Little history of my bookish internet life: I’ve been book blogging for almost 4 years and I was really heavily involved with Goodreads since 2008. It’s definitely changed me as a reader (you can read about some of those ways I’ve changed as a reader in this mini series I did). It’s been amazing because I’ve found a place where I belong. Where I have friends who read and get as excited as I do about books. I’ve found people who don’t side eye me about what I’m reading. I’ve discovered amazing books and done awesome things and it’s just generally been the best thing for my reading life.
But there are some days where I think about my reading life pre-Internet and 2 big things stand out for me that have been hard to reconcile sometimes (though obviously do not affect me THAT negatively because I freaking love the online book community):
1. There is ALWAYS an opinion on a book I’m currently reading or trying to decide if I want to read/buy/add to my TBR: It is very very rare that I start reading a book and I don’t see an opinion of some sort. There are some books I’ve read very early so I didn’t have much influence (We Were Liars). Sometimes the opinions of people are just things like, “I LOVE THAT BOOK” which YAY and sometimes I will just be getting ready to start a book and someone will say how they didn’t like it and that is fine but MAN what a buzzkill when you are starting a book. Sometimes it’s not even a person telling me their opinion…sometimes it’s that I’m looking to add a book or I’m on the Goodreads page of the book I’m getting ready to read and I glance past star ratings and, even without reading their words, I SEE OPINIONS. A book I was really excited about? I could get very unexcited if I see trusted people giving it not so many stars. And then, as hard as I try NOT to, my mood changes toward the book. I’m so very influenced by opinions now, as much as I try to NOT let it affect me, because they are so readily available to me. Not at ALL so before the days of my reading life & the internet combining. Also, it really, really hard to go in blind to books these days..related to this point.
On the bright side: Sometimes I get to avoid books I probably I wouldn’t have loved by easily being able to access the trusted opinions of my friends at a glance. Also, nothing makes me even more giddy when lots of the opinions are YAYS.
2. Authors & their personalities are up in my grill. I don’t mean this in a bad way. But before the internet, I had no idea what my favorite author’s opinions were on day drinking or politics or that they feeling strongly about this or that. I didn’t know their family life or how they spend their days. I didn’t KNOW their personalities. They were just magical unicorn-like people who wrote books. I knew they were people but, man, social media makes them PEOPLE. I’m not the kind of person who really gets involved with author-reader drama but it’s hard not to notice when it’s all up in your grill. If an author has a crappy personality (or sometimes it’s just a bad DAY maybe!) or if they are rude or say something that rubs me the wrong way…it becomes hard to separate their books from who they are as hard as I try (because I really do understand that authors are humans who do make mistakes or have bad days or have opinons contrary to mine). That was never a problem before because I didn’t have to see it…I just saw the words in front of me. I personally have not had many BAD interactions but sometimes this does affect me or there is pressure there for me to balance them vs. their work (which is why I’m very choosy about the authors I follow).
On the bright side: AUTHORS ARE AMAZING. I love being able to connect with them. Seriously. It’s awesome to be able to be able to shout HEY I LOVE YOUR BOOK and they can say HEY THANKS or you can bond over your mutual love for a band or not wearing pants. For me, it’s mostly only ever been positive! And in some cases, interacting with an author has made me bump their books WAY up on my TBR list. For example: Recently I’ve had some fabulous interactions with Corey Ann Haydu and honestly? It really made a great impression on me and I started her book (Life By Committee) the very next day (it was fabulous by the way).
LET’S TALK: Has the internet/online bookish communities affected you in any way as a reader? Either the two things I mentioned or something else?? I would love to hear about your experiences!