I've always been an avid reader, but not as much as I am now. I would read books for fun and base my ratings on if the book kept me entertained. I wasn't looking to learn things from books and I didn't appreciate many classics because I felt most of them were drawn out and boring. I was open to reading anything and everything as long as the synopsis intrigued me. I placed so much emphasis on the synopsis of books that I didn't read anything that didn't catch my attention.
Before blogging, I never sought books out. I didn't search out books to read, I read books that I came across in bookstores or the library. I picked out what was in front of me. I didn't pay much attention to hype. I didn't know about the blogging community and therefore didn't have this amazing resource I do now. If I heard about buzz about a book, it was mostly because it was being made into a movie. A few books I discovered through bookstore popularity.
I resisted books that were too much like other books. I appreciated the unique aspects of books and stayed away from books that were too much alike. I remember, years ago, when I first read the Hunger Games trilogy and loved it. After I had read and loved it, I kept seeing Divergent popping up and had read that it was just like Hunger Games. From this recommendation, I got the impression that this new series was trying to blast Hunger Games out of the water and I wanted Hunger Games to stay important to me at that time. I resisted Divergent because I didn't want anything to one-up the Hunger Games. Needless to say, I was a bit naive and lame and have since then read and loved Divergent. The Hunger Games and Divergent each have their special place in my heart.
I read books not only for if they sound interesting to me, but also pay close attention to what other readers and bloggers have been loving. I use a combination of personal interest, recommendations, ratings and other reader's interest to decide whether I should read a book or not. There are still books that I read based on pure personal interest, but I give more books a chance now than I did back then.
I am constantly seeking out new books to read. Not just so that I can keep up to date in the blogging/bookish world, but also because I love buzzing about new books. I love discovering and sharing books. With this comes the fact that I don't really come across new books in the bookstore anymore. I know ahead of time what's coming out and often know what's come out within the last year. It doesn't take too much out of the bookstore experience because with the constant and wonderful book buzz, I have a never-ending wish list.
I can recognize the difference between books, there are rarely books that sound the same to be. I'm more knowledgable about the elements of books that make all the difference from one book to another. While two books may be dystopians, they're different entire worlds with different characters and are told with different writing styles. I still resist when bookstores or people say "This is the next...." but I still give the book a chance if it's something I think I'll like.
I've discovered whole new ways of appreciating books. I appreciate not just a good synopsis, but good characters, good writing and unique plots and unique worlds, too, when they're part of the story. There are books that I have read within the past year that I know I wouldn't have liked had I read them in the past. I appreciate more classics today for the more appreciative elements that I wouldn't have thought of or acknowledged before.