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Cornflower book group

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I can certainly understand the need to change things up from what I imagine (being blogless myself) is the tremendous amount of work that goes into blogging on a regular basis. That said, I don't actually access other kinds of social media (e.g. IG, FB, Twits of the world--like the P-E of US--arrgh). As you note, blogs are changing or simply disappearing. I do, however, enjoy your book reviews that provide a depth not available on some other platforms. However, you must do what is best for you.


I still miss the group though I wasn't the best of members as I never seemed to be reading in synch with the rest of you. But I often caught up months later and still appreciated all the comments. I do see that it must have been a lot of work for you but I'd be thrilled if you ever revived it. Maybe it could be quarterly instead of monthly? I agree with the Mary above - I might look at Instagram but I don't engage with it. Am I being a dinosaur to prefer the old blogging community?
Now I'm intrigued by your reading around 'obscure interests' ... bet there's some of us out here who would be interested!
Whatever your decision for the future, Karen - many, many thanks for so many fine years of blogging and for so many wonderful recommendations. You enhanced the reading lives of so many people.


Ads, false news, emoticons, 13,356 likes, read all 229 comments (many meaningless!), abbreviations galore, imposed layouts - I find much other social media shallow and clunky and very irritating!

Long live blogging, especially blogs like yours Karen. Good writing and a sense of intimacy and genuine connection that I don't get from other platforms. There is more of a feeling too that it is the author of a blog is in charge of how it looks and what it says. I like that.

A very interesting post (as ever!) on a very interesting topic.

Alice C

Hello Karen - Thank you for your support for my blog and your friendship. Instagram may be easy but it is transient so that the time you invest there has a poor return whereas your blog is a record of a life lived. If you start from the premise that the most enjoyable blogs are the ones that the writer enjoys writing then you can make positive decisions about content. If a book club is no longer something that 'sparks joy' don't do it.

I think that predictions of the demise of blogs reflect more about the writers than the actuality. Unfortunately commenting is almost impossible on a smart phone or tablet and this has reduced engagement (I do wish that there was a 'like' button so that you could show appreciation without having to comment) but there is still a community of writers and readers and it is fun to be part of it.

One thing that makes a huge difference to that community is a blogroll so that your readers can sample other blogs. I never understood why some popular blogs removed them when it was an easy way to support other writers.


Thank you Karen for your long and considered reply to my question. I'm making this short - your post came up on Facebook, where I answered but I looked away, perhaps inadvertently touched something on my iPad, and your post and my uncompleted reply had gone.
I'll just say thankyou for your response, I do understand how you feel. I think I may have been one who didn't comment as often as perhaps I could have, but I did enjoy reading the books and the comments.
By the way, I too have noticed that Instagram seems to be taking over blogging - some posts are as long as blog posts and a lot of people seem to have given up blogging. Well, that's progress I suppose, and I have to admit that Instagram is easier to use.


I do love reading your blog, and find it other corresponds with my own thought. I understand how much time it must take. I can only say, please keep going there aren't many people who relish the peace and pleasure of musings.

Spade & Dagger

Personally, I find the most interesting blogs the ones where the
respondents often reply to each other as well as to the blogger. I think this creates a greater sense of 'Community', but relies on sufficient participants willing to put in a bit of effort. I suppose all those other forms of social media are so much more immediate & less demanding on time.

I used to participate in online newspaper blogs, but there seems to be the opposite problem where so many people now contribute (sometimes very superficially) that it is impossible to keep up with the literally 100's of comments to scan the interesting information & discussion.

Sadly I've noticed a number of blogs dwindling of late, which is probably a form of 'natural' progression as different forms of communication become generally more popular.

Frozen Pond

I don't comment very often, mainly as I feel I am usually snatching time to read the blogs and if I start commenting even more time will be eaten up! However that also means that you are not getting my response to your hard work. I like reading blogs, I like the depth and length of posts... And the short ones too...and while I occasionally look at Instagram I don't have any interest in it and am unlikely to switch to that. I have enjoyed your blog for a few years ... Both of them...and have read many books you have recommended and knit patterns you have shown, so I do appreciate it. I often had good intentions about the book club but never managed to fit the reading in at the right time, though I have read the comments later. It does seem to be a lot of work and if it is not inspiring you then it shouldn't be an obligation. Finally, I do hope you will keep writing and recommending things you like to read, or knit, or grow, and talk about what ever topic you feel like, and I will try to comment more!

Ginny (USA)

From America:

I have very much enjoyed your blogs -- both this one and the portion about knitting and other subjects -- however I don't often comment on blogs unless I can add helpful information, provide context, or add other suggestions for books to read, etc.

As an elderly Luddite I simply do not do any of the social media stuff so no instagram, flippagrams, FaceBook, and definitely no Twitter (we're being Twittered to death over here by the incoming president elect (a horrible election, the worst president possibly ever)and his absurd narcissistic blather.

I hope that social media is not the way of the future but fear that it is. Will our kids and/or grand kids be able to compose even a simple note?

I wouldn't be likely to read "along with all of you" in a book club but I value your comments and opinions.

Dark Puss

You have made absolutely the right decision in my opinion! Many thanks for getting me to read a large number of books (including Jayne Eyre) that I might not have thought to do so withou the CBG. Your spikey friend Peter xx


I agree with you about the changes in the blogging world. I've been blogging for six years now & I'm starting to rethink what I do. I don't use Instagram but it's interesting to hear that it's being used as more than a place to post photos (which is what I thought it was). I think it's true that the smaller devices make it more difficult to comment. I find it hard enough to comment on my iPad, I've never even attempted it on the iPhone! Typing a short text is enough for me to cope with. My blog started as a reading diary & I've been pleased & surprised at the number of people who read & comment on my posts. Interestingly, since I moved to Wordpress a couple of months ago, my stats have dropped but I think people googling for a book I've mentioned are still being pointed to the old site & the stats were never the reason for blogging anyway. Blogging does take up a considerable amount of time though so I think you should do whatever suits you. More reading & less blogging is a perfectly reasonable option.


Hello Karen, I am rubbish at getting round to commenting. And I understand both the jaded feeling about one's reading driven by deadlines and the talking in an empty room feeling sometimes with a blog. However, I think comments are a poor way of assessing one's blogging worth. People feel the need to say something new or intelligent when commenting on a blog but it is so easy to make a throw away comment on instagram.

For me, yours was the first blog I read and it remains the only one I read every word of, though I rarely join in. Just because I love your blog however is no reason for you to do it! I am very bad at posting myself - the business of selling books gets in the way - and in the end you have to do what is right for your reading brain. Don't give yourself reader's block trying to keep going. What you've built here will remain and new readers will find your posts even if you never post again. One day, in 2117 maybe, it will probably be published with an academic intro and notes and studied in uni course on the influence of book blogging on the reading public in the early 21st century!

Thank you for all your work on this, my favourite literary magazine, I hope you find the best way forward for you.

Dark Puss

Dear Juxtabook, I thoroughly agree with your thoughtful comments! I have read this (and the original) weblog from its inceptin and for me too it remains one of the very few that I read all of. Probably I comment a little too much sometimes for Conflower's peace of mind (especially if I disagree with what she has said) :-)

Alison Collins

I do miss the book group but like you pointed out although I read a large proportion of the books I did not always comment on the discussion day. I always loved it when you suggested a book I had not heard about...maybe just a book of the month recommendation (and not always a newly publish book) might the way to go with maybe just a paragraph or so to tantalize the interest.
Any how what ever hapens thank you so much for such a great bookish time.
Take care,
Alison x


Hello Dark Puss! I think, as a blogger, that all comments (that are polite) are welcome just to get rid of that "talking to yourself" feeling!


love the blog and meandering is just fine. Please carry on the good work?


I love your blog and think having a book group quarterly is a great idea. You must do what us best for you. I am totally clueless about social media so would miss your blog immensely. I have enjoyed many of your recommendations so thank you for all the work you have put into this over the years.

Barbara MacLeod

Just passing through ... Happy New Year from snowy Glasgow! BJM


I enjoyed the book group as I have enjoyed your posts for several years, and both exposed me to some books I wouldn't have read otherwise as well as inspiring re-reads of some I'd already read. As far as "social media" goes/go, as a teacher I am often forced to be on my laptop (Google classroom, grading, etc.), and as a human being I have found my interpersonal interactions weakened by technology, so I have disciplined myself in my blog/internet interactions: Friday nights, after work, I lounge on the couch with a drink and read about 8 chosen blogs (knitting, cooking, or reading blogs, all of them). Otherwise, I limit my time.

Cornflower and Cornflowerbooks are #1 and #2 on my weekly read!


I'm interested in your experience of instagram... hmm. Sorry I don't visit and comment as often as I'd like to. Shiny New Books has taken a lot of my browsing time. Also, I'm finding that fewer people have time to comment in general these days, so getting likes on other media lets you know that people are still reading your content, even if not directly via the blog.

(By the way, thank you so much for including me in your blogroll. When you have a minute could you update the link to simply say 'AnnaBookBel' - thank you!)


Sorry, I do pop in often but don't comment. You have your own intelligent voice and I enjoy your writing on books, knitting, cooking etc. I've even managed to knit a couple of your recommendations. I used to read more blogs but now only four or five, I think the best will survive if their authors choose to continue writing. Whatever you choose to do thank you for the effort you've put in over the years. You're certainly one of the best (some other blogs do ramble on!).


I also understand completely. I discovered your blog at a dark time in my life and your blog is one of the few blogs that I continue to read and I don't always comment either. I have enjoyed the book club and your recommendations too, my tbr list has grown considerably. Thank you for all of your hard work maintaining the site. I hope that I will be able to continue reading your thoughts and book recommendations..

Fran H-B

I think I came late to the world of blogs, but yours was one of the first I found and has remained along with a few others. I love your mix, your links have led me to some great books and other items I may not have found otherwise. In the past few years the Internet world has changed rapidly, so much done with smart phones etc. But how I love my non work mornings when I spend an hour or so in blogland catching up, following links etc. A slower pace than that of the newer social media which now is everywhere, and one I relish. Since finding blogs I have made several good friends, meeting them in the real world as we got on so well in cyberspace.
Recently I discovered Booktubers, and watched a few for a few weeks but quickly felt it all too immediate, rushed, and, for want of another way to describe it rather self obsessed.
I can understand it must be disheartening when comments are down, especially when you have put in much hard work yet I hope blogs continue for those of us who prefer not to live life at a frantic pace, constantly checking our phones and updating our status.


Always love your blog Karen, I don't usually participate online reading groups as I have enough trouble keeping up with the reading for my real-life one, but I'm a regular reader of the blog and have been for many years!

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