The Best Medicine When I’m Feeling Down…

I’ll be honest, friends. I’ve been feeling rather down. Things have been good in some ways but also there’s just a lot of things that have been stressful and discouraging and I feel like I’m just treading water here. I feel such a lack of control over a lot of things and some days even existing is hard and exhausting. It’s just one of those kinds of tough patches and I just try to ride it out as much as I can — being intentional to change the things I can and know that things will get better.

Some of these days are harder than other and I have to get out of my own head. Somewhere along the line I was having a bad day and I found a way to lift me up a little bit and it’s become my sort of foolproof plan on the days where I feel like I’m going to break.

I’ve found the best medicine for these days is wandering the library or the bookstore.

I spend a good hour or two just wandering and browsing with no real intention or end goal. I just wander. I pick up books I’ve never heard of. I browse in sections of the bookstore I wouldn’t typically go to. I creep on what people are looking at (you all know I’m a book creeper). I move books I loved so that they can be seen (SORRY BOOKSTORE PEOPLE). I read from books that look interesting and jot down the titles for later (okay I type them into my phone but jot sounded better). I find new interests. Discover new things. I TOUCH ALL THE BOOKS. There’s so much freedom in just wandering and picking things up on a whim. Potentially holding your next new favorite book or that book that will change your life.

ALL THOSE WORDS. ALL THOSE STORIES. They calm me. They do. It’s incredibly freeing to not rush into a store with a goal of something to pick up…some sort of intention. I’m allowed to go where my whims take me and there are no expectations. As the time passes I find the stress and that negative energy have lessened.

But mostly it helps me to remember that the world is so much bigger than this day. All those stories neatly lined up on those shelves contain hope, struggle, magic, perseverance and so many more things that are part of the human experience — some better or worse than my own. It helps me to remember in these moments I’m not alone. People have been there before me and people will be in the future. This is one day. ONE DAY of my story. One little slice of this great big world and what it has to offer me and what I have to offer it. Maybe it should make me feel small and overwhelmed (okay I DO feel overwhelmed because SO MANY BOOKS, SO LITTLE TIME) but for some reason it doesn’t.

There’s all sorts of perspective to be found in wandering in the bookstore and even though it doesn’t fix everything…it sure does help my heart and calm me down a bit. And I just enjoy being surrounded by all those books.

I think this is one of the many reasons I love reading so much — sometimes it’s so calming and  helps me get out of my own head or sometimes it gives me perspective I need/offers up something that helps me think about what I’m going through. It always reminds me that I’m not alone. That this is fleeting. That there is reason to hope and persevere.

Books = the best medicine. I don’t care what anyone says or if it’s not scientifically proven.

Operation Make Myself Suck Less At Series

I’ve talked a lot about how I suck at series and how I really feel like I have all these loose ends hanging about because of all the series I’ve never finished. At the time I wrote my Loose Ends post I had 49 series that I started and that number has ONLY grown and my ratio of FINISHED books is abysmal still. There’s a lot of reasons WHY I suck at series/am in the middle of so many but we aren’t going to talk about that today.

No, today what I want to do is get my crap together and list out ALL the series that I’m currently in the middle of and prioritize and make it a point to finish them. I’d also like to drop at least 5 series. I’d love to do this with YOUR help. I’m hoping this will help motivate me having them all listed out here and I can start tackling them in a methodical way!

 

All The Books Are Out & I Still Haven’t Finished But PLAN TO

 

Divergent series by Veronica Roth (read Divergent, own the other two)
Something Strange & Deadly by Susan Dennard (read & LOVED Something Strange & Deadly, own the other two)
Legend series by Marie Lu (read & loved Legend and Prodigy)
Harry Potter by JK Rowling (read book 1…shhhh I know)
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead (read book 1)
The Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo (read Shadow & Bone)
Jessica Darling series by Megan McCafferty (Read the first 3 books, own the last two)
The Summer I Turned Pretty series by Jenny Han (Read The Summer I Turned Pretty, just got book #2 from library)
The Girl Of Fire & Thorn series by Rae Carson (Read Girl of Fire Of Thorn, own the last 2)
The Fury trilogy by Elizabeth Miles (Read Fury and Envy, need to read last)
The Body Finder series by Kimberly Derting (Read all but the last book)
Shade series by Jeri Smith-Ready (read Shade, own Shift)
The Chemical Garden series by Lauren DeStefano (read Wither and Fever, need to read Sever)
Flappers series by Jillian Larkin (read Vixen and Ingenue, need to read last one)
The Millenium series by Stieg Larsson (read The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo)
Crank trilogy by Ellen Hopkins (read Crank, own Glass)
The Night Trilogy by Ellie Wiesel (read Night, didn’t know it was a trilogy so must read next two)

Not All Books Are Out Yet But I Plan To Finish

 

 

Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas (all caught up)
The Winner’s Curse series by Marie Rutkoski (read The Winner’s Curse which is all that is out right now)
The Blackcoat Rebellion series by Aimee Carter (read Pawn which is all that is out right now)
Starbound series by Amie Kaufman & Megan Spooner (read These Broken Stars, coveting book 2)
The 5th Wave series by Rick Yancey (read The 5th Wave, drooled over book 2 ARCs on Rick’s Twitter)
The Colors of Madeleine series by Jaclyn Moriarty (Read A Corner of White, own second book)
The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer (only read Cinder, need to catch up on Scarlet and Cress)
Also Known As by Robin Benway (read Also Known As, have second)
The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shephard (read The Madman’s Daughter, have second)
The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater (read The Raven Boys, have second)
The Mara Dyer series by Michelle Hodkin (read The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, need to pick up second)
Seeds of America series by Laure Halse Anderson (read Chains, own second)

 

Series I Don’t Know If I Want To Finish Or Not

 

Gone series by Michael Grant
(if you read my review I explain my indecision after reading book 1)

The Mortal Instruments series by Cassie Clare
(I didn’t love the first book but I didn’t hate it…I kind of WANT to know but that’s a big investment into a long series that seems to never end)

So Close To You series by Rachel Carter
(I enjoyed book 1..and then I found out it was part of James Frey’s packaging company and I feel so conflicted now because I liked it and the author is lovely)

Eve trilogy by Anna Carey
(this was a page-turner of a first book but I didn’t LOVE it)

Darkness Rising series by Kelley Armstrong
( I liked the first book but just never got around to book 2..don’t remember what happened really)

Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld
(I read book 1 so long ago..well before I read YA..and I don’t know if it was my attitude toward YA or what. It was an interesting world!)

Find Me series by Romily Bernard
( I liked book 1 enough but I’m not like OH YEAH OMG NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS)

Series I’m Pretty Sure I Don’t Want To Finish…Seriously I Think We Are Done

 

 

Nightshade series by Andrea Cremer
(read it so long ago honestly…wasn’t ever compelled to move forward)

The Ward series by Jordanna Frankel
(So much potential but DID NOT LIKE)

Eve & Adam by Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate
( I don’t even know if there is more books but Goodreads makes it look like yes. Regardless I will NOT be reading them because I did not like this book at all).

The Innocents series by Lili Peloquin
(didn’t love book 1)

Starcrossed series by Josephine Angelini
( I read it so long ago and wasn’t IN LOVE.)

Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan
(I KNOW YOU GUYS WILL HATE ME but I just didn’t care after two books?)

Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris
( I read the first two books and they were fun but it’s been SO LONG)

Angel Star series by Jennifer Murgia
(Enjoyed book one but SO LONG AGO I have no idea and I don’t feel compelled to reread)

A Need So Beautiful series by Suzanne Young
(Super enjoyed book 1 but I heard the rest of series wasn’t worth it from a superfan friend and also it’s been YEARS since I read it.)

Duologies I Want To Finish

 

The Program by Suzanne Young
The Darlings Are Forever by Melissa Kantor
The Memory Chronicles by Lenore Applehans (sad this isn’t going to be a trilogy anymore!)
Kingdom of Xia by Cindy Pon (I totally don’t remember what happened though)
Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli (I never knew it was a duology until I started blogging!)
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simison (can’t wait for The Rosie Effect)
To All The Boys by Jenny Han (DYING FOR THE COMPANION)
Pivot Point by Kasie West (obsessed with this book, can’t wait to read Split Second)
Ashes by Melissa Walker
In The After by Demetria Lunetta (dying to know what happens!!)
Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland
Not A Drop To Drink by Mindy McGinnis
(this book was a GREAT standalone but I won’t deny myself more time with this world!)
The Rules For Disappearing by Ashley Elston

Duologies I’m Not Sure I Want To Finish

Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson (I just didn’t love it at all.)

Romance series

 

I put them in their own category since most of them don’t need to be read in order.

Bridgerton’s series by Julia Quinn (read The Duke and I)
Serendipity series by Carly Phillips (I didn’t LOVE Serendipity but I might try out another one)
Lucky Harbor series by Jill Shalvis (Really enjoyed Simply Irresistible and I plan to move forward!)
Rusk University series by Cora Carmack (All Lined Up was really enjoyable, can’t wait for more!)
Pushing The Limits series  by Katie McGarry (I LIKED Pushing The Limits but didn’t LOVE it the way others did..but I think I’d like to read on!)

<< Okay so what I need from YOU>>

*Out of the series I plan to finish, let me know which one you think I need to prioritize FIRST — whether it’s a series that’s complete now or one that I need to catch up even if they aren’t all out.
*Help me decide which ones I should drop out of my “not sure” and “pretty sure I can part with” list!

Also, let’s talk: do you struggle with keeping up with series? How many are you in the middle of?

Reading WOE.

heiroffire

 

I have a reading woe.

It’s DAMN hard to read big books!!

As a mostly contemporary reader, I’m not used to reading super big books! And I know 565 pages is NOT that long but reading Heir of Fire makes me feel like I’m lifting weights. I’m telling you, this book is heavy! Most of my contemporary books are not this heavy. I will tell you that.

Am I the only one who has a hard time physically reading thick books?? Heir of Fire particularly is tricky because it’s heavy AND oversized in length so I’m all awkward with my hands try to hold it. I feel like I should have trained or worked out in preparation. I just don’t know what to do. Figuring out how to hold this book has been a VERRRYY SERIOUS PROBLEM.

I will change my position like seventy billion times because my chicken arms start shaking. Will laughed at me over the weekend when I was trying to read this because I tried everything — propping it, doing some weird sort of pretzel-y leg thing, laying on my stomach, holding it over my face which resulted in dropping it on my poor little mug and many more positions that I can’t even begin to tell you. Move over Kama Sutra, I’m going to write the most important guide ever — the guide to reading positions.

HIbKQVjexcept add a book in my hands…

The worst part of this is that I just want to read Heir of Fire for long periods of time because it’s so interesting and good but MY BODY IS FAILING ME and I physically cannot. I have to let my arms chill out for a bit. And now I’m looking at my shelf and I have a few books that are bigger than Heir of Fire. This scares me. I’m either going to have to start lifting weights to build up arm strength or boycott enormous books because MY ARMS ARE TIRED.

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Silly reading woe aside, I’m loving Heir of Fire and I have to say that it’s a nice experience to be immersed in a HUGE book. I’m used to being able to easily knock out a lot of contemporary books in a day or two if I have time but it’s a fun experience to be in this world for a few days and really FEEL the world and the story. I can’t read it quickly so I’m enjoying and savoring it and I think, at least for me, fantasy kind of works better that way….that all consuming immersion into the world and characters. I thought my attention span wouldn’t let me enjoy it (this is why I tend not to binge read series) but I’m totally into it even coming off Crown of Midnight right before!
And, really, at the end of the day at least I know I will have super sculpted arms? Who said working out couldn’t be fun?

lets-talk
Do you have a hard time reading heavy/large/abnormally shaped books? If you are a pro, I NEED TIPS! What’s the thickest book you’ve ever read?? Do you LIKE reading long books or do you prefer to read shorter ones?

Books I Would Want To Read If I Had A Book Club That Read Adult Fiction

I LOVE my book club — we are a bunch of YA loving adult ladies and we always have a great time and, when the book is right, some excellent discussion! Sometimes there are GROWNUP books I wish I could read with a book club but I don’t have a book club that READS adult fiction. So, here’s my list of grownup books that I would want to read with my imaginary adult book club. I chose 5 books I’ve READ that I think would make great book club picks and 5 books I WANT TO READ that I’d pick for book club to read.

There are a lot of GOOD books to read with other people but I always think a good book club pick is one that has some really thought-provoking themes and issues within them. Things that everyone’s life experience will make them see different, things we can relate to, etc. I think of some of my book club’s best conversations and they were definitely were these kinds of books that had something maybe controversial or relevant in it.

 

Books I’ve Read That I Would Want To Read Together

 

 

Little Mercies by Heather Gudenkauf

Little Mercies by Heather Gudenkauf
Published: June 24, 2014
Goodreads | Amazon

Why I’d Pick It: This book just came out last month and would bring SO MUCH conversation to the table for a book club — I couldn’t stop talking about the premise is to Will and all my thoughts. A book like that always makes for a great book club book! It takes a hot button issue that’s been in the news recently and just humanizes it leaving much room to debate and have strong opinions. There is SO much to talk about, not just one thing, so I think conversation would be SO interesting!  I love that there is even a book club kit which could be so useful to get the discussion started! Also, check out the book trailer for it!

What It’s About: Veteran social worker Ellen Moore has seen the worst side of humanity; the vilest acts one person can commit against another. She is a fiercely dedicated children’s advocate and a devoted mother and wife. But one blistering summer day, a simple moment of distraction will have repercussions that Ellen could never have imagined, threatening to shatter everything she holds dear, and trapping her between the gears of the system she works for. Meanwhile, ten-year-old Jenny Briard has been living with her well-meaning but irresponsible father since her mother left them, sleeping on friends’ couches and moving in and out of cheap motels. When Jenny suddenly finds herself on her own, she is forced to survive with nothing but a few dollars and her street smarts. The last thing she wants is a social worker, but when Ellen’s and Jenny’s lives collide, little do they know just how much they can help one another.

 

Landline Rainbow Rowell

Landline by Rainbow Rowell
Published July 8, 2014
Goodreads | Amazon | My Review

Why I’d Pick It: I think this would be SUCH a good book club pick especially for married ladies but even if you aren’t there’s a lot to talk about with ANY kind of relationships. It was such a good and thought-provoking book that I even wrote a whole discussion surrounding some of my thoughts about something the book brought up.

What It’s About: Georgie + Neal’s marriage has been off for some time and she knows it has been. It’s not an issue of not loving each other but between jobs and kids and all somehow it just has gotten a little lost. When they are a few days out from leaving for Omaha for Christmas, Georgie has a huge work opportunity arise and she has to stay in LA for it. She assumes they’ll all just stay home but is surprised when Neal decides he and the kids are still going. Scared of what this implies, Georgie wonders if it has all fallen apart for good and if/how she can fix it….until she’s given an opportunity to talk to Neal in the past.

 

Tell The Wolves I'm Home cover

Tell The Wolves I’m Home Carol Rifka Brunt
Published June 2012
Goodreads | Amazon | My Review

Why I’d Pick It: I loved this one and I think this would make a really great book club book for many reasons — it’s well written, there’s definitely a lot to talk about and I think people will have EMOTIONS about it. Plus there’s a lot of really interesting relationships and dynamics that would be great to talk about and how society has changed in regards to certain things that are brought up in this book since the 80′s.

What It’s About: 1987. There’s only one person who has ever truly understood fourteen-year-old June Elbus, and that’s her uncle, the renowned painter Finn Weiss. Shy at school and distant from her older sister, June can only be herself in Finn’s company; he is her godfather, confidant, and best friend. So when he dies, far too young, of a mysterious illness her mother can barely speak about, June’s world is turned upside down. But Finn’s death brings a surprise acquaintance into June’s life—someone who will help her to heal, and to question what she thinks she knows about Finn, her family, and even her own heart. At Finn’s funeral, June notices a strange man lingering just beyond the crowd. A few days later, she receives a package in the mail. Inside is a beautiful teapot she recognizes from Finn’s apartment, and a note from Toby, the stranger, asking for an opportunity to meet. As the two begin to spend time together, June realizes she’s not the only one who misses Finn, and if she can bring herself to trust this unexpected friend, he just might be the one she needs the most.

 

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Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Published January 2007
Goodreads | Amazon

Why I’d Pick It: So I know a lot of people HATE this book but I read it as an early 20 something, liked it and I would love to read it with a book club — especially now as I approach 29! I’m in a totally different stage in my life and would benefit from another read I think. I think there is A LOT in here to discuss and debate about life, choices and love with some of the things that Elizabeth brings up and also just discussion about her journey itself. I think it brings up strong feelings either way you feel about it and I would love to get into some good conversation with some lady friends.

What It’s About: In her early thirties, Elizabeth Gilbert had everything a modern American woman was supposed to want–husband, country home, successful career–but instead of feeling happy and fulfilled, she felt consumed by panic and confusion. This wise and rapturous book is the story of how she left behind all these outward marks of success, and of what she found in their place. Following a divorce and a crushing depression, Gilbert set out to examine three different aspects of her nature, set against the backdrop of three different cultures: pleasure in Italy, devotion in India, and on the Indonesian island of Bali, a balance between worldly enjoyment and divine transcendence.

 

Books I Haven’t Read That I Would Pick:

 

Friendship by Emily Gould

Friendship by Emily Gould
Published July 1st 2014
Goodreads | Amazon

Why I’d Pick It: I think it would be so fun to have a group of ladies together to talk about friendship and adulthood! I think we’ve all found the ups and downs of friendship in our lives and this looks like it could be a good discussion starter! I’d love some real talk about the interactions that we women have with each other!

What It’s About: Bev Tunney and Amy Schein have been best friends for years; now, at thirty, they’re at a crossroads. Bev is a Midwestern striver still mourning a years-old romantic catastrophe. Amy is an East Coast princess whose luck and charm have too long allowed her to cruise through life. Bev is stuck in circumstances that would have barely passed for bohemian in her mid-twenties: temping, living with roommates, drowning in student-loan debt. Amy is still riding the tailwinds of her early success, but her habit of burning bridges is finally catching up to her. And now Bev is pregnant. As Bev and Amy are dragged, kicking and screaming, into real adulthood, they have to face the possibility that growing up might mean growing apart. Friendship, Emily Gould’s debut novel, traces the evolution of a friendship with humor and wry sympathy. Gould examines the relationship between two women who want to help each other but sometimes can’t help themselves; who want to make good decisions but sometimes fall prey to their own worst impulses; whose generous intentions are sometimes overwhelmed by petty concerns.

 

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Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Published December 31, 2012
Goodreads | Amazon

Why I’d Pick It: I’ve heard SUCH good things about this and it seems like a very evocative novel. From what I hear there are some pretty interesting themes and issues in this book that would make for good discussion! Apparently it’s very thought-provoking from what I hear!

What It’s About: Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick. What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane. Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that. What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.

 

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After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Published July 1st 2014
Goodreads | Amazon

Why I’d Pick It: Well, Estelle and Hannah raved about it and told me I MUST read it (requested it ASAP from my library) and said it was just such an honest look at marriage and relationships. I LOVE those kinds of books where I can really discuss and even open up a bit personally (provided I trusted my imaginary adult book club…which I TOTALLY DO).

What It’s About: When Lauren and Ryan’s marriage reaches the breaking point, they come up with an unconventional plan. They decide to take a year off in the hopes of finding a way to fall in love again. One year apart, and only one rule: they cannot contact each other. Aside from that, anything goes. Lauren embarks on a journey of self-discovery, quickly finding that her friends and family have their own ideas about the meaning of marriage. These influences, as well as her own healing process and the challenges of living apart from Ryan, begin to change Lauren’s ideas about monogamy and marriage. She starts to question: When you can have romance without loyalty and commitment without marriage, when love and lust are no longer tied together, what do you value? What are you willing to fight for? This is a love story about what happens when the love fades. It’s about staying in love, seizing love, forsaking love, and committing to love with everything you’ve got. And above all, After I Do is the story of a couple caught up in an old game—and searching for a new road to happily ever after.

 

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Now I See You by Nicole C. Kear
Published June 24, 2014
Goodreads | Amazon

Why I’d Pick It: I would want to read a memoir every now and again and this is a new one that just came on my radar and looks like it could be interesting to read with a book club because it takes a look at major life kinds of things — things that change your world and make you really take stock of what is important.

What It’s About: At nineteen years old, Nicole C. Kear’s biggest concern is choosing a major–until she walks into a doctor’s office in midtown Manhattan and gets a life-changing diagnosis. She is going blind, courtesy of an eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa, and has only a decade or so before Lights Out. Instead of making preparations as the doctor suggests, Kear decides to carpe diem and make the most of the vision she has left. She joins circus school, tears through boyfriends, travels the world, and through all these hi-jinks, she keeps her vision loss a secret. When Kear becomes a mother, just a few years shy of her vision’s expiration date, she amends her carpe diem strategy, giving up recklessness in order to relish every moment with her kids. Her secret, though, is harder to surrender – and as her vision deteriorates, harder to keep hidden. As her world grows blurred, one thing becomes clear: no matter how hard she fights, she won’t win the battle against blindness. But if she comes clean with her secret, and comes to terms with the loss, she can still win her happy ending.

lets-talk

Have you read any of these? Decided they would make a good book club pick for YOUR book club? And while we are at it, do you have a book club? If so, what do you read/how do you pick/what do you think makes a good book club pick? Also I’d LOVE to know a book you think would be a great book club pick/generate a lot of discussion (or if you have a book club..one that DID that).

How Do YOU Define A Spoiler?

You all know that spoiling a book is one of the ways you can piss me off as a reader but I don’t want to talk about that today. I want to talk about WHAT CONSTITUTES A SPOILER.

There are obvious spoilers. We all know them. We all have experienced them (probably). Hopefully we’ve all tried really hard not to drop them on unsuspecting people. Accidents happen though….says the girl who accidentally spoiled something for a friend. Careless spoilers or intentional ones to be a jerk though…just stop.

But let’s talk about some areas where I feel like people are divided…mmmkay?

Is it a spoiler if the book has been out for YEARS AND YEARS AND YEARS or is so super popular and a part of pop culture?

Harry Potter. Twilight. Pride & Prejudice. Game of Thrones. I know, as someone who has never read Harry Potter (okay I read the first one), that spoilers abound like CRAZY and I have to be really careful to avoid them. On one hand I’m like WELL self…it’s been so long and it’s like only the most popular piece of literature EVER so kind of my fault? But on the other hand I’m still a little sad that I have to shield my eyes always. I haven’t been spoiled TOO much but I’ve been REALLY careful. And really, there are always new readers for every book so it kind of stinks if you discover it late or if you are younger and are discovering it for the first time.

Is it a spoiler if it alludes to a plot twist or some sort of mind-blowing reveal that might happen?

Okay, this one is a sensitive topic for me because it happens so often but I really do kind of count it as a spoiler. So, I read a book like way before it came out. There was a HUGE twist. I did not know this because LITERALLY nobody had read it except like authors and publicists. My mind was blown. When it came to talking about the book, I was really careful not to say OMG THERE WAS A HUGE TWIST but, as the book got in the hands of more people, others DID point this out. And then a lot of people went into it looking for that — knowing that something that completely changes the game happens. I don’t know if it’s a “spoiler” per se but I kind of see it as spoiling the reading experience in a way. I know many people were looking for something huge and explosive and that tainted their reading experience as opposed to mine which was one where I was completely blind to anything.

Can shelving the genre on Goodreads/talking about genre be a spoiler in some cases?

Okay I have two example of what I mean.

1. Once, before I started a book, I accidentally glanced at the shelving when I was on its page and saw it labelled as LGBT. That wasn’t something that was in the summary and as I read I realized that it was kind of supposed to be something that was gradually revealed about two characters relationships and it didn’t SPOIL it but it kind of did? I knew their friendship had another element as things were revealed.

2. I was reading a book that I thought was contemporary and I saw that it was marked “paranormal” on Goodreads and at first I thought, “Dummies!” but then I was like, “Oh…maybe it changes and there is a twist.” And sure enough the big twist was a paranormal one that I wouldn’t have even have HAD in my mind if I hadn’t seen the shelving for it.

 

 

lets-talkI’m all over the place. On one hand, I do see these things as spoiler-y in nature but I don’t know. Things like shelving the books are things maybe I can just not look at?  I’d love to know what you think about each “grey area” that I brought up! Do you see any of them as spoilers or no? What are some other “grey areas” when it comes to spoilers? Do you have any “spoiler” rules (ie. what constitutes a spoiler for you when you talk about books)? How do YOU avoid spoilers? Have you ever been spoiled but the person didn’t think it was a spoiler?

What Is A Bookworm To Do?

So I’ve admitted that I don’t care if my book covers in a series don’t match. I just don’t care. I have so many mismatching series and it doesn’t bother me one bit.

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The only thing that bothers me about it is the frequency of cover redesigns!! I don’t care personally but, MAN, do we get new covers a lot. And it’s rare that I like the cover redesign better. But it recently happened and I am IN A PICKLE, man!

So we had Anna and the French Kiss followed by Lola and the Boy Next Door (two of my favorite contemporary YA books. SWOON on both accounts). I really thought these covers were kiiiinda cheesy if I’m being completely honest…so much so that when Anna first came out I refused to read it until a friend basically forced me to. AND I FELL IN LOVE. I even began to not mind the cover so much.  I kind of found it to be cute and fit the book really well! I grew to love them.

Stephanie Perkins books

BUT THEN. The new covers came out.

 

stephanie-perkins-covers-new

AND I LOVED THEM. I WANT THEM THEM. I NEED THEM.

I have my pre-order of Isla and the Happily Ever After* and  I know they aren’t going to match my hardcovers and, again, this does not bother me. It’s just that I am majorly coveting these new paperbacks.

SO WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?

I try to be a minimalist when it comes to what stays on my shelves. You’ve learned the ebb and flow of my shelves and how/why I decide what to keep. The books on my shelf need to serve some sort of purpose to me after they’ve been read (ie it’s a favorite or I KNOW I will reread it or lend it out to everyone, etc.) or off the shelves it goes.  Bookworm confession: I don’t own multiple copies of books with the exception of one of my favorites, Just One Day by Gayle Forman, because I had already gotten the hardcover signed and then the paperback was personalized ON MY BIRTHDAY and like not generic personalization. I’m just not a collector. As a general personal rule, I just really dislike books just SITTING THERE never to be opened because I can only read ONE of the copies if I go to reread! Even special editions. I won’t buy them unless I get rid of my other copy. (Do you guys own multiple copies of books?? Am I just lame-o about this?)

 

So you might be thinking…well just give away/donate the copies you have now and buy the new ones then?

 

1. They are signed TO ME and she’s a favorite so that’s special!
2. The biggest reason — SENTIMENTAL REASONS. I’m not normally super sentimental but I have a lot of memories re: Anna (I bought it while shopping with my friend Steph who I met through all this, etc) and, the biggest reason, WILL bought me Lola and the Boy Next Door. He has only ever bought me two books in my life (this and the beautiful B&N edition of Alice in Wonderland). I didn’t even ASK for Lola but he knew I had read an ARC and loved it. So he bought it for me on my birthday! THAT is special to me. I’d feel all bad replacing the copy he went in the YA section and bought me on his own with a new shiny copy without me ever mentioning it.

BUT OH DO I WANT THOSE NEW SHINY COPIES SO THEY CAN LOOK PRETTY ON MY SHELF.

 

So what to do??? Get over my minimalist rules for what stays on my shelves and just buy them?? Or just pet them every time I go to the bookstore and adore the pretty Isla cover I’ll have? HELLLLP.

So I’m curious: Do you guys hate when your series don’t match? Do you own multiple copies of one book?? Also, which covers do you like better for the Stephanie Perkins??

 

 

*And now I’m interrupting this VERY SERIOUS PROBLEM with some fabulous Stephanie Perkins news and such!!

1. I mentioned that I pre-ordered Isla (from my FAVORITE indie book store. Seriously they are the ones that helped make THIS happen). If you pre-order Isla at one of these 55 independent bookstores you will get AWESOME STUFF — decals, the pins below and 25 lucky people might win the gorgeous tote bag below! AND ISLA WILL BE SIGNED. If you don’t have an indie bookstore, you can call one on the list and they will hook you up. If you feel so obliged, pick my favorite indie — Children’s Book World in Haverford, PA!

2. If you are itching to get your hands on Isla (it’s really good, guys!!) here is the chapter sampler!!

3. OH MY STARS. Have you read this Anna deleted scene??? DO IT. Have you NOT read Anna yet?? Read this chapter sampler to find out what you are missing!!

 

True Life: I Think I’m A Creep

I have a confession. Not a blogging confession like I did yesterday. But a shameful personal confession.

My love for books has made me a big ol’ creep. Creep status to the max. And it got even worse this past weekend.

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Let me set the scene for you:

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I was at the pool this past Sunday. Sunning my pasty self and reading after a really stressful week. I always have this THING where I HAVE TO see what other people are reading if they are reading in public. If there is a book, I will crane my neck or James Bond it to see what it is. I don’t even try to be discrete about it. It’s embarrassing for whoever is with me I’m sure.

 

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Sometimes I can easily tell based on the cover and sometimes I’m seeing a book I’ve never heard of and typing it into Goodreads that very moment. Well, I had already taken a gander at all the books around me (new David Sedaris, a romance novel, some book I never heard of) but there were two that alluded me! I even tried to take a picture to zoom in (WOAH MEGA CREEP YEAH) to see what it was but it was too blurry.

So what did I do?

What any crazy book person hopefully would do? (I say hopefully so I’m not alone in this).

I sent Will on a secret mission to walk past and secure the names of these books! And he did. I was trying so hard not to giggle as Will got out of the pool all nonchalantly and walked around (awkwardly with no destination) to check out their books. This couple was packin’ a Game of Thrones book and the new Khaled Hosseini, in case you were as curious as I was.

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WHAT A CREEP AM I???

I can’t help it though. Any time I am at the beach or on public transportation or a coffee shop or my pool…I cannot walk away without knowing what people are reading. It’s a compulsion really. I don’t even know WHY I need to know…I just DO. I’m sure it’s made people uncomfortable if they catch me staring but, hey, maybe just angle your book better? Help a sista out!

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And don’t even GET me started on the e-reader business. I NO SEE YOUR BOOK! Be more courteous, bookworm friend. Unless of course you are reading dino erotica (I wish that was not a thing that I could type and it be true) than carry on. I don’t need to know! Otherwise, I’m going to to resort to creepier methods.

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I don’t know if this is borderline creepy or if it’s just a bookworm quirk? I’ve told Will NOT to answer that. I mean, we all knew I’m kind of creepy when it comes to books because I REALLY like trying to chat up strangers in the bookstore and other places (not annoyingly or interrupting most of the time) so maybe I just AM a creep?

So give it to me straight….is this normal bookworm behavior or am I just a creep? YOU CAN TELL ME. Do you have any other bookworm tendencies that could label you a creep? Any of you talk to strangers in bookstores like I do??

Blurred Lines

Sometimes I feel like there are very blurred lines between my life and blogging. Meaning, it’s really hard to separate all things blogging as they seem to bleed into every hour of my life very easily. I have to consciously UNPLUG from blogging because I don’t think the book blogger hat comes off unless I physically make it. There seems to not be a designated “blogging time” for me and then I’m done. There’s always something I could be working on with the blog. Comments I could be replying to. Emails to respond to. Blogs I could be reading. Conversations I could be having. Posts I could be writing to get ahead. Always something I could be doing. In addition to the books I could be reading. And I’ve REALLY noticed it lately as I’ve stepped back and taken inventory of my life.

I don’t know if it’s just a me thing? My own inability to make some boundaries? But I feel like I’m always “on the clock”, which isn’t awful because I love doing it, but as I’ve talked about I feel really unbalanced sometimes. I’m good about unplugging on the weekend and going to do other things not related to blogging (and I won’t say NO to other things because of blogging stuff) but I find most of my free time IS spent doing this. It’s the automatic thing when I come home and have free time. Fire up the laptop and work on something. Or when I am “unplugged” I’m never NOT checking Twitter or Instagram or reading a comment if an email comes through. Dear god I check it the moment I wake up and before I go to bed. It’s become an addiction.

There’s no separation between “life” and “thing I like to do” and I cannot honestly tell if that’s a good or a bad thing because 1) I love doing this and it does bring me a sense of fulfillment in aspects of my life and 2) I am a person who, when passionate about something, puts my whole self into it. Maybe it’s just part of having a thing that you love so much? I don’t know.

What got me thinking about all this? I was contemplating doing “Summer Hours” on the blog. In the past 4 years I’ve noticed that traffic and comments and general activity tends to go down in the summer. I, also with the rest of the world, seem to get busier in the summer. Why not post a bit less for myself and others? Why not actively spend less time on the blog as a PLAN? It seems to happen ANYWAYS because I look outside and can’t bear to be inside but why not be proactive about it?

I’m not the sort of person who feels compelled to post all the time. I have my general plan I shoot for and works for me (5x a week) but if I don’t feel like it or don’t have time…I don’t do it. I mean, I barely posted for the months leading up to my wedding. When I don’t feel like doing things blog related I DON’T and I honestly feel no stress in that decision. So it’s not a matter of feeling like I have to.

It’s just like blogging has become this extra appendage so to speak and it’s so embedded in my daily routine it’s second nature. It makes me realize, when I think about doing something like Summer Hours,  just how MUCH time I spend on all this without even realizing it. It scares me if I were to even try to calculate it out. I still haven’t decided if I’m going to do the whole Summer Hours thing or not but I’m still thinking on it because there’s a lot to consider!

I don’t think I have a point to all my rambling except for the fact I just really was curious how it is for you guys. Do you feel this way? How do you separate it? Is it hard for you to turn blogger mode off (aside from the obvious when you go do other things?) And if you aren’t a blogger, do you have anything in your life that you feel similarly about?

3 Things About Me As A Reader

Before I entered the wonderful internet world of readers (oh what a sad bookworm I was before I had PEOPLE to talk to about books) I had no idea HOW other people read. I knew how my brain processed books and what made me like them and not like them and feel certain ways. I knew what bothered me and what would distract me from the book. But, until I started getting into Goodreads and the book blogging world, I never got to see how other readers processed what they read.

It’s been really a good experience because I feel like I’ve learned a lot from other readers and how they see things. I’ve become a more observant reader and just more open-minded. It’s been a good experience but I’ve also noticed how completely opposite I can be from other readers which was (and still is) always eye-opening to me. It’s always been amazing to me how many people can read the same book and have vastly different reactions and perspectives on it. It’s great because there’s always something to talk about and think about.

Today I wanted to talk about 3 of the BIGGEST things about me as a reader that I’ve discovered are different than a lot of readers.

(I shouldn’t have to make this disclaimer but I am: I’m not saying I am right or they are wrong or reading one way is better than the other. There is no wrong or right way to read. You just read and I just read and we come to our own glorious conclusions and that’s what makes reading so fun. I’m just pointing out things about me as a reader. And I would love to hear about you as a reader — especially if you differ from me!)

 

1. I do not have to like the characters to like the book:

Sure, it’s always nice when I LOVE the characters of the book I’m reading. But I could totally HATE a character and still give the book a high rating. The character could be the most difficult character ever and I could still think the book is good. I think, for me, what I need is some connection or understanding of why the character is like that. Feel like there are real and believable motivations behind them. I need it to feel real. I read Tease by Amanda Maciel recently and it’s from the POV of a bully who doesn’t think she’s to blame at all when a girl she bullied commits suicide. Yeah, that is HARD to read because I want to punch her but I thought it was a really interesting and compelling book — mostly because the character had a lot to her that I could UNDERSTAND.

I think another thing is that sometimes I realize characters, like people, aren’t perfect and they do dumb things and they aren’t always nice or are at a time of their life where they aren’t their best. (I think it’s also I see it as a very human thing to be flawed so sometimes they feel more real to me). I think a lot about Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy. The character is downright awful but, oh god, did I feel her…what it must have been like to think you were dying, to act a certain way because you thought you were, and then you suddenly have your whole life ahead of you. There’s anger and confusion and it manifested. I just GOT her though I know a lot of people didn’t like the book because they couldn’t stomach her (which I understood but felt differently!).

I like watching my characters grow and sort through messy things and NOT be perfect. As hard and frustrating as it might be sometimes and as much as maybe I’ll find myself NOT loving them. Doesn’t mean I like EVERY flawed and difficult character but it doesn’t equal insta-dislike because they are hard to like or do something I don’t agree with or are very difficult.

2. When something happens in a book that is HORRIBLE, to me, it doesn’t mean that the book/author is condoning it, so I don’t rate based on how much I dislike a THING that happened:

For example, just because there is racism or slut-shaming or horrible behavior in a book, to me it doesn’t mean the book is condoning it. (However, there are cases where there are things that are inherently racist or sexist in a book. That’s not what I’m talking about and I believe we should always think about what IS implied). I’m just talking about when something bad happens in a book that, just because I don’t like that THING, it doesn’t mean I will hate the book because I think the action in the book is wrong.

So when the word “slut” (like in Tease by Amanda Maciel) is thrown around a lot it might hurt my heart to hear it and see the slut-shaming but I don’t believe (though I don’t KNOW I suppose) that the author condones this…I more so see it as they are showing these awful things that unfortunately DO happen in real life. I can’t tell you the kind of slut-shaming I saw and maybe silently contributed to (or just haphazardly used words like slut) back in the day. I learned. I grew. I was not an evil person. It can be hard for me to read some of these things but I don’t see that that the book is saying THIS IS OKAY but more like a) just being realistic because not everything is perfect in life or b) using it as a vehicle to tell a story that people need to hear and could hold up a mirror and make someone think about their life.

I mean, I read a book about slavery, something I obviously hate and think is awful, but I personally don’t DISLIKE a book just because I don’t agree with slavery or I’m not going to see an author saying YES THIS WAS A GOOD THING. Things like racism and slut-shaming SHOULD make me mad, but for me, my rating is not based on how much I hate what the characters are DOING..it’s more about the overall story, how these factors play in and how it’s executed for me even though things might be hard for me to read about. Just because there is something I don’t like (bullying/slut-shaming/racism/sexism) as part of a story doesn’t mean I’m going to rate THE BOOK based on my dislike/not agreeing with those things because I don’t think it’s in there to say THIS IS OKAY.

 

3. Similarly, getting angry at a book doesn’t mean I hate it.

Sometimes the best things I’ve read are the things that light a burning fire under me and make me so, so angry. Now, sure, there are books that make me mad because they just don’t make sense or I don’t like but sometimes getting angry at a book is a GOOD thing for me. I like a book that challenges me and that has the ability to get me all riled up. I can always tell if someone skims a review if I’ve said “this book made me so MAD!!” and they say “sorry you didn’t like it” but, in reality, I DID like it. Anger does not always equal bad experience for me.

 

So what about you? How do you feel about these 3 things about me as a reader? Do you have ot like the characters in your books? How do you approach books when you don’t like issues that are happening in them? Like I said, there’s no right or wrong way, I’m just pointing out how I interact with books as reader and I’d LOVE to hear about your experience ESPECIALLY if you read differently because I learn so much from how other people see things as they read. Outside of what I’ve talked about, are there are any things you can think of that you’ve noticed about how you read compared to the rest of the reading community?

When The Well Rounded Reader Suddenly Finds Herself Not So Well Rounded

So I’ve always been a very eclectic reader. Sure, contemporary YA has been my main jam for the past couple years but I’ve always read a variety of things with it — all sorts of genres in YA and adult fiction. I’d say it was 50% contemporary YA and then 50% other things. But as I was making my top ten books I’ve read in 2014 so far I realized this year I’ve read A LOT of contemporary YA and barely anything else. And that was kind of true for much of last year.

As you know, I’m a mood reader so I just go where my reading whims take me and that seems to be overwhelmingly contemporary YA for this year and last. I’ve had a GREAT reading year so far so I’m okay with that but in some ways I’m kind of feeling like I’m putting myself in a reading box (this is not saying this is a BAD thing to read only one genre but it is strange for ME personally knowing how I normally read).

There’s half of me that’s really content to  just keep reading whatever is jumping out to me because I’m enjoying a good chunk of what I’m reading. But then the other half of me is wanting to force myself to stop reading contemporary for a little bit and branch out to some other things like I used to.

I don’t really know why I’ve been gravitating to just contemporary — maybe the stories just have been catching my eye more with how I’ve been feeling and what I’m looking for right now. Maybe it’s that, review copy wise, more contemporary is coming to me AND I’ve always BOUGHT more contemporary YA than any other genre so all my older reads are contemporary YA as well. Out of like every 25 reads, there has been like 1 thing that isn’t contemporary. Okay, that’s not real math because I didn’t actually look that up but that’s what it seems like. I’ve enjoyed the non-contemporary YA I’ve read in the past year or so but I don’t know why I’m not seeking it out as much as I used to. I even have many non-contemporary YA books I’m like really excited about. But somehow I just keep gravitating towards contemporary YA.

But this also makes me feel like I’m having a teeny tiny borderline existential crisis as a reader. I’ve always been able to say, “HI I’M JAMIE AND I AM A VERY ECLECTIC READER.” And it’s always been true. But right now I feel like that’s not accurate. And now I’m all, “Am I not an eclectic reader anymore? Will I ever be again??” And then on to bigger, more philosophical questions like WHY DO WE PICK THE THINGS WE PICK? Is there a science behind what we pick up?? (Okay, I’m not REALLY thinking about that too much but, for real, I want to know why I’m only gravitating to one genre right now).

I think I’m going to try and mindfully add some other genres from my shelf in the mix but just keep going with where my whims take me.

So let’s talk:

* Are you an eclectic reader or are you pretty much solely a reader of a certain genre?
* Do you ever go through phases where you gravitate towards a certain genre for a while?
* Recommend me a non-contemporary YA book you’ve loved recently or think screams THIS IS A JAMIE BOOK. (seriously, I read/will try mostly anything except erotica).
* ALSO, if you have any insight on The Science of Why We Pick The Books We Do….let me know! I want to understand my brain
haha.

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