Book blogging has always been about the learning experience for me. I started a blog one day to practice writing in English. Then, I slowly discovered book blogs and I loved how my knowledge about books and literary issues expanded. When people mention *cough* as some people recently did in real life *cough* how some hobbies distract from their career goals, I always smile and ignore them (while quietly seething inside), because I think if blogging has done anything for me, like reading in general does, it is sharpening my critical insights into certain issues.
Blogging, then, is a huge learning experience for me. Plus, it helps me realise how limited my own personal experiences are, and in that manner triggers a curiosity to look outside my own boundaries. Combined, these two have made me feel that blogging has been one of the most worthwhile additions to my life. It has also made me humble. I know that on the subjects of gender and ethnicity, for example, there are a huge number of bloggers more knowledgable than me. I love that I can learn so much through comments on my own posts (it has long been a blogging motto of mine that I am often still formulating opinions, only allowing myself to ask questions), or mostly by reading the well-rounded posts of others. However, at times it also leaves me overwhelmingly insecure with a tendency to question everything I want to write down. Which brings me to today’s subject:
I have noticed over the past months that I am often hesitant to pick up books that I know will make me think (not that any of the books I have read recently haven’t made me think), and that I will probably love, because I feel insecure about the thought that subsequent to reading said book, I will have to formulate an opinion about it. What bothers me even more is the fact that these are usually books on the very subjects I find so important. Power discourses, historical fiction set in colonial times, gender, ethnicity.. One of the reasons why I haven’t been doing very well on my Africa reading challenge is that next to persons such as Kinna or Amy, I would feel insecure about how I should feel about certain books, about how groups of people might be portrayed in said books, about what issues I should have signalled but will probably overlook, etcetera. I do not want to be bothered by such self-doubts, because the very idea of reading diversily, of reading on issues I find important but do not know a lot about, is that it is the perfect way to learn..
Hopefully by admitting this, I will give myself some leeway to explore literature without feeling too hesitant, ignorant, and insecure about the things I will undoubtedly encounter. I want to allow myself space to ask questions, to feel conflicted about which opinion to back, to perhaps post confusingly long paragraphs with different points of view because I feel I cannot decide yet. And so this is what I will attempt to do. Perhaps that means my blog will consist of navel-gazing sometimes (as if it doesn’t already – hah!) but I think these issues are important.
There is one thing I should note as well though, because I have noticed something over the past months that perhaps makes me feel less secure about exploring new horizons. Usually, comments on my post make me feel very grateful. They make me feel respected and understood, and even when critical, invite deeper conversation and discussion. As I have said I love to learn. I also realise I am a young blogger and reader compared to most other bloggers, and that I do not have the life experience and the knowledge of most of you. However, the fact that I am often puzzled by things, the fact that I express my insecurities, and might from now on do more of that, does not mean that I welcome comments that tell me exactly what and how to think, that basically assert authority without leaving room for fruitful discussion. I may be young and insecure and a little naive, but I am also a person and an adult. Again, in general my comments and my blog feel like a very secure environment for me, and I love to learn, I just want to do it in a polite manner. And please don’t feel like I’m talking about most of you, because I am not. I love you all. It’s just a once or twice encounter in the past months that has thrown a wrench in my overall blogging securities.
Now, to return to the actual subject: are you ever scared to read a book, while you know you will probably love it? Has blogging ever kept you from reading a book because you knew you would like to blog about it afterwards? How do you deal with that?