Thursday, January 24, 2019

The New Reading Frontier

The cheesiest of this post's title notwithstanding, I still maintain that we are moving toward new reading territories. Maybe it's the new year or maybe it's inspired by the changes that we are making to Read Furiously, but I've noticed that, as a culture, we are changing the way we are reading - whether or not all of these changes are positive still remains to be seen.

Like all good bibliophiles, I read Book Riot regularly. The contributors are always thinking of new ways to discuss reading culture and habits. Back in December, Danika Ellis posed the question "When Did I Turn My Reading Into a Spectator Sport?" Of course, I encourage all of you to read this article, but even the rhetorical questions it poses is enough to get you thinking. In the age of technology, buzz words, different types of bookstores, self-publishing, and fan fiction, how do we define our reading? Once considered a solitary act, there are countless memes and Tumblr pages devoted to fandoms or just to the social act of reading. In the article, Ellis is discussing the many ways we reach out to others during the pursuit of reading, making this question worthy of discussion and evaluation. Why and how do we read? What conscious social scripts dictate our reading habits? Should we care?

The short answer is, yes, we should care. Reading can be both private and public and navigating these spaces have allowed us to expand our various literature canons, bestowing culturally normalized monikers such as "classic," "guilty pleasure," "must-reads," etc. Becoming a part of a larger reading community propels social groups such as book clubs or the new popular group, "books in bars" (usually offered by various public libraries). Sharing our reading joys and failures also fuels book-related hashtags, social media posts, and BookTube channels. We should care because our TBR piles are never full and we should care even more because this is how we are going to share ideas and stories. We begin with the books that we've read.

As for the longer answer, it's still in development. At least in the Read Furiously offices. Just this month, we've unveiled a new logo, our book schedule for the year, and our renewed commitment to sharing and encouraging the love of reading. Read Furiously began as an attempt to break into the online social circles of reading culture. In this new year, we are continuing our pursuit to contribute to it. 

So what's our master plan? For starters, we created a Furious Reader Challenge for 2019 that highlights active and mindful reading. We are also expanding our One 'n Done series - books that can be read in one sitting - so that Furious Readers can buy them wherever books are sold. We will continue to put out content that offers diverse perspectives and thoughtful conversation - mainly because we ourselves are Furious Readers and we know the importance of giving back to a community that has given us so much.

On that note: Read often, Read well, and (most importantly) Read Furiously. May your reading challenges offer surprising results in the new year!

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