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!
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