Hey peeps, I’m joining in on Armchair BEA once again this year! If you don’t know what that is, it’s a way to join in all of the bookish fun from home while Book Expo America (BEA) takes place. I, like many others, couldn’t attend, so this is just a fun way to join in somehow! Since I totally forgot about this event with all of my excitement yesterday (more on this to come in my wrap up), I’m starting a little bit late. But that’s okay!
Day 1: Introduction & Diversity in Books
So the first day’s fun things include an introduction, so, here’s some things to know about me:
- What name do you prefer to use? Rayna is perfectly fine.
- How long have you been a book blogger? It’ll be two years in July. Crazy!
- Have you participated in ABEA before? Yes, last year!
- Do you have a favorite book? If you can’t pick one, then pick your most favorite of this moment. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas is DEFINITELY my favorite right now.
- If you could recommend one book blogger, who would it be and why? I’d recommend Dani @ Dani Reviews Things because she’s so upbeat about so many things, and she gives really well written reviews and topics. She’s a very nice person!
- If you could create a playlist that reflects your bookshelf, what would be the first song on the playlist? Man! I Feel Like a Woman by Shania Twain. I’m not even kidding. I’m pretty sure 97% of my shelf is by female authors with female main characters who kick ass in some way. WOMAN POWER, WOO!
- How do you arrange your bookshelves? Is there a rhyme or reason or not at all? I try to group my books into sections… like, my top shelf is some sci-fi and favorite fantasies, contemporaries… The next shelf is some favorites, the next is more fantasy, then more sci-fi/fantasy, then Harry Potter, urban fantasy, and more fantasy. Then the next is contemporary, lots of mix, but mostly fiction and contemporary, manga & comics, vampires, then a mix. Just look at the picture (this isn’t all of my books, just so you know, and it’s overflowing….):
- What is the most interesting thing you’ve learned so far through your reading this year so far? I think I’ve learned that I’ve become a little tougher when it comes to rating books and I try to really think about it more. I’ve also learned that I’m very, very passionate about certain books and my feelings about them. I think that tends to reflect in my reviews, and I love that.
The second part of day one is a discussion on diversity in books and the publishing industry. Whose voices do we see? Whose voices do we need more of? Where do we find representation lacking and what can we as bloggers do to address that? What about negative or stereotypical representation?
I personally have seen a lot more authors of color, religion, etc. start to become published more often, especially in the YA world. I think a lot of people anticipate for it, and I, for one, enjoy the author’s work that are published! I don’t generally look to see if an author is of a “minority” or whatever it may be, but rather if I’m interested in the story and characters themselves. But I do understand the importance and I think it’s fantastic that there’s more diversity being introduced more and more.
As far as lacking, I think it’s lacking a lot of things. Like, a lot. I’d love to read more about people of different religions, cultures, race, gender, sexual identity, etc. I think that as bloggers we can really voice our concerns on as many platforms as possible until a change is made.
And as for the negative and stereotypical representation: it’s always going to be there. I’m sorry to say, but it will be. Not everyone is of a like mind, or can be, for that matter. But we can still make leaps and bounds to erase it as much as possible.
Day 2: Aesthetic Concerns – Books & Blogs
This topic is all about how we look at books and blogs: pretty covers draw us toward the books, and pretty, clean, organized blogs make us coming back for more. But is that really all there is?
The Books: How often do you judge a book by its cover? How often are you surprised by what you find? Do you strategize and make sure every book in your series has the same cover design (as far as you are able to) and type? How important is it for the visual art on the outside of the book to match or coordinate with the literature art on the inside?
I don’t know that I judge a book by its cover, if I’m being honest. I seriously don’t! Okay, if a book cover is kind of hideous I’m just like, “What is that?” But I… okay, yeah, I judge. Shush. But sometimes I am surprised when it comes to books because they can have a really hideous cover and have some of the best content, and then some of the most beautiful covers are just…not good inside.
Oh man, I try SO HARD to make sure my covers match in some way, but I know that that’s not always the case. I love it when a series flows so, so nicely. But then sometimes the publishing industry just loves to see us readers squirm and change the covers mid-series. Like. No. But as far as the art matching the words on the inside, yes, I do think it’s important. Don’t have just random colors and big font. Try to make it look at least decent.
Some good examples of the art matching the content of the book:
Like, look at those covers. Not only aesthetically pleasing, but also matching to the content! I love it!
So yes, I do think that aesthetics are important, but they aren’t everything, necessarily.
The Blog: As a book blogger, in whatever form that takes, branding is important. Your colors, your fonts, your style of review, all of these things come together to make the “brand” of your blog – something that makes your reviews and posts and websites, all your various content, immediately recognizable to the people looking for you. What do you do to create a brand on your site? Do you think about these things?
I’m going to be honest: I don’t think about it super often. Like, I love the fonts I chose for my blog for the titles and the body of my posts. And I love my minimalist theme because I don’t want to be distracted by colors, personally, on my own blog. I’ve changed my banner and icon a couple of times, and I’m still not satisfied, so I think that’s one thing I’m going to change several times, probably.
I don’t know what I’d call my brand, actually. Simple? Clean? Long-winded? I try to make it easily accessible and organized to the best of my abilities, and that’s what I look for in my own blog. When I write reviews, I focus mainly on the characters because they’re, you know, the biggest part of the story. I then try to focus on the plot, or certain aspects of the plot where I can’t spoil things for people (at least not majorly).
As far as recognizability? I don’t know if when people see my blog they instantly think of it as being my blog? When I look at other people blogs, I notice colors or certain fonts or styles in which they write their posts, so I’m assuming it’s the same for people who read my blog?
Let’s Chat! ≧◡≦
So that wraps up the first two days of Armchair BEA! I’m sorry this is kind of late, but better last than never, right? Tell me all of your thoughts on book aesthetics, as well as blog aesthetics! Do you think about them often and do they affect what you pick up or look at? Also, what do you think about the diversity being shown in books and the publishing industry today?