The Bibliotaphe Closet Turns One! My First Bloggoversary!

first bloggoversary avatar

The Bibliotaphe Closet Turns One!

My First Bloggoversary!


By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis

When I first started this blog on this very day last year, I didn’t even know what a blog button or widget was. I tinkered around with WordPress until I finally figured out how to post something online, much less customize blog headers or insert video!

But along the way there were people who encouraged me and propelled me forward in this blogging-Twitter-verse that I otherwise would not have known or stayed with for this long if it wasn’t for their interest and faith in my work:

Lindsey, from Random House of Canada who opened up the world of blogging and bloggers to me by extending a special invitation to The Random House of Canada’s Blog Fest in February in Toronto even though I had only been blogging for a few months. Her continual, gracious yes to my title requests have privileged me with continual access to some of the best books published in the world!

random house cda

Trish, from House of Anansi who enthusiastically enjoyed one of my reviews and offered me ARCs from House of Anansi’s A-list for review.

anansi badge

Corey, from Goose Lane Editions who remains a great entertainer on Twitter with his hilarious, dark sense of humour and for providing me with access to Goose Lane’s great publications in exchange for reviews.

goose lane editions button

Emily, from Constable & Robinson who even though she and her publishing house resides all the way in the U.K., takes the time to actively send me invitations to review books and even sent me a lovely catalogue of upcoming releases to choose from! Because of Emily’s generous yes to my book requests, I am privileged to review books from Constable & Robinson until June 2013!



And because it’s my “first” bloggoversary, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at my first year of blogging and celebrate The Bibliotaphe Closet’s  number of “firsts” and other fun stats:

First book reviewed and posted on The Bibliotaphe Closet:

Memories of My Melancholy Whores by Gabriel Garcia-Marquez

First publisher to agree to send me a book or ARC for review:

Random House of Canada

First WordPress blog follower:

dazjames from Camp Fire Confessionals

First blog follower by email:

Esly Alvarez

First personal interview posted on another blog:

 That Hapa Chick

First giveaway hosted by The Bibliotaphe Closet:

Black History Month: February 22-March 2

First Blog Event:

Bloggiesta Ole

First Readathon:

Dewey’s Readathon

First author to respond to one of my reviews:

Eugenia Kim, author of The Calligrapher’s Daughter

First Blog Button:

biblio closet - geisha yellow grunge


First signature image:



First signature badge:

signature badge with cherry red


Top ranking views by country (since February 25, 2012):

1. United States -34, 205 views

2. Canada – 8,921 views

3. United Kingdom – 4,900 views

4. Philippines – 4,587 views

Top ranking commenters:

1. Laurie C. (@Bay State Reader’s Advisory)

2. Perogyo (@ Perogies & Gyoza)

3. Alyce (@ Home with Books)

4. Christine H. (@The Book Trunk)

Views on my busiest day:

1,038 views on August 22, 2012

Post topic: Book Review: Red House by Mark Haddon

Highest ranking words by word search:

“cherry blossom tree” – 2,616 views

Highest ranking posts by views:

1. Writing Wednesdays: Why Write? – 280 views

2. Asian Heritage Month Blog Event: Japanese Samurai – 176 views



Highlights of my year as a blogger:

1. Receiving my very first SIGNED book for review, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern from Random House of Canada.

night circus signed copy

2.  Attending The Random House of Canada Blog Fest event.

3. Meeting authors Erin Morgenstern, Ami McKay, and former V-jay, Erica Ehm, in person at the RHC Blog Fest.

RH special guests

4. Chatting live with author Esi Edugyan on CBC about her Giller Prize winning novel, Half-Blood Blues.

5. Chatting live with author John Vaillant on CBC about his Canada Reads nominated book, The Tiger.

6. Winning a limited edition signed copy of 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami as a winner of the Haruki Murakami contest based on a poem that I wrote in his honour.

Haruki Murakami's signature!
Haruki Murakami’s signature!

7. Learning HTML, video embedding for the first time, and other blogging tips through my participation in the Bloggiesta Ole blog event.

8. Participating in a month-long post event for Asian Heritage Month.

9. Attending my first Word on the Street Festival event in Toronto.

WOTS volunteer t-shirt

10. Running into my former professor, Susan Swan, author of The Western Light at WOTS.

Me with Susan. Ah, the nostalgia!
Me with Susan. Ah, the nostalgia!

11. Catching a glimpse of Vincent Lam, author and Giller Prize winner of the book, Bloodletting and Other Miraculous Cures at WOTS signing his latest release, The Headmaster’s Wager.

Vincent Lam signing SOMEONE ELSE'S book! I really should have brought my copy!
Vincent Lam signing THE HEADMAStER’S WAGER

12. The great fellowship and concern I received from the blogging and Twitter community when my account was attacked by a virus. Thanks to all my faithful followers who didn’t give up on me even when they received annoying SPAM on account of it.

13. Wondering how I’d ever get at least 50 followers on Twitter and then eventually see my followers grow from a humble 15 followers to a whopping 800+ to-date.

Twitter Bird...tweet, tweet, tweet!
Twitter Bird…tweet, tweet, tweet!

14. The laughs and collegial relationships I was able to build through my blog and other social networks like Twitter and Facebook. A special thanks to those who were there for me from the beginning of my blogging and tweeting career:

  • Rae Anne Reyes
  • Simon M. Brockbank
  • Vikram (@vikramroy87)
  • Clay Held
  • Kristine Ong Muslim
  • Nancy Cudis
  • Lindsay Gentles
  • Chelsea Phlean-Tran
  • “Bookosaur” (@Bookosaur)
  • “Perogyo” (@perogies_gyoza)
  • The “quirky person” behind the tweets at Quirk Books

15. And of course, a continual highlight of my blogging year was and will always be whenever I receive a book package in the mail!

canada post mailman


Few of my favourite posts:

Few of my favourite books and reviews:

Few of my controversial posts:

Total number of posts to-date:

360 posts

Total number of views to-date:

81,310+ views

Overall emotion regarding bloggoversary:



Thanks to every publisher, author, follower, and reader of my blog who has supported me with ARCs, books, comments, and continual encouragement to blog. Your presence in the last year has kept me reading, reviewing, and blogging with a fervour I thought that couldn’t last, but has.

A special thanks to my husband, Esly, who has been my greatest supporter in all things especially my writing, my creative endeavours, (even my foolish habits), and most especially my work for The Bibliotaphe Closet:

If and when no one else believes in me, you are and always have been the most faithful and dedicated  person in my corner, listening to every rant, reading every post, comforting in every setback or failure. Thanks for being my number one cheerleader!


Hope you all come back soon. We can’t possibly celebrate my first bloggoversary without a GIVEAWAY! 


zara alexis blog signature


14 thoughts on “The Bibliotaphe Closet Turns One! My First Bloggoversary!”

  1. Congratulations on your blogoversary! What a nice overview of a very productive year! You have been a real inspiration to lazier bloggers like me. I didn’t realize you’ve only been blogging for a year, since you’re such a pro!

  2. Congratulations Zara on 1 year in the lovely world of book blogging! It’s been an absolute joy getting to work with you and I look forward to many more years of getting to work together!

    PS Thanks for the kind shout out. I’m thrilled that Random House Canada has been able to have a hand in making some of your favourite memories happen!

    1. Thanks Lindsey! It’s been a privilege to be a part of The Random House Blogging Team and an honour to see RHC continue to publish excellent works of fiction! So glad we’ve reached this milestone!

  3. Congrats on your Bloggoversary and thanks for the giveaway! I had a lot of fun reading through your reflections and checking out some of your older posts. Here’s the answer to your question:

    Sweet Jesus by Christine Pountney

    Here’s hoping you have many more years of Happy Blogging! 😀

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