I am always looking to expand my circle of friends on goodreads,as I reckon that I will discover some great books through them.As a matter of fact,those who are friends with me on both goodreads and wordpress may have noticed that I occasionally like their reading statuses and add books they have read or are currently reading in my wish list.Isn’t that the whole point of goodreads anyway? Sharing your love of reading with people on a platform meant to be a community?
Recently,after noticing some similarities between the books we read,I sent a request to three people – who curiously happen to be women and self-proclaimed feminists (like really) – and to my surprise,I had to explain why I was adding them.For two of them,I had to elaborate on why I was interested in adding them while for the other one,I had to tell her about the latest book I rated five stars and the reasons leading me to do so.If I did respond to the first question,the second however seemed a bit over the top for me.
In hindsight I should not have responded to any of these questions,for I felt I was being judged.Some ordinary people who accord themselves way too much importance will assess whether or not I should be in their friend lists…on goodreads? When I read what they wrote in their introductory boxes,I noticed all the ”Do not add me if…”, ”I will not add you if…”, ”I only want to be friend with…”.They are not compelled to be friends with anybody,but their choosing their friends according to a list of superficial criteria (they will only add those who write reviews or those who are frequently involved in discussions,for example) is proof enough that they wish to be in a sparse circle,in a sort of elite.For instance,I do not understand what striking difference there is between a person who posts reviews and another who merely rates books,yet these women state clearly that they will axe the latter. What wrong did these reviewers – the ones who rate – do to be left out? I do not care about being in their friend lists,but it bugs me that some people will always find a way to demean others,so as to feel superior.
I cannot help but think that such individuals take goodreads,and themselves,for that matter,way too seriously.They are always arguing with others over differences in opinions and striving to be part of an intellectual community with their selectivity.What they have not realised is that in trying too hard,they have turned deluded.With their aim to be regarded as authorities,they are countering all the good effects of literature and with their snobbishness,have gone back to square one.
For literature is not only about the acquisition of knowledge and maturity.It is also about sharing knowledge with people.I doubt that Borges,Camus or Sartre ever wished that their works were only accessible to a certain group of people.Books are read for joy and progress,and the essence of both is sharing.It is such a shame that some persons have lost sight of this fact.As the saying goes,”Those who think they know everything know nothing.”