A Bookend to 2012

This site, in its current iteration, was born a year ago. Now, a year later, I’d like to put a bookend on 2012. I’ve come to realize that making broad announcements about where the site is heading is the best way to make sure those things never happen. It’s like making a reading list. For me, anyway, that usually means I will find dozens of books I want to read before the ones that made my list. So, no broad announcements this year. Instead a pledge to continue to plant, prune, and trim the site with the intent to make it better than it was last year.

Italo Calvino says in If on a winter’s night a traveler, “If you think about it, reading is a necessarily individual act, far more than writing.” I think that’s very true, but there are some things you can do to share your reading experience with others. I’ve seen first hand how sharing the experience of reading inspires others to read. I’ve also seen how you can take your reading experience, that isolated individual act, and make it something that can be universally appreciated by writing about it. We’ve had readers from across the world share their experiences with books here and I can not imagine a more worthwhile way to spend some of my down time.

Thank You For the Inspiration to Keep Reading, Learning, and Writing

One of the best decisions I made last year was to open the site to guest submissions. We’ve had a revolving door of great posts from readers with a variety of backgrounds.

Behind the scenes, I’ve received countless emails from folks inspired to read or finish a book despite having been unable to do so for years. Some of those born again readers have gone on to write guest posts which then inspired other guest posts. You’ve created a beautiful cycle that should, if I’m properly managing the site, come across in the content.

The other thing, that I didn’t know at the time I started the site, is that I would get a year of inspiration to keep reading, learning, and writing, myself. I am grateful to you all for that. I’ve had my best reading year, met and talked about books with wonderful people, wrote a few short stories, and wrote thousands of words of non-fiction for the site. All inspired by the feedback and interaction this site’s created. Thank you.

A Change To Guest Post Submissions

There are things that I intend to improve upon in 2013. For one, I need to find a better way to consistently handle the myriad of great guest post submissions I receive. I’ve decided to experiment with Submittable. You can find the new submission page here.

I truly hope this does not slow the stream of incredible contributions to the site. The basic rules of guest posts will be the same, but I need something other than my inbox to manage things. I appreciate your patience and hope for your continued contributions in 2013.

I’m always open to suggestions as to how to improve the site. Feel free to comment here or share your thoughts with me via email: brandon@readlearnwrite.com.

A Bookend to 2012

Now, to fulfill what I promised to give in the opening paragraph, a bookend to 2012. First, let me say that to need a bookend is a great problem to have because one has to assume you have enough books to need support if you’re looking for one. Congratulations, first, for needing one. Your year must have been filled with the highs and lows that only great books can bring.

The utilitarian side of a bookend is, of course, to act as a support system. Along those lines, my hope is that this site will continue to be a support system for your own reading goals in 2013. I know that it will continue to support mine.

The wonderful thing about a bookend, though, is that you can keep extending it out to hold even more books. As we move toward 2013 my hope is that you continue to expand upon the bookshelf of knowledge you grew in 2012. I hope you can find the room on your shelves to keep sliding in new books. I hope you find the inspiration to live an intentional, meaningful life paying attention to those things that give you the most value and then sharing your experiences with others so they can share in your good fortune.

I hope to hear from you all again in 2013.


  1. Francine Garson @francinegarson

    What an inspirational and beautifully written post, Brandon! I’m looking forward to following the always interesting posts on your site in 2013. Happy New Year to you and yours!

    1. Brandon Monk

      Thanks, Francine. Same to you.

  2. Willi Morris

    I think it’s very appropriate that the first book I have finished in ages was A Christmas Carol and I finished yesterday. Thanks for being an inspiration! Happy New Year.

    1. Brandon Monk

      I agree. It’s a timely read. Congratulations and I hope you keep the reading bug throughout 2013. Thanks for sharing your experience here.

  3. Jennifer

    Your site is such an inspiration to keep reading and learning. Thanks for all that you do to promote such GREAT things 🙂

    1. Brandon Monk

      Thank you. Very kind words. I enjoy yours, too. The internet is a beautiful thing, sometimes.

  4. Anita

    When I read “bookend,” my first thought was that you’d say this was the end of this blog. I’m glad that’s not the case.
    While I do appreciate the guest posts, I also hope you add in a bit more of your own writing.

    1. Brandon Monk

      Yikes. Sorry I gave that impression. Thanks for your wish that it continue on. The site’s not going anywhere.

      I do need to do a better job of writing more consistently here and I appreciate you saying that. That sounds like a great personal resolution, but like I mentioned, I have to be careful with those because as soon as I announce it, it’s sure to not happen. Let’s just say that your comment is one I take to heart.

      Thank you for all the feedback throughout the year and I hope you keep reading in 2013.

  5. Amarie Fox

    As I have told you many times before: I appreciate all of the hard work you do, specifically in running this site. It is something that I hold very dear to my heart.

    In a time when many people are living in one giant chaotic distraction of technology, RLW is a place of solace and inspiration – of getting back to the root of things, back toward an act (and I don’t say pastime, because I don’t consider reading, writing, or learning a pastime) that has been forgotten or overlooked.

    I am anxiously looking forward to all the advancement in 2013. Toward all the new ideas and inspiration that will surely pop up right here, on this very blog.

    Cheers and Happy New Year, Brandon.

    1. Brandon Monk

      Thanks Amarie, Happy New Year to you too and thank you for the kind words.

  6. Andrew Blackman

    Hi Brandon
    Nice way to end 2012, and a bookend is a very appropriate metaphor. The site has come a long way in 2012, at least since I discovered it in about February or March, and I can’t wait to see what you bring our way in 2013!
    All the best

    1. Brandon Monk

      Thanks Andrew. Happy New Year. I look forward to reading “A Virtual Love” in 2013.

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