blogging · books · discussions · shanti

The Responsibility to Promote Reading?

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?

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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?

 

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15 thoughts on “The Responsibility to Promote Reading?

  1. I’m not sure that reading more is an absolute good, though it might be coming close.

    But I think we do have a duty to encourage people to read “better” books. And I think reading “better” books (more thought-provoking, more relevant to our lives, those which spur us on to be better people or give us ideas on how to improve the world effectively) is an absolute good.

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    1. I know what you mean, Jon, but it is certainly very powerful in the text based society that we live in atm. But books that make us happy and offer escape (even if they’re not ‘improving) can also be revolutionary.

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  2. I love your post and I agree that there should be more book literacy because it stops ignorance. Reading books can allow you to understand other people point of view and know more about the world which can shape the way you think. Freaknomics, on writing and fast food nation are books that shaped who I am today. I look forward to your future posts and book recommendations.

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      1. no worries, Eileen! Reading is really important (it obviously not the only important thing, but it’s still so powerful) I really should read Freakonomics, though there are a couple other ecomics books I want to get to first.

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  3. I loved your post, I think we should be spreading book literacy around the world because reading books can stop ignorance. At times we only have personal insular views, but when we read other people books, we realize more about ourselves, how we can change ourselves and the world around us. Books I recommend are freaknomics, fast food nation and on writing. I think these book really shaped who I am today. I hope you enjoy them and look forward to your upcoming posts.

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  4. Oh this is such an interesting post. I have to say that I agree, outside of book bloggers, I don’t think that many people read our blogs and therefore, we can’t really influence them to read more… book bloggers are already, by definition, big readers, I guess?! Like Cait said in her comment above though, we can encourage people to read outside of their comfort zone, so… read more in another genre, so that’s something already? I also want to point out that me book blogging made my sister (non-book blogger) read way more, so……. maybe I do have an influence, hahhaa.
    I’m intrigued about your book bloggers’ responsibilities though, hope you’ll write about that too πŸ˜€
    Wonderful post πŸ™‚

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  5. Yeah I agree with what you said about the online bookish community being insular and how do you promote reading to people who already devour books? I think it’s useful to share stories about how you promote reading IRL though. (And I’m eager to read your thoughts on what bloggers /are/ responsible for – fostering healthy conversations like this one πŸ™‚ ? )

    I work at a library and regardless of what the patron is looking for – we provide free access to information. And then there are patrons and families that I have a wonderful time recommending books to, and our summer reading program is still a huge proponent of getting kids to read outside of school. Part of fostering a love of reading is about incentive and finding that right book that will appeal to someone’s particular interests, but another part of it is friendly persistence and enthusiasm. I do think there’s a book out there for everyone, because every human tells and consumes stories in some way every day, they just might not realize it. I also think movie adapts are a great gateway to reading.

    Thanks for the post!

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    1. It’s so cool that you work at a library, I’d love to do that someday (or even just volunteer). Libraries aren’t just about books, and they’re just such vital resources that can help so much. Humans do need stories…even if they’re true ones. Librarians have a lot more responsibility than bloggers!

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  6. Ooh I really want to read your post on what you think bloggers are responsible for!! I don’t even know what I think about that. πŸ˜‚ Or this tbh. HAha. I do get what you mean! I feel like, as wild bookworms, we should definitely want to promote reading, buuuut our audiences are basically already bloggers. I mean I guess we can encourage people to read outside their comfort zones, and maybe find new favourites?! I used to lend books to my friends when I was about 14 and I remember my friend’s little sister (who never read for fun) picking up one and loving it. Sooo that was really awesome. πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰

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    1. I want to read it too, Cait! I hope I can make it exist lolol. I think reading outside your comfort zone is a big goal for sure. Lending books makes me feel so good

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