While looking to see which of my read-but-not-yet-reviewed books I’ve photographed, I came across a photo I took for a post some time ago of the pile of acquisitions I anticipated reading. Checking through, I let out a ‘yay’ as it became apparent that, of the ten, I’ve read and reviewed half of them, read-but-not-yet-reviewed one, leaving only four to read. Progress! But then a sinking feeling quickly took over. Am I turning my reading into work?
It feels that way sometimes. And I don’t seem to be alone. Other book blogs have similar lists – buckets, TBRs, progress reports, promises in the comments sections to read what others are reading – and I can’t help feeling a bit anxious at times. The epitome of this is when I come across readers who set reading ‘challenges’ for themselves.
There’s something of the language to it all that smacks of annual reviews at work. And I have to admit that there’s a sense that posting a newly completed review has a ring to it that reminds me of emailing a handover or homework.
It’s hard to say who or what our submissions are for. Are they a ‘please miss, I’ve been good’? Are they a memento that confirms that you’ve read more books than you’d otherwise credit yourself with? Are they a way to add to a bloggerly pot of readerly imagination that everyone stirs to stop themselves from reading in a cul-de-sac?
The book blogosphere that results is a workplace, however leisurely that workplace is. It’s a never-ending free journal we edit from home. Yes, it’s a discussion that’s not limited to a venue’s availability, your personal schedules, or the troubles with travel. But this discussion can be very earnest.
Wouldn’t it be great if book bloggers could come up with something to ease that work ethic? Somewhere to go, perhaps? Or a format? I’m thinking here of something that isn’t directly about books. Something tangential and non-verbal. Something that reinvigorates the leisureliness to reading. Or would that be just another project to work on?