Mary @ Bookfan left me the most wonderful comment on my personal blog recently. You see, she wanted to thank me for some inspiration. That just made my day, let me tell you. Back when I was a wide-eyed college gal, I pursued a degree in education with the intent to teach and inspire kids every day. I got my degree and everything. What I didn’t get was a teaching job. As Winnie the Pooh would say…oh bother. So ever since then, I have been trying to find other ways to teach and inspire – anyone.
In order to teach and inspire others, you have to educate yourself and put in some work first. In fact, learning is hard work. But it doesn’t need to feel that way. There is always a way to make things fun – or at least less annoying. Generally, the easy way to do this is to rope someone else into doing that learning and work with you. I know how hard it can be to approach a task you’ve promised to do, but lack motivation. I also know that volunteers aren’t generally lining up to do this task with you just so that you can have more fun. So sometimes I offer to buddy up with folks needing that nudge. And then I wonder what the hell I’ve gotten myself into.
Two years ago, Stacy @ Stacy’s Books thought it would be fun to let her blog readers pick the books from a photo of her shelves that she should read that year. One of the biggest vote-getters was War & Peace. Yes – that War & Peace. Gulp. Even for a Classics lover, that is an intimidating work. Feeling sorry for my friend, I offered to read it with her. I had read Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina the previous year for a Goodreads book group and felt like I could take on the Russian author again with confidence. Stacy welcomed the offer and took me up on it. We decided to also post weekly summaries of our interpretation of the book for kicks and giggles. I took a handful of characters and Stacy took another set and then we wrote about them as we read along, enticing visitors to one of our blogs to check out the other’s blog in order to get the full story each week.
It was exciting to tackle such a highbrow book. Little ole Bumble reading the Classic of all Classics! It was comforting to know that Stacy was reading the exact same words that I was at the same pace. It was fun comparing my thoughts to hers. And through our education and hard work to complete the book in a few short months, we hoped to give some inspiration and encouragement to other book loving bloggers out there reading our summary posts. We wanted to let people know what this book was really all about. And that it was enjoyable – not stuffy. That Classics were pretty cool.
Enter the aforementioned Mary. She read our cross posting project on War & Peace and when a read-along challenge was created a year later by another blogger, she decided to read War & Peace for herself. After reading a chapter a day for the past year (they are short but plentiful), she finished her quest and left me that comment to thank us for inspiring her to take it on.
But it is Mary that should be thanked. Thanked for making my day. For letting me know that something I put out there helped her take on a personal challenge and meet that goal. Stacy and I both enjoyed our time with Tolstoy. Mary said that she was “glad she read it but happy to have the experience behind me!” I hope that she’ll write a post about her own thoughts on the book. She has lots and lots of followers and you never know when something you share could inspire someone else in the future. It’s a pretty cool feeling when that happens :0)