Armchair BEA! Keeping It Real, and Children’s / YA

Good morning peoples of the internet!

This is the second-to-last day of Armchair BEA! And let’s face it, I’m surprised that I’ve been able to participate as much as I have, since I’ve been training a (really weird) temp this week and hence couldn’t go online during work.

Topics for today include Keeping It Real, Fresh, & Fun, and Children’s / YA Literature. Let’s jump on in then, shall we?

keep it real homies


Keeping It Real, Fresh, & Fun

So I guess the question here is how do you keep your blog from getting boring, both to yourself and to your readers?

Honestly, the best thing you can do to keep it “real” and to keep your blog fresh and lively is to include things about yourself – whether personal anecdotes are included in your reviews, or you do regular personal posts, or any blend of the two. I started doing my “Sarah Sunday” feature because I realized that I really liked seeing non-bookish, personal posts from other bloggers that I follow. Of course we are all here because we like to talk about books, but including a bit about yourself helps your blog readers to get to know you – it can leads to more discussions in comments, more blogging friendships, and your followers are more likely to remember you and to keep following you. I feel bad, but I have trouble remembering bloggers who only post book reviews and nothing about themselves – I still follow them in my reader and occassionally comment on their posts, but I have trouble putting a personality or face to those blogs. Giving your readers a bit of info about yourself here and there goes a long way in bonding with them.

Now, as for keeping it “real”, there’s not much I hold back from my readers – my regular followers know about my grandma dying last year, drama and the situation with my dad, how much I fawn over my kitty, Gabby, etc. My day-to-day life isn’t very eventful – it’s mostly working, running errands, and spending time with the honeyman. So while I find it easy to share my weekly updates with my readers, I feel like I need to get better at sharing particular random stories – because honestly, weird stuff happens and I laugh a lot, but sometimes that part of my personality doesn’t really show through. I don’t think I’m as funny online as I am in real life (wow, that sounds like I think I’m hilarious… get over yourself, Sarah), and I want to try to work on letting the funny, sometimes mean, side of me come out a bit more. I’m better at this on Twitter, honestly. (See my recent tweets about training the new temp – oy.)

ONE LAST THING and then I’ll stop rambling – in terms of keeping it fresh, I am going to be making a few changes on my blog this month. As I mentioned earlier in the week, I’m going to make the switch to self-hosting, and while I’m at it I’ll probably pester my sister to help me come up with a new blog design or something. I’m excited that I’ll have access to all the perks that users have, in terms of being able to use plug-ins, widgets, and such. Hopefully this will all lead to my blog looking nicer and running smoother, and I’ll be sure to update you all as I go along.

Children’s Lit

I don’t read children’s books a lot, seeing as how I have no children. I do occassionally find a book or a kid’s series that I want to read because I feel like I really need to, and because sometimes kid’s books are like brain candy – nice and fluffy and almost always a happy ending.

My nephew Josh is 8 and he reads small chapter books now, which is so exciting – I was able to buy him The Sideways Stories From Wayside School for Christmas, which is one of my favorites from childhood. My niece Emma is 5 and she’s still into picture books, and it’s fun book shopping for her because she likes basically anything with a pink cover – Fancy Nancy and Pinkalicious are her JAM. My nephew Jariel is not quite 2 yet, so while I have fun getting him board books and the occassional awesome Dr. Seuss, he’s way more into eating the books than reading them. And yes, I am that awful aunt who buys her niece and nephews books for Christmas and their birthdays, and if they’re lucky they might get clothes or a small toy on the side. But mostly it’s books. (Whatever, I would have LOVED that as a kid. Books and bookstore gift cards are still what I get most excited about.)

And now, for some of my favorite books that can be found over in the kid’s section (not counting Harry Potter, because DUH):

  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr.
  • George’s Secret Key to the Universe by Lucy & Stephen Hawking
  • Alllll the Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  •  Wayside School series by Louis Sachar
  • The Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler Warner
  • The Baby-Sitters Club series by Ann M. Martin

AND, some children’s books that I never read but are currently on my TBR:

  • A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
  • The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
  • Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
  • The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger


So, what are your tips and secrets for keeping things on your blog real and lively?

What are some of your favorite kid’s books?




  1. You guys are inspiring me to get a bit more personal with my blog. I’ll be honest though, I don’t know where to start! I’m going to be thinking about this. If you have any tips I’d love to hear them!


    1. Yay! My tip is to just jump on in. Start talking about your week or anything you’ve been up to lately, maybe with a short “so I’m gonna start doing this now” intro at the beginning. I hope you do it and have fun!


  2. I also love it when book bloggers bring in personal tidbits. I like your Sarah Sunday and just as you, discovered I like those weekly posts from bloggers when they talk about their week through a more personal lens. So, and totally coincidentally, I also decided this morning that I shall start doing something similar in near future. (Though I probably am already quite personal with the cat-photos and the snippets.) Twitter is also a great tool for seeing people behind the blogs.

    As for children’s lit, I used to read a lot as a kid (way more than I do now for sure) and I had shelves full of the books I read over and over. I am also thinking of starting a series of posts on that, but I am not sure yet. A lot that I read as a kid is probably completely alien to this book blogging circle I am in right now, because I read little to none English-language (or translated from) books 🙂 One pro for having kids though would be the possbility to read cool children’s books with them 🙂


    1. I think it’ll be great for you to start doing a personal post!

      I think featuring those kid’s books from your childhood would be a cool idea! At the very least, it’s a great Top Ten Tuesday freebie idea.


  3. I love your Sarah Sunday posts! And you’re right, it’s more interesting to read a blog when you know a little more about the blogger behind it!
    I really enjoyed The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (totally copy-pasted the title from your post, because seriously, that is a monstrous title!) when I read it! I still need to read the sequel though…


    1. I’m a bit blunt too, which I worry comes across as plain old bitchy on a computer, lol. So sometimes I find myself trying to sound “nicer”. I really have to try to restrain myself and just be as blunt/silly/sarcastic as I want to be!


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