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.