blogging, pop culture

A Bookdragon Gone Rogue

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In the last year, I’ve decided to go distinctly against the grain of what most book bloggers have been obsessing over  cultivating as part of their platform. I opted out of Netgalley (mostly because I realized I couldn’t afford an e-reader or decent Smartphone), got off Goodreads, and never created an Instagram profile. I no longer keep a physical TBR, an active log of what I’ve recently read, and the only cohesive reviews I’ve put together in the past several months have been on this blog.

And does all of this unstructured approach make me feel more…chaotic? unprepared? ready to run off to Albania to herd goats? Nope. In fact it’s…liberating. Relaxing. Indulgent.

I don’t panic about my traffic and stats. (No, I genuinely don’t right now.) I don’t care if I missed a trend or hashtag game. Does this make me seem less friendly or less subscribe-able? Not sure. Maybe? (Hopefully not.)

I just want to enjoy what I read, and be reading it because I want to. Trying to keep up with who was reading what and which trend or bandwagon they were covering just made my head spin. So I gave up the sprint.

And, honestly, I have no regrets. Watching my fellow book bloggers becoming increasingly agitated over Instagram deciding to turn evil, over the fierce competition for ARCs, the pressure to post positive reviews no matter their own opinion on the title just makes me certain of it. Life is too short and other things more important than to get caught up in unnecessary drama that will send lifelong readers fleeing a pastime they once reveled in.

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So, now we come to the inevitable critique of this discussion: Since “bookdragon” is a title that came about as a result of behavior like hoarding masses of books, getting the jump on new releases, following what’s “in”, and keeping tabs on the ebbs and flows of the publishing industry, if I’m opting to abstain from a whole lot of this, do I still get to carry my “bookdragon” card?

I say yes.

And in addition, I think more of us should choose to go rogue.

I think we should start new movements, to bring reading back to this place of being about armchair adventure and emotional rollercoasters and perspective growth, rather than about status and position and fleeting popularity.

We should begin to forget why we wanted to be a book blogger…and remember why we wanted to share our favorite books with others.

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about the “early days”, when we’d simply gather together to flail over the latest announcement from a beloved author, our genre’s newest publications, a debut title that broke all the tropes, or just simply loving books. Loving to read.

miss this.

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Can we please go back to maintaining the bonds, instead of stepping up rivalry? Shouting from virtual rooftops, “HA! 22 BOOKS IN 31 DAYS! LOOOOSERS!”, really doesn’t make you a more accomplished person. Or very nice.

There’s been such an abrupt shift. When I first became aware of book blogging actually being a thing, and actively joining in the reading and commenting, I was so excited it could barely be contained. (Okay, that’s a flatout lie. I didn’t really bother containing it at all.) As a lifelong reader and writer, I had found my people and it was the best.

Then, almost before we knew it, there were lots of people either leaving blogging or social media entirely, citing too much pressure and subsequent burnout. Instagram is quickly becoming the same thing. And many authors — trad and indie, big and small — have been treated appallingly on Twitter because their titles didn’t line up with what bloggers (with no control over these publications) wanted.

The atmosphere has grown too toxic, too fast.

So, I went rogue. And I’m encouraging others to do so as well.

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I’ve made some of my best friends these days from getting into book blogging. Supporting each other was something we did so well. Nowadays we feel splintered.

None of these problems are by far universal or applied to every aspect of a booklover’s lifestyle. But there’s definitely (sadly) enough garbage going on to sufficently dampen a lot of people’s former enthusiasm — including mine.

And as a bookdragon, I’m going to do more than blow smoke about it.

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12 thoughts on “A Bookdragon Gone Rogue”

  1. Gosh I can imagine it’s quite liberating to go totally rogue! I’ve never been that deep into some of these things (and find myself increasingly pulling back from twitter cos of the drama on there) but there are times when I think it’s all a bit much. I think it makes sense not to try and keep up all the time. I’ve found even just a little bit of space from it can help. I definitely think you can hold the title of bookdragon regardless 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m beginning to feel that book blogging will probably decrease sharply in the next couple of years. Just like when it was first starting out, it’ll go back to being about reviews and fandoms and sharing the passion, not the stats or the hashtags.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I absolutely love this post! I love reading books as they come out, but I have found twitter’s arcsfortrade to be super toxic.

    I also recently started reading my ARCs out of order and oh my gosh it was liberating. I just read whatever book I’m excited about at that moment and let me tell you, I read more, enjoy more and STILL manage to get most of my reviews before publication. If I get a title and it doesn’t come out for months I will read it early and just hold the review. It’s made my reading life much happier.

    I love this post because I hate the toxicity and while I want to be transparent on my stats and how much I read, I don’t want to get competitive with myself or anyone else. I think as a book blogger if you get away from the love of books you need to find a way to bring yourself back to it, and that’s exactly what I did, and it looks like you did too!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this post. I’m still brand new to this community, so I don’t know too much about the ins and outs. I do know that I just want to write about whatever is on my mind at the time and read the books I want to read, no matter how far down the backlist. I also don’t use goodreads actively, barely use twitter, and don’t even have an Instagram. I catalog my books on a site called Libib and that works for me. I’m just here to have fun.
    Sorry for the ramble, I just really love this post. Everything you said was really thought-provoking so I just had to share! 😆

    Liked by 1 person

  4. As a relatively new book blogger all I can say is ‘THANK YOU’ for this post. I started this journey (a mere two months ago) with the hope of making the most of my year off from study and spending time chatting (online) to others about books I’m obsessed with etc. Once I got started I realised there was so much PRESSURE and it actually made me consider leaving before I’d even really begun. Which would be an utter shame since I’ve met some genuinely nice people I hope to be friends with. I’m so glad there are bloggers like you who just want to have fun, read some great or trashy books and then chat about them in no particular order for popularity or publication date. You’ve got a new follower in me! Happy reading 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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