Several years ago I received a lovely email from someone I didn't know complimenting me on Reading Matters. This person (I honestly cannot remember if it was a man or a woman) was a new blogger and wanted some advice.
"How did you get so many reviews on your blog?" they asked.
"Well, I read lots of books and then reviewed them," I responded. "It has taken years and years to do this."
After a few more email exchanges it became clear that this blogger understood the importance of good content but wasn't prepared to do the leg work. They wanted hundreds of book reviews on their blog — and they wanted them now!
If only running a blog was that easy.
On Sunday I posted the 600th review on Reading Matters. It has taken 10-and-a-half years to reach that milestone.
The blog is a labour of love. There have been times when I have fallen out of love with it, when I've wondered whether I am wasting my time with it. But looking back on more than a decade of blog posts and reviews, I'm pleased to see a record of my reading life and to have seen the way in which my reading habits have changed — hopefully, for the better.
Of course, the best bit about maintaining this blog for so long is the friendships I've made via the kindly people who take the time to leave comments or send me emails. I have met some of you in person and count several of you as good friends. Your support is invaluable.
I'm not much of a believer in awards or rankings, but a couple of weeks ago Reading Matters made the number one position on Cision's annual Top 10 UK Literature Blogs for 2011. Call me silly, but I'll take that as a nice reward for blogging about books for the past decade. But offers of chocolate and champagne — or books! — won't be rejected either.
Here's to another decade of books, reading, blogging and reviewing!
I hope you'll join me.