books, reading

Is There Such a Breed as the Persnickety Bookdragon?

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I am most definitely the above described creature. And I absolutely appreciate the generational value of literature, and want to see the world full of children who enjoy reading, and if you roll out a list of “100 books everyone should read,” there is a very good chance I will personally have read at least some of them. Many, depending on the genres or topics.

But here’s where the nitpickiness of my reading habits begin to show: Depending on the genres or topics. A few years ago, I’d reached the point of being comfortable with my specific interests, and not quite caring if those didn’t match up with the hobbies of those around me. I didn’t feel the need to apologize for being a geek and primarily ingesting fantasy, science fiction, fairytale retellings, alternate history, magical realism, and all of this in YA and even juvenile publications.

However, eventually my rationale started to feel hollow. I was running out of new authors to try — especially since I’d already rejected many of the ones I’d discovered since taking up blogging — and starting to wonder if I was…well, just too particular a reader.

Since joining two book clubs through my local library, I have realized that I am A) indeed quite persnickety when it comes to what I want to read, and B) for reasons I can’t really explain, it does bother me.

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Here’s a list of my bookdragon sins:

  • Not finishing books
  • Skimming scenes or entire chapters that weren’t catching my fancy
  • Giving up on a series halfway through if it took a turn that irked me
  • Not trying something else by an author whose work was so-so for me
  • Dismissing entire genres after only one read, or even none at all
  • Imposing a book buying ban on my whole family
  • Not joining a subscription box the second I learned about them
  • Refusing to give new releases a chance just because they’re compared to titles/series I didn’t like

There was a time when I’d defend all of these moves. These days…not so much.

The fear of missing out is becoming quite real right now. I’m beginning to understand why book bloggers speak of adding every single new title they hear of to their TBR purely for the sake of not feeling out of the loop.

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Or, let’s put a positive spin on this. What are some good points to being a persnickety bookdragon? Well, you save money, you save time, and you save space. You don’t have to worry about wasting hard-earned cash on titles you always knew, deep down, you wouldn’t like; you don’t have to find places to put 473 books; you can devote more of your free moments to sunbathing in your yard and languorously petting the dog.

Please no one tell me this theory doesn’t hold up under scrutiny.

The downsides of this are not being included in as many online discussions, not getting references many of your friends do, and wondering what fictional glory you may be missing by not having read this or that. And none of this is fun. Not when you’re a bookdragon, and consuming a variety of literature and flailing over it is part of your very reason for existing.

So, I think it is time to loosen my tightened criteria, just a little. I want to have more of a hoard to proudly guard. I want to increase the hoard my children are nicely building. I want them to start finding bookdragon friends to flail with.

If this is most of my legacy, I’ll be okay with that.

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6 thoughts on “Is There Such a Breed as the Persnickety Bookdragon?”

  1. I, too, am a persnickety reader. Though for me, I’m narrowing my reading perspective in some cases. For example, I don’t like most romance, so most YA contemporary romance likely won’t make it on my TBR because it’s not what I enjoy. I haven’t actually been part of an official book club before, but it sounds like something I’d like to try someday. 🙂

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    1. There are certain genres I know I just don’t have an interest in, so I don’t make a conscious effort to read even recommended books from them. And it’s interesting, but generally that never really bothered me until I joined a book club where the majority of the selections fall into the “I can’t be bothered” category, lol. When there are 20 other people in a room raving about a title, and I seem to be the only one who couldn’t stand it, it makes me wonder what I’m missing. 😛 Book clubs aren’t necessarily the best way to spend your time if it turns out you’re not the target audience for the selections. That’s what I’ve discovered, at least.

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  2. I definitely think there’s a balance to be had with reading, because trying things you’re not *sure* about often leads to new favourites. 🤗 BUT! Life is really short!! and it’s easy to get caught up in reading something just because everyone else is even though you know it won’t work for you oops. So I think if one is a picky reader then that’s still okay. (Although I confess I actually learn a lot from books I don’t like?! 😂Reminds me of what not to do hhaah.)

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    1. Sometimes when I read a book I really don’t enjoy, I do make mental notes about approaches or tropes or POVs that don’t seem to work for some readers, and it can be a good reminder of why mainstream fiction doesn’t catch on for a lot of people! On the one hand, when a series or author is so popular and I can’t stand it, I will wonder what people are seeing that I’m not. And I don’t like the thought of missing a potentially great new book just because I wasn’t sure about it to begin with. But if I’m at least 40% in and not enjoying it, then I can really be content with giving up and not looking back. 😛

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  3. The reading life can be frustrating! I was going through another blog the other day…one of those “Here’s what I’m reading” posts, which I am curious about, I have to say. BUT, not one of the books or authors listed had I ever read. I never heard of them. Dang. I’ve actually ordered books people have raved about only to wonder later what was it about this book…hm. And yes I do have a secret pile of wonderful bookstore mystery books that I absolutely love reading…the Booker Prize winners can wait.

    Great post, Daley…thanks for sharing.

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