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The Goodreads effect: Competitive reading?

Originally published in the Bridport News. I wrote for them, once a week, as a guest columnist.

Books are beginning to find their place online. Whilst this allows exploration of new genres and new authors in the reassurance of reviews and ratings submitted by those we have decided to ‘friend,’ there are other ways in which this hyper-sharing is influencing our reading habits. 

The majority of us are familiar with the incredible detail in which we can share our lives online, from Facebook to Instagram we make visible all aspects of our lives and this obsession has now spread to the most private of escapes; reading. Whilst it does not feel as intense as other social sites there is still that desire to appear the best you can. If a ‘friend’ or ‘follower’ is nearing their reading goal for the year, or if their choice of reading material is collecting more likes and comments than yours, there’s a sense of concern; the world of reading has become more competitive.

Having made a commitment to the internet that I would read 50 books that year or having publically announced that I am ‘currently reading’ an individual book, there is a pressure to see it through. Before, if a book were left unfinished or fewer books than anticipated were read, there was possibly a personal annoyance but nothing more. Now, the choices made feel more concerned about the reception from others.

With a growing online community for readers comes fantastic opportunities to interact with others and share experiences but it should be remembered that reading is for you, do not let the chance of sharing your experience make it anything but.

 

 

2 thoughts on “The Goodreads effect: Competitive reading? Leave a comment

  1. On a related note, I struggled a lot with outside pressure when I started my literature degree at university as well. As a kid, I read whatever I wanted and never thought twice about how it would be perceived by others. It’s a strange thing when other people enter into your reading experience since reading is such a solitary and personal thing. It’s good advice to remember that reading is for you! I do like the Goodreads reading challenge since it does encourage me to read a lot more and I do feel a real sense of accomplishment when I earn the badge. 🙂 I do sometimes adjust my goal during the year though if I find that I can’t reach my goal or that I will exceed it. In any case, I hope you enjoy the rest of your reading year!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I couldn’t agree more. I’m not studying an English type degree, partly because I’m not hugely analytical but also because I hate being told what to read and by when. I also struggle with the classics, which never bothered me when I was younger; like you, I just read what I wanted. But now that I find myself becoming more vocal about my reading and love of books, there seems to be more pressure to read the books that are perceived to be important or good. For me, as a 22 year old, YA is still vitally important and makes up around 50% of what I read. I see no issue with this myself, but more recently I feel I have to defend and explain my choices.
      Thank you! – I’ve exceeded my goal for this year which, yeah, definitely made me feel very accomplished. I hope you also enjoy the remainder of the year. 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to read and comment!

      Liked by 1 person

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