Speaking with Dovegreyreader about Reading Communities

Amy reaches out to the literary tastemaker Dovegreyreader -- and gets an interesting response.

Lynne Hatwell aka Dovegreyreader

Lynne Hatwell aka Dovegreyreader

Dovegreyreader Scribbles is a blog that was started by Lynne Hatwell eleven years ago, and has since made her a giant of the literary blogosphere, possibly Britain's most influential book blogger.

I came into contact with Dovegreyreader having become slightly stuck and uninspired for research in my Introduction to Publishing class, with our group looking how people are connecting with the publishing market. We started to look more at reading communities which led us to the Dovegreyreader’s Twitterfeed and then her blog.

After class I ended up further getting in contact with Dovegreyreader via email, with her blog having captured my imagination and sparked an interest, especially as to why the blog was started and where the inspiration for her posts comes from.

The blog, she says, started as

diversion from the clinical world I worked in. I decided to create a welcoming friendly space, a happy place to visit and have tried hard to keep it that way. Inspiration comes from the books and life. I read a lot and from a varied range. I don't call book posts 'reviews' because I am subjective and emotional, it's about how a book has made me feel, what it might have reminded me of ... book as experience.


This made me think about how I view books and what I could do to alter it. Books really should be an experience and something that you can get lost in, something that can allow you to go on a journey, rather than a chore.

One of my favourite parts of Lynne’s response was this:

I feel like I unwittingly created a community …  with some loyal and very interesting readers who I feel 'know' each other, 'talk' to each other and always make new readers welcome when they post in comments.” This to me illustrates what a book community online should be and what all blogs should aim for.

Being in contact with Lynne really made me think about how I view blogs. A good deal of thought has to go into what we post, and for a book industry blog, how each individual views books differently really matters.

Dovegreyreader’s blog also provided a massive source of inspiration for my publishing research! The overall experience of reaching out to Lynne and getting a meaningful response not only illustrated how easily people in the literary world can now connect, but also opened up the world of book blogging for me personally, underlining how enjoyable and amazing it is to be part of a bigger reading community.

by Amy Hardman