Today we welcome Katie of Doing Dewey!
As a reader, I’ve always adored my local library. Whenever I move, one of the first things I do is get a library card. The library is basically a place where anyone can walk in and receive advanced review copies – free books! There are often wait lists for the very newest books, but personally having the very newest books doesn’t matter to me. To me the only downside of a library book compared to an ARC is that you can’t keep it forever and even that isn’t a problem if you haven’t overscheduled your reading to where you can’t fit library books in between your ARCs. My favorite thing about libraries is what I’m going to talk about today – the ability to browse.
A few others bloggers have already tackled this topic. Aarti at Book Lust talked about the forgotten pleasures of browsing which inspired Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness to experiment with a return to book browsing. Like both of these bloggers, I used to do more browsing than I do now. I’d go to the library and simply wander the shelves. Unless I was in the middle of a series, I went in without any specific books in mind. As a book blogger, I do that much less frequently. I always have had so many good books recommended to me by bloggers I trust, I usually go to the library to pick up something specific. Even if I don’t, there’s my ever-growing goodreads TBR list to turn to once I’m there. However, as both Kim and Aarti pointed out, I think we lose a little something by never browsing.
As book bloggers or people who read book blogs, it’s so easy to stick to the book recommended by others. As a book blogger, it’s very easy to go overboard requesting ARCs and end up constantly following a reading schedule. Browsing is a wonderful way to add some spontaneity and diversity to your reading. I think spontaneity is just pure fun. If a book comes highly recommended, you can start it with impossibly high expectations. A spontaneous pick has none of the pressure, so it’s that much more thrilling when you find a surprising new favorite.
The diversity added to by browsing can be just as important as intentionally reading books by and about diverse people. It’s wonderful to read a book all your blogging friends are reading so you can chat about it, but I think it’s also important for each of us to approach the world from slightly different perspectives. Reading different books is one great way to make sure we each maintain our individuality. And if you do find a great book, you can often be the one to introduce your friends to that hidden gem. So live a little, bloggers! If you feel your reading is missing diversity or spontaneity, some browsing time at your local library might be just what you need.