On Selectivity

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In the past year of hanging out with everyone over on bookstagram, we've been inundated with so many good books on our feed, its overwhelming. Opening that app is basically like being hit with a flood of colorful covers and enticing synopses, of strong opinions, trends, and community. We love bookstagram so much, and find it such a fascinating corner of the internet filled with our wonderful fellow readers, but it is also such a crush of good books, we know we can never keep up.

Every week there are hot new releases, books everyone is reading, and a keen awareness of what's next. Everything always sounds so interesting and we just want to read it all, honestly....but we can't. We have busy lives, just like all of you, and that boils down to not enough time to ever get to all the books that are trending, or that everyone is currently obsessed with. We are all too aware that many of you feel the same struggle. 

We've been coming to accept that we can't keep up, and instead use bookstagram (and the internet at large) as a window into exploring books that might be perfect for us. 

Anne from Modern Mrs Darcy has a great point about focusing on choosing the best books for you and not necessarily paying attention to hype. This all hinges on the idea that you have to be real with yourself about your reading style, which can be a really hard thing to pinpoint, as a lot of us are often in flux.

I don't know about you guys, but I personally find myself fixated on a genre for a while then wandering off to something else, or noticing that my tastes are evolving, and I'm not sure what exactly is it I'm looking for any more. Knowing that, there are two things I'm focused on this year to do a better job of being selective with what I read.

Being honest with myself about whether or not a book is for me. This means taking stock of how I currently feel, monitoring my instinctive reactions to a synopsis or the opinion of someone I trust, and going more with what my gut is telling me I need more of. Lately that has looked like offbeat literary fiction and classics, but who knows what it will be next month. The important part is that i'm never trying to talk myself into a book and am able to let one go if it isn't immediately grabbing me. Basically if I don't want to drop everything else to read it RIGHT NOW, I should probably pass. 

Not getting too sucked into the hype. Having everyone around you clamoring that you just HAVE to read this book can feel like so much pressure, and it's easy to just want to keep up with what everyone else is loving and join in the larger conversations around these books. However, I'm learning that I actually really dislike a lot of what everyone else loves. I'm not exactly sure why that is, and it's certainly been making me feel a little out of step with the book world at large, but it's also forced me to go out of my comfort zone in search of books that I truly connect with, which has been eye opening and wonderful. It's led me to try new authors, test independent publishers, and say yes to things I wouldn't have considered before.

We'll see how this year plays out in terms of how well I can stick to these intentions and what impact it will have on my reading life, but I'm curious to know if anyone else has systems for themselves to stay selective about books??