here.

 

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So, I am going to try some new kinds of posts throughout the next few months to see how comfortable I am about sharing more of my life through the various books I read, the thoughts they provoke and even some non-book-related musings, because while I have thought hard about starting another blog in addition to this one, oh man, that seems like a lot of work! But also, like many other bloggers and readers, I am multifaceted offline, so why pretend otherwise online?

 

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I would love to know if anyone else feels their blog, either by its title or focus, is too restrictive to the broader range of what they want to share?

What did you decide to do about it or are you still wrestling with it?

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36 thoughts on “There is More to Me than the Classics: A Conundrum

  1. While I certainly don’t think you should share anything you’re not comfortable sharing, I personally run a blog called “Doing Dewey” (after a project to read one nonfiction book per Dewey Decimal number) and still write about books in any genre I pick up. Since most nonfiction bloggers I interact with also read other things and since many fiction readers like the occasional nonfiction recommendation, it works for me. I find people to interact with and I enjoy keeping up with blogging even if I go through a period where I’m mostly reading fiction. My guess is that you would still have readers who enjoyed your blog even if the focus shifted and my hope is that you might find it as fun as I have 🙂

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  2. Pingback: Austen in August – Relevant Obscurity

  3. Pingback: #BloggingTheSpirit: Adventures in Spirituality on the Last Sunday of the Month – Relevant Obscurity

  4. Hi Laurie
    I haven’t read all the responses here, but I just want to say, I think you should write what you want to communicate – if I’m interested I’ll read it, if i’m intrigued, I’ll respond, and if it doesn’t do anything for me, I’ll wait for your next post. I’m here because i’m interested in what you say and the way you say it, so you don’t have to limit yourself. I blog about my reading but like everyone I have other interests, and will probably post about them once in a while too – maybe even holiday snaps 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Warren. I appreciate your thoughts. I am already feeling less limited and find I am opening to the wider range of books out there than the classics I’ve stayed with. So thanks.

      And my best to Kimmy 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I would love to see more of what you are reading and thinking about on all kinds of topics! Looking forward to those posts.

    Perhaps there are blogs that benefit from a very particular focus, and where readers would be confused or stop following if the blogger diverged too much from that — but most of the bloggers I follow and love are just of the “Whatever I’m reading now” variety. When they post about something outside of their “usual” vein, it adds dimension to their personality and their voice. I can’t see any reason for not including whatever you feel like writing about.

    I actually had a similar question and wrote a discussion post on it a while ago: https://emeraldcitybookreview.com/2015/11/do-i-need-a-niche.html
    The answers in the comments helped make me feel empowered to post about anything!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, the comments here have been really helpful to me, too. And I agree with you about posts reflecting more about personality. I don’t know why I can support that with others, but find it difficult for myself?!!

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  6. I started writing about every book I read, but that became too restricting and now I’m much happier picking out the things I know I’ll want to remember, writing about them, and letting the other things go. All I can add now to what has been already said is do whatever feels right for you and I’ll be happy to go on reading.

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  7. I don’t really have a specific reading focus for my blog, but I have started to read more science. So, for me, this is a change from when I first started blogging. I think it’s natural to change and grow as we read more widely. This is a good thing. And, I think some of the books you would like to post about sound really interesting. Go for It! I’m looking forward to reading those posts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really enjoyed the posts on the books you read for women in science week this past Spring.

      Can I ask you how that change to more science started? Was it always an interest or did something spark it?

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      1. Interestingly enough, it was reading Galileo’s Daughter that sparked an interest in science for me. Astronomy and scientific discovery should have created a sense of wonder and awe in people rather than fear. Reading that book made me want to learn more about science. It was suddenly a way to learn more about the world I live in and I couldn’t forget how regular people were denied access to this knowledge in the past.

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  8. My first blog was about running and cross-country skiing. I quickly realized that I preferred to do those activities more than I enjoyed writing about them. Shortly after that blog petered out I had the brain flash to try book blogging. I can talk about books and book related topics until the cows come home and so it is a perfect fit. At first, I only wrote about the books I read, then I started writing about libraries I visit, and now I feel free to write about anything (because, really, pretty much everything in my life is somehow related to books and reading). When other book bloggers write the occasional post that has nothing to do with books or their niche in books, I’m often interested in what they have to say/share. After being involved in the book blogging community for seven years, I’ve come to appreciate authenticity and integrity more than a purely book-centric post, if that makes sense.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Wow, that is an interesting metamorphosis in your blogging life. (And I really like your library posts!)

      I do like to get to know book bloggers better and appreciate the odd non-book post.

      Thanks for your perspective.

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  9. I hadn’t understood the significance of your blog”s title, Laurie, and I guess that means there’s probably no need for you to begin a new blog if you want to widen your scope. I have two other blogs (both currently in abeyance) but one is a photoblog and the other for flash fiction and poetry, neither relevant to book reviews and general bookish matters. (The fact they’re temporarily on hold gives an indication of where my priorities lie just now.)

    So my point is this: I don’t mind what you post on so long as its related to literary matters! While I’m not reading a lot of historical fiction these days I do stray into 19C and early 20C modern classics territory; and though I’m not religious (as you know) I’m not unacquainted with or uninterested in the development of religious thought and application.

    So, yes, more of the same and more besides, please!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Chris, since I started following you on Instagram I can see that is a good platform for photos. I look forward to the tiny details of buildings and objects you discover! Although, I have started a tumblr and find that platform conducive for photos, too.

      You are another blogger-model for me. I am often in awe of the analysis you provide for the books you read. Many I am not familiar with, but the depth draws me in, nonetheless. You do a very nice job of historical context, literary analysis and often, biographical material on an author; that you can tell comes from a lifetime of learning.

      Thank you for your thoughts 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m embarrassed by but obliged to you for these compliments, thank you, Laurie. I enjoy Instagram and try my best with the basic camera phone I currently have. I’m a bit nerdy about details, structure, context and content and that follows me into the book review side too — here I try to balance personal response with trying to understand what the book is about; and though it may come across as a bit academic it’s never ever intended to be definitive. I’m just glad the blog is enjoyed by aficionados (aficionadas?) like you who have a good idea what they’re talking about!

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  10. Most of the books I read are either classics or historical fiction, but I do read other types of book too and I write about all of them. The original purpose of my blog was so that I would have a record of every book I read and how I felt about it, so it wouldn’t make sense for me to only write about certain genres. I think you should do whatever you’re happy with and comfortable with!

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    1. Yes, I have added some of your historical fiction to that never-ending list….:)

      I think because I didn’t start out well-rounded, I am hesitant to broaden my posts. Thank you for the encouragement!

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  11. Those books all look fascinating, and I want to know about them! I don’t think you should limit yourself to only certain kinds of books here. None of us read only one kind of book. My blog is probably not the best model to follow, given my minuscule audience, but I’ve mostly preferred to write about most of the books I read and I think that’s more interesting than sticking to only the classics.

    I don’t write up every cozy mystery I read, because there are an awful lot of those, and many of them are re-reads. Nor do I post about every religious book I read, largely out of a vague feeling that nobody else will be interested, but it would probably be better if I did…

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    1. ” Nor do I post about every religious book I read, largely out of a vague feeling that nobody else will be interested, but it would probably be better if I did…”

      This makes me feel good. I know there is more to us than ‘just’ the books we are posting about. And I know for a fact, without naming names 🙂 there are plenty of book bloggers with a spiritual/religious/seeking bent, who might post occasionally on those types of books, but are hesitant…and that’s what I am trying to address in my head.

      Maybe the last Sunday of the month we could do a post reviewing/journaling the religious/spiritual books we’re reading and the thoughts they have inspired or something we are thinking/pondering/musing about in our spiritual lives in general? It would just be one post a month and not really affect the main focus, if we have one, of our blog. And of course, for those who aren’t interested, they would just know to skip it!

      I need to think this through, but maybe I’ll do one for August.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I would love this kind of dialogue….

          Well, I don’t know how to do it, but I’ll look around and figure it out. I guess I could just make an announcement on my blog and ask others who are interested to pass it along?

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  12. I’ve always flitted here and there with what I read and taken a personal approach. I obviously think this is just fine. It’s the personal approach that keeps me reading other peoples’ blogs. Go for it, I say!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “I’ve always flitted here and there with what I read and taken a personal approach. ”

      Jeanne, your blog is also one I have looked at as a model. You ‘flit’ (I would say, ‘land’ 🙂 ) between books and your life seamlessly, imo, and it really works!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. A Lady

    Do your thing, Laurie! The posts you say you’re pulling to write sound really interesting. I think it’d be a real shame to let your blog’s beginning limit you. My blog has changed A LOT throughout the years. I think it’s natural that as we read, we will grow. But yes, I do & did wrestle with growing beyond my blog. My inclination to stick to a writing theme makes changing a little difficult. I have no idea why. I’m such a perfectionist. I think that many {many} people would love to see you honor your growth/inspirations here, and identify with the changing space. The idea that it has to stay the same on a reading journal is {I believe} just a myth of the book blogging genre: everyone says HAVE A THEME AND STAY THE SAME but when the theme is you & your thoughts, it’s impossible to stay the same. x

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  14. Yup, been there, done that! I had a completely different issue than yours but I get what you’re talking about. When my books came out in 2015, I had to use my blog to market them and in the process, the blog lost its identity. I actually broke my original blog away from marketing and started over again and I felt so relieved when I did! I had started my blog (Be as One) as a dumping ground for all writing unrelated to the Alcotts (which is my Louisa May Alcott is My Passion blog) — it was supposed to be more of a personal journal. When I had to start worrying about stats and attracting readers, Be as One lost its identity. By reinventing it, it is now what it was supposed to have been all along, mine. I write what I want and if it resonates with someone, that makes me very happy. But it was resonating with no one when it lost its heart.

    So yes, go for it! I’ll remain a subscriber and look forward to your future posts. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have looked at what you do with both your blogs as an example of what I could do. Since the LMA blog has such a specific focus it makes sense to have a more personal blog. I could still do that, although I am leaning to just one. I have started a tumblr, because I like to take photos and tumblr is such a good platform for that.

      Thank you for your support, Susan!

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