Do You Miss Your Reading Life from Before You Joined the Book Community?

I love being a part of the book community. Ever since I got onto social media and started blogging I’ve grown so much as a person and learnt so many new things. Every day I get to share my thoughts and reading interests and talk with other readers. It’s so much fun and I’m honestly very grateful that I found this community.

But some days I look back and wonder, were the older days better?

Nothing comes without its cons and the book community isn’t all happiness and rainbows. It has its own issues and debates and toxicity. But that’s not even what this post is about. I’m looking at this through the lens of reading. Before I started blogging I was an avid reader, yes but I had no pressure to read. I used to read whatever the hell I wanted, whenever I wanted. I didn’t have a TBR and I didn’t even look up books in advance. I spent hours in a library reading blurbs and skimming through the pages to pick out books that I thought I would like. Sure there was a chance I would end up hating that book but I just picked so many underrated gems in that manner! Books that I still remember to date, whether it’s their quirky titles or interesting plots.

But now my reading is so structured and organised. And yes, I like being able to read much more diverse books and thoroughly going through reviews to deem a book worth reading. I like reading hyped or popular books so that I can discuss them with friends. I’ve developed a system that lowers my chances of not liking or DNFing a book way more than before. But there’s still so much pressure. I’m always comparing my reading speed and progress with that of other people. I start worrying if I’m not liking a hyped book. I get anxious writing reviews or voicing my opinions because someone may lash out at me. And most of all I miss picking out a random book from the library and spending the day reading it without worrying about all my arcs and reviewing copies.

I miss the old days, my reading life from before the book community. There’s no way of going back and there are certain aspects that cannot be reversed. But I really am trying to go back into the habit of picking up a random book based on the blurb. To not check its Goodreads reviews and give it a shot. And since I’ve been feeling like this for a while now I was wondering whether I am alone.

Do you all feel this way as well? What steps do you try to take or maybe you plan on taking to relieve the stress of reading that comes with the book community? What other pressures do you face and what are the moments from your old reading life that you miss the most? Do chat with me about this in the comments below 🙂

16 thoughts on “Do You Miss Your Reading Life from Before You Joined the Book Community?

  1. Great post! For me, the pressure actually came by joining blog, blog tours, and being in touch with authors and publishers than actually being in community. Yes, I do want to read books that are trending in community but i don’t want get them immediately and read them so I can be part of trend. It’s the commitments that adds pressure. I so miss binge reading books and series that I used to do before blogging but I wouldn’t want to leave blogging and go back to just reading days as I feel blog gave more value to my reading.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah yes! Another aspect that sounds amazing but can be incredibly stressful sometimes 🙈 Omg yesss I don’t wanna read the new releases to be on trend!
      And yeah leaving blogging is the last thing I want to do so I guess we just have to make some adjustments.

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  2. Yes! I’m glad I’m not alone either. Though, I don’t read ARCs for publishers or anything, and I still mostly read backlist because I want to, so the stress isn’t so much as that but more like I miss being able to not think so critically all the time? Like, I still do keep track of my thoughts on everything I read for my blog, but I miss not overthinking every little thing and I feel like the more I read the less of a chance at truly enjoying more books I have because I’m naturally growing more picky and judgy of books over time and can’t just enjoy reading for the sake of reading because I’m analyzing it too much?

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  3. Joining the book community can be a lot and it definitely comes with its pressures, I remember back when I started I thought I had to read all the hyped books and that I had to love them but over the years I’ve found that you can choose what you wanna do, it is a shift that’ll take time but at the end of the day what you wanna read and your happiness matter more 🤍

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  4. Such an interesting post! I definitely feel there’s a difference, especially in what I read to post reviews. Some books I don’t even bother doing so because I know they’re not as important or new to highlight. Definitely feel the comparison with other bloggers a lot, even more so on social media

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  5. Interresting conversation, Charvi!

    That’s a hard one for me.. I feel like I read faster before, and had lot more of rereading; but I can’t remember for sure. Though I guess im a special case because when I joined in- I didn’t read in english. All that I picked were translations or french-made books; AND my MH had gotten so bad that I couldn’t finish a book despite me wanting to read desperately. The community & the blog helped me so much in regards to that.

    I am kinda sad that I didn’t had an existing goodread account, so I can’t compare or look at my older thoughts/genre or anything 😅 But in 2017 I had failed my goal of 10books, only reading 5.. and now? I’m at 22 books read already, and the year isn’t even over! 😮

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Kristina!

      Ohh wow that’s interesting that you read mostly translated books. I’m glad teh community helped you with that and MH!

      Oh yes, looking back at Goodreads and all will be like having a diary 😍 Wow, that’s great progress!

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  6. I love the idea of this post! I started book blogging many years back and I felt that the pressure of reading Arcs and reviewing them dampened my love for reading. So I stopped doing that. I also feel like I’ve been able to make a good balance of being involved with the online book community and diversify my reading and not getting sucked into the toxicity of it. But yes, I do miss spending hours in a bookstore or library and picking up a book purely on the basis of its cover or the summary on its back🙂

    I also miss my whimsical and leisurely reading but that could also be attributed to the fact that I have much less time to spare as a working parent now than I had say fifteen years back lol ..

    But I’m really grateful for the book community because I’ve made some really great friends who have helped plug little gaps in my life⭐️

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  7. I feel the exact same way. Before blogging I read a lot more and was content to just browse books in the library or on shops and buy based on the blurb alone. Sometimes I’d like them, sometimes I didn’t but I found so many hidden gems and stumbled upon some of my current favs today by just taking a chance on a book in a library. (The Iron Fey by Julie Kagawa, Chicagoland Vampires by Chloe Neill I both discovered via doing this in a library!) Blogging changed my reading for the better mostly, I’m much more aware of diverse titles now and read more diversely than before. However I do sometimes miss being able to read, without that voice asking me if we should be taking notes, in case we want to make a post out of the book…making content using our hobbies can quickly take the joy out of said hobby :/

    I’ve never wandered into the world of arcs and I honestly have no intentions too because I just could not handle that pressure on myself. When I accepted review requests that was stressful enough to be honest, I like how I have things now. I don’t accept any requests and when I eventually return from hiatus I’ll only be making content about certain books. Even if my brain is telling me we should be doing it with everything, I’m ignoring it because I do not need that stress. I’ve found I read slower now, my reading speed when I get going is the same as before but I don’t always rush through a book. I’m content to prolong my pain and enjoy the books whereas before I would get through them so fast the books sort of blurred together. (Still remember reading The Darkest Minds series by Alexandra Bracken back to back, that entire series is a blur to me. I don’t know where one book ends and another begins but I did enjoy the series at the time haha.)

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    • Yesss ugh I miss taking a chance on books. Nowadays even if I go to the library or bookstore I read a blurb and check GR reviews 🙈

      Oh that’s great for you. My own arc adventures are very minimum cause I am just exhausted with very little time. Plus I’m a mood reader ✌🏼

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  8. This is such an interesting discussion topic! I don’t think my reading has really changed all that much since I actively became a part of the online book community, though. I still read pretty much whatever I want to when I want to in the most chaotic manner possible 🤣 There are months where I’ll read nothing except some totally obscure novel from the library, and I couldn’t really care less what other people think – I’ll just stay in my little corner and read how I see fit 😂 The only difference is that I have way more interesting sounding recommendations coming my way than I used to, and sometimes knowing I’ll never get to all of them is kind of sad…
    However, what I do kind of notice is the pressure of reviewing the books. I love that my wrap-ups chronicle my reading history and that I can go back and see what I thought of every single book I’ve read in the past few years, but then in months when I read a lot, knowing I’ll have to write all those reviews can be a bit overwhelming 😅 And I’ll also find myself thinking stuff like, “hmm, I wonder if this is really a five-star book or just four stars” instead of just letting myself get swept up in a story. Unless I’m really, really into the book, part of me will already be preformulating how I’m going to communicate my views on a book, which can get a bit annoying at times 🙈 But I love this community and wouldn’t give it up for the world!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh that’s wonderful! I think you’re living the best kind of life and I’m so jealous :/

      Yeah, for sure. I felt that pressure too and I don’t particularly enjoy writing structured reviews so I just don’t write them as often these days and let myself enjoy the reading process 🙂

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