Before I started blogging, I'd never heard the word "book pushing" and certainly wouldn't have done it. My friends and family have always known that I love to read, so it wasn't uncommon for them to ask me for book recommendations. While I was happy to offer suggestions, I rarely considered pushing the people in my life to read a book that I'd loved.
I've written recently about how reading is an experience where your story merges with the one that you are reading - making it incredibly personal when you become invested in a book. I've read a few wonderful posts over the last few months about how difficult it can be to express how you felt about a book that you just enjoyed or simply liked... but what about those books that you loved?
As I've become more immersed in the world of blogging, I've realized that there's a little war that goes on inside me when I really love a book. I've looked for other readers to confess to this same feeling, but I haven't seen anyone articulate quite what goes through my mind when I find a book that works so perfectly for me.
Do I want to SHOUT about a book or keep it a SECRET?
I debate this question when I fall in love with a book. I don't always want to do one over the other. Sometimes, I'll immediately know which way I'm leaning. Other times, I want to do a little of both. Let me explain...
“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical
zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.”
John Green, The Fault In Our Stars
Typically, I want to shout about books that I love when they feel refreshing and new - offering a different perspective on something, containing something that's been "missing" in a genre, representing the best of something that's become popular... And, most importantly, when I think it'll appeal to a range of readers.
As someone who reads a lot of adult fiction, I often lean toward shouting about an adult fiction book when I think will appeal to people who predominantly read YA. Furthermore, I'm more likely to shout when I think something deserves more attention or seems to have missed out on the hype machine.
If I think people may not hear about a book unless I shout about it, I try to make sure that I'm using my "voice" as effectively as possible. I'll begin suggesting it when asked for recommendations. I'll keep an eye out for opportunities to tell people about it. I'll write fangirl-y reviews or compose tweets meant to shine a light on the book that's stolen my heart. Sometimes, I just can't help myself!
A few examples of books I've "shouted" about:
"And then there are [...] books so special and rare and yours that advertising your affection feels like betrayal."
John Green, The Fault In Our Stars
But oh, how I want to keep beloved books a secret. I know, of course, that they aren't really a secret. Other readers will discover the worlds and characters that I've fallen in love with - and in some cases, I only found the book because of other readers shouting about it. I know that a book will find its way into thousands of hearts and homes, but some books become so special to me that I don't want to discuss them with anyone.
Typically, I want to keep a book a secret when I feel personally connected to it - a theme speaks to something that I've learned (or am currently learning) in my own life, a character (or several of them) feels so real to me, or it reminds me that I'm not alone in the way that I feel, think or see the world. When my story has become intertwined with the one in a book, I cannot separate the two enough to shout about it.
The more emotionally invested I am in a book, the less I want to tell anyone else about it. Because, in a way, it feels a bit too much like exposing a part of my heart. I'm never far from the awareness that it's fiction, but I do like to have a little spot inside where my feelings for certain books are untouched by the opinions of others.
However, as a blogger, I desperately want the books that I love to find their way into the hands of the right readers. It's the reason I still push myself to write about the books that feel more "secret" - because there's the chance that the book will affect someone else the way it did me.
So, instead of shouting to the masses, I will start quietly suggesting the book to my closest friends and the bloggers I know with similar taste. My hope is that it will create a snowball effect: lots of people talking at a normal volume can get really loud, really fast. It lets me keep whispering about it to certain people and, if it strikes a chord with other readers, many of them will take up the shouting for me.