Virtual Bookshelves and Reading Habits

Do you notice how if you keep a goal in front of you constantly, you feel this force within that constantly reminds you to meet or exceed the goal? Well, maybe not everyone feels this, but I sure do. If I set out an attainable vision before me and keep it in sight, in focus, I get obsessive. All in. I run like the wind and only slow down for essentials such as family, work, food, and sleep.

There have been a handful of online activities that have pulled this reaction out of me, including the introduction of the virtual bookshelves. I have kept a wish list of Audio books for over three years now, but I have recently decided to get connected to the world of online book communities, to get better book recommendations because until now I have lived in a private reading world, cut off from any hope of staying abreast of current book releases or reviews of those and backlisted books. After months of thinking about doing something about my lack of reading direction and ignorance of current goings-on, I began to engage several different avenues of connection almost all at once.

I started binge listening to several book related podcasts, such as Books On The Nightstand. I began frequenting reading communities such as Book Riot. I spent hours searching for book blogs, such as www.thebookmusings.com, and a lot more.

One of the things that I decided to do brings me back to the first line of this post. I signed up for GoodReads. Yes, I am a virtual bookshelf junkie. And I love it. I added over 100 books almost overnight. Every time I see a book that I have read, I add it to my shelf. My “to-read’ list is growing on a daily basis. And I can now easily keep track of what I am reading. I can jot status updates as I go when something makes me laugh out loud, or makes me angry, or even makes me think about life in a new way.

And why, does viewing a hypothetical shelf in a library that has no physical books give me a constant feeling that leaves me yearning to read more? One reason is simply because this whole world that previously lay dormant just beyond the boundaries of my reality, has opened up so many possibilities that are bombarding me, pleading for me to read them next. I can’t consume books fast enough to keep up with the pace of new books being released, or recommended to me.

So how do I manage this. Shut down some of the tunnels of communications? That pushes counter-intuitively on my super competitive, yearning for learning, and input hungry nature. So, I have surrendered to the fact that I will never read all the books I want to, I won’t be able to keep straight all the new books flooding the market, and I will never again have an empty pipeline of books waiting to be discovered. I am going to continue to add to my ever expanding list of titles to crack open someday, and keep on plowing through them as quickly and consistently as I can.

Will the obsessiveness continue indefinitely? Probably not. As with most things, it is next to impossible to continually run on full steam for long periods of time. However, I do foresee that the way look at reading, and how it directly impacts my life, has been forever altered for the technological and practical better.

Have virtual bookshelves changed your reading habits too?

Thoughts?

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