Hi Virtually Readers! Today I thought I’d talk about something which I’ve been thinking about lately (as opposed to talking about something which I haven’t been thinking about lately lolol), which is: what responsibility to we have as readers? and more specifically, as bloggers. Because here’s the thing: I love reading. I think reading is important, and I want more people to read. Should I be trying to get more books into people’s hands?
I know that there are organisations that are working to increase literacy and access to books across the world. What role does the book blogger play in this? at the moment, nothing. In some ways, the book blogging community is quite insular; the main people who seem to read book blogs are other book bloggers. The people reading this blog (yes you, probably) read already: you love books enough to read more thoughts about them, and maybe even produce content of your own about books. I’m preaching to the converted.
But am I preaching at all? A book blog, after all, doesn’t exist to make people read books. It exists to make the discourse around books richer and more valuable. But as someone who loves reading enough to spend a lot of time reading them and writing about them, I can’t help wanting more people to read books.
There are some books that I love to pieces, and which have, according to me, broad appeal. There are others that I don’t love as much, but I think would be right for other people. Then there are books which I straight up hate or else know are problematic, but I don’t want to talk too loudly about that and put people off more broadly (e.g. when someone tells you they’re reading Thirteen Reasons Why). For the people who aren’t reading very much, if at all, just giving them the link to your book blog won’t help very much; instead, you need to think of one specific book and lots of reasons for them to read it, and ideally find a copy that you can put into their hands.
This isn’t necesserily a duty of readers; but it’s important to me because there are a lot of people who I like a lot who don’t read. And then what am I supposed to say to them? How do you have conversations about things which aren’t books? I don’t know this stuff.
I don’t think book blogs help people to read more (unless you already love reading and are in a slump and need encouragement to find the right book to get out of your slump). And that’s not their purpose. But reading is so important to me, and I read enough about the role that it plays (reading teaches you about the world and improves your writing ability and helps you to focus and makes you more empathetic and all that good stuff) that I do feel like I should encourage people to read more.
I’m not sure I have a responsibility to promote reading; I would hope that it’s obvious already that it’s something that is important to me, and therefore deserving of promotion. And I do try to promote reading in my own life to people I know–by giving them books that I think they will like. Promoting reading and literacy isn’t really the responsibility of book bloggers, but it’s something that we should care about, I guess.
Well, that was a somewhat unproductive discussion lol! I guess that’s what happens when you start off talking about something wihout a clue of where you’re going with it haha. I will definitely do another post about some things that book bloggers *are* responsible for. how do you try to promote reading? do you feel like you have a duty to do so?