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Everything is terrible except the “Books” subreddit.

Jessie Gaynor

August 25, 2020, 9:34am

I tend to try to avoid the dark crevices of the internet, because I have a terrible sense of direction and could easily get lost for hours. Or days. I had never even stumbled onto Reddit until a few years ago, when my husband told me about a plant care subreddit where people post pictures of their fledgling house plants and other users help diagnose them (usually too much water, or too little).

This was my first experience with Nice Reddit: less a scary, hateful, conspiracy-pushing cesspool than a loose-knit group of the gently helpful. To be sure, the former side of Reddit is very real, and I still proceed with extreme caution any time I venture onto the site. But had I not learned about the softer side of Reddit, I would never have discovered my new favorite place on the internet: r/books.

With tepid apologies to Book Twitter, on r/books, you’ll rarely find yourself hate-reading a dozen threads about the merits of Infinite Jest. Instead, you’ll find posts with titles like “I’ve fallen in love with reading again and it feels so good.” And “Please return library books.” And “What is up with all these cousins in Wodehousian novels kissing each other like it’s the most normal thing for a couple of cousins to do?”

People also share book-related news stories and AMAs with bookstore owners and spoiler-free reviews. It’s like Twitter without the showing off, or Goodreads without the potential to ruin an author’s day. As a function of my job, I spend a lot of time on the Book Internet, but r/books still feels like a retreat.

I don’t post on r/books—I mostly lurk for long enough to soak up a little of the pleasantness. It’s a little like the digital eavesdropping in a library, an experience that, six months into a pandemic, I find to be incredible soothing. It’s just nice to know there are still people out there, completely anonymous ones, falling in love with reading again.

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