Reading: a solitary activity again

I want reading to be a solitary activity again.

Prior to joining Goodreads.com in 2010, it was just that: solitary, but also restrictive. Being a part of the Goodreads community has opened me to a wide range of books on piling lists of topics I hadn’t spent even one thought on. I found books I had never heard of, books that would become my favorites after I read them. Reading other users’ reviews has made me think more thoroughly about the book I have just read, and GR ratings started to become a guide for me to navigate through floods of books and stories that have been opened to me.

I learned a lot, and it is only when looking back that I am finally able to treasure them. Interacting with strangers with civility, learning to structure my thoughts and edit my ideas, helping Goodreads to compile data on books by becoming an active GR librarian – they have widened my horizon and helped me to mature my temper.

And yet I am ready to leave all that. I have actually already left Goodreads in June. That was the first step towards what I wanted. The second step was to take a long break from blogging on book-related matters.

It has been too long since I have decided to read a book or not based solely on my opinion and not anyone else’s. It has been too long since I read without stressing about TBR pile, Book Hauls, monthly wrap-ups, and reviews. It has been too long since I re-read my favorites because I’ve been too anxious to gobble as many new stories as I can, just to be able to say: “Ha! I read that book!” and not for the story’s sake. It has been too long since I noticed the beauty of a prose because I was too busy getting through the story so I could take up another one.

I want to get away from that busy reading schedule I have forced on myself. I want to get away from a book hype (not that hypes are necessarily bad – I probably wouldn’t have picked up The Fault in Our Stars or Stay if it hadn’t been for the hype). I want to get away from feeling guilty whenever I buy a book. And because I know that airing these problems to the public – if anyone is actually reading this, that is – won’t help me have a healthier relationship with reading, I want get away from the internet for a while. I probably won’t be able to stay away from YouTube, but I want to stop blogging about books, at least for present moment. If I do post something on books, it will not be a formal review, but me just writing about it – random thoughts, gushy moments, diary-style.

Reading within a community can be an awesome experience, I assume – but first you have to get inside the community, and that’s not always easy. It isn’t easy for me, because I have trouble addressing people I don’t know, people that I can’t put a face and personality behind. And when you are new to something, you are in a room (literal or figurative) full of strangers, staring at you, or worse, ignoring you. It takes guts to wave your arms and say “Hiya! Here I am! Look what I have to say!”, even if it’s on the internet. I guess I just don’t like drawing attention to myself. It is extremely uncomfortable for me, dear Reader, to address you when I have not the slightest idea who you are. So I tend to talk to myself when I blog. It’s not because I’m full of myself, I assure you. I just don’t know how to talk to you, is all.

So I am ready to retire into my quiet shell again, to close my eyes to the book-lovers-on-internet communities, and let my experiences be mine alone, not tinted by someone else’s persuasive opinion or expectation.

Goodbye.

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