As someone who has been a part of the online book community for several years, my reading has been massively affected by content on the internet. The books I buy, the authors I follow, how much I talk about books—all of them are influenced in some way.

I took a hard break from all the apps recently and it has made me realize that social media affects reading habits in more ways than we realize. It's not a bad thing but it's interesting to see how influenced I am even when I actively resist the trends.

In this post, I'm going to talk about how my reading is affected by my position in social media—both as a creator and a follower. Many of the sections intersect for the two roles so I'll be switching between them often.

what is my position on social media?

I'm entirely in the book community. I have a separate bookish/blog Instagram account and only a bookish/blog Twitter account.

Despite having a personal account on Instagram, I barely spend my time there. I post almost only on my @thewordyhabitat account and even updates about my life go there. A lot of my friends (and colleagues!) follow me there. I only switch to my personal account to see others' posts and messages once in a while.

Hence, on both platforms, I'm almost always consuming content from bookish creators. It's not always book stuff because people do post about other things but it's mainly about books, especially on the feed.

As a follower, I'm massively into the book space and I frequently take new recommendations. At one point, I borrowed new books on Kindle Unlimited every day because of what I saw on book twitter. And of course, I had to speed through them because there would be more books to read soon.

On the flip side, as a bookish content creator, I frequently spoke about books too. Although my posting frequency on Twitter wasn't much, it was mostly about books. On Instagram, I posted on the stories, I tried to be regular on the feed, and I tried Reels at one point.

With all of the above combined, I basically lived in the internet book space. I was consuming and creating content about books every day.

I say "was" because I'm currently on hiatus from social media and I don't see myself going back soon. If/When I do, it mostly won't be back to the old way that is described above.

illustration art of a person sitting cross-legged on bed, with a book on their lap, holding a mug.

algorithms are invisible echo chambers

I'm a firm believer that being a part of the book community massively helps someone keep reading. Because I see content about books a lot and follow people who read often, it motivates me to read more. It helps to develop and maintain a reading habit.

Joining the book community can almost immediately increase the amount of reading one's doing. However, after a while, it becomes an echo chamber and it becomes hard to change your feed if you want to.

Remember, every social media platform is an algorithm that is constantly recording what you do and figuring out how to sell things to you. One way the platforms keep us in their fist is by feeding us content that we will like all the time.

Here's an example. On Twitter, I've been following a creator who posts about romance books for a while. I took a lot of her recommendations and saw her tweets on my feed often. A few months back, I visited her profile to find a tweet and I realized something very interesting. I would only see her tweets about romance books on my feed and barely saw her posts about other things, despite the number of other kinds of tweets being comparable.

Even if we follow someone and like all of their content, the types of content that we interact with more are noticed and our social media feeds are tweaked based on interaction data. What I mentioned above was one example. There is a LOT that an algorithm can do, especially when it has a lot of data on you.

For years, Twitter and Instagram have pegged me as a romance book reader. It constantly showed me related content even when I follow new people and interact with other types of content. Hence, recently when I stopped enjoying the genre as much and wanted to read it less, it was hard for me to actually make that switch.

I've said that I want to read lesser romance at least a dozen times this year in my blog posts, and yet it took a social media hiatus for it to actually happen.

It's not that I hate romance, I just enjoy it less now. When I see posts about new promising books, I pick them up with hope. I get disappointed and try something else but soon I see another book that raises my hopes. Repeat.

Social media is a great place to be when you're liking something new. Despite being a book account, my reel suggestions were 80% travel stuff in the last couple of months because I loved the aesthetic videos. Algorithms pick up new obsessions quickly and keep you hooked. But algorithms don't help when you've stopped liking something. Whenever bookish reels pop up, they're about romance books.

I find that being on the internet is enforcement and constant reinforcement of your identity. When you try to reject something or switch completely, it's easier to start a new account than work against years of data that point to an older self which doesn't match who you are now.

The above explains why content creators often create new accounts when they switch gears. We never say this reason because we don't realize that we're exhausted with the current account because the algorithm is pushing an identity onto us that we don't want anymore.

Even if you interact with the same people as before, creating a new account will change your feed because the algorithm will immediately apply changes based on your current actions. It is essentially creating a new profile for you in its "mind."

It is similar to how people who have known you for years will find it hard to accept a revelation about you while a stranger will accept it quickly. In this case, a revelation is simply that your likes have changed.

person reading a book with coffee & a pair of glasses next to the book

I went off on a tangent but my point is that after a while, you're seeing the same things on social media. You're not exposed to many new or different things once the algorithm knows a set of things that you like. Even if you follow and like an account about, say, interior design while mostly interacting with bookish posts, their posts won't be shown to you.

This echo chamber slowly narrows down what content you see and hence are being influenced by. It doesn't help you read widely anymore. It keeps throwing the same kinds of content at you. If you read popular books, it will follow that trend. If you read most non-fiction, it won't show you fiction. It gets selective even in the accounts you follow.

The only way to get out of it is to make a conscious effort to not create a specific identity. You have to be conscious about following people and not content. You have to make sure that you're listening to all of what people say and not just one type of post. For social media, which is supposed to be mindless and easy and fun, this isn't fun.

the fear of missing out

Every day online is a tug-of-war between the books that are pushed into my face and the books that I actually want to read.

Having a big to-read list is a good thing but it's a problem when the books at the bottom of the list are never being read. In fact, I often directly read the books I see on social media (if they're on Kindle Unlimited) without adding them to the TBR. Hence, I barely get to the ones that I have specifically marked.

When was the last time you read an author's entire backlist? I liked a book by Abby Jimenez but didn't pick up another for years. The first thing I ended up doing after uninstalling social media apps was read her entire backlist. I didn't enjoy all of them but I did it! And I had fun doing it. I noticed things I might not have otherwise. Until the barrage of "new recommendations" stopped, I couldn't follow my direction of reading.

Weirdly or by design, blogs don't have the same effect. Blog posts give pretty much the same information (with much more detail, of course) but the content feels timeless. There's no "now or never." You can also choose to skip posts and read them later easily. On social media, everything is right now and "you HAVE to read this." Hyped books are ever more common.

I'm going to pick a random month—let's go with March—and see what books I read and why I read them.

Oh, fun, my March wrap-up is titled "a sad reading month." Out of the 12 books I read, 6 were immediate picks from social media. And I enjoyed ONE of the 6.

Here's the thing, none of these books are "hyped" but they looked good to me because a few people were talking about it on Twitter, and mainly in conversation with a popular account. That was enough for my brain to go "read it now", not to mention those people were basically yelling about the books. Yes, my brain is broken and I blame social media for breaking it over time.

The thing is, I might have enjoyed all of those 6 books last year. I simply didn't enjoy them now since my preferences have changed. But when I see such conversations, I inherently have the fear of missing out on amazing romance books.

When I see hyped or shouty posts about fantasy, it's easy for me to put that book on the back burner. I will notice it, maybe add it to my TBR, and read it several months later. (I still haven't read Fourth Wing, by the way.) Fantasy is fine because I know that I don't easily enjoy those books and I need to be in the right mood and pick the right books.

That leads to another problem of promoting books on social media: one doesn't know the details of the books being recommended. All I knew about Fourth Wing was that it's about dragons until I saw a YouTube video about it. And it had been doing rounds on social media for MONTHS.

Recommendations are often reduced to one-liners or tropes. Firstly, that's a disservice to every book because every book is much more than that. Secondly, how am I supposed to find the right books for me if there's no information? Isn't it obvious that I wouldn't enjoy a lot of the books?

illustration of a person browsing instagram profile of @thewordyhabitat // how social media affects reading

Before the rise of social media and online bookish communities, we would pick books to read from the bookstore or library. Generally without several recommendations in hand, we used to walk around and pick books based on the cover and blurb.

I remember when I used to walk between bookshelves, picking random books and reading their synopsis. Sometimes, I read the first few pages before deciding to bring them home. I would take 20 minutes to pick 2 books. They would be varied in genre—often a book outside of my familiar zones—and yet I enjoyed most of what I picked. I vetted each book based on what it is, not based on what others say it is.

I'm nostalgic about those days because I used to pick books with no prejudices. I didn't know that the author rose to fame due to another book, I didn't know the image that a book had amongst others—I didn't know anything.

When I step into a bookstore today, I already have some kind of idea about almost every book I see. Not many in the "bestseller" sections are strangers to me. I don't look at a stack of books with curiosity. When I see most books, I already know so much that I don't even bother reading the synopsis in many cases. I don't vet each book by only its information. Instead, a part of the decision is made from what I've seen online.

If a book doesn't "make it big" online, my mind automatically gives it low priority. While deciding what to buy, I go towards the more popular, the more read, the more hyped books. Even if a book has mixed reviews, I will consider reading it to understand the debate. But a book that received only one or two good reviews doesn't stand out. I don't even read the synopsis.

The fear of missing out pushes me towards popular books and sidelines other books.

reading as an identity

Out of all the possible things, reading is a great thing to be associated with. I was known as a reader in school because I read during all my free time and went way beyond the required reading (which was a disappointment). Often, I read during class by hiding a book under the desk. In the last two years of high school, I wore the reading identity with pride.

Even today, I'm proud to be a reader. I can't tell you the number of times people have told me that they can't read an entire book, that they haven't ever truly read outside of academia. It makes me determined to keep up the habit and encourage others to read.

Being a part of the online bookish community is amazing because you're surrounded by people who also read widely and wear the identity like a badge. It's great... up to a point.

Tying a good habit to your identity is a good idea because it helps you keep up the good habit. The problem with being a book influencer is that this identity suddenly creates an expectation.

We have an identity crisis when we read less or don't read at all for a month. I've seen many readers online speak about this. Bookish accounts tightly tie reading to your identity to the point that if you diverge from it even a little, you feel lost.

This is worse when a subset—like a genre—is tied to your identity. I've been a pure fiction reader until a year or so back. I've been a romance reader for several years. At this point, I'm known by those genres. Now, when I'm changing, I feel lost.

I am asked for book recommendations by people all the time—in DMs, in blog comments, by colleagues—and I usually recommend a book that I recently enjoyed. The funny part is that people used to request non-fiction recommendations and I used to say that I can only help with fiction. Now that I'm enjoying more non-fiction, I have people asking me for fiction recommendations! I can recommend both, I just find it ironic.

illustration of a person holding up a book to read and holding a mug. the background has a hanya yanagihara quote

My identity as a romance reader is more complicated. I used to be ashamed of reading romance and often said different titles when someone in real life asked what I was reading. It took me YEARS to be okay with it and champion romance books in conversations. I had probably one year where I was known for reading romance, was unashamed and enjoyed it. I made lists and recommended romance to so many people.

I became known for it both offline and online. Now, I don't enjoy romance as much and am pivoting away from the genre completely. It's weird to not have titles fly off my tongue when asked for recommendations. I also feel like I can't champion romance as easily when I'm not actively reading the genre.

Online, it's harder since people follow because they like a certain kind of content. I have many followers who follow for romance book content. Once I started posting about other genres, my stats quickly started falling.

I mentioned earlier that being online is a constant reinforcement of identity and it's easier to create a new account when you change. This is another reason why.

While I enjoy talking about books, it may not be the only thing I want to talk about. I may not read books at all for a month. I may read but not read romance and hence not talk about the genre. In real life, small changes won't make much of a difference. But for a bookish content creator, these things kick off tiny identity crises because of how categorised everything is on social media.

consumerism and “the good reader”

Buying books and reading books are two different hobbies. We often joke by saying this line but it is true. They are related but they're not the same. There's a joy in acquiring new books through various means and displaying them on shelves that you don't get from reading a book. Similarly, reading has its set of unique joys. The problem is when we cease to see the difference between them.

Lately, the book community (especially Twitter) is more focused on selling than reading. It may look like everyone's promoting reading but most of it is actually selling.

It is born out of good intentions. One of them is the mess that is the publishing industry which is causing authors and readers to become marketers to give good books a chance to survive. Barely any authors get the marketing they deserve. Books by marginalized authors get nothing so readers are passionately going above and beyond for them.

The very concept of ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) has made every reader a marketer. People are doing more and more for ARCs and new releases. There are campaigns for books that are fully run by volunteer readers. Talk about readers deserving payment comes up more because they are doing work that is generally part of a paid role.* Some readers literally run book tour companies in their spare time!

*We often talk about decreasing marketing budgets that push authors to become a one-person marketing team for their book. I think one of the reasons why the budgets are lowering is because readers are voluntarily doing the job for free.

illustration of 5 books kept standing next to each other and a cup on the right

Bookish accounts are always promoting something and showcasing things for others to follow. It gets exhausting to be on the receiving end of it. Everyone's pushed to buy more and support authors.

I think we forget that the publishing industry doesn't rest on our shoulders. Promotion to help authors and the overall diversification of books published is good. But it doesn't need to be a social responsibility that one has to devote their spare time to. The industry will continue to thrive even without us doing paid work for free.

Book twitter is 90% promotion of new or yet-to-be-released books (when it's not immersed in some drama). Instead of recommending books that we are reading or have read, we are promoting new books even though we barely know anything about them.

Being a bookish content creator is like being caught in a race that keeps getting faster. There's no way one can read books at the speed that social media runs, especially if there's a fear of missing out. As a consequence, there's a rise in recommendation lists filled with books that the listmakers haven't read. What's the point of recommending 30 books of a certain kind if you haven't read them and can't personally vouch for them? The lists are based on potential and tropes. It is not recommending books anymore, it is selling.

In this way, instead of promoting reading in general, it has slowly become the promotion of reading specific books. Even I'm guilty of using the phrases "you're missing out!" and "what are you doing if you're not reading this?!" Now that I have taken a step back and am aware of what I was doing on social media, I'm embarrassed.

It's good to be conscious about what one's reading and promoting that consciousness. Yes, we need to read more translated books by women and we need to read more books by trans authors. But it doesn't mean that someone isn't a good reader if they don't read and champion books by minority authors all the time.

Most readers can't keep up with the 100 different books being released every day. The image and expectation of "a good reader" don't lead to good things. It often puts readers into slumps and alienates us from the very hobby we love. We end up buying several books to support everybody only to barely read any of them. It's better to read, enjoy, and talk about a few books instead.

an illustration of a person holding a couple books with one hand folded over the other

Consumerism also creates a sense of dissatisfaction and disappointment in international readers.

Firstly, most new books are NOT available outside of the US, the UK, and Australia for a good few months after release. Worldwide distribution is picking up only now. In fact, I was recently surprised that my regular bookstore had a book (which isn't "mainstream") in stock a few days after release.

Secondly, when the books are available, they are generally quite expensive. The book that surprised me? It was a small book that cost as much as a full-length novel. There's a book that has been on my wishlist for THREE YEARS because of its price. There was a point when Fourth Wing was one thousand rupees on Amazon, and that's a "mainstream" book.

Yes, I want to support marginalized authors and read indie books. But I often can't. The constant attention to new and upcoming books is frustrating.

The bigger problem is that international readers also talk about those books, even when we don't have access to them. I am guilty of this too. I don't want to say that we should go out and touch grass but... we should focus more on books that are available in our bookstores. Otherwise, as I said above, it becomes less about reading and more about reading specific books.

We need to be more reading-friendly on social media. It's better for a person to read Throne of Glass or Colleen Hoover books, despite how much we hate it, than to not read at all. And we have to admit, often the "subpar" books are the ones that create readers because they're easy to read.

the reading race

While I was active on social media, I tended to pick books that I could read faster. There were some books that I took weeks to read but I was still reading faster/shorter books in parallel.

As a bookish content creator, our platform is based on us reading books. All of our content is about books we want to read, are reading, or have read before. So when we get out of the loop or are in a slump, our content breaks down. (This is why I make sure to frequently post about other things as well, especially on the blog.)

After a certain point, reading becomes a race because we have to keep up with everything that's going on. Keep up with ARCs and new releases, read some of the backlist books, watch the publishing industry drama unfold, etc.

Some creators somehow keep up with everything and read 20+ books every month, I don't know how. Kudos to them. Couldn't be me. It isn't possible for most of us.

There's also the pressure to create content about new books every day which pushes us to read faster and read shorter books. We make multiple posts about one book at times but it's not often. Every part of reading becomes "content" instead of just being what it is.

One reason I read romance books more initially was because I could finish them quickly and I'd have something to talk about. Only recently did I start to consciously slow down and spend considerable time over each book.

A way to make relevant content is by reading currently hyped books. But the tides of social media move SO FAST. There's a new hyped book every other day! Even if I read one long backlist book, I'm suddenly out of the loop. The only way to keep up with things is to be online all the time and read only what's making the rounds in other accounts.

illustration art of a person holding up a book and reading in bed

There is now a trend of slow readers making content and normalizing that reading pace. But the community at large is always talking about new books every day. We can’t do it sustainably without repeating some content over time but it gets overwhelming—both as a creator and follower.

When I'm looking for recommendations or books to read, it is easier to go with the ones that are mentioned more often because there are so many books on my feed. No wonder many of us read hyped books even if they're not great or we know that they're not right for us.

Due to this, the personal touch of book recommendations is lost. Following someone and taking their recommendations isn't the same as asking someone in real life. Every creator is talking about new books every day or every few days, how am I supposed to take ONE recommendation? It's hard to pick.

Even when we absolutely love a book, we don't spend more than a couple of posts on it. A book might have changed my life but due to the pressure of creating "new and fresh" content, I won't talk about it as much as I should. But when recommending books, repeated recommendation is what makes someone else pick them up.

Only when I started making multiple posts about books I enjoyed, over a week, did I see people actually read books based on my recommendations. I also took recommendations without thinking too much when creators I follow talk about the same books several times. And I've enjoyed those books.

When there's only one post per book and enthusiastic reviews about ALL the books, it gets overwhelming. There are so many creators who enthusiastically talk about every book even if they only moderately enjoyed it (especially when reviewing ARCs) that it gets all the more confusing. When I read a few books based on such posts, I highly disliked them.

A couple of times, I saw such reviews on the feed or stories and responded that I was excited to read it, only to get a response that “well, it’s not THAT great and it has these faults.” How am I supposed to find the right books with minimal information and a list of tropes? It gets hard to find genuine recommendations that fit my preferences.

The online bookish community was supposed to be a place where one can easily find good books to read. But lately, it's confusing, exhausting, and overwhelming.

how my reading has changed after uninstalling social media

At the beginning of the year, I tried being regular with my content on Instagram (and gave up on Twitter, lol). I posted frequently and felt the burden of being a bookish content creator. For the last couple of months before my hiatus, my content became much slower and I stopped posting on the feed altogether. I posted stories infrequently and also spoke about the same books multiple times.

I was trying to change the tide of social media by at least a bit. But there's only so much I can do while still being overwhelmed by the content I was seeing. I became exhausted and uninstalled all of the apps one random day.

There was a difference in my reading almost immediately. I picked up the bigger books and books that take longer to read. I stopped reading as much romance and read other books at a slower pace. I'm enjoying almost all of the books I read, which is a drastic improvement from before. I'm satisfied with my reading, even if it's just for 15 minutes a day.

In the initial days of the hiatus, I found myself habitually reaching for my phone to share annotations from my current read or share status updates. I had become so used to sharing bits of my reading on Instagram stories or Twitter. Sometimes, I got sucked into social media when I used to post and had to pull myself back.

Now that I don't have a place to immediately share stuff from my books, reading is back to being an activity for me. When I come across a good quote or paragraph, I linger over it and cherish it. I don't pull my focus away from the sentences. I get lost in the words like when I was young. I'm enjoying the books more.

illustration of an open book with tons of annotations and tabs on the pages.


Despite everything I said above, social media is NOT the death of reading. The bookish community is a welcoming place and everyone is enthusiastic about reading. People are passionate about things they find out through reading and champion causes. The online bookish spaces show how reading is a radical act.

However, I don't think reading should thrive only in social media because of how they are run by algorithms which aren't friendly to pure things. We need to recognize when it is turning into an echo chamber or is affecting us negatively.

Finding or creating a reading community in real life should be a priority. Whether you find people through cultural events or meet up with people you befriended online, move the relationships and conversations out of the screens.

Get involved in the local reading scene. Find out what people around you are reading and what languages they are reading in. This helps us to be more aware of local literature rather than only international literature (or literature driven by first-world countries).

Recently, I joined a silent reading session in person that brought the above point to clarity. After an hour of silent reading, we discussed Women in Translation. I have seen such discussions online but being a part of it in real life was a whole different experience. Especially because the specific cultural situation we're living in adds dimension to our conversations, it makes them more relatable. I walked away with a firm decision about my choice of books and took several recommendations of books that I hadn't heard of before.

How much ever it helps, we need to make sure that we're not reading for social media. We should be reading every book for ourselves, whatever the point of it is. It can be for hope, to escape into a different world, for some exciting action, to understand our history, or whatever else. But the point of reading each book should be for us, not for creating content or for the hype.

what do you think?

Are you a reader on social media? How do the various social platforms affect your reading habits (and by extension, your life)? Do you agree or disagree with my points? Is there anything I missed to talk about? Tell me in the comments!

If you're interested in hearing more of my thoughts and think pieces, make sure to subscribe to my newsletter! I send smaller versions of such ponderings through them.

photo of Sumedha

Sumedha spends her days reading books, bingeing Kdramas, drawing illustrations, and blogging while listening to Lo-Fi music. Read more ➔

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  • Marie @ drizzle & hurricane books says:

    I love this post so, so, so, so damn much and it's way too relatable. Social media is a vacuum and we really get into it and somehow ends up reading whatever gets thrown at us. I'm with you on thinking back about the "good old times" ahah when I used to browse in libraries and bookshops for books that appealed to me. Now, I feel like every time I get in one of these places, my eyes immediately catch on books I've previously heard of and seen .... on social media. I feel like some of the appeal to just... let myself discover books on my own, has disappeared, with book blogging for so long. I'm trying to make a point to pay attention to that, more, and to try and let myself discover things on my own, more. But yeah, sometimes it's tough, because you're always thinking about social media, what other people read, what you should read, therefore, to feel relevant, as well.
    I've been a little absent from blogging, lately - spending less time on it to focus on other hobbies and life - and therefore, I feel like I'm getting a bit less influenced? I still feel very bad about myself when I don't get to read as much as others. I still get ARC envy, at times. But I'm trying to step back and focus on reading what I want to, in my own time. It's a process! 🙂
    I could rant about this for ages I'm so sorry ahah. Really love this post!

    Reply ➔
    • sumedha @ the wordy habitat says:

      I'm so glad you loved this post, Marie! you get me haha, for a while there I was under the impression that my experience is different because others commenting said they're not that influenced 🙈 if we spend time away, yes we're less influenced! it's all about finding a balance and, like i did with social media, quit if it's too much 😅

      Reply ➔
  • Clo @ Cuppa Clo says:

    Ok ok I find it so interesting that you felt pulled towards the more popular books when you would go into the bookshops to browse due to the fear of missing out. Mainly because I also used to read the blurbs of books before picking, whether in a library or a bookshop I read the blurb sometimes the last page. (don't question younger me, she didn't care about being spoiled xD). I would take my time looking at covers, reading the blurbs and eventually pick out books that appealed. Like yourself though nowadays when I go into those same places, the popular books are known to me in some capacity, maybe I'm aware of what it's about or some tropes or perhaps some of my friends enjoyed it. Often though I'm not drawn to those books aside from being like 'oh that's cool the library/bookshop has xyz'. I will just comb the shelves for books I've not heard much about or pull out ones that pull me in based on visuals like I used to. I guess I actively seek out the books I don't know much about because to me that's a bit more exciting?

    Like I may still pick up a popular book but I do love seeing if I can find any hidden gems amongst the books I know nothing/little about. Maybe its because I've never been one to rush to read the hyped/newest releases and I just take my time to get to things even if it leaves me with the FOMO feeling seeing people talk about it and not being able to join in. I will eventually get there in my own time I guess - which is what blog posts feel like they are timeless there's no rush to read them right now - they'll still be here. It's easier to retrace your way back to specific blog posts/blogs than it is to find someone on social media or a specific reel/instagram post/tweet etc. I guess it's why I've always been careful on listening to social media recs for books. I typically only take in book recs from friends/bloggers or if instagram manages to capture my attention with a cover reveal xD

    OMG yes the reading identify love being a reader but my gosh the crisis it brings when you're not reading a lot and feel so heckin' lost. I wonder if this crisis feels more intense for those of us who have always been readers ever since we can remember? I'm curious now do you think people who picked up reading in later life feel as lost when they don't read as much? I suppose that would depend on how into reading they got? Hmmm food for though that is. (also I am so sorry this is going to be an essay comment I can feel it in my bones but I just love this post so much!)

    I agree wholeheartedly with your point on how reading should be for us and not social media. It's definitely one of the trickier things I had to balance when I returned to blogging and was wanting to integrate more bookish content again. I want to read and enjoy the book; I don't want to be picking up the book with the intention to make notes for a post. Or to be able to check it off a list and be one step closer to having read the majority of books in a recs list. It's why so many of my bookish posts take forever to come out. I refuse to rush myself to read everything just for content. I've been there, done that got a huge reading slump from it and wondered if I'd killed my love of reading. (perhaps a bit dramatic but at the time it was so alien to me to not be reading all the time.) When I compile recommendations posts I want to have read the vast majority of books in there because otherwise how can I recommend them? It's (usually) impossible for me to read everything in a rec post before it goes live but I try my very best to read at least 50=75% of the books listed so I know what I'm suggesting to people. I've also taken to repeatedly mentioning some of my favourite books both because I love them and also it's a way for me to internally link to their specific posts.

    I think an interesting thing for me is unlike most of the book community I never really got into review requests and I have never gotten an ARC in my life. This was at the time because I wasn't consuming ebooks and physical ARCs are costly and as a new blogger I'm not going to be on the priority list. However the silver lining to this has been, it enabled me to see how much I dislike reading with the intent to review, the pressure sucks the joy out of reading for me. Since I never got into ARCs I've been very used to sitting in this space not knowing about the newest releasings or having an ARC mountain to take care of. In that respect I guess social media trying to push books at me doesn't quite work. For instance 99% of my book recs I get from blog posts and friends, the 1% is instagram photos that pop up every so often with book covers that catch my eye. My instagram explore page is dominated by Kpop (stray kids mostly), random funny reels I interact with regularly, reddit threads that get screenshotted and posted and other random screenshots of stuff. Books aren't really pushed by the algorithm for me because I typically only interact with my friends posts and one or two I happen to see. I would not change my instagram's explore page for anything, I don't wish to be bombarded by social media about the latest books like I have blogs and friends for that.

    Another thing to note for me is since coming online and being in the book community my reading has overall decreased in quantity but increased in quality. Now I think this is again because I know my tastes pretty well by now and I'm very selective these days with the 'random' books I pick up. There was a time where I would pick up anything that slightly caught my eye. Now I tend to put those books back, something has to really grab me for me to pick it up. I take my time reading and since I have gotten other hobbies since starting blogging, it makes sense that I'm not prioritising reading as much if I'm wanting to do something else. (e.g play Genshin Impact or cross stitch etc.)

    Social media is a wonderful thing but sometimes the echo chamber is very strong, it's why I don't tend to read Blog Tour reviews because its too much promo for one book in one go. If any blogs I love are on it I'll likely read their posts but that's about it. Ok that's it, enjoy my long rambly comment and I loved this post so very much! Thanks for writing such a wonderful post 💜

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    • sumedha @ the wordy habitat says:

      hi hi! sorry for the late reply, i wanted to set aside time to properly respond to your essay comment haha. i absolutely love your long comments and always want to appreciate them properly.

      it's great that you're not pulled towards the popular books, i think i'm just more susceptible to influence haha. i'm now picking books like you do and i'm enjoying most of my reads!

      on the reading identity, i do think it's more for us who started reading early! because we've been reading for longer and it is our "identity" longer, we feel more lost when we don't read as much or read what we used to. i've been known as a bookworm since 6th grade and that was my whole personality in school! till now, when i meet old acquaintances, that's what they remember about me. hOWEVER, i have seen that people who started reading later attach themselves to the identity by choice pretty fast and dive into the entire bookish space. so when they fall into their first slump, they're more lost than us. i do think it depends on the amount of reading and how much each of us personally is attached to reading as an identity rather than a hobby.

      "I refuse to rush myself to read everything just for content." this!! so i actually made myself rush through a bunch of books so that i can properly make a book rec list and it was so hard because my post would get delayed if i didn't like some books and i couldn't include them so i had to find new ones, you know? i had most of the books ready from before but because i wanted to hit a number, i would read for content instead of enjoyment and i was doing it all wrong. on the "making notes" part, now that i left social media and have started to embrace the notetaking habit more (for personal organization rather than content), i quickly make notes all the time on books so when i sit down to write reviews, it's much easier. i'm reading and enjoying first and then later making content on what i already have. this is a much more sustainable way to read and write.

      on the last three paras, it looks like you've been great at staunching the social media influence and picking books based on only your personal preferences and trusted sources. love that for you!! maybe you could make a post on how you pick your next reads or how you manage social media such that it doesn't overwhelm you or influence your choices? i think that would be interesting to read!

      thank you so much for the lovely comment, Clo 💜

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