Everyone can imagine the feeling a person gets when you first contact a publisher, and instead of ignoring you, they actually send you the books you ask for! It’s a wonderful moment, filled with excitement and joy, like Christmas (or your favorite gift-receiving holiday) come early. But then, you don’t like one of those books they send you. In fact, you really sort’ve hated it, and the wonderful publisher contact you have asked you to send over the reviews you give. Dun dun dunnnnn.

This is one of the perks of being an anonymous blogger. For the most part, here at BookBrats, there’s Megan, who people actually know exists, and moi. I have blogged for the past year and a few months, but for the most part have kept to my own little shell. Between work, an obsession with video games, and a gigantic fear of strangers, I don’t really talk to many people. In fact, my friendship with Megan is probably a fluke from a day where I drank confidence juice. What is the perk of my shyness?

I can really say whatever I feel like about a book.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t really flame books or have the witty criticisms that others have, however I’m not afraid to write a negative review, because chances are, word won’t get back to a publisher or author and end up in Giant Flame War 3. While my negative reviews still result in giant chunks of ‘unhelpfuls’ on Amazon because I *gasp* disagreed that a popular book wasn’t wonderful, it doesn’t really affect the Amazon ranking I pay far too much attention to, because my reviews tend to slide in-between higher ranked reviewers and the people being trolls. Sure, you could look at the negatively “oh, nobody ever pays attention to me and I’m not getting anywhere as a blogger”, but I’m a glass half-full kind of girl.

I don’t have a lot of pressure to read a specific book by a specific date.

This is my favorite perk. I don’t like feeling as if I’m still in High School or College and feeling like I’m being told to read this book by this date or else. I got into blogging in a somewhat strange tumble of things in that before I decided to review books, I wasn’t even aware of the community. I’d been lurking for spoilers (yep, I’m one of them.) about a book I’d been dying to read when I stumbled upon Goodreads. In a review there, someone mentioned the word ‘ARC’. 45 minutes later, I’d discovered that bloggers sometimes got books pre-release to read. The instantaneous thought through my head was ‘I want to be one of those magical people!’. (I wasn’t even aware that bloggers received these books for free, and I still don’t really focus on that. I would pay for ARCs. I just want books nownownow.) And that’s about as far as it went for a while. Eventually I realized that the before mentioned overwhelming shyness would prevent me from ever randomly emailing a publisher, and I decided that ‘well, I’m reading these books anyway. I might as well share my opinion of them.’ and so my blog was born, and eventually merged into Book Brats. Since then, Megan has peer pressured (in a loving way) to actually contact people, to minor success, but I still get to read what I want and when I want to, as long as I have a few reviews every week.

There’s no drama from the community.

Over the last year, I’ve seen the craziness that can happen in the book blogger realm. While I am always envious of the other bloggers who started around the same time I did and were enveloped into the warm bosom of blogger love, I also get to avoid the he-said, she-said game. This really goes both ways however, as I can’t stand up to the people continuously referring to books as dystopian even when they are decidedly not. I attended RT Booklovers last year in the anonymity I am discussing. I didn’t hide it, I tweeted about it, mentioned it to friends and etc. and I saw the prejudice that happens between groups sometimes. Anonymity lets me go ‘under-cover’ so to speak. I heard librarians complaining about how the ‘bloggers were crowding everything’ and I heard bloggers complaining about the lack of freebies. I was saddened to hear both these. I also saw bloggers adopt strays into their groups and librarians envelop the lost little girls like me kindly at their table, and was reminded why this giant community would be worth getting involved with if I could be brave enough to put on my big girl pants.

How do you feel?