When I started this blog I never thought it’d become such a big part of my life. Barely a day goes by when I’m not posting about a book or responding to a comment or email or chatting with someone on social media about books. I’ve written 452 book reviews for the blog thus far and met countless readers – some of you I’ve even met in real life! And I really value all the chats about books we’ve had.
Of course I’ve always been a reader, but keeping this blog and interacting with other readers online has given me such a deeper appreciation for what a social activity reading is rather than seeing it as a strictly solitary act. It’s not an accident that so many avid readers are introverts - although, certainly not every reader could be classified this way. But I am someone who enjoys solitude and the process of reading demands this. So much alone time can cause a creeping glumness where I feel too disconnected from other people and I think this is partly why a sense of loneliness can overwhelm me at times.
I clearly remember a summer in my teens where I took a month off from working and school. For whatever reason, I was lucky enough to have freedom at that time to mostly sit at home and read. So I ardently read Dostoevsky and Faulkner for hours on end day after day. And one afternoon I looked up and thought: I AM SO DEPRESSED. Ha. Of course I was! Yes, it’s important to go out in the world now and then, but I think if I were online then interacting with other readers it would have made me feel a lot better. Hearing opinions and book recommendations from other readers and getting involved in so many bookish activities goes a long way to alleviate this occasional sadness and recognize how empowering solitude can be. So thanks for chatting with me about books!
I keep quotes from five wonderful authors in the side column of this blog to remind myself about the distinction between loneliness and solitude. It’s important for readers to remind themselves that there is a strength and connectedness that comes with the activity of reading when we’re alone. Since you’re also a keen reader I’m glad you understand what I mean. Thank you for being here.