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Post-ReaderCon 1: Where I talk about being a reader and a Slayer

September 15, 2011 - - 3 Comments

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In 2001, I co-founded the online email group for Philippine fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (PinoySlayer). It was an active fan group for years, and even though the show has ended, the core group still gets together for other things. Prior to that I had been watching the show for years, participating in international forums and fannish stuff like that.

One of my longest posts ever in a Goodreads forum was on the topic of readers in the Philippines. I wanted to provide a counterpoint to the view that some readers seem to have, that they feel they are alone as readers because they can’t talk about their books to friends or family, and don’t see people reading in public.

Short version of that post: I am not a social reader. My extended family has at least one regular fiction reader per family, but we don’t talk about books when we meet. My husband and I don’t read in public transport. He doesn’t read in a coffee shop too because he considers his books precious and will not take them out and place them in close proximity to that many beverages. We both don’t blog about books. He doesn’t even have a Goodreads account.

So, to casual observers, we probably won’t look like readers. But there is a difference between, say, the person who watches and enjoys Buffy the Vampire Slayer if it happens to be on TV, and the person who loves it so much that she starts an online fan group (and buys merchandise, and reviews episodes, and buys DVD boxed sets even if she has taped all the episodes on VHS, and invites strangers to her house to watch the series finale… you get the point).

Some people aren’t as ready to be social about their hobby as others are. Does that mean they love it less? They buy books too, but don’t necessarily go on shopping sprees. How many books do you have to buy a year to be considered a “real” reader? What if you only borrow?

This by no means dimishes what the book bloggers and book clubs do — in fact, I think that non-social readers rely on what the more social readers are doing. They also want to know they’re not alone, but sometimes would prefer to lurk and privately agree or disagree in discussions, instead of participate.

The Filipino ReaderCon is a great first step though to get these readers to de-lurk, come forward, and participate in a non-intimidating way. And if you’re this kind of reader you may have to step up at some point, like I did when I wrote that post, so your own issues are heard too.

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3 Comments

  • Monique

    September 15, 2011 at 12:36 pm, Reply

    I don&#39;t know if what I&#39;m going to say has any relation to your post, but I&#39;ll say it anyway because these were my thoughts about yesterday&#39;s ReaderCon. <br /><br />I went there expecting to meet new people who share the love of books. Of course, I already know you guys from Goodreads, but I thought it would also be a way to reach out <i>further</i>. <br /><br />Although I had fun

  • fantaghiro23

    September 15, 2011 at 10:15 pm, Reply

    Hi, Mina! Thank you for coming to the ReaderCon! Very interesting post. I agree, a lot of people aren&#39;t social readers. There are times when I don&#39;t want to talk about a book even if I love it so much. I like the idea that I&#39;m keeping it &quot;mine.&quot; Also, I don&#39;t think we can limit the definition of a reader to someone who reads socially, nor can we measure a reader by the

  • Mina

    September 16, 2011 at 4:39 pm, Reply

    @Monique<br />I get what you&#39;re saying. I think it&#39;s related to how people act when they&#39;re huge fans of something — some excluding does happen even in communities. (I&#39;m guilty for example of being a huge Buffy snob, even toward people who like the show.)<br /><br />@fantaghiro23<br />Maybe for future ReaderCons we can have people from the bookstores and libraries talking about

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Mina V. Esguerra writes contemporary romance, young adult, and new adult novellas. Through her blog Publishing in Pajamas (minavesguerra.com), she documents her experiments in publishing.
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