why i’m no longer a “critical reader” and other rambles

Hi there!! Wow it feels like it’s been AGES since I wrote my last blog post, gosh. For a few weeks now I’ve been in this weird book slump (not only a reading slump….we’re gonna get into it, dw) and I just haven’t been inspired or motivated to create content at all. And that’s fine! You don’t owe the internet anything. I always see people get super stressed out about posting regularly and always being online and ugh it stresses me out FOR them lol. But that’s a whole other discussion. Today, I simply want to touch on some things that have been going through my mind in terms of bookstagram, reading, and the book community in general. Hope you enjoy! Can’t wait to discuss with y’all in the comments xx

I’ve tried writing this a few times now and I was never happy with the outcome so…..here’s hoping I can finally put my thoughts into words that actually make sense (which, if you’re reading this, chances are good I succeeded). First off, if you haven’t read my last blog post (“new perspectives”) yet, I highly recommend you do because this is a sort of part 2 (but not really).

Recently, I haven’t been motivated or inspired to create content at all, so I’ve spent a lot more time outside of my bookstagram bubble than I usually would. And I’m so glad I did! Because it really made me realize a lot of things about my relationship with this community and reading in general. Little disclaimer: I feel like some of the things I’m gonna talk about in this post could come off as incredibly judgy so…just so you know, this is first and foremost about my experience! You do you, I’m not here to judge your (reading) habits or anything else ❤

Some background for you: I never knew reading outside of bookstagram/the book community. My friend Naz recently published a blog post which I really loved, and she said she wanted to reignite her love for reading and that being so caught up in the community sort of made her forget why she loved reading so much in the first place (Naz pls correct me if I’m wrong lmao). Reading that, I realized I never really felt that. I was never really a reader, aside from one book here and there. I discovered reading through booktube a little less than 2 years ago, and I’ve been part of the book community ever since. There’s no reading outside the book community for me. And while I absolutely *love* talking about books online and having my little community, it’s also incredibly draining. I really wish I could relate to what Naz was talking about in her post, I really do! Reading has always been linked with “””work””” (not really but I don’t know how else to put it) for me, and after all this time on bookstagram, it’s finally starting to get to me. I’ve put so much energy into the book community that I’m just burnt out at this point. And now I’m on a mission to see reading separately and just treat it as a hobby!

I come from a family of readers, but I guarantee you, none of them know that things such as bookstagram actually exist. When I first told them about a readathon I was participating in at the time, they were like “what the hell are you even talking about?” lmao. And you know what? They’re having the best time reading. No “shit, I haven’t finished a book this month yet!”, no “I’m so behind on my Goodreads goal, fuck!!”, no nothing. Just pure enjoyment. I mean, that’s the point, isn’t it? Seeing so many readers online be so stressed out about their reading (which, different things work for different people, you know the drill) makes me feel stressed out as well LMAO.

The funny thing is, I used to be one of “those people”, always stressed out about numbers, goals, everything. I also had some serious issues with being a “critical reader” (whatever that is, really) and trying to come off as a “critical reviewer”. I used to think I was *so* much better than everyone else because I didn’t just throw around my 5-star-ratings (thinking back on it makes me cringe so hard lol). But, fun fact, you’re allowed to love all the books! Not being a “critical reader” doesn’t make you less of a reader! In fact, I believe that simply reading for enjoyment without feeling the need to analyze every little thing that might be wrong with a book is actually the way to go (at least for me personally). Yeah, I like a good rant review from time to time. I’m not saying you aren’t allowed to dislike books, because I do that a lot, actually. On that note – if you’re not enjoying a book for whatever reason……D N F ! ! ! (I’m very passionate about DNFing books lol). I’m not here to tell you what and what not to do, I’m really not. I’m just saying…..maybe take a step back, just like I did, and see what happens!

So, yeah. I’m over being a “critical reader”. Honestly, I’m even over this community as a whole a little. I know it sounds dumb – but everyone’s just *so* obsessed with books/reading I just– I don’t know. It makes me uncomfortable and I’m so tired of it. I’m so tired of the way everyone talks about books (as if numbers were more important than actually enjoying what you read, etc.), I’m so tired of seeing everyone nitpick every little thing about every damn book (especially concerning romance, I’ve been seeing a LOT of that on my timeline recently and I’m just like…..simply don’t read romance😭 anyway), and I’m especially tired of being bombarded with all this content loaded with pressure, forced negativity (i mean, like, purposefully picking up books you know you’re gonna hate……you know what I mean) and wannabe-edgy opinions. Y’all know, I’m not one for ~positive vibes only~ or any kind of BS like that. But sometimes I just wish people (especially in the book community) would be less focused on coming off as “different” or “cool” or whatever they think they’re doing and would spend a little more time on what actually matters. No, you’re not cool or edgy because you hate a popular book or you only give out low ratings❤️ (I could talk about this for AGES but this behavior, especially when it comes to books like ACOTAR or the like, REEKS of internalized misogyny and it’s not cute). I hate to say it, but I’m fucking fed up and every time I open bookstagram, I scroll through 5 posts max and close the app again.

I guess what I’m saying is…..don’t expect any kind of content from me at the moment?? I hope that curating my little virtual space on instagram and taking a step back for a while will make me excited about bookstagram again. But until then, I’m just gonna chill, read some (romance) books and enjoy my fucking time. There are literally people out there trying their best to make you feel bad for liking something? EXCUSE ME??? That’s just not what I’m about. I mean, none of this directly affects my life and it’s not the big deal I’m making it out to be with this post. I guess I just needed to blow off some steam lmao, you know how it is.

Well, this got real aggressive real fast. Just know that I’m first and foremost roasting and calling out my past self with this post hahah. EMBERAZZING, oh my. Anyway – I probably didn’t even scratch the surface here because uni is currently frying all my brain cells, so I really can’t wait to hear your thoughts on this topic chat about your own experiences with bookstagram/the book community! I only have my own little perspective to go off of, and there are SO many sides to the book community that I will never be able to touch on. So, that’s it from me I guess?? See you (hopefully) soon, my fellow gentlefriends ❤

19 thoughts on “why i’m no longer a “critical reader” and other rambles

  1. JASMIN!!!!<3333333 Your rambles are my favourite because you convey all the thoughts I couldn’t say myself. The way the book community discusses books is one of my biggest pet peeves now. I can’t stay on bookstagram that long either every time I see a QOTD I run away LOOOOL like you said the obsession with numbers and how many books you’ve read and so on is just soooooooooooooo annoying. It sucks out the fun of reading and being in that mindset for like 2 years now is just blehhh I’m glad we’re both taking a step back. Also, I know you didn’t really get into reading until the community but at least you can see how your family out here is just vibing and reading so you’ll end up falling into place with that mindset eventually. and OOOOOF don’t get me started on the people who will go out of your way to make you feel bad for enjoying things???? Anyways, side rant hehe — at one point it never felt like people were being genuine in wanting to discuss things when asking questions on their posts it just kind of felt like people were asking for the sake of asking and not because they care but more so for the algorithm if you know what i mean. There’s only a handful of people I enjoy answering their questions and talking to them but anywaaaaays this is a long ass comment oops LOL IDK IF ILL EVER COME BACK AT THIS POINT BUT IF I DO COME BACK I NEED YOU SAB SAADIA BROOKE AND EVERYONE THERE OR ELSE ID BE BOREDDDD ok bye love u and love this post

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LMFAOOO NAZ ILY FOR THISSSSS i feel you so muchhh. i love how we’re all collectively taking a step back and/or are annoyed by the community sdkfjhskdf like i hate to say it but people really need to sort out their priorities lmao. ALSO YESSSS UR SO RIGHT like i sometimes feel so weird just answering a random ass question with no context,,,,,you know what i mean??? i always wanna say something else too LMFAO

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  2. OK THE CRITICAL READER PART HIT ME RIGHT IN THE BONES!! I also used to be such a wack ass on goodreads (before i made a bookstagram 4-5 years ago??) and oooof I made it my fucking personality to judge books and make my reviews so negative. I got into this pattern of picking up books that I knew I wasn’t going to like and now looking back at it, I’m just covering my face because wow EMBARAZZING !! I’m so glad I’ve gotten so much better at reviewing books based on what i’m currently in the mood for: critically analyzing or straight entertainment. I already have an understanding of what my feelings are gonna be based on the type of book I choose to pick up. For instance, I recently read the From Blood and Ash series and I already knew that this was for pure entertainment. I’m not about to treat this like it’s some kind of high fantasy novel and that’s critically acclaimed because that’s just clown behavior. It is so tiring to see the whole community act this way and it’s like brother yall don’t know reading comprehension suddenly~ I think the best reviews are when someone criticizes the story and writing as well as add their feelings. I would enjoy it way more than a review that nitpicks every single detail (we already did that in school
    -______- ) jsdhfdjh anyway, ooooooweeee am i bored with posting on instagram– i go on there and i just want to delete my account or go on private because everything about it just turns me off from reading or journaling. it all seems so forced and fake and it’s like are we actually talking about books or are we just complaining about the algorithm or not being able to read enuf. Like buddy???You don’t have to post, it’s okay if ur not reading anything??? I just wanna shake everyone’s shoulders and be like wake up !! I think this break is helping a lot for me because I’m actually wanting to post about my thots on recent reads (on my blog, still not ready for instagram). It just feels so robotic on instagram and i wish people would stop worrying so much about numbers~

    Liked by 2 people

    1. OMG THIS COMMENTTTT I WANT TO FRAME IT AND HANG IT ABOVE MY BEDDDD honestly you always bring up the best aspects, whenever i start some kind of discussion about something i can‘t wait for ur input because BIG BRAIN ENERGY!! especially the thing about going into different books with different expectations — YES TO THAT!! i‘ve been talking about this so often bc i keep seeing people pick up things like FBAA, to use your example, and expect something that it‘s just not supposed to be?? N E WAYS i wish we could just yell at people so they finally wake up like😭 bruh whatcha doinnnnn😭 AND THE ALGORITHM PART !!!!!!!!!!!!!! SAY IT LOUDER

      Liked by 1 person

      1. THE WAY WE CAN GO OFF ABOUT THE BOOK COMMUNITY AJDSKK seems like we’re never going back HAHAH I wish I could go off about the algorithm discourse on instagram but I know I’m gonna get cancelled lmaofsdjfk (maybe I’ll make a blog post about it)

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  3. I agree with everything you just said! I love this community to pieces, but sometimes they really can be too much. I’ve been a reader since I was a kid, and I’ve always loved books, but a couple of years back I remember being so stressed that I wasn’t reading enough because uni was crazy and I was too busy and had fallen behind on my GR challenge. My sister just looked at me like I was crazy and said that I’d already read more so far that year than anyone else she knew. It really helped put everything into perspective for me.
    Lately, I’ve been better with taking a step back to just enjoy whatever I’m reading and not being on bookstagram all day every day. Not to mention, I’m actually getting better at DNFing books and it’s still scary but life really is too short to make myself finish a book I’m not enjoying.

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  4. i love this post so much, u already know how much i resonate with everything you said as we have these rants to each other on the daily ☠️ i have been a reader since i was out of the womb basically LMAO so i always say i want to go back to reading like i did before. since i found booktube it really changed my perspective on reading in a good way bc now i’m reading more and finding such cool books, but also it has impacted it negatively in making me think i need to read all the popular books even if i dont care + be super duper critical. i’ve since stopped caring about it all and just doing me and i’m loving jt again because im actually enjoying my reads🤍

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    1. yesss i love this for us truly. it‘s insane that simply enjoying books is such a crazy concept for us like??? what???? i don‘t think i‘ve gotten into reading the way i did without the community and i love talking about books obviously, but this whole mindset that the community brings with it is soo draining istg


  5. okay wowwwww it’s so crazy to me how you are such a different reader than I am. i was the first reader in my school, my parents all read to me and I was obsessed with it since birth honestly hahha. and I really applaud you in taking space because I think it’s rlly important for your mental health and just realizing that NONE of this matters. booksta is simply fun for me, it’s not rlly my main platform either and I always keep in mind that I can step back from it, like if it died it wouldn’t care. some months I read forty books, others I read two, some months I’m always blogging and posting pics and others I’m silent ooooppps. but I wholeheartedly support this and hope you come back a lot happier!

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  6. omg this post is sooo good and i definitely relate to it on a few levels! i used to be the exact opposite of a critical reader and it would be rare for me to rate a book anything less than 3 or 4 stars. but then i started watching more and more booktube. i don’t want to call anyone out lol but there were a few big booktubers on there who literally made it their personality trait to hate on popular books 👀 and i felt like to be a “real” reader and reviewer i had to be more harsh. obviously that’s not true at allll but i think it’s so important for people to remember that there’s no one way to bookstagram, or blog, or booktube, or review.
    bookstagram is just … not it anymore and i totally get what you’re saying about taking a step back!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. yesss this!!! i feel like i know exactly who you‘re talking about🤧🤧 i can‘t even pinpoint what has exactly changed for me on bookstagram but as you said, it‘s just not it anymore for some reason. everything seems so forced ugh i just can‘t anymore😭

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  8. This is my first time on your blog and I love it! And I’m tired of feeling like I have to be a ‘critical reader/reviewer’ too! There are times when I really wanna critique a book, so then I go all out and rant and rant and rant! Other times I just wanna say ‘dude, good book, I like’ HAHAHAHA! I’m getting comfortable with critiquing when I’m in the mood now, and not feeling guilty when I just give a simple, succinct review. Thanks for this great post! I absolutely loved reading this!

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