By Jordana Seal, Third Year English and Theatre Studies
Reading has become romanticised, producing the kind of person who casually lounges around in coffee shops artfully sipping cappuccinos. This identity of course has become curated, and the books promoted by a long list of social media influencers. One would assume that this would be a win for the reading community, but I strongly disagree.
I have always considered myself to be an avid reader, a hobby that was never as popular as group sports or performing arts. However, social media has sparked a new phenomenon of reading.
I instantly wanted to become part of this social media sub-culture and participate in the conversation surrounding the books being discussed online and even amongst my friends who have started to find a love for reading. Yet, instead of being welcomed by this new community of readers, I have been rejected, as I fail to see these recommended books as matching the glamourised status under which they have been awarded.
I will acknowledge that some of the books recommended on social media are great, but the constricted reading agenda of the community has created a new form of exclusivity surrounding reading as a hobby.
Having enjoyed a popular recommendation, Taylor Jenkins Reid’s 'The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo’, I decided to delve into another of her hyped books, ‘Daisy Jones and The Six’. I was disappointed by the book. The pace was slow, the interview style was uninventive, and the characters were unlikeable.
When I expressed this opinion, I was thrown a series of insults, including that I was a ‘book snob’, making me feel embarrassed for having an opinion. I was made to feel like an outcast and even questioned myself, if everyone online loved something, why did I not?
Then it dawned on me that these feelings were unnecessary, part of the joy of reading is forming opinions good or bad. This new reading community shuns any views that do not align with influencers or mass opinion. Platforms which are meant to be celebrating reading are discouraging new readers from finding their own niche genres and authors they love.
So, next time you don’t love a recommendation made by an influencer, here is what I have to say. Put down your book, and head over to your local bookshop. Have a chat with the staff and express to them genres or even past authors that you have enjoyed. Browse the aisles and pick up something that you may not have heard of but like the sound of.
Don’t allow what you read to be dictated by social media and continue to share your opinions, despite their controversy.
Featured Image: Courtesy of Isabel Williams
Have you read a hyped book that didn't quite meet expectations?