Reading is generally a solitary activity. You find a book, a comfy place to sit, open the pages, and immerse yourself into the story’s world. You read to yourself, inside your own head. It’s a one-person game.
Now, with that said, reading can be made into a communal activity. You can share passages aloud to your significant other. You can join a book club and all read the same book at once for a shared experience and then discuss said experiences. You can even create your own blog where you write about your said experience with said book (and even said book club discussion) and share it with the entire world.
You can discuss your love of literature on social media. You can participate in readathons, like the upcoming annual Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon (which you should sign up for if you haven’t yet), and know that you are simultaneously reading with hundreds of other people. It’s great fun.
For me, the joy and pleasure I derive from reading comes not from just the solitary experience, but also the shared experience. I love curling up by myself in my big semi-comfy armchair with a blanket and one of the cats and just falling into the pages of Whitman or Austen or Rowling, but I also love that when I want to, I can come and bug all of you with how much I loved (or sometimes didn’t love) the story.
I can dissect with you the major plot points, the character’s positives and negatives, and whether the author uses metaphors brilliantly or has an urgent need for a thesaurus in his life.
I love that you guys care what I have to say. Somebody values my opinion! Hooray! I love that I have formed honest-to-goodness friendships through blogging that make me care what YOU have to say, too. I value your opinions on books so much that you literally influence whether or not I will read a book. Sometimes we don’t realize the power we hold over each other, but we do, we do influence each other’s reading habits. And I love that. I love that I have people in my life who I can share my love of reading with. I love that there is a forum in which I can take a solitary activity and transform it into a social activity. It fits my personality very well. It makes me feel unified as a person somehow since I am an extroverted person but have an interest that is decidedly not an extroverted hobby.
What about you?
Do you find that sharing your love of books makes you happier?
Are you naturally introverted and this is a way to socialize for you while sharing an interest?
Are you naturally extroverted and this is a way to make reading feel less lonely?
How has the world of blogging and social media affected your reading habits?