As you can probably tell from some of my previous discussion posts, I get a lot of my inspiration from Rosianna Halse Rojas, one of my favorite Youtubers. Early in March she posted a video called “The Currency of Sharing” in which she discusses our frequent desire to share everything we do online. Even more interestingly, she talks about how sometimes we may or may not do things based on whether or not they can be shared. The example she uses is going for a walk. Normally she would use it as an excuse to take a selfie outside, showcasing that she was doing something more adventurous than her average day job; however, on this particular day she decides to take a walk simply for the sake of being outside and getting some exercise.
Her video made me think about our desire to share what we read. This desire is incredibly evident when looking at things like Goodreads and #bookstagram (and even blogs like the one you’re reading right now). Us bibliophiles are constantly sharing what we read with others through quick Twitter updates, Goodreads statuses, longer reviews, etc. I’ve been blogging and using these sites for so long that it’s hard to remember what it was like to not keep others in the loop with what I’m reading.
Sharing what we read certainly has many benefits: it helps build book-loving communities, spreads awareness of great books, and can connect people with new friends, ideas, and perspectives. However, one can’t help but wonder if it also influences and sets limitations on what we read. For example, I’ve found that it’s surprisingly difficult to share the fact that I’ve read certain short stories and poems. There’s no Goodreads entry for individual Shakespeare sonnets or short stories by Kate Chopin.
Does this stop me from reading works that aren’t novels? Do I prioritize “shareable” reading? The unfortunate answer is: yes, occasionally.
Sometimes I feel trapped by the need to write weekly book reviews for my blog, convinced that I can only write reviews of full length novels instead of particular poems and stories. Of course, there’s nothing actually stopping me from reviewing or discussing these shorter works, but something about it just feels strange. Nontraditional. Different. It’s a mindset I hope to change in the near future, starting with a greater variety of reviews and bookish discussions.
What are your thoughts on the way we share what we read? Do you prioritize “shareable” reading? Do you review shorter works like poems and stories? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic, so please let me know what you think in the comments section below!