discussions

Discussion: How the Bookish Community Has Changed My Reading and How It Wasn’t Always for the Better

Finally a discussion post.

I haven’t written a discussion post in so long, but I feel that a forced and timed discussion is worse than no discussion at all. So I was waiting for inspiration to strike, and for an idea to come to me. Today is that day. I have been thinking about this topic A LOT recently, so I am really keen on sharing my thoughts with you and seeing your perspective on it.

So basically, I have been blogging for almost a year now (yikes), but I’ve been involved in the book community for far longer. I think my involvement started back in 2014, when I discovered Goodreads, and Goodreads opened up the whole community to me. I found Booklr (or bookish Tumblr) and from there discovered Booktube. This brought a lot of changes to my reading, and the way I read and consume books. So let’s talk about the good and the bad, shall we?

The Good Stuff

1. I Read MORE

Ever since I discovered Goodreads, I have found SO MANY books that I have never even heard of before. I have found books that have easily become my favorites. My reading has expanded and from reading just the Harry Potter books and an occasional Middle Grade Fantasy here and there, I have come to reading 100 books a year, and all of them from so many different genres and from so many different authors. The book community has brought so many new books to my life and I am really grateful for it.

2. I Read DIVERSELY 

It’s not just that I read so many different genres, I make a conscious effort to read more diversely. I seek out own voices books, books about different social topics and movements, I try to read as diversely as I can. The bookish community has opened my eyes to the fact that there is representation out there, you just have to try harder to find it. And by doing so, my whole perspective on life has changed, because I am reading  about the experience of people who are different from myself, and I believe that broadens my outlook on life in general.

3. I Read CRITICALLY 

Back when I was younger, and back before I read or watched so many reviews, I just consumed books with little to no thought. Ever since I found the online book community and since I started reading more, I have become more aware of my reading. And this is probably my favorite part about this whole thing. I love that now I am able to spot different things about authors’ writing or the fact that some things don’t add up. I think more about what I am reading and I am more careful in the way I consume books.

The Bad Stuff

1. I Miss Out on Books

Nowadays, when I am getting a book, I already know a ton about it. Even if it’s just the fact that I know so many people liked it or disliked it, I always pick up books with preconceived notions about it. And I never pick up a book anymore, just because. If I am in a bookstore, I will go for the books I recognize. I am trying to rectify this and to be more open, like I was before, and just go for books, rather than just pick up stuff that’s familiar.

2. The Pressure to Like What Everyone Likes

I have talked about this before, but there’s always an imagined pressure to like something that everyone else does. I am not that influenced by a book’s popularity anymore, but it is true that I feel the pressure of liking something that is so popular, especially when it comes to books that have great representation or talk about important topics. If you’re a reviewer or your involved in the community, there’s always a healthy does of expectations you have to live up to, and it gets tiresome. And that proceeds to ruin the reading experience. For example, I’ve talked about books that hype ruined for me, but I’ve also talked about books that I want to reread that I didn’t like. So it goes both ways.

3. Reading Is a Tiny Bit Less Fun 

When you take all the previous points into consideration, the conclusion is that reading has become less fun. There’s so much to think about and there’s time crunches (when it comes to ARCs) and I rarely just have fun with books anymore. I don’t reread favorites, because I am scared I’ll ruin them for myself. I pick up books that aren’t that interesting for me, because I know people liked them. And sometimes, it works out, and I love it, and that’s why I keep doing it, but sometimes it doesn’t. And I miss the abandon with which I used to read books. But I wouldn’t go back to that. I just wish I could shut down the critical part of my brain and just read for fun (this only happens with Romances nowadays).

So those are my thoughts on the bookish community and how it has transformed my reading. I would love to hear from you, obviously. Do you agree with some of this points? What’s your experience like? How has the online book community shaped your reading? Let me know!

xxx

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30 thoughts on “Discussion: How the Bookish Community Has Changed My Reading and How It Wasn’t Always for the Better

  1. Great post! I agree with most everything on here. I too have read more and more diversely (in both topics and genres) since I started blogging, which I love! However, the finding books part is especially true. Even though I’ll have a pile of books in front of me to choose from, they’d all be books I heard on the blogosphere. I never just pick up a book by myself anymore. Which is great, because sometimes I like the blog books more, but sometimes I miss finding a book purely by myself and making sure I’m interested in it. And I always want to reread old favorites but I’m scared. What if because I’ve started to read more critically I hate it?? That would break my heart so I choose not to read them at all.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post! I do feel like there’s a lot of pressure to like certain books. With social media, it’s so easy for there to be hype about books now!! And when everyone is talking about something you feel like you should be reading it too, even if it’s something that you wouldn’t normally be interested in. Over the last few months I’ve had to be very careful of what I’m picking up. I basically ask myself if I’m picking it up because it sounds interesting to me or because everyone else seems to love it.

    And since joining the book community my reading has changed so much! I used to only read when I felt like it – now it’s a priority. I put books above TV, playing on my phone and so much more. I used to only read a book a month. Now it’s 1-2 a week!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fantastic post!! I definitely read more and more diversely since blogging. Although, still the majority is crime fic, I’m definitely being exposed to more books – I’m even reading a contemporary fiction book at the moment lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I read way less now that I’m blogging, but it seems like I’m an outlier! 😂 It’s true that I feel like I’m missing out on books – I read newer releases, and I feel like I’m abandoning all backlist titles – and that I feel pressured to read/like certain books and hate others for whatever reason (luckily, I don’t care and like and dislike what I want to lol). I’ve always read critically, but I feel like that’s because I was on Goodreads for a good few years!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I feel like it did change my reading a lot and I read a lot less random books that have a pretty cover that I find in the library. However, I don’t think that’s bad? I have discovered so many amazing books through the book community that the negative points easily fade away compared to the positive points! I have discovered so many new favourites and had the opportunity to read so many amazing books I would never have picked up before I discovered the book community!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No, I completely agree, the postive outweigh the negatives by far, it’s just a reflection on how it did change. Like I said with the last point, books aren’t just fun for me, but I would never trade that for the way I read now, more consciously and critically 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  6. All true! On the one hand I get to read books I would never have read before because the cover is not special (cover junkie pleading guilty) but my co bloggers/reviewers rave about it. So that’s a good thing. The same about a blurb being “meh” but the book being a jewel and again my friends raving about it. I’m also reading more critically and it has led me to become a beta reader for several authors. It’s a fantastic experience! Now the major “down” is being under pressure to read an ARC for the release date. Not because I’m a slow reader or because the book is bad but rather because I’m not in the mood for that kind of story at that particular moment. All in all the positive is much more important than the negative.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I loved this post! I know how you feel, sometimes reading can really feel like a chore. It sounds bad, but sometimes (especially because I post reviews and wrap-ups) I feel like I HAVE to constantly have read a specific book, and it sometimes feels like I have a deadline. I feel like before blogging I definitely re-read more books, and honestly, I just look at my bookshelves and want to cry a little bit.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I’ve definitely read more and started reading more diversley but I agree that sometimes you end up always reading books people have mentioned rather than stumbling upon books I might have read otherwise. I really want to read more independent books but seem to get sucked into the books everyone is already talking about more now.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Nice post! I do read popular books such as Harry Potter, but I was SKEPTICAL for The Cruel Prince by Holly Black because of the hype and other books that are extremely hyped make me skeptical as well and I tend to stay away from them. I DNF two highly anticipated books this week and I was sad because I was one of the people who REALLLLLLY wanted those books so I was ecstatic when I got them from the library. They just weren’t for me at all. I also didn’t really like A court of Thorns and Roses series aside from the second book.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I decided to let myself skip ahead on three books I DNF last week to see if I’d particularly cared to find out what happened before the last chapter and I didn’t. That was how I decided to finally let them go. I have a hard time of letting books go too.

        Liked by 1 person

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