How 4 Years Of Book Blogging Has Changed My Life + Giveaway

4 years ago. I was 24 — turning 25 in October. I had graduated college in 2008 — in the worst recession according to our commencement speaker — and I had been working retail at Forever 21 and then had quit and tried to find something more in my field. That summer I was working 1-2 days a week at a magazine trying to pay my dues. Still living at home. I was really into Goodreads and had made a lot friends in the groups. I had gotten back into reading again after my sad years of not reading. I had a crazy idea to start a book blog. I had no idea what I was doing but had seen a couple. I grabbed a group of my Goodreads friends and we started The Broke and the Bookish and I was addicted and started this blog a couple days later.

57941_519091835342_7603930_nDuring my first couple months of blogging — my first time at Brooklyn Book Fest

I remember that summer I started my blog so well. The World Cup was on and I got up every morning at 6am to watch the games throughout the day and, while I did that, I would work on my blog and talk to people on Twitter/try to figure out that damn Twitter thing and try to be involved in the blogging community which was WAY smaller and quite a bit different then. I was underemployed and it was a fun way to spend my days. 4 years ago I would never imagine that here I would be on a summer day during the next World Cup writing a post about blogging for 4 years. I was a serial hobby dropper so I thought it was just going to be a fun little thing I did for a bit.

But here we are. 4 years later. You’ve seen me through a lot.

And it’s crazy because my life has changed so much because of book blogging. Sure, some of this was just growing up but also I think blogging really helped it.

1. I’ve become so much more confident than I ever was: I was thinking about this while I was navigating my huge suitcase, purse and two huge tote bags through NYC and then to Penn Station after BEA was over. Before blogging, I would have NEVER traveled to NYC by myself. Or Chicago for RT Convention and to hang with my friends. I would have never. I’ve become more confident in networking and talking to authors. More confident in SHARING my opinions without feeling nervous. More confident to make a fool out of myself and not care. More confident to not shy away in groups. I would have NEVER made Youtube videos because I would have felt way too self conscious. I’ve become more confident to be vulnerable to complete strangers (though most of you are friends now) and to admit my life is not perfect. There are a 100 ways I could tell you I’ve become more confident. I know Will could agree with me on this. I’ve become a more confident person and I love it. I own what I think and what I feel and I put it out there. I do things that scare me or previously scared me. It’s amazing to see how far I’ve come.


2. I’ve found my best friends who have gotten me through some awful times in the past 4 years: I have met some of my best friends because of book blogging. They are not my internet friends. They are my best friends. They came to my wedding or were at least invited but geography is a bitch. They are the people I talk to about personal things before anyone else. They are the people who encourage me, give me the dose of honesty I need, make me laugh and just are always THERE for me. Best friends aside, I’ve met some people who I am very close with and I cannot tell you how thankful I am for the support that has been there for me. The conversations I’ve had. I’ve met my people and I’ve learned to be a better friend through the blogging community. I’ve learned to be a better human I think, too. It’s amazing to me how I have a better support system than I ever have before and I am so thankful.


3. I’ve become more myself than I ever was: Before I started blogging I felt a little lost. I was hiding a lot of who I was and what I loved because there were people in my life who didn’t like it. I tried to fit in. To blend in. To stop being so “weird” and “quirky”. I just played it safe and didn’t shake up what I had. I was afraid to admit to some of the things I liked for fear of judgment. I know there’s the notion that people can be anything they want online and can pretend…but the opposite has been true for my time online. I’ve never become more myself than I am online. The book blogging community has helped me embrace all the things about myself that I was afraid to share. It’s helped me to become my truest self and I am beyond thankful for that. Because now I don’t give a damn. I like what I like. I refuse to pretend to ever be less than anything I am and people can take it or leave it.


4. My writing has improved: I have always loved writing but blogging has helped me to become better. I’m still not an amazing writer and I’m still jealous of a lot of you and how talented you are but I’ve really learned to hone my skills. And who would have ever thought that I would want to write a book before?? A story that is so personal to me, that I’m scared of. But blogging has helped me to realize I can do that. Even if it never gets published. Even if it’s not good. I can do that.

5. I’ve learned SO much to help me in my career: I’m laughing because 4 years ago I didn’t not even know what HTML was. I didn’t know how to make graphics or DESIGN MY OWN BLOG. I’ve learned so many skills through blogging. My background has been in social media and marketing before I got laid off and blogging and creating a community has been invaluable. The grassroots kinds of things I’ve done has only complemented the things I did professionally and I had a great boss who would help me learn things by using my blog as an example. I’m sure there are some prospective employers who don’t see the value in what I’ve done here in 4 years but I know it’s only helped me to learn and be better when I do find a position again. And to be honest, I find myself with this desire to get into publishing. Something I never thought of before.

6. I’ve come in contact with books that have changed my life: I’ve read books that have helped me to still process my mom’s death (because it never goes just changes). Especially this book. I’ve not felt so alone in my grief while reading these books. Sometimes losing someone can feel so lonely, even when you know others have, and reading these books have seriously helped me to better deal with it and not feel so ALONE. Part of being human is loss and I’ve never felt so connected to humanity until I started reading these books that deal with this. The one book that has TRULY changed my life, Just One Day by Gayle Forman, I would have NEVER picked it up without blogging because I read vastly different things. But that book changed my life. Like literally made me take action and change some things in my own life. Allyson is a character who is so dear to me and I can never thank Gayle Forman enough or even try to put into words what that book did for me. Sometimes a story just resonates with your life so much. That was this book and I read it when I needed it most.


I could name a lot more things of how my life has changed (because some pretty COOL things have happened to me/I’ve got to be a part of amazing things because of all of this) but those were the 6 things I think that stood out to me the most. (You can read about all the ways my reading and bookish habits have changed since blogging).

So, as we go into this next year of blogging:

Thank you for reading.
Thank you for your friendship, your support and your words.
Thank you for not making me feel like I’m just shouting unheard into the void that is the internet.
Thank you for your book talk and your recommendations.
Thank you for advice, your honesty and your willingness to get vulnerable with me sometimes.
Thank you for accepting me for who I am — flaws and all.
Thank you for being patient with me when I’m slacking on blogging and trying to figure things out — when things have prevented me from replying back or commenting on your blogs. I promise you I value every SINGLE comment.
Thank you for disagreeing with me and helping me see new perspectives.
Thank you for being on this journey with me.
Just thank you. For the things I haven’t said.


And as a little thank you, let’s do a giveaway. I wish I could do more but unfortunately, if you’ve followed my journey, it’s just not possible at the time. One day, I promise.

Rules: Open to anywhere The Book Depository ships!! Must be 13 years or older! Ends July 4th!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. Congratulations on your 4 years! I have just had my 1st birthday and it has gone so quick and I’ve leart so much! I hope my blog is still going in 3 years time and I hope you have many more years of blogging.

    • It really does goes so quick! Happy 1 year! That first year is SUCH an accomplishment because it really is hard to make it to the one year point in blogland.

      Thank you! <3

  2. I’m so happy and thrilled that you kept up with this and that I have you in my life. Thank you for making me a better person.

  3. Happy 4 years Jamie. I always read, but don’t always comment on every post of yours. You inspire me to be a better blogger. I love your blog so much. I hope mine is as good as yours when I reach 4 years!

    • Aw thank you so much for taking the time to say this, Chrissi! It really means a lot to me. I appreciate that you read! <3

  4. Congratulations on four years, Jamie! I’m so happy we’ve gotten to know each other through blogging and actually meeting in person a few times too! It’s so crazy to think what might life might be without blogging and the community I’ve found from it… And I’ve only been doing this about half as long as you have! It really does change your life in the most unexpected and amazing ways. I totally agree with all of your sentiments… I’ve found some of my best friends through the blogging world too. It always has its highs and its lows, but book blogging has allowed me to create so many amazing memories and it’s a constant in our day-to-day lives!

    • ME TOO. I adore you and I’m so happy that we’ve gotten to know each other and I can’t wait for all our conversations to come!!

      I seriously tried to think of what my life would be like if I hadn’t started blogging and it’s crazy to try and imagine. And YES…there have been days where I want to quit all this but the pros and what I’ve gained from it far outweighs the bad!

  5. I love your blog and your quirky personality! Even in the year and a half I’ve been doing this, I feel a lot of the things you have experienced: I have grown as a person, a writer, and into who I’m supposed to be. I’m forever grateful to this leading me to my best friend and now co-blogger and so many wonderful other things. I can’t imagine what four years will bring!

    Congrats and can’t wait for more from PPT!

    • Thank you so much for the kind words, Jess! It’s amazing how this journey has changed each of us and brought great things into our lives. I remember my IRL friends (who I’ve since ditched) thinking it was weird that I blogged and made friends through it…PSHHH. SHUSH.

  6. I only found your blog last year, but I subscribed right away and have loved it ever since! Thanks for being so approachable! I’m not really a blogger, but just being a part of the book community had helped me grow in some of the same ways you mentioned. Congrats on 4 years!

    • Aw thank you! I really appreciate what you said! <3
      It's just amazing what happens when we find "our people" and are able to find company in such a wonderful community.

  7. Congratulations Jamie! We’re almost blog anniversary buddies. Mine was last month (:

    Blogging changes our lives in so many ways. It’s so good to hear that it made you more confident and feel more like yourself!

    • We are ancient I feel like because so many blogs that were around then aren’t anymore!! (Also, Happy late blogoversary to you!!)

      I’m just so thankful for the community because I feel like all you guys helped me on the confidence and feeling more like myself especially. Suddenly it was like WOW people LIKE me for all the weird and geeky and quirky reasons that I knew my friends wouldn’t LOVE about me if I consistently showed them. It’s been amazing to just be able to be ME and not hide any of it!

      • I’m so happy for you! Hopefully one day I’ll be able to say the same. I still feel my blog just shows one side of me, not all of me.

        Thanks! I kinda miss the old bloggers, so I’m glad you’ve stuck around throughout the years πŸ˜€

  8. Oh man, Jamie. What you say about being a serial hobby dropper really hits home. That was me until I started this blog too. And I am heading towards my 4 year anniversary in March, and I just cannot believe how long I have been doing this and how much it has helped me grow as a person. This is a really great idea for a post, and honestly, blogging has helped me in all the same ways that it has helped you. I didn’t have any close friends before blogging, now I have a bunch! I never spoke my mind, now I do it all the time. I am proud of myself and all that I have accomplished, and I never really felt that way with anything else in my life. I am so thankful for this community, books, authors, and everyone else that allows me to do this every day.

  9. Congratulations on 4 years, Jamie! I know I don’t comment a lot, at all, but honestly, your blog is one of my absolute favourites and you are such an inspiration to me in the bookish world and out. I love reading your thoughts on books, your rants and rambles, and everything else that you post on here. You’ve inspired me to keep blogging and to keep writing even when it gets really, really hard, and I am so grateful for that. We’ve never had a conversation before, other than one little interaction on Twitter, (which I totally freaked out about), but I just wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your blog and for being so open and yourself on here. I’m trying to figure out how to do the same, which is hard, but I know it’s doable. So, yeah, thank you… And again, congratulations on your 4 years!

  10. Congrats on 4 years πŸ˜€ Loved the post πŸ™‚ Blogging has changed me too

  11. Happy blogoversary!

    Even though I’m a relatively new follower and haven’t chatted with you one-on-one, I feel like I’ve gotten to know you so well! You’re so open and honest in all of your posts and I love that! You’re only a couple of years older than me, but I do look up to you a lot. I wish I could be more myself in “real life” and online like you are. πŸ™‚

  12. Heather says:

    Congratulations on the 4 year Anniversary! I’m a huge fan and I look forward to all your posts! I’m glad you stuck with this hobby! I’ve been debating about creating my own blog some day and you’re are a great inspiration to start. I’d love to hear more about your book when you’re ready – and even read it. Here’s to another 4 and many more years!

  13. Congrats on 4 years and here’s to many more! I haven’t been doing this for very long, about a year and a half. But I love it so much, and I feel like I’ve grown through it. Having a blog is so personal for me, and it’s taken me awhile to step forward and make friends. I had no clue what I was doing when I started it, but I’ve learned a lot about the blogging community and publishing in general. And I’ve loved some of the blogs I’ve found, like yours. I don’t always comment, but I love reading your posts. πŸ™‚

  14. Congrats on 4 years!! That’s awesome! I’m a huge hobby dropper, too, so I’m proud I’ve been doing this now for 2 1/2 years!

    And blogging itself, and the blogging community really are amazing, aren’t they? I’m so happy to hear that you’ve come so far in your personal life through blogging! I know I can say the same for myself. I know we’re not super close, but I’m so happy to call you a friend! Book blogger friends are the best! πŸ™‚

  15. Congrats on 4 years!!!! I’ve only been following you for the last 2 years but it has been amazing! All the best!

  16. So inspiring. Sometimes I feel like I don’t know where I’m going or who I want to be, but your blog has been so great and has made me want to go out and leap for something I never thought I would do

  17. Congratulations on the past four years! As cheesy as it is, you were a complete inspiration to me when I started blogging (you still are!) so seeing you become so happy and successful with your efforts just makes me realize that I’m one hundred percent sure of my love of blogging and books. So thank you!

  18. Man, we go way back ALL THE WAY TO GOODREADS WHATTTTT.

    I’m so glad you’re in the blogging world. I am glad we are friends. I am glad I got to witness one of the most important days of your life (your wedding). I am glad you made me eat french fries when I was feeling under the weather hahaha. I am glad you let me text you about stupid things. I am glad that I don’t just feel like I know you, but that I actually literally know you and that you are in my life as an actual literal friend.

    As for your story idea, I believe in you. I believe you have a great book in you and someday I am going to see your name on the NYT Best Seller List and I am going to be able to say, hey y’all I knew her way back when.

    Happy blogoversary loveeeeee you! <333333333

  19. Kristin says:

    Looking forward to continuing to follow your blog within the next year. My bookshelves have expanded since I’ve found your site. Thanks and happy blogiversary!

  20. Happy blogoversary! I can’t believe you’ve been doing this for four years! And I’ve noticed the same thing since I started blogging: I’m much more confident. I drive to weird places, step forward and talk to someone even when I’m nervous, and even request ARCs (which I’d never had thought to do before). I really hope I’ll be able to say I’ve blogged for four years someday!

  21. Hi Jamie! First of all, I would like to congratulate you for this wonderful milestone! Last year, after I graduated college, I went through a phase wherein I was totally unsure and lost in my career path. That was the time I rediscovered my love for reading, I had all the time to immerse myself in the world of books. I admit I was such a book snob all throughout my college years, with me having concentrated all my time and efforts on studying(such a poor excuse I know, but I was bent on earning scholarships every semester). Anyway, reading books eventually led me to discover so many amazing book related stuffs online – book blogs, vlogs, and yes, Goodreads. They became an addiction! Haha And with that said, allow me to say this, yours is THE BESTEST book blog I have ever had the pleasure of reading! Reading your words felt like I had someone who share the same interest in books, no matter how weird and quirky. You’re totally on the spot when you said that your blog is like having a conversation with a friend over coffee; the connection we feel towards your thoughts, feelings, and experiences is very important to us readers and we appreciate it a lot. So thank you so much! I’ll support you 100% if ever you decided to publish that book! πŸ™‚ Kudos and more power to you, all the way from the Philippines! πŸ™‚

    P.S. I died when you followed me on IG haha!

  22. I’ve only recently joined the book blogging community and created my own blog, but it’s already changed my life! I can’t imagine what doing this after four years would be like…but congratulations on four years! I love reading your blog. It’s one of the first YA blogs I found that inspired me to start blogging about the books I love too. Happy blogiversary!

  23. Ginger @ GReads! says:

    It’s been one crazy amazing journey in the last 4 years, huh? YOU, dear Jamie, are special to me in more ways than one. I’ve seen you grow through this blog & in your heart. What a beautiful woman you’ve become! I am honored to have you as my friend. We need to complete this circle of blogger love AND FINALLY MEET, ok?! Ok!

    Congrats on everything you’ve accomplished in the last four years. You have SO much to be proud of, xxoo.

  24. CONGRATULATIONS! You are honestly amazing! And geez, so dedicated! Anyway, I love your blog and all of your features!
    XO, Kristi
    PS You are so brave for going to NYC by yourself, I seriously am so jealous!

  25. Wow! Congrats on four years! I agree though book blogging is very life changing! I haven’t been doing it very long but I’ve already made great friends doing it!

  26. HAPPY 4 YEARS! It’s seriously amazing to think about how long you’ve been blogging + participating in this crazy awesome fun book blogging community. You’ve certainly got a voice all your own, and it’s definitely a special part of the blogosphere! I’m thrilled that we were able to connect through blogging and our love of books, grateful that it lead us to that fateful weekend of the National Book Festival where we basically got to hang out and get to know each other “off the record” and just thankful that, through many things, we’ve been able to stay friends. Here’s to the next twenty billion years to come πŸ˜‰

  27. 4 years feels so epic and I can’t believe either that blogging has taken over my life so wonderfully. I loved reading all the ways blogging has impacted your life.
    It’s a wonderful thing:)

  28. Happy 4 years of blogging! You are one of my favourite bloggers and not just because you post fabulousness, but because I also think you’re a pretty amazing person. You’ve been through a lot these past few years and your spirit and strength is inspiring. I love visiting and that there’s always so much YOU in your posts. So if you ever start doubting yourself, remember we love you just the way you are! (Cheesy? Yes. True? Double yes.)

    As for your book idea, have fun and write your heart out, whatever may come of it. I have my own idea and hope to work on more and see what comes if it. If you ever wanna chat about writing or not writing or stuff (and by stuff, I mean cake), my inbox is always open. It’s funny. Before I started blogging, I never really thought about writing and it seems like I’m not the in,y one. I think the same goes for a lot of book bloggers, too. It must be due to the creative environment and chatting and sharing our book love. That, or in the words of Louisa May Alcott, “She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain.” Congratulations, Jamie!

  29. Congratulations on 4 years of blogging! I only found your blog last week, but I’m planning on following it for a long time! I started my own blog in October last year, and I’m still figuring things out and trying to find a place in the community, but it has already changed my life. Like you, I needed a place where I could just be myself and talk about the things I love. I can talk about it with my friends, but they’re not as passionate as me about either books or baking, so it’s really nice to have found a place where people are that passionate and also show it. I can’t wait to have reached 4 years of blogging, like you! It’s such a fulfiling thing to do. πŸ™‚

  30. Yay for 4 years!!! πŸ™‚ That’s a huge milestone, doyke!! I’ve learned how much work goes into blogging and it is amazing that you are still going strong and coming up with fresh material. Keep it up!!

  31. Congrats on 4 years of blogging Jamie this is amazing! I absolutely love your blog and the thought you put into your posts. I look forward to many more years (:

  32. Congrats on four years! And here’s to many more. I love your creative blog posts πŸ™‚

  33. Jamie,

    This was an amazing post. Congratulations on four years of blogging. That’s quite an impressive feat. I am so glad that blogging has brought so much joy to your life. I have been blogging for almost a year now and I’m still trying to find my place, but this blog post has been inspirational to me. Thank you and congratulations again!!!

  34. Congrats on your blogoversary Jamie! πŸ™‚ 4 years is an amazing milestone, it was wonderful to read how blogging got you through good times and not-so-good times, how you met so many great friends along the way and had new experiences (as a complete aside, 2010 was a glorious year; World Cup was fun to watch that year too :)). May you have many awesome blogging years to come and great books to read! Thanks also for the wonderful giveaway

  35. Congrats on 4 years!! Though to be honest it seems like longer just because you come off as such a NATURAL, BRILLIANT blogger who’s been at it forever! I totally remember meeting up at the Brooklyn Bookfest and hearing Lauren Oliver read from her first book, BEFORE I FALL, and both of us buying her book after getting hooked from the excerpt — it’s crazy that it was FOUR years ago!

    I’m constantly inspired by your posts and find myself thinking “me too!” so many times when I read your thoughts about certain books or bookish subjects. Keep doing what you’re doing because you do it oh-so well, Jamie πŸ™‚ Here’s to another 4+ more years!! xo

  36. you are an example for all of us to follow. you’re very easy to talk to and friendly, and I’m so glad you’ve found an outlet like this because we could all use more confidence in some area. congrats on 4 years!

  37. Congrats Jamie! I love reading your blog! You are without a doubt one of the bloggers I look up to and have so much respect for in this community. Your reviews are thoughtful and well-written and your effervescence shines through on your and in your interactions with others. It’s been great getting to know you and follow your blog. Following your blog is what brought me into this amazing community and for that I am grateful. Congrats on a stellar four years and as they say… FOUR MORE YEARS! FOUR MORE YEARS! (they say that right? I know I’ve heard it before!)

  38. <3

  39. Congratulations with your 4 years! Your blog has such a big value for the blogosphere, so thank you for that πŸ™‚ It is great to see what blogging did for you and I agree with a lot of those points. Without blogging I’d never have found some of the books I now love and cherish πŸ™‚ I hope you stick around for many more years, Jamie.

  40. This post is so awesome! I love hearing happy blogging stories. Yes to blogging making us more confident and finding some of our most awesome friends! YES to learning a lot of awesome stuff about blogging and design and everything else.

  41. Congrats on reaching four years of blogging! I related a lot to how blogging has changed your life because I’ve learned so much from blogging as well. Definitely, I’ve gotten a lot better at designing things and using Photoshop as well as read a lot of books that changed my life that I probably wouldn’t have read otherwise. It’s amazing to see how much you’ve grown over these years and you’ve created something to be proud of! Here’s to many more years! ^.^

  42. I don’t comment very often but I wanted to jump on say Happy 4 Years and to let you know that you do great work on this blog. It’s always a pleasure to read what you’re reading these days. Keep up the good work!

  43. Congratulations to you!
    Also I am fist pumping to the stars for you with this statement: “I’ve become more myself than I ever was”


  44. Awww, congratulations Jamie on four years which is FANTASTIC. I loved your list of things that have changed because of blogging and though I haven’t been blogging nearly as long as you have, I definitely found myself relating to a lot of it. Starting out with blogging, I totally had no idea it would become as important as it is to me and as influential as it is on my life but I’m just happy that I took the leap and got to find so many great people and blogs! Reading yours for the past two years has been so amazing. Thank YOU for bringing us all along on your journey! You’ve lead me to some pretty awesome books through your reviews, most recently How to Love by Katie Cotugno! Here’s to many more years! Cheers! πŸ™‚

  45. Congrats! It is a great blogging milestone to keep going year after year when sadly so many bloggers have left the blogging world. I do enjoy your posts and can’t wait to read more of them in the months and years to come!

  46. Congratulations on 4 amazing years! I am glad that I have been through at least some of it with you. I plan to be around for the next four years, too! Thanks so much for the giveaway and seriously? Congratulations!

  47. Beautiful post, congrats on four years!
    I’m a newer blogger yet, and I’ve already seen how being a blogger has been a positive in my life. I love that I have my own thing, besides being a wife and mom (which I love being, but it’s nice to have something that’s all mine). Being a part of the book blogging community is so much fun, and it’s been an amazing experience so far!

  48. Oh Jamie, I’m so glad you decided to pick up a new hobby four years ago. The blogosphere just wouldn’t be the same without you. *hugs*

  49. Congrats on 4 years, Jamie – that’s such a fabulous milestone and achievement!! It’s awesome to hear the ways in which blogging has had a positive impact on your life. Here’s to even more in the future! πŸ™‚

  50. Happy four year blogoversary!! That is so amazing that you’ve been doing this for 4 years now! Crazy. I love everything you said in this post. Blogging has definitely made me more confident and really it’s helped me discover who I am. Like you said, I used to kind of downplay the part of me that was a huge nerd and loved to read. I wouldn’t deny liking books or anything, but I didn’t bring it up in conversation you know? Now I’m not afraid to talk about my love for books and my blog. Sure, some people laugh at me, but I don’t care anymore. I’m able to look at them now and say “this is what I love and what I’m passionate about.” I’m so happy to hear all the different ways your blog has impacted you. Your blog is one of my favorites and I always love reading your thoughts. πŸ™‚ Congrats again! <3

  51. I love this post so much! Blogging has been such a gateway to awesome things as well and I still remember your message on Goodreads asking who wanted to start a book blog with you and I can’t even begin to count all the things I would have missed out on if I hadn’t jumped at that chance!
    Thank YOU for being the wonderful person you are! πŸ™‚


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