It has been about three to four years since I first started to be rather active in the blogging community and interact with other book lovers and readers. Before that, I was always a reader and part-time writer but I didn’t consider it to be one of my main hobbies or be utterly invested in surrounding myself with fictional worlds.
So what changed?
In my second year of university, I fell into a comfortable and great group of friends, a few of whom were studying English/English Literature besides languages and History, and were crazy about books. When I had to live in France for 8 months, books got me through the hard times (of which there were many) and all those fictional worlds were a welcome escape from the lesson planning woes of being a Language Teaching Assistant. As I went packed with my kindle, it was easy browsing the Amazon website for new reads, and it meant that I didn’t come home at the end with more luggage than originally planned – although I travelled by Eurostar so there was no baggage or weight limit to worry about.
When I came back to the UK (four years ago this very week) and fell back into normal university life again after the summer break, my mind was filled with nothing but books. My housemate Beth was one of my book-loving friends and so when we were fed up with reading for our own course modules, we read for pleasure. I
blame thank her for getting me hooked on anything YA (TMI and TID being the first of a few series), and it was during that year, I fell into blogging through Tumblr and stumbled across a very huge book community.
As a result, my reading habits skyrocketed and my interest in books augmented. But why?
I started reading more – I’d finish one book and then have a break for a while before picking up another. Okay, a lot of my free time was also spent swimming or just doing other things but when that stopped, I began to fill that time with more books. Now I constantly read books back to back, even though I might have gaps where I don’t read as much.
The more I read blogs and watched Booktube, the more books I become aware of – Beforehand, I was getting recommendations from teachers at school, other casual readers, a few family members, and when I went into Waterstones or any other book shop, I would pick those up as well as generally browse for books that looked interesting. With blogging and Booktube, I am always writing down lists and lists of books that I want to go and buy from their recommendations. I look at two of my bookcases now and realise that nearly all of the books on there are as a result of recommendations from bloggers and booktubers! It’s amazing really.
I buy a lot more books – I’d usually get books for my birthday, Christmas, or other special occasions but now I can barely go a month or two without buying books. I am trying to cut down because my current circumstances don’t always allow for huge book hauls, but it has become a bit of an obsession. I always feel better when I walk into a bookstore and find myself surrounded by books.
I am finding more books with characters that I resonate with – At 13/14, I jumped straight from reading middle-grade to classics and adult fiction (mainly historical fiction and crime) because YA didn’t really exist as an age group back then. When Twilight burst onto the scene, more books started coming out with characters who were 16 + and they were a lot more relatable to me. They still feel relatable even at 25, although I do sometimes want to scream at their actions.
I am more comfortable in myself as a reader – I can’t count the number of people around me who judged me for reading or reading particular books, but there were so many bloggers and booktubers I came across who had similar tastes, that it made me realise I shouldn’t care as much. When I got past listening to those judgemental comments, reading became more enjoyable is now a huge part of my identity.
The act of blogging and connecting with other bloggers means I don’t feel as lonely – being the only bookworm in my family (besides my uncle who I don’t see that often) is often a lonely feeling. Certain members of my family often call me out for not being interested in active pursuits so to be able to run into my room, turn on the computer and read blogs/watch booktube gives me something to look forward to. I also don’t have really have any friends in my village, besides a few I’ve known since I was little, so connecting and talking to a lot of other bloggers fills that solitary feeling. And all of you are lovely people as well so it’s a huge joy!
I’m more connected to news and updates from authors, publishers, and book shops – with the growth in social media and the connectivity it provides for authors and readers – Twitter especially – I can’t help but constantly be aware of something new. Due to the online promotion by authors, bookshops, and publishers, I am coming across a lot of different books that I wouldn’t have discovered before. At the moment, I’m finding some intriguing non-fiction books that satisfy some of my specific, personal interests, and it’s fantastic.
When I throw all of these blogging, reading, and general bookish habits together, they are a result of my passion for books and writing that will just keep on growing. It’s also a great feeling to be involved in a community and world that changes the lives of people everyday, whether we’re on the frontline or behind the scenes.
And with that, that’s all.
Now I pose the same question to all of you.
How has blogging changed your reading habits?
Thanks for reading and have a good day!