Like it or not, reading is social now

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.


elgeewrites Like it or not, reading is social now Reading%2BAlone1
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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!


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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.


elgeewrites Like it or not, reading is social now Reading%2BSocial%2B1
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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.


  1. Divya

    I think I have never been much of a social reader. Or Maybe now that I think of it, I once was. I was always the “reader” in my group and folks around me would get irritated if I start discussing books. So I stopped. Reading was my personal intimate space that I didn’t share with anyone else

  2. Nicole Hewitt

    I love talking about books with other people, but I pretty much only put my opinions on my blog and Goodreads (and then the reviews get automatically tweeted and posted to FB). I just don't have the time or mental energy to engage in a million different places. I don't have long, drawn-out conversations or arguments about books on social media, but I will sometimes talk about something I loved!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  3. Carol Cassara

    I don't think we have to share everything. I don't often recommend books but I do to friends who I know will appreciate it, but other than that, it's rare that I share it on social media. It's still my own escape, especially when I'm stressed out.

  4. Glenda K, Fashion Phases

    I keep telling myself I need to make time to get back to reading. It is just too hard to fit in my very busiy schedule right now.

  5. Stephanie

    I love to read, and if I find others who have read the same books or similar genres, I will discuss books. Otherwise, I don't get very social with my reading. Everyone who knows me knows my love of Harry Potter, but that's about it.

  6. Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight

    I LOVE that reading has become social! It was always such a lonesome thing before (aside from middle school when I actually did have lots of friends who read), so I love that now I'm able to discuss books and share my thoughts. Of course sometimes there are personal thoughts, but I don't have to share anything I don't want to, I can still just keep those to myself and contemplate them on my own. I guess I'm not bothered by the stuff you mentioned since I don't worry about posting on every social media (I pretty much just use GR, Twitter, and my blog for bookish stuff), and I don't worry about people who are just using GR to be popular or whatever. I just post my own thoughts, I interact with my online friends, I look at the things I'm interested in, and I do what makes me happy 🙂

  7. Lynn White

    I'm online for work all of time. I keep saying I'm going to get back to reading regularly, but I just haven't made the time.

  8. Megan | Ginger Mom & the Kindle Quest

    I think I fall in the middle. I love fangirling and telling people about the books I am reading. I browse Bookstagram looking for new books to read. But I don't devour books to increase my count. That is just counterproductive. Great post!


    Oh my word how I can relate. When I open my book, nothing else gets my attention. And I usually don't put it down until I am done, literally on a great stay in bed kinda day, I will read from back to front before I go to sleep again

  10. Gayathri Lakshminarayanan

    I so agree. I don't get drawn to books that everyone keeps raving about mostly and I tend to start a book out of nowhere w/o even reading reviews.

  11. Vanessa

    It's a powerful post. I tried goodreads and book clubs, but i realise i'm more of a I read a book because I'm drawn to it (could be the summary or the cover, or just the genre, a bit a romance is cool sometimes 😉 and I like to keep my own schedule when i read (except for uni, but that's a different story)

  12. Cyn Salgado

    I agree that reading is a lonely activity. I do not share what I read, with anybody. Unless you are my friend and come to my house, you won't know what kind of how many books I own. People like to show off about everything these days.

  13. Andrea Marshall

    I think it depends on the book for me. Some books I want to keep to myself. Think over. Let it stir up something inside my heart. Others I can't wait to share. 🙂

  14. Amy Douglas

    Ha, you are so right. I never paused long enough to consider that this is not how it used to be. It is a very social activity these days.

  15. Unknown

    I have a really hard time reading in public settings, I always get distracted. I'd much rather read in the comfort of my bed!

  16. DJ Sakata

    Interesting thoughts, I tend to stay in my little bubble and read and don't pay any attention to what others are doing on Goodreads, I heavily rely on Goodreads to keep track of my library, so it would not be to my benefit to pad my count, but stupid and crazy is everywhere…

  17. Unknown

    I have also always been a book nerd and I love having the ability to tune out the world and focus solely on the book in my hands. Reading is a solitary act for me and I look forward to the time to escape the world and everyone around me. I also enjoy taking the time to discuss what I'm reading with my book friends and find out what new books they've been reading.

    I haven't paid too much attention to Goodreads besides using it to track what I'm reading and finding new books I may like.

  18. Gayathri Lakshminarayanan

    I totally agree about the break part when it gets too much to handle. Every year I find myself running behind GR goals and here you are – doing more than the goals already. Wow, congrats

  19. thewanderingcore

    I agree with you partially, yes people now use goodreads only to show off. Yet I use it extensively, to search new high rated books, to find reviews which help me in choosing a book. But I don't always post my review on goodreads, just d rating. If I connect with a book, I literally need so many days to comeout of it and till then I feel nothing can put my feelings to words so from past few days I've just stopped reviewing. It has helped me to engross more in my book world as books are still my escape from this world.

  20. Gayathri Lakshminarayanan

    I love talking about books and everything related to it. But there are times I become too exhausted that I don't get online at all, and I finish about 3-4 books at a stretch just to avoid everything else.

  21. Terri

    I feel like I've always been a book nerd. Now it's fun that I can actually use my nerd superpower to meet new people and join new groups. I don't compete with anyone but myself. I have already met my Goodreads goal, but that has more to do with I'm reading faster than I have before. There are times when it becomes a chore and I do sometimes get overwhelmed and even a little whiny about it. Then I take a break for a day or two.

  22. J. Hooligan

    There have always been people who lied about how many books they read or what books they read before Goodreads even existed. Now it is just more public.

    When I finish a really good book if nobody else has read it this kind of lonely feeling not being able to discuss it with other people. Does part of the reason I joined the book community so I can have other people too talk to about the books that I read. It is possible to read on your own and not want to tell everybody about it, that is how my husband is because he's weird. But that's not for everybody nor is wanting to share every book you read… even if that's obviously the right choice. #NoBias



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Gayathri has been reviewing books since 2010. When she is not reading books or creating online content, she works as a writer and a digital marketer. Head over to meet me!