Most of us read to escape into new worlds of our own. Imagine curling up in the bed with a cup of coffee and a book on a rainy day. (Scratch that, I don’t need a cup of joe if it would mean I have to stop reading while I sip the drink.) What could be better than that? Maybe sitting in a library amongst thousands of books with your nose buried in a book. Go ahead tell me what else could a book lover enjoy more?
I read comfortably in public, especially during our commute. Many of us do. Some readers put on their headset to drown the white noise, to drown the chaos around them, to focus better on their book. Few of us do not even need a headset, we zone off and turn deaf while we pick an interesting read until your mother (or someone else) pulls you back to Earth. Books and reading are our solaces, a Zen zone where nothing could go wrong or even if it did things would turn better before you reach the last page. Mostly. One way or the other.
As far as I remember I always had a book for a company when the going got any slower. Of course, there have been phases in my life when I enjoyed sharing the passion of reading with others by discussing whatever I read with them, but they have always been short-lived. I even started this blog to primarily talk about the books I read, since I couldn’t find anyone to listening to my rants. But things have changed. A lot. You ask why? Reading became social.
Don’t get me wrong. I love being online as much as do, even more than the average Jane does. But still reading is a lonely activity for me. I like to choose my books to obsess hate or write about on my own. My reading interests do not confine to any one single genre. I read about the Holocaust with as much interest as I have about boys worshiping girls. I love Stephen King and Gillian Flynn as deep as my love for Agatha Christie and Mark Twain. I even read Warran Buffet for the heck of it. You get my drift? This means I get to ‘ ‘ship’ or ‘fangirling’ over too many characters.
Of course, social reading is fun and there is always something on your plate to read. You get to meet so many like minded people who will love join your tribe to defend the character you so much. Someone who keeps you updated with the latest gossip from the book world. A book turning into a TV series? You will know it before others. Oh, and the free books that you get to review!
Yet, reading these days could be exhausting.
Once I finish reading a book, and after having the proper emotional break down the book deserves, that includes but not limited to crying, grinning, shaking your head ‘cuz you can’t even‘, scared that you would be having nightmares and even understandable relief that it ended, I update that I have finished reading the book and what I thought about it in few words on Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook and only because Google is the Lord, Google+. And then talk about it in every one of the Whatsapp, Facebook and Twitter groups that I am part of. Defend whatever my thoughts were and defend or accuse the characters’ behavior, as need be, in that book and the series. If someone doesn’t agree, of course, attack another character that the person loves and if you can, make them cry. Well, after all this is done, start the process over by writing a review and posting in all the channels mentioned above.
Well if you think that is too much, you have not heard the half of it. We just covered the process I go through for a book I read. There are books that I want to read because I do, I have to read because everyone is reading it, I want to own because they look cute and go with my shelf and even books whose cover do not match with the covers of the books I own in the series. Then I follow the authors, their new releases and the requests I have to place and that I have received from the authors for review. Well, it is too tedious even to explain anymore, I give up trying to.
One of my coolest friends was telling me he stopped updating his Goodreads profile after seeing people desperately bumping their ‘read counts’ just to show off. How did a self-satisfying hobby turn into a community driven project so soon? Do we not desire to disconnect from the world anymore? Or have ‘the books’ become the next ‘cool sport’ to bond over? Is reading still a selfish, solitary process or a shared social experience for you? Let me know in the comment section.