Monday, March 23, 2015

Widening the Scope

A while back, I was telling someone about something I was reading and she asked, in all sincerity, how did I decide what to read.  Now, it was in some ways a hard question, because I've been reading for so long and with such consistency, that I am now so plugged into things that can be read that often my biggest problem is that I have too much to read.  But librarians, booksellers, internet blogs, etailers with recommendations, recommendations from friends on line and in real life are all part of my decision making process.  Of course, it can then become easy to just keep reading the same things.  To get a good stable of authors and just keep reading their stuff.  And none of these things are bad.  But, if you do that, then you keep reading the same kinds of books. 
One of the things the folks behind things like #weneeddiversebooks and #weneeddiverseromance are trying to do is make people who aren't even aware of some of the additional book choices available to them be more aware.  And once you start reading some of those things, it expands out.  You become aware of even more authors that might not have made it across your radar before, the recommendation algorithms shift to add new suggestions for you and then next thing you know, you have even more author choices (and yet, sadly, not more time to read them). 
I read something back around the 2008 election, that while social media was, of course, helping folks stay in touch with friends and family who has moved away, but a lot of people were hanging in some sort of homogenous group (in this case politically) such that many thought certain candidates winning were a foregone conclusion because they spent all day talking with people who were all planning to vote for the same candidate.  It's easy to do this with books and other media choices.  But, if you want to widen out, add to your choices and possibly discover additional auto-read authors, it's not that hard.  The first steps in widening your choices will lead to huge changes in your general awareness of what's out there.