A week or so ago I was organizing my bookshelves and picked out my copy of Shadow and Bone. Upon opening it up, I came across something horrifying: I dog eared pages of the book.
I KNOW. Who was I back then? Today, I simply don’t dog ear pages (okay, partial lie. I have been know to do it with school books), and that got me thinking: How have I changed as a reader since becoming apart of the book community?
Before becoming a blogger, I used to buy books on rare occasions. Unless I wanted to read a book right away, it never really occurred to me to buy books when the library was right there. As of right now, I buy a scary amount of books. I still actively use the library for audiobooks, but the amount of physical books I buy rather than borrow from the library has increased drastically.
My habit of buying so many books is partly because of materialism and partly because of awareness. The materialism of the book community, especially bookstagram, is no secret. In a way, I felt obligated to buy some books and was doing it subconsciously. Did I really want to buy some of those books? Probably not. Did I still do it? Yes. I got caught up in the wonder of everything and didn’t stop to think if I really was going to get around to reading them.
Also, I’m more aware of books being released today. There are a ton of amazing books being released each year. Since I’m so involved in the community, I get to hear about all them which I’m so grateful for. I didn’t know about many LGBTQ+ books before joining the book community, but since then I’ve been able to hear about them and it’s invaluable to be able to know about books that have people like me in them (and then being able to promote them in turn).
While becoming a college student has greatly impacted my reading frequency, joining the book community probably has more. I have less time now that I blog about books in addition to reading them, but I’m also more conscious with my reading choices.
My time is split between college life and book blogging which means I have to be intentional about the time I spend reading books. Before, I would read whatever book I stumbled upon even if it wasn’t a genre or premise I was that fond of. I read to read. That was not the best choice considering that I 1 stared most of the books that I read, which has left me with an infamously low rating average on Goodreads. Even though book blogging has made me have less time to read, I’m so grateful that it has taught me to value my time more. It prevents me from having to rag on books that weren’t for me in the first place, and I get to read more of the good stuff because I filter out my TBR.
Thinking about all the genre’s I’ve neglected since starting a blog makes me kind of sad. Besides my penchant for Romance, I’m open to reading most genres. When I started this blog I wanted to focus mainly on Young Adult novels and then Romance. Because of that, I’ve started to read less and less books that aren’t either of those things. It means I read a lot less Adult Science Fiction/Fantasy now because a lot of the time I don’t like spending large amounts of time reading long books, which I won’t ever review on here. I’ve been trying to give myself more leeway with stepping outside of genres. Hopefully, I’ll get back into my mixed genre reading habits.
Oh bookstagram, how you’ve conditioned me to love the finer things in life.
I did not give a shit about what book edition I owned before joining the book community. Did I buy part hardcovers and part paperbacks for the same series? Yes. Did I buy special editions? What are those. Did I wait until I could find the hardcover to buy over a paperback of a certain book? Literally never.
My hardcover phase was interesting for a couple reasons. It started because of bookstagram. I loved the look of hardcovers. And who doesn’t? They look clean on shelves, and a lot of the time the covers of hardcover books tend to look better designwise. The funny thing is I’ve never actually liked reading hardcovers. I prefer the feel of paperback books. I find them a lot easier to read and hold (my puny hands don’t like hardcovers). Also, they don’t usually take up the same amount of space that hardcovers do. I didn’t really think through why I was doing this until one day I was like “wtf why do I have so many hardcovers”. Sometimes I will still get hardcover books over paperback, but now it doesn’t bother me when there’s no hardcovers.
As for special editions, I recently bought those Waterstone special editions of Lady Midnight and Lord of Shadows despite being long off the Cassie C train…… I couldn’t resist. I still need to go through a special edition intervention.
One of the things I’m most grateful for since joining the online book community is being introduced to indie authors. Most of the books I read where traditionally published. I don’t know if it ever occurred to me to seek out indie books. Even if it did, I don’t think I would’ve been able to navigate finding indie books. There’s a lot out to wade through, and if you don’t know where to start it can be a lot. Plus, I’m a big library person and finding indie books at the library can be difficult.
Without joining book Twitter specifically, I would not read as many indie books as I do. I’ve been introduced to so many amazing books and authors that I seriously doubt I would’ve ever stumbled upon if it wasn’t for other readers promoting them on Twitter. I truly think Indie books tend to be better than traditionally published ones. Like anything, you have to know where to look and there is “the bottom 90%” to get through. However, I’ve had a lot more luck with indie authors, especially in Romance. It’s kind of amazing how much better indie romances can be than traditionally published ones. Most of my favorite romances are indie (or in the cause of Hate to Want You by indie author who is now with a big publisher).
And that’s a wrap.