I am a massive fan of Booklr, aka the bookish part of Tumblr. It is a really easy place to connect with others from all around the world who have a massive love for books. In the past couple of years that I have been a part of the community, I have found many great book recommendations.
And as much as its great to talk to people online and be enthusiastic about books, it’s something else to be able to find someone in real life, so to speak, who also has a great love of books.
I know quite a few people who have a love of books – most of my close family for example – but unfortunately for me, it has been a rare occurrence for me to find someone who likes the same genres as me. Which is why Booklr was such a great place for me.
Now, let’s rewind about three, maybe four years ago. I was at university studying for my undergraduate degree, and while I was there, I worked in a well-known health and beauty shop. This company looked after their staff well as whenever I worked a full shift, I would have breaks totalling to an hour and a half. A brilliant amount of time to read books, especially when I got myself an e-reader so I could eat my lunch and read at the same time. Due to the scheduled time of my lunch break (11am, but in all fairness, I did start work at 7am, sometimes 6am) I would find myself having lunch by myself. Not that I minded, as I said earlier, I had plenty of reading time.
One day, my co-worker Adam was also scheduled for the same lunch time, and he would also read a book. I would be at one end of the canteen, already having nabbed the least decrepit chair, and he would be at the other. Both of us reading our books.
Then one lunchtime, we just started talking about books, which I think stemmed from our mutual love of Game of Thrones, but to be honest I’m not entirely sure how we started. We would talk about books that we were reading, books that we wanted to read. Our conversations were just about books in between spurts of reading.
Adam had forgotten to bring a book to work one day, so he went to Waterstones during his break to buy one. It was The Night Circus. It had only been recently published and he had bought it purely because it just looked so beautiful. By the end of the lunch break he was already recommending the book to me. I did read it, it just took me a couple of years to get around to doing so, and a recommendation from a different co-worker from a different job gave me the kick up the backside to do so. (Spoiler alert: I loved the book).
These lunchtime conversations only lasted for a few months. Adam was a fellow university student, but his course was a year shorter than mine. Then, I was back again in my own personal bubble of reading. I loved these bookish conversations. At first I found them annoying because they ate into my reading time, but then I would look forward to them.
I miss them now. I used to think that reading was very much a solidary activity, but through these conversations, I found that reading can be a collaborative activity, that it wasn’t weird to become so enthusiastic about it. I mean, sure I was and still am a massive Harry Potter fan, but I hadn’t really come across such enthusiasm about books and reading outside of that. I suppose those conversations were a precursor to discovering Booklr, to find and interact with those with the same bookish interests as me.
However, I do find I have the same problem. Talking about books cuts into my reading time. Not that I would change that.