I hope you are well and having a lovely week so far. 🥰
One of the many wonderful things I have discovered as a book blogger is buddy reading. What began for me as a new and unfamiliar concept has become something that I absolutely love doing and always look forward to, such is the amount that have gained from it, both in terms of improving my knowledge and connecting with others.
For those who don’t know, buddy reading is where two or more people decide on a book which they read together, pausing at various intervals to discuss their thoughts and opinions, sometimes asking each other questions.
When I started my first buddy read, I was a little bit nervous and never expected to end up loving it so much, but now it is something I find incredibly rewarding for lots of different reasons.
How I Got Into Buddy Reading
I began as a book blogger at the start of 2018, and it took me a long time to get used to all of the acronyms and terminology. I had no idea what a buddy read even was, so when my friend Gem asked me one day if I would like to do one with her, I was not really sure what she meant! The word ‘buddy’ was obviously a clue, but I still had to Google it to see what it really entailed.
Once I knew what it actually was, we agreed on a book and started reading it that summer. It did not go so smoothly at first, but once I became used to it I started to understand the concept more and really enjoy the discussions we were having. They were always in-depth, and it was such a lot of fun to share ideas.
We did another buddy read together not so long after that, and by now it felt more natural. Once again, we both enjoyed the book and it gave us plenty to talk about, so it was another really positive experience. Since then, I have gone on to do 12 more buddy reads with six different book blogging friends, and I am about to start on another one.
That just shows how much I have come to like buddy reading, so without further ado, here are the reasons why!
Different Perspectives on Books
When you read a book with somebody else, it is a wonderful opportunity for each participant to share their own ideas about it when the time comes to discuss. You may have certain thoughts about the book and where the story might be going, but the other person might be thinking something else entirely, and that enables you to look at it from a different perspective.
The other person may have spotted something significant that you might have missed, or come up with a theory that you have not even considered. They may also be able to provide an extra insight or an opinion about why a particular event in the book happened, or what factors might have led to a character acting in a certain way.
The sharing of ideas and predictions is not only fun, it really allows you to build a very broad perspective of the book and to look at it from several different angles. This is especially the case with mysterious or more complex books, or those that provoke a greater emotional response, as it gives us even more to talk about.
It Strengthens Friendships
I am so grateful to have made a lot of friends in the book blogging community, and buddy reading has helped me connect with some of them even more. I totally feel that with buddy reading, I am sharing an experience with somebody else, and although almost all of our discussion is about the book, in the process we get to know each other better and enhances the friendship. In the end, I find that just as rewarding as the reading itself.
When Gem first suggested that we do a buddy read, we had already been friends for several months. Since then, we have gone on to read a total of six books together, including two that we both rated five stars. We get along so well, and during our buddy reads we often like to share predictions and analyse the writing in great detail.
It took me some time to find the confidence to ask another book blogging friend to buddy read, but finally in the summer of 2019, I asked Pauliina if she wanted to read The Familiars by Stacey Halls. I was so glad when she said yes! We share a love of historical fiction, and we have recently finished our third buddy read. Our discussions are very in-depth and Pauliina is so good at noticing little things in the narrative that are not immediately obvious.
I am also about to start my third buddy read with Kriti! She posted a tweet a year ago which I replied to, asking other book bloggers if they wanted to buddy read something with her. Most of my buddy read discussions take place via messaging, but with Kriti, we take it in turns to ask each other questions about the book in a Google doc. That is a lot of fun, as that really helps to bring out the extra perspective that I am talking about.
I have also done one buddy read apiece with Rumaanah, Kelly, and Noly. I really enjoyed them all, and hopefully they will be the first of many. The focus is primarily on the book you are reading together, but the friendships that come as a result are even more special.
It Makes You Feel Motivated
When I arrange a buddy read, I always look ahead to it with anticipation and I find that it makes me feel more motivated for the book. Sometimes it is just having that knowledge that someone is reading the very same book with you and I would then engage with it even more than if I was reading it on my own.
Sometimes, the other person inspires you and there are certainly moments where I have thought about certain aspects of the book in more detail during a buddy read so that I can help to create a more productive and wide-ranging discussion. There is also that extra degree of hope that we both up end up enjoying the book! A buddy read is never a bad thing, but it is truly special when the book we have chosen turns out to be brilliant.
The Reading Experience
For a buddy read, I find that the experience begins some time before I actually start reading the book. The first thing is initially agreeing to do the buddy read and deciding together on a book. Then, we quite often let each other know when we have the book, sometimes sending a photo of it to mark the occasion!
In addition to gaining a greater range of perspectives on the book, buddy reading helps you to get more out of it, through the discussions you have. It gives you a greater connection with the story and the ability to analyse it in more detail.
But the most rewarding thing of all is that you are sharing it with a friend. That is never better than when we both love the book. When that happens, we are experiencing that reading journey together and falling in love with it at the same time, sending each other very cheerful messages. For example, Noly and I finished The Travelling Cat Chronicles last week and we both absolutely adored it and were swept away by its emotional ending. That kind of thing makes buddy reading extra special!
Have you ever done a buddy read? If so, do you enjoy it and what do you think makes it special? Let me know in the comments!
By the way, I would love to buddy read with even more book blogging friends. Let me know if you would be interested!
Happy reading 🙂