Friday, May 18, 2018

Blogiversary - Look Who's 5!!


Today is a special day here at WLABB. It's our 5th Blogiversary! In honor of this special day, the WLABBers want to share their thoughts on how their lives have changed since the birth of this blog.

Noor's Thoughts

Happy Blogiversary, friends!

I’m actually truly, deeply shook that it’s been five years. Time is weird, right?

Five years is almost inconsequential in a lifespan, but five years ago, I was 17, which feels like a different time. I’ve since started and finished university (and transferred too), moved across state lines, honed my Instagram aesthetic, gained friends and lost them, and really learned how to rock some bold lipstick. Honestly, 17 feels like a lifetime ago. It feels like I’m looking through a blurred lens when I try to think about it, like it’s someone else’s memories I’m trying to stir up.

Two things that have remained (sort of) a constant have been my affinity for literature and for writing — the whole reason I thought, as an eager, young 17 year old, that blogging sounded kinda cool. I mean, I liked books, and I already spoke in paragraphs.

Since then, even though the crux of my being, and the way I navigate the world, has relied on those two constants ringing true, they’ve manifested in different forms. The past couple years, my time has largely been devoted to writing papers, reading papers, and expounding only upon the books mentioned in my syllabi. Maybe I hadn’t organized myself well enough, but it left little time for reading for fun. So, I found joy in challenging and strengthening my own writing through innovative papers and I found it in the knowledge I retained from my assigned readings and the ways we unpacked them in class.

I let my relationship with books change, too — before, I’d carve out a few hours and finish a book in one sitting, maybe two. Now, I had to let myself be okay if I took two months to read a 200 page book of personal essays. And as all this changed, my tastes changed a little too. I’ve always had a pretty eclectic taste in books, running the whole gamut of genres. Five years ago, I stuck to mostly YA — a lot of contemporary and fantasy taking the leads. Lately, though, I’ve really been into personal essays and memoirs, and I’ve found a new affinity for historical fiction, which I used to swear was not my thing. I recently bought a few nonfiction and creative nonfiction books as well that, surprise, I haven’t gotten to yet, because I have the time management skills of a walrus. Anyway, I’ve found myself drawn to books that seem to be polar opposites — either short, 100-200 page reads I can sit with for an hour, that just tell a story and tell it well, or long narrative Events, that span generations and craft an experience. I guess when you tease it apart, they have the same roots — stories that leave you reeling.

And while my tastes are constantly changing and evolving — and probably will continue to do so for the rest of my life — and my availability to commit has fluctuated, five years of knowing I have a space to voice my many opinions has been, at the risk of sounding cheesy, a nice mental nudge in preventing complacency.

Once again, happy blogiversary, and if you've read any of my reviews, thank you.

Amrutha's Thoughts

Hi everyone! After who knows how long away, I'm back to wish you a Happy Blogiversary!!

Just as Noor did, I want to reflect a little on my life five years ago. I was 16 and studying for the SATs that I took on the day of the first BookExpo I ever went to. At 16, I would've never anticipated sitting here writing about this blog turning five years old. I always thought that friendships and experiences from high school or college would be fleeting, but this blog gave me a sense of stability. It showed me that your friends could move away but you can keep them and keep doing a thing that you love. And this year, I spent my last college spring break with Noor and Kiersten in North Carolina: I honestly don't know if that would have ever happened without this blog.

When I applied to college, I wrote about my love of books for a lot of my essays. I've had people visit my apartment and ask about the stacks of BEA books. These past four years have been a whirlwind of very different books than what you've seen me review here. In college, just like Noor, I got really interested in short essays -- these essays I could read in a short amount of time. Gone were the days where I could sit and read a whole book in one fell swoop.

My literature degree took up most of my reading time: while I still love YA, I wanted (and for the sake of my GPA, needed) to put a lot of work into my assigned readings. My writing style has changed too -- I look back at my savage Simon Cowell-esque reviews of books and understand now more than before how authors pour so much of themselves into the books they write. While my taste is not much different and I stand by my negative reviews, I think I would review with a little more tact nowadays.

Honestly, as corny as this is, I'm grateful for this blog. I'm grateful that I still have my friends, I'm grateful for BEA books, and I'm grateful that I can track how I've appreciated or critiqued writing over the years. Thanks for reading this and any of my other reviews or contributions -- grateful for you, too. Happy Blogiversary!

Kiersten's Thoughts

Amrutha and Noor talked about how the blog has affected them, but I'm going to give a little more background as to how the blog even formed. Way back in 2013 when me, Noor, and Marlon were seniors in high school and Amrutha was a junior who happened to be in my AP Lang class because they decided that they'd let juniors do that suddenly (still bitter), the four of us ended up sitting at the same lunch table sometimes. I'd known Marlon fairly well for several years - we both took the same bus to school and always sat together in very front of the bus like the nerds we are. As for the other two, I don't even really remember how we became friends and I'm shocked we still talk to each other.

But this happenstance friendship evolved when we all decided to go to BookExpo America as Power Readers that year. I had somehow come across an ad for BEA on Facebook or something (thanks, big data), and I brought up the subject with at least one of the others. It became all of us going and of course I had to make a PowerPoint to make sure everyone knew what to do - although despite a very clear slide deck, Noor failed to remember to eat and drink water the whole day and almost passed out on the sidewalk when we were leaving. Hence a continued evolution of PowerPoints (see some favorite slides here).

But the thing that had us in total awe when we went to BEA was the concept of ARCs and reading and reviewing books as something that we could do and that's kind of cool??? So being the Cassandra Clare stans that we were (are?), we based our blog on The Infernal Devices quote: "We live and breathe words," changing "words" to "books" for Reasons (read: that url was already taken and we're not that original ok, like just deciding on this change was very difficult for us).

From our original blog design (a Blogger preset of orange stripes that was honestly kind of ugly in retrospect and I don't know why we ever chose it), to the pink and green floral design, to the new Sloth-tastic design (coming soon), We Live and Breathe Books has been through A Lot of things. Since the blog was founded on May 18th, 2013, I've graduated from high school, graduated from Syracuse University with a BFA in Theater Design and Technology, and graduated from North Carolina State University with a MS in Analytics. Certainly a lot of things can happen in five years, and it has been very exciting to go through it all with my WLABBers by my side. While I barely talk to anyone from high school anymore, being a part of "WLABB's Angels" has created a (possibly) lifelong bond with the two losers above. TBH they're trash at meeting deadlines but they're my trash.

So many thanks to everyone who reads the blog and to Sam (aka my mom) for taking over WLABB and keeping it alive while I take 6 months to read one book (#WLABBIsARealBlog). To another year of WLABB and many more informational PowerPoints for things that should not require explanation.

Giveaway!

No celebration is complete without a giveaway - after all, you can't spell Blogiversary without give! We are giving away a book of choice (up to $20 USD) from Book Depository.

All you have to do to enter is fill out the Rafflecopter below. This giveaway is open internationally, as long as Book Depository ships to you, and is open through June 7th. You must be 13 or older to enter or have a parent enter for you. The winner will be selected shortly after and will have 48 hours to respond before a winner is selected.

Good luck, and thanks again for supporting WLABB!!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

What's your favorite kind of cake? 
Let us know in the comments!

67 comments:

  1. Hi! and happy blogoversary! I'm new to your blog, but I started mine only a few months before WLABB was born. The only catch is, I was, well, A BIT older than you. (Eh. QUITE a bit). Five years are a great milestone - so many bloggers have thrown the towel in the meantime. Here's to many more years of posting! And thank you for the givvy!

    I don't have a sweet tooth...more of a salty (and spicy) one...but if you can make me a cake WELL CHARGED with dark chocolate, I promise to eat it 😉. Just for the sake of your celebration haha.

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    1. I tend towards salty too, but I love a homemade cake.

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  2. Happy anniversary! I enjoy your blog thoroughly and look forward to doing so heaps more!

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    1. Thank you! We appreciate all your support. 😘

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  3. Happy blogoversary!! 5 years is such an accomplishment!

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    1. Thank you. It's fun being part of it.

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  4. Happy blogiversary! Keeping anything going for 5 years is a major accomplishment. It was interesting to hear how your reading and reviewing his changed and how the blog was created.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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    1. I was shocked that it's been that long, because I may not have been part of the blog since the beginning, but I was the one who drove them everywhere. Just call me mom's taxi.

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  5. Happy 5th! I never noticed "give" inside blogiversary before, and I love word play so you once again made me smile. I enjoy your blog, honest reviews, and interaction on social media. Thanks for sharing all things bookish with us!

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    1. Thank you! I actually gave Kiersten a special thank you for that, because she knows I love corny stuff like that.

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  6. Happy Blogiversary!!!! That's awesome!!! My one year blogiversary is in July. EEK!!! Congrats <3

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    1. Thanks! Now we have something to celebrate in July.

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  7. Happy Blogiversary!! Reading about how the blog started and how things have changed for you during these 5 (five!!!) years was super interesting. I relate to that story about choosing a blog name, I'm going through that atm.

    I don't really like cake? or at least it isn't my favorite, maybe because I haven't eaten a lot of it? but CHOCOLATE, always chocolate. Lots of it.

    And thank you so much for the chance!!

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    1. I love all cake, so chocolate falls into that group. XD

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  8. Happy Blogoversary! I’m glad you all came together over your love of books!

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    1. Thank you! Books, bringing people together. =)

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  9. Congrats on five years. It is amazing how much your lives have changed in the last five years. I am going on eight years now for mine, and I can’t believe how much things have changed. Here is to many more.

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    1. 8 years, wow! That's incredible. #goals.

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  10. Happy Blogiversary!! 5 years is amazing!! I hope you have many more happy blogging years to come!

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    1. Back to cake...I particularly LOVE Great American Cookie Co. cookie cake!! It's the BEST! So sweet and moist! The frosting is just to die for!! It's my absolute favorite!

      Cake-cake wise, I'm boring...I enjoy white cake with white frosting! Super sweet and yum!! Especially from Sam's Club!! they have the best frosting!

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    2. Cookie cakes are fabulous, but I am all about cake-cake. I have had that Sam's club sheet cake, and it's quite tasty.

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  11. Happy Blogiversary! Congratulations on 5 years! May your guys love of books never diminish! ♡

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    1. Thank you! I am looking forward to many more posts.

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  12. Congratulations on 5 years! That's such a great accomplishment!

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  13. Happy Blogiversary!!! Such a great accomplishment. I can only imagine how much time it takes to run a blog. I'm thrilled for you and hope you have many more years ahead. Congrats!

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    1. It's a lot of work, but I get a lot out of it too.

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  14. Congrats on making it 5 years you guys! :)

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  15. Happy 5th anniversary!!! So happy for you- and can't wait to see the new sloth design. :)

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    1. Me either. I can't wait for the sloth-tastic debut!

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  16. Dang! 5 years?! That's awesome! CONGRATS <3

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    1. Thank you! It's been a fun filled time.

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  17. 5 years is a wonderful accomplishment! Wishing you many, many more! <3

    L @ Do You Dog-ear?

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    1. Thank you! I hope we have more years in WLABB too.

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  18. Congratulations on 5 years, that is seriously amazing!

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    1. I know my daughter was surprised when I told her. I thought we should celebrate.

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  19. HOW are you not on my birthday/blogoversary list?! I am seriously disturbed and I demand that you go fill out my form on my Sunday Post now so that I don't miss you ever again. (Okay, I don't actually demand it, but I was honestly distressed that I'd missed your big day!) :-)

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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    1. I have to go check out that form. =)

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  20. Wooo! Happy fifth blogiversary! That's amazing!

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    1. Who knew we would still be here after 5 years?

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  21. Happy Blogiversary! Five years is such an impressive milestone!

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    1. I was impressed, and amazed to see these kids are now adults.

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  22. Yay!! Five years is such a huge accomplishment! Your blog is so beautiful and it is one of my favourite places for both reviews and fun posts. Congrats, ladies! :)

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    1. Thank you so much! And right back at you.

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  23. Congratulations! Happy 5 years! I could only imagine how much has changed in 5 years!

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    1. All the original WLABBers are grown ups now. 😭

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  24. Happy blogoversary! My favorite cake is wedding cake with sweet, rich buttercream frosting.

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  25. Happy Blogoversary, y'all! Five years is so impressive. Ahhh, it's so hard to pick a favorite cake! My grandma's homemade poundcake is probably my all-time favorite, but I also love yellow cake. And red velvet cake, because I am a Good Southern Woman(TM).

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    1. Any grandma cake is wonderful, because it's made with love. ❤️
      Mmmmm, red velvet is delicious too.

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  26. Happy blogiversary! Five years is incredible. I thoroughly enjoy following the blog and wish you many more amazing blogging years!

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    1. Thank you, thank you! We appreciate your support.

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  27. Cheesecake please! Congratulations on your 5 year blogiversary! That's a long time to be blogging for D:

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    1. I am so weird about cheesecake. I don't like the ones that are too dense, and I like the sweet pastry bottom.

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  28. Happy Blogoversary (my bad on being late to say that). Five years is an impressive amount of time to be blogging and I am thoroughly impressed. I'm stealing this idea if I manage to make it to five years. I totally want to look back to the start of my blog at some point. It's crazy seeing how much life can change in that time.

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    1. I have not been blogger with these gals the whole time, but I was around, driving them places, and I love that their blog is still here after so many years.

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  29. Happy Blogoversary!! I really like your new design!! I'm so glad I found this blog. Sam is one of the small group of bloggers that I can count on for Contemporary recs!

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    1. Awww, shucks, Michelle. Thank you!

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