A Reading Vocation
5 years ago
I know what you mean -- I also feel as if I haven't really "read" something until I've documented it. This started for me before Goodreads, though -- I kept a paper book reviews journal starting in college, then had a Livejournal for book reviews, and now of course post them all here and on GR. I think that it has made me relate to the books in a different way when I'm in the process of reading them -- I am always starting to string together my reactions for an articulate review. While this might make me a little less "present" to the reading experience, I think it does make me engage with it more deeply. And somehow I feel as if I've accomplished something beyond "just reading" if I have also documented it.
Also, I've often come across people who have urged me to read a book they just finished so that they can "have somebody to talk to" about it. I've never felt this sort of urgency -- when I've finished a book that I want to engage with more deeply, I don't urge people I know IRL to read it -- I go online and find others who have already reacted to it, feeling validated when they express a reaction similar to my own and shaking my head at reviews that fell on the opposite end of the reaction continuum.
I wonder if our generation is more poised to ask these "What's happening?" questions precisely because we remember life before the Internet and also because we've grown so dependent upon it now. The idea of totally unplugging on some island somewhere like the narrator of your second book does appeal to me. I make it a point to spend an hour each morning totally unplugged -- I spend half an hour journaling, then half an hour reading. It's usually the best part of my entire day.
5 years ago
I also kept a notebook list of all the books I read, before social media, but, I must admit, I was a lot less consistent or diligent than I am now. Yeah, I definitely feel the same about reading with a review in mind, a lot of the time (though I've been trying to actually review more of my books lately). And the idea of just reading becoming an "accomplishment" is something I really get too.
Along with people wanting to read the same books, which I agree with as well, I've found social media makes my reading list expand a lot faster than it used to as well. Instead of "killing" books, it makes it, for those who are already into reading anyway, so much easier to just stumble on something that looks awesome you hadn't heard of a minute before. Ugh. Another book to request and put on the To Read list!
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