How Digital Media Keeps Me Reading (and liking it)

Have you heard those tragic stories about people who, after spending four years (or more) completing their English major, don’t like to read anymore? To me, they’re sort of like the tales of the Loch Ness monster: people have supposedly seen it, but certainly haven’t. And I don’t intend for it to happen to me.

I think the reason such things occur (this is all conjecture, though, since like I said, I’ve yet to meet a book-less former English major) is that people get so swept up into their reading assignments for school that they forget to make reading their own experience. Then, when they graduate, they’ve forgotten how to actually enjoy reading.

Blog screenshot

Of course, when I first started book blogging, I hadn’t thought about any of this. I just thought, hey, I read a ton. Why not blog about it for the world to see?

I couldn’t have predicted how simply joining the book interwebs would both propel my reading and make me enjoy it more. We think of reading as a solitary activity–but in our digital age, it doesn’t have to be.

Let me ask you a question: If a book is read and no one tweets about it, did it really happen?

Now. You may think it’s all jolly good for me if I can find time to read for fun and read all my school assignments–but that’s pretty hard to do. Well, it’s hard for me too, and in the middle of a school semester, I’m not likely to be reading anything I choose on my own. But that’s the beauty of a book blog: Even if I don’t have time to read what I want, I can still write what I want about it.

On my blog, I don’t generally write in a literary-theory way. I write in that jumbled way that we ramble on about books that we just finished and we have so many feelings (whether it’s love, anger, frustration, surprise, disappointment). I don’t write to get a grade. I write to connect with other people.

And when you connect with other people about books, you can’t possibly forget how to love reading.

Goodreads screenshot 2

Another great way I use to connect is Goodreads. Currently, since I write reviews on my blog, I don’t post reviews there very often, but I use it to keep track of my own reading, keep up with others, and rate books. I’ve also dabbled in the groups there when I’ve had the time. Goodreads is a nice way to put my reading “out there” even when I haven’t finished a book yet or don’t have much to say about it. (I could proclaim to the world, “I’m on page 10 of War and Peace!” and I would know that people around the world would be seeing it and thinking, “Oh, bless your heart.”)

I’ve connected my Goodreads to Facebook, so people can see what I’m reading there, too. And through Bloglovin’, I’ve connected my blog to Twitter. (I’m terrible at using Twitter since I don’t have a smartphone, so it’s nice to have my blog posts automatically spread around social media.) My blog posts also get automatically shared on Google+. I don’t have to spend a lot of time on every social media platform in order to use it for reading.

I also have books on my Amazon wishlist and I have a few Pinterest boards devoted to books and reading. Even when I’m not writing about books, my bookish love is being spread all over the Internet all the time.

Pinterest screenshot (books)

Believe it or not, keeping the blog and tracking my reading on other social media makes me a lot more likely to finish a book–for school or otherwise. I want to be able to declare, “I did it!” And I want to be able to write a review (it feels unfair to me to review a book I didn’t finish, although that’s not true for everyone). If I’m frustrated with the book, I want to be able to share that frustration with others–and maybe even get some feedback that will help me see the book in a different light.

Maybe it’s narcissistic. But I find that sharing my reading online helps me keep reading, and reminds me why I enjoy it.

Leave a Reply