When I was young, I absolutely hated reading. My parents would have to set a timer and practically force me to sit down and read, but anyone who knows me now and sees my reading habits, would not think that little kid and I were the same person.
When I started high school, books became an escape for me. I would sit for hours on weekends and read my books. I loved reading, and I wish I could tell you when exactly I shifted towards becoming a book lover, but all I know is that I have not stopped reading since.
Since I have been an avid reader for a solid decade or more at this point, I have come to notice that a lot of things in the book industry have changed. Not only have I started to notice so many more books are being published, but also the types of books being published has changed so much.
The other day I was browsing my local bookstore, which I had not been to in months, and I came across the YA section, which quite honestly is not a section I peruse often anymore. But something called me to that section, and I felt 15 again, except the bookshelves looked different than how I remembered them. The stories that were being displayed were different, diverse, intricate but also very real. Suddenly fiction was portraying a very true reality and I find its not something that was prioritized in the YA section when I was growing up.
Going through the rest of the store finally made me realize how much has changed in our society. I am not saying we have become perfect, but I would like to think that our bookstores can become a reflection of our general ideas and perspectives as a society. Books being published now are so much more nuanced, complex, but fun and different. Its much harder to pick up two of the same books, even if they are based on the same trope.
All this to say, things are changing. Whenever I get discouraged about the world around me, I think I need to go to a bookstore. It isn’t perfect, and they are still works of fiction. But fiction is often a lens people can use to relate to a story or experience, they themselves would never have experienced.
The book industry has changed a lot in the last ten years, and I hope it continues to do so. I hope that every single person, from every single walk of life can walk into it and see something they can relate to or open a book and read about something they would have never thought of. That is how we grow, change and progress as a society. I know the publishing industry is far from perfect, but I am happy to see that there is a shift in what is published and the stories that get told.