Since the election results came in, I’ve had to be a lot more intentional about staying positive. I’ve avoided a lot of social media and started up my gratitude journal again, both of which have helped somewhat. This week’s theme for top ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and Bookish is all about what we are thankful for. The following are things that I’m thankful books have brought into my life.
- Walking in someone else’s shoes (sort of) – I generally consider myself an empath so I’m usually able to get at least some sense of the feelings of others even without books. I love how I can find myself completely immersed into a story from a perspective I’ll never get to experience myself. While this is hardly the same as living with these difficulties on a daily basis, it is a tiny glimpse into someone else’s world. With the way things are going, especially in the US right now, we need more of these books.
- A voice for my story (sort of) – As amazing as it is to find out more about someone else’s life it’s sometimes even more amazing to find that book that speaks of my life. I admit, I’m fairly privileged (White, female, cisgendered, American) so it’s not that often that I find a book that I can’t relate to at all. It is wonderful when I find something that speaks to my own issues like mental illness or even chronic illness. I cherish these books because they remind me that I’m not alone in my struggles.
- Self-published or unknown authors that are sometimes just starting out or just don’t hit ‘mainstream’ publicity. I’ve been a reader for most of my life but I didn’t really begin expanding my choices until I started blogging. There are books I’ve picked up for blog tours or for review that I’d never have even heard of otherwise. I’m expanding my horizons in ways that I never thought I would. This year alone I’ve started reading more contemporary and I’ve branched into the horror genre which is a complete shock to me.
- Reading has saved my life in many ways. I had a really rough time through most of my adolescence and beyond. My life seems to only have started calming down in maybe the past year. Reading has gotten me through some incredibly dark times by allowing me to escape into a new and different world away from the many issues I was facing in my daily life. I’ve spent countless nights reading when my anxiety was off the charts or my brain was attempting to kill me. The books weren’t always happy, in fact, I often gravitated toward books with a lot of struggle. I wasn’t alone even when no one else was around.
- I’m horrible at conversation and small talk. I’m a fairly hardcore introvert and talking about the weather or the recent celebrity drama bores me. I wouldn’t say books have completely fixed this but they have helped. I dread the question “So.. what’s that book about?” because I somehow magically forget anything and everything about the book I’m reading. I’m getting better though and often my reading has sparked some really deep and meaningful discussion on a variety of topics.
- Mental health education is something I’m in a love-hate relationship with but am thankful for on both sides. I love that authors are willing to venture into these tough topics and widen the awareness to the general public. I also absolutely hate when mental illness is used as a shallow selling point just to gain a slightly wider audience. I’ve read books that portrayed these wide and varied issues incredibly well and I want to sing praises across the internet. I’ve also read books that just fed into negative stereotypes and got a lot of information incredibly wrong. In a way, I’m thankful for those books because it opens up a space for me to really speak about how painful it is to be put into those categories. More than once a book that portrayed an illness I suffer with badly has given me the opportunity to talk about my real experience.
- As a hardcore introvert, being social can be really draining for me. The book community that I’ve found has been amazing. I’m still not the most social person but I’ve found this entire group of people that I can relate to which is pretty amazing. I’ve also found a lot of other people who are just as introverted as I am.
- I’ve no idea if my reviews actually do that much in terms of book sales but I have experienced the appreciation from publishers and authors alike. Reading and blogging are really only a hobby for me and in many ways, it is its own reward. That said, it’s incredibly awesome to have a publisher reach out and thank me. I also get a little giddy every time an author contacts me or I get a signed copy of a book.
- The generosity of fellow bloggers, authors, and publishers constantly blows me away. I know that the plethora of giveaways has a marketing and PR value but many of them are based soley on generosity. It’s not just about getting free stuff, though I admit I’m thankful for that too. I’m looking forward to doing some of my own giveaways in the future!
- While I’ve not managed to get much writing of my own done, the inspiration to create is endless. I’ve had books get me motivated to write, draw, and to learn new things. I’ve explored whole new topics based entirely off of the subject of one book. My vocabulary has grown as well as my number of interests. Without reading I might never have thought to do research on Cambodia, Origami, the holocaust, and a whole host of other topics.
What about you? What are you thankful for this year? Let me know in the comments below!