Welcome to This Reading Life by Brona’s Books.
Brona is the name created by my first nephew as he was learning to talk. He couldn’t quite manage all the Welsh sounds and syllables in Bronwyn, so Aunty Brona was born!
I started blogging on Blogger (at Brona’s Books) back in 2009 with the intention of writing book posts that might help teachers and parents find appropriate books for their children.
As an early childhood educator with 18 years experience, I felt qualified to discuss what worked and what didn’t when it came to reading and young children.
However this idea never really took off.
Teacher burnout had hit me hard and a drastic career change was on the cards. Which is how I found myself managing a small independent children’s bookshop. I still enjoyed reading Kids Lit, but thanks to burnout, I went through a phase of not wanting to talk about it, write about it or think about any teaching points that might arise!
That’s when I realised I could blog about adult books!
I tried a number of different ways to do this – quick reviews, themed reviews, notes & quotes on the go, but as time went by, documenting my personal reading journey became my priority and my posts evolved around this idea.
I began by writing the type of reviews I liked to read. Brief and to the point, with bits & pieces about the book or author that I wanted to remember.
- No book summary (or just a bare minimum recap).
- Was the book good or not, and why?
- Facts and information about the author, how they wrote the book etc.
- Favourite quotes or ideas.
Over the years, the brief and to the point part may have (ahem) evolved, but I’m still anti-summary (if you want to know what the book is about, then read it for yourself 🙂
Recently, I have embraced the slow reading approach, as I try to become a more thoughtful, careful reader.
This has led to more thoughtful, (read: longer), research based reviews. Most of my book responses are more like an extended annotation of my reading experience than a typical review though.
Some books don’t merit this method (the lighter, fluffier, comfort reads), but most of the books I read, are the kind that I enjoy giving a more in-depth approach. Whether it’s reading up on the time period the book is set in, reading or listening to interviews with the author, or seeking out some biographical information about them, I try to incorporate this information into my post for future reference.
I love doing this research. It adds to my reading experience. If I don’t write it down I will forget it. That’s where my blog comes in.
I’ve played around with the different ways of incorporating this information into my posts. Some have worked better than others. My blog is an organic beast – I’ve kept it all here, warts and all.
I hope you find this style of review interesting too, but ultimately, I’m writing this blog for me, so that I can keep track of my reading history. I want to be able to return to old posts and remember what I loved (or not) about each book and what I learnt along the way.
My posts are my memory-keepers for each and every book.
On the 28th Dec 2020, after suffering the loss of my third post in as many months thanks to the new format being rolled out by Blogger, I moved to WordPress. At this point, I decided to change my blog name – moving the tagline, This Reading Life, from Brona’s Books into prime position, and moving Brona’s Books into the tagline.
All the posts from my first 11 years of blogging, can be found in the menu tab, Brona’s Books. Some formatting issues occurred during the changeover, so if you are reading any older post and notice something glitchy, please let me know as I will adjust and tidy up as I go along.
I love this community of book bloggers – a lot!
I joined the Australian Women Writers team in 2015 as the History, Memoir, Biography editor. In 2017 I moved to the General Non-fiction page and in 2018 I picked up the role of editor of Poetry. Sadly, towards the end of 2020, I resigned my roles at the AWW when I realised that I didn’t have the time to devote to it any more due to changing work and life commitments.
In 2018, along with Deb, Kay and Margaret, I was very excited to accept the role of Gen 2 Moderator for The Classics Club.
My way of reaching out and joining in with the book community is through memes, readalongs, readathons, cc spins and other bookish fun. I aim to read and comment thoughtfully on as many of your posts as I can, but my good intentions are not always easy to live up to. Like the rest of you, I do what I can, when I can.
My motto is to make it all up as I go along and to change my mind whenever I like!
I hope you enjoy your visit to This Reading Life and I look forward to hearing from you soon.