There are a lot of times that I love being able to look books up online. I’ve become slightly addicted to Goodreads, and my “To Read” shelf is always growing – but I love that I can throw a book on my shelf and don’t have to remember that title because I can just look it up later. Pretty much any time a friend recommends a book I try to put it on Goodreads so that I can check it out when I get a chance.
I’m also reading more and more book reviews online. What I love about these is I get to see what the book is about and what one opinion of it is. Any time I read a book synopsis that sounds interesting, it ends up on my Goodreads. And let’s not lie, sometimes when a reviewer absolutely hates on a book, I’ll sometimes save that one – I just have to think, it can’t be that bad, right? So I want to read it myself and find out!
But I’ve realized lately that my online book habits are translating to the real world in an interesting way. At some point while I was looking at book reviews, I started searching online at the local library for books that I wanted to read – which isn’t a bad thing. It was quite helpful to see which book I was looking at online that was actually accessible to me. But then, because the branch that I go to is quite small, the majority of books that I want to read I have to order to my branch. I don’t have to go anywhere – they just come to me! It’s quite nice – I just have to stroll in to the hold shelf, pick up the ones that have my name on them, and sign them out. I can be in and out of the library in 2 minutes.
So maybe you’re sitting there thinking, how is this a bad thing? I get to look up books from the comfort of my own couch, pick out the ones I want to read, have them delivered to my local branch and I just have to go and pick them up. And yes, it’s pretty awesome and convenient – one of the things I love about a library system.
But today I realized that’s not all I love about libraries. I happened to stop by my branch, but I didn’t have any books to pick up. Instead I wandered around the library looking for a book and all I could think was: I missed this. I missed looking around at the these books. I missed picking up random novels, not knowing anything about it, and simply reading the back to determine whether or not I wanted to take it home. No star ratings, no reviews, no recommendations, just me and a room full of books. I missed exploring the unknown novel.
Obviously I’m still going to explore books online. I hear about so many books that way, and it introduces me to books that I probably wouldn’t pick out myself. But I’m definitely going to make a point of going into the library and wandering around for a book I haven’t heard of before. While recommended books are awesome, I really do love that feeling of discovering a treasure of a novel, and finding it all on my own. So if you’re a person who just puts books on hold, the next time you’re in the library don’t beeline for the hold shelf – take a chance at the unknown novel!