This Overwhelming Feeling I’ve Been Getting

Back awhile ago I did a whole series on how I’ve changed as a reader before blogging and then after. It was a really eye-opening project to truly look at all the ways I’ve changed as a reader from habits to interests to becoming even more of a voracious reader. But recently I was thinking about one thing that changed a lot — the factors of which I touched on in a few of the posts from this series.

After I become a blogger (almost 5 years ago WHAT), the amount of books I owned SKYROCKETED and also I became so much more aware of new releases and just books in general — something that I never had done before. I got into blogging and my eyes were open to all these books I HAAAAAAD to have. My Goodreads account exploded. It was exhilarating and fun to discover all these new-to-me books. It still is.

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But recently I’ve had some sort of “what is my next read going to be?” anxiety. Sure, the SO MANY BOOKS, SO LITTLE TIME anxiety happens all the time because SO MANY BOOKS SOUND AMAZING AND I KNOW I WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO GET TO THEM ALL. But this is different than that.

I find myself standing in front of my bookshelves (or even at the bookstore or library) and I just feel overwhelmed. It’s so hard for me to decide what to pick next. I’m a mood reader so I can’t do a schedule and, sure, sometimes it’s easy because I have a book club book to make the decision for me…but a lot of the times I just stare and stare at my shelves. There are SO MANY BOOKS I WANT TO READ & so many books I’ve been anticipating and, if I could read them all the same time I would, but staring at my shelves trying to pick just overwhelms me.

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And I was thinking about how I never experienced this pre-blogging. How I had much fewer choices because I didn’t know about a lot of books and I didn’t own that many. When I went to the library or bookstore I didn’t have a million books I KNEW I wanted to pick up. I just picked up something on a whim and that was that.  Sure, there still WERE just as many books to choose from then….but I wasn’t aware of them. I hadn’t heard all these awesome things about them or know the other or have this already burning desire to read them. Does that make sense?

I started thinking a lot about how I’ve heard that too many choices isn’t always good for us — just in general in life. I’ve found it to be true for myself sometimes even though, in my head, I always think I want 100 ice cream flavor options in front of me rather than 15. I think this is why, as I’ve gotten older, minimalism has appealed to me even more. When I have too many choices I spend too much time trying to make the right decision. I agonize over it. It takes me far too long to make the choice. There’s a guy who talks about this, the paradox of choice, and I’m not sure whether or not it’s true for everything (maybe more IS more/better sometimes) but I absolutely see it to be true in some aspects of my life.

I’m extremely THANKFUL that I have freedom in choice. That I have access to and KNOWLEDGE of all these books. That I can hop out of bed and have access to SHELVES upon SHELVES of books. But I will say that sometimes being aware of and owning so many books is OVERWHELMING. I love being aware of all these books out there but it makes my decision of “what to read next??” even harder because I feel like all these books I so desperately want to read are just all vying for my attention. Just yesterday I was lamenting the fact that I have a bunch of unread books just sitting here from authors I SUPER love. All because I have so many competing for my attention.

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It’s a first world problem for sure because I’m lucky to be able to read and have access to books that I’m FREE to choose. I mean, there could be worse problems, right? I guess I could be wondering what to read next and genuinely have NO idea what is out there that I might be into (I know this because I get google searches to my blog about what to read next).

As much as I’m grateful to have a never-ending queue of books to read next, it truly does overwhelm me sometimes to make that choice — to pick that ONE book out of the hundreds that I own or the 1,000 books I have marked as “to read” on my Goodreads list. The book lover’s eternal dilemma, huh?

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What about you all? Do you ever feel this or do I just complicate things too much for myself? Do you believe that having too many options or choices is a bad thing? Tell me your thoughts and feelings!

Spreading Kindness

I’m a pretty genuinely positive person when it comes to this bookish community (because all the bloggers, authors, readers and publishers are MY PEOPLE and these 5 years have been incredibly) but lately, as I talked about here on my Tumblr, it’s felt different. I heard it from others close to me and I heard it very loudly as people reached out to me after I shared my thoughts. I don’t ever talk about the things I see or the various dramas/concerning things that I’ve seen take place publicly. I don’t want to add to the negativity. But it was bumming me out. REAL BAD.

Before I posted what I did, I had talked extensively with my girl Anna about it and we kept trying to build each other up and encourage each other because we LOVED what this community has been — this great interaction of bloggers, readers, authors and publishing. I had thrown around the idea of a challenge to do BEHIND the scenes to extend to others in the community to do along with us to spread some positivity but we never quite nailed it down and, honestly, the negativity was kind of demotivating us. But then, after I posted my feelings and talked to other people, I had this fire again to try. I had been trying on my own (and with Anna) to combat this but after sharing my feelings and hearing that SO many others were feeling the same way? It gave me a spark.

Then enter my pal Estelle. We started having a conversation about all this and what we could do to change it. We started talking about the times that the KINDNESS in this community has uplifted us and how genuine kindness can be so powerful — in blogging and in life. Just taking the time to encourage or let someone know you were thinking of them or that they had done a good job with something.

Estelle had this great idea, during Alexa’s annual blogging event Love-athon which I’ll talk about more below, that it would be fun to have everyone SHARE the random acts of kindness we’ve experienced in this community — but with NO names. Likely we’ve already thanked these people and we don’t want to make this a popularity contest but just a time to tell stories about the random acts of kindness people have shown us.

I’m going to be sharing more of mine during that week and adding my post to the linkup that Estelle is going to put up but I figured I’d give you an idea of what we are looking for with one story.

A year or two ago I got an email from a teacher, who isn’t a blogger or anyone that I knew, who wanted to share with me something that my blog inspired them to do with their classroom. If you read my blog, you know I started putting a “review on a post-it” on the bottom of my reviews — something I started doing in 2011 as a way to give an “at a glance” look and because I’ve always had this habit of doing it when I lend books to friends. This teacher loved the idea of it and started having her class do it after every book they read and they LOVED doing it. She sent me a picture and there along this big wall was SO MANY post-its. It moved me so much. More than anything else in my time of being part of this community. It made me feel really connected in a way I hadn’t and know that my reach wasn’t just to the community of bloggers that I love. It meant a lot that she reached out to me to TELL me. She could have not but the fact she DID made all the difference.

 

Check out Estelle’s great post HERE!

Another thing I decided to do, to combat some of what I was feeling just on a blogging level, was to create a little Random Acts of Kindness checklist to guide me each month. I don’t make myself do each one of them because I want this to be genuine but I try to do at least a couple in the hopes that this will just become a thing that just naturally flows out of me. And when I’m feeling negativity? I’m trying to whip this list out and DO IT to combat what I’m feeling. I’d love to share it with you guys. Feel free to use it, print it out, share it, add to it. WHATEVER. (I’d love to hear if you have any other fun suggestions for me to put on my list!!).

 

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On a community-wide scale, I’d love to let you know about this annual event that Alexa at Alexa Loves Books throws together which is just a super positive week for bloggers, authors and readers alike. It’s called Love-a-thon and it’s a great way to spread kindness and meet other readers! She has challenges and all sorts of fun activities involved on a community wide scale to uplift this wonderful community! So check out her post about the details of when it starts and how to sign up and what it is all about!

 

So, in the spirit of random acts of kindness online and beyond, tell me something really nice someone has done for you lately or something that inspired YOU to “pay it forward.” And, if you are a blogger, keep this story in mind and link up the week of February 16, in the spirit of Love-a-thon, and link up with Rather Be Reading and I!

Reformed Book Buyer….Apparently

Last year I talked pretty openly about how unemployed has changed me as a reader. One of the big things was the way I bought books. Before this, I would buy books ALL THE TIME — books I’ve never heard of, books I’ve already read but don’t own, books that were recommended, etc. I was just pretty much buying books at an alarming rate and pretty impulsively. Anything that sounded remotely interesting.

I’m not unemployed now (yay NANNYING) but I’ve found that some of this super frugal book buying habits have stuck. And it feels weird? I mean, we aren’t in a particularly GREAT financial situation that would warrant me to buy a lot of books anyways but I would still think some of my former book buying ways would return.

I recently got a gift card for Christmas to Barnes and Noble. I was SOOOO excited to get it. I was like, “omg BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS I can’t wait to buy books.” And then I pulled up the Barnes & Noble website….and I bought nothing. Before? I would have added books to my cart for my gift card amount in 2.5 seconds and bing bang boom…no second thoughts. That order would have been placed. But suddenly I find myself in my mindset of “do I need it?” that I’ve been so programmed to be in when I was unemployed.

My inner monologue goes like this:
Oooh I really want this book. I’ve heard good things. HMMM but I could get it at the library. And (because I am ruthless about culling books after I read them) am I almost CERTAIN that it would be a favorite and I’d want to keep it because MAN I’d hate to buy it if I won’t keep it. I could buy a book that I already loved. AHH BUT I REALLY WANT SOMETHING NEW. But ALL THE BOOKS I ALREADY OWN AND HAVEN’T READ. I don’t knowwww. I CANNOT MAKE THIS DECISION RIGHT NOW.

It is the worst being inside my head. The WORST. It used to be soooo so easy to be a compulsive book buyer.

I’ve just become a more calculated book buyer, I guess. Pickier about what I buy. Discriminate. And sometimes I feel bad about it because I want to support ALL THE AUTHORS but I’ve realized that minimalism and not spending excessively is important to me. And I realize that I support authors and the industry, even if I’m not buying AS much as I used to, in so many other ways — getting books in hands of readers, reviewing here, reviewing on Amazon and other retail sites.

Here’s basically what I find myself buying:

– books from authors I know I like
– books I’ve read as an ARC or library books and consider favorites
– gifts: Sometimes I buy books I really LIKED as ARCs or library books but don’t necessarily want to own (I only own absolute favorites) and I give them to others.
– books for signings — I only do it if it’s a book/author I REALLY love. Previously I would buy pretty much any author that came through. I still GO to the events to support but I might not always buy if I’m unsure.
– books I am REALLY excited about, seem like a guarantee for me to love it and others I trust have said THIS WILL BE A YOU BOOK. (But this isn’t often…all the above things take priority)

Basically gone are the days of just buying books on a whim. I’ve become a little bit of a reformed book buyer as my situation has changed.

The only question is if, once I get a better job and more monies, if I’ll go back to my compulsive book buying habits. Only time will tell, bookworms.

What are your book buying habits like? Are you a compulsive book buyer or are you more calculated?

So I Sat Here Ready To Declare My Goodreads Challenge Number…

And then it hit me.

I’m not sure that’s how I want to challenge myself this year when it comes to my reading life.

There’s nothing WRONG with the Goodreads challenge. I’ve participated and enjoyed it for the past few years and was fully intending to participate in it again. Even when I barely make my challenge and read way less than everyone else. I’ve been okay with it. (This year I was an overachiever and read 1 past my goal…my goal was low so I set myself up for SUCCESS. 91 books YAY).

Even though my Goodreads reading challenge is not the end-all-be-all of my life by any means, it still is this presence breathing down my neck. It’s everywhere. I mean, most years I’m 30 books behind and not caring so it’s not like it really IMPACTS me or that I take it SO seriously. But it’s always there (especially when I think about picking up a chunky book or a book I know will be a slower read aka non-fiction or super literary adult fiction). Even though any pressure with it is mostly self-imposed even for someone who approaches it very low key, there is still a degree of pressure just by even logging into Goodreads and KNOWING that damn widget is going to let me know where I stand. (Mostly, it’s always YOU ARE BEHIND!)

And I’m not just not sure I want to focus on a NUMBER this year. Maybe I will but at this current moment I’m leaning towards no.

I keep thinking about all the other ways I COULD challenge myself this year in my reading life. Reading more diversely, tackling some classics, getting back into adult fiction, reading genres I’m not well read in, reading more non-fiction, etc. etc. (basically the resolutions I set for myself).

And sure…all these things could be done in conjunction WITH a “number of books read” challenge. But I know my focus will be on that reading count number because I like shiny little widgets and straightforward goals. I read therefore I contribute to my total count per year. I’m feeling a little burnt out from keeping keeping such a close eye on my number count every year.

What I need to wrestle with:

Do I WANT a number based challenge this year? Would it be so freeing not to think of a numbers based challenge? Do I want to challenge myself for the year AT ALL in terms of my reading life (haha funny because I already came up with reading resolutions before I wrote this post)? Or do I just want to read? Not focus on fulfilling any sort of quota. Surely, I want to be aware of what I’m reading and be intentional, but not have to check off and keep track of things outside of WHAT I read. JUST READ. Maybe in the simplicity of that kind of reading year I’ll have my best reading year yet. Who knows! Maybe the next year I’ll realize it’s more fun to try to shoot for a goal or challenge myself– whatever that may be.

 

But I really think 2015 may be the year of no number based challenges for me. I’m not even going to keep TRACK of how MANY I’m reading this year until I tally it up at the end of  2015. I’m just going to read. Just as an experiment.

 

LET’S TALK

Are you doing any challenges? Which ones? Are you aiming to read a certain amount of books or pages? Do you feel pressure when you do set those kind of goals or is it a GOOD sort of pressure for you? Is anyone else feeling like they don’t want to keep track of how MANY books they read until the end of the year?

Let’s Talk To-Be-Read Lists via The TBR Tag

I got tagged by my friend Ginger for The Tbr Tag that has been making its way around the blogosphere. I don’t really do many tag kind of posts but this one looked super fun and was created by the lovely ladies over here. I’ll tag the ladies over at Rather Be Reading, Sash & Em, Tiff at Mostly YA Lit and Elena at Novel Sounds and whoever else reading and wanting to join in!

If you enjoy other tag kind of things check out ones I created last year: A to Z book survey, My YA Life in Book Titles, Bookish Superlatives

 

Before we get into the actual question portion this tag made me think about how people define TBR (to-be-read list). I have seen people say their TBR is the actual physical books they own and it’s a smaller collection than books they WANT to read. Others say their TBR is anything they want to read even if they don’t own it. I’m curious how YOU define it! (I think I tend to be the latter).

 

How do you keep track of your TBR pile?

 

Hmm this is a hard question because honestly I don’t really? I kind of just add everything I am remotely interested in or own on to my TBR section on Goodreads. I’m a mood reader so I definitely don’t have any sort of system to track them so I just kind of pick my book based on what I’m in the mood for and have (either I already own it/was sent it for review, I feel like going to get it from the library or decided to buy it). So there honestly isn’t any keeping track for me. I mean, I do have shelves on Goodreads for what I own and what ARCs I have that helps me GUIDE what is in front of me and I add books to my library wishlist to remember which ones I want to borrow at some point. That’s about it though.

 

Is your TBR mostly print or ebook?

 

Definitely print. Most of my ebooks that ARE on my Kindle are egalleys. I rarely buy Kindle books unless it is a good deal.

 

How do you determine what to read next?

 

Ughhh. By how I feel? What I’m in the mood for? What I’m really excited about? I do try to alternate between review copy and whatever I want to read but I just kind of go with what I feel like reading. Also sometimes it might be a book club book or something I agreed to read with someone or for something and that might dictate. I just kind of go to what I’m gravitating towards when I think of what I want to read next or if I’ve really been hearing good things. Like if I want to read something really profound I will go looking for books I think might fight that. Something light and fluffy? I consult the TBR to see what I have. It’s not very methodically or interesting honestly. I might as well just spin around and then point to a book and read what my finger lands on. Although new books from favorite authors ALWAYS soar to my list when I get them!

 

A book that has been on your TBR the longest:

 

That I’ve Owned the Longest & Haven’t Read: If it’s my YA, that’s probably Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver which was one of the first YA books I ever bought (I only read adult fiction before I started blogging in 2010 and the only YA I read before that was Twilight, The Book Thief and Perks of Being A Wallflower). If it’s adult, hmm probably some of the classics I own.
That I Don’t Own But Has Been on My Goodreads TBR For Longest: There are a bunch I added the first day I joined Goodreads so I’ll pick one — A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith

 

 

A book you recently added to your TBR pile:

 

Added to my Goodreads TBR pile: Inked by Eric Smith — I adore Eric from Quirk Books and I’m SOO excited to read his YA novel!!

Added to my physical TBR pile: I just got The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds for review in the mail yesterday and definitely plan to read it!

 

A book on your TBR solely for its beautiful cover:

 

Solely for its beautiful cover? HMM. I don’t know if I have any of those to be honest. At least none that I can think of enough to put down. SORRY I know you wanted to see some pretties. I have lots of pretties on my list but none that are on it SOLELY for the cover. Although The Selection might be the closest to that!

 

A book on your TBR you never plan on reading:

 

Well, at one point I PLANNED or at least WANTED to read each book on my TBR (even knowing it was impossible). I kind of think I’m never going to finish the Mortal Instruments series. Actually there are probably a bunch of books in a series that I need to break up with and take off my TBR. It’s so hard to let goooooo.

 

An unpublished book on your TBR you’re most excited:

 

UM where do I start?? Things We Know By Heart by Jessi Kirby, the next book in the Throne of Glass series PLUS the first book in her new series, the last book in the Winner’s Curse trilogy, The Devil You Know by Trish Doller. I could keep goingggg. Oh also ANY BOOK that Gayle Forman will ever publish. Is that an acceptable answer? No matter what it is about?

 

A book on your TBR that basically everyone has read but you:

 

The whole Harry Potter series. No literally everyone. I’ve read book 1 though so…progress.

 

A book on your TBR that everyone recommends to you:

A lot of books but one that popped into my mind immediately is My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick! Everyone is always saying I should read it because it’s a “me book” and I agreee…and I own it. I need to just read it now.

 

How many books are on your Goodreads TBR shelf?

 

HAHAHAH 1213. 1213 books. I’m telling you…since I joined Goodreads in 2008 I used it to add anything that I was remotely interested in or wanted to remember to check out plus all the books I really WAS interested in. It has grown out of control and I need an intervention mostly. Or someone to clean it out for me. (Also, this IS after I did do a major cleaning of it).

 

LET’S TALK

So friends, I want to know if anybody’s Goodreads TBR is worse than mine?? Make me feel better okay! Do you count your TBR as what you own or anything you WANT to read?  Tell me the answers to these questions (or at least the one that interests you the most). How do YOU pick what to read next??

The Sacrificial Lamb Book

You might call it something different but you KNOW the feeling.

You just read one of the BEST BOOKS OF YOUR LIFE. You are high on those feelings. You are tweeting incessantly and telling anyone who will listen…just BASKING in those OMG HOW HAVE I LIVED MY LIFE WITHOUT THIS BOOK feelings.

And then you realize you have to pick your next book…at some point.

You know you have a book hangover. And you know whatever you read MORE THAN LIKELY is not going to live up to what you just read (if it does, you might implode I think). In a lot of cases that next book might be really awesome but it’s not THAT book that you just read. It ends up paling in comparison even when we aren’t TRYING to be like this.

THE SACRIFICIAL LAMB BOOK. That is what I have dubbed it for the past couple years.

I don’t have a definition for it but essentially in my mind it is the book in which you pretty much are sacrificing to be the next book after A BEST BOOK EVER kind of book. There HAS to be a next book. You can’t ride on the book hangover forever. So you have to choose one book to be offered to the book gods for the greater good of your reading life. A book that unfortunately might not end well because of your crazy high expectations from your last book.

IT IS THE WORST. I can’t even look in the eyes of my books when I go about selecting the sacrificial lamb book KNOWING how it might end. I try to be strategic about it.

Basically my strategy is:

1. Pick something SOOOO different than what I just read. So if it was a contemporary I might pick a crazy fast paced thriller or fantasy or something.

2. Pick a book that wasn’t necessarily one I was SUPER looking forward to: If I already HAVE high expectations of it? I don’t want anything else to affect the reading experience. So I’ll try to pick up a review book that wasn’t SUPER high on my priority list or pick out a random book from the library I’ve never heard of.

3. Try not to cry: No but really. No matter how HARD I try not to let my book hangover from THE BEST BOOK EVER affect my next read…it’s SO hard for it not to. Sometimes I get lucky and my sacrificial lamb book turns out giving me pretty strong feelings and it isn’t affected by it but so often it really DOES affect my next read or two.

So what about you guys? Do you ever experience this “sacrificial lamb book”? Also, do you have a different name you use for it? What’s your strategy when picking out your next book after a reading experience like that??

Not A Slump But A SOMETHING.

I haven’t been in a slump lately but I’ve been in a SOMETHING that has me reflecting a little bit.

I tweeted this recently:

 

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It’s not that I’m not excited about books (I am!) and I haven’t been reading bad books but it’s just more so that I’m indifferent to whether or not I read each day in the past couple of weeks. I’m not racing to read the books around me and I don’t really care if I’m picking up a book to be honest — I don’t give it much of a second thought.

I’ve confessed that I don’t always read EVERY day though most of the time I at least get a little reading in. I might go a couple days without reading and I’m FINE with that. I like to go where my whims take me. But after a couple of days I’m normally CRAVING it — though I will say that it wasn’t always that way before blogging.  I went a lot longer in between books (I also read a lot less books per year). Of course it’s much easier to not feel bad about not reading when you physically don’t have TIME to read…as opposed to the fact I’m just choosing not to. And it feels weird that it’s lasted this long.

And it’s funny, even though I don’t need to read every day and am okay with that, I start to feel weirdly panicky after this many days. I sat here recently kind of laughing at myself — WHY AM I STRESSING ABOUT SOMETHING FUN? Who cares how many books I read per year? Who cares if I haven’t read in 2 weeks as long as I’m enjoying what I am doing in the meantime? And even though I have a lot of “OTHER” posts that aren’t book talks…it still is hard to run a book blog when you aren’t really feeling SUPER DUPER EXCITED ABOUT READING.

And I came to the realization that I think a lot of times it is easy to let the blog run you. To forget WHY I created this blog. I started this blog to chronicle my reading journey. I don’t read so that I can blog or FOR my blog. But it’s easy to get wrapped up in that and let the two be so intertwined. So intertwined that it feels like, “OH I have to read so that I have things to post/I’m a book blogger..this is what I do” or a similar sentiment. It’s easy to let the blog schedule (yeah, I don’t have one bc I’m a mood reader) or the ARCs or new releases or the blog tour you said you’d do start to dictate what you read and how you read. To let the fact of being a book blogger make you feel like you need to read faster and more often and almost superhumanly. (End of year counts stress me out so I think about this instead).

 

It kind of has the beginnings of an existential crisis of sorts. What happens if I feel like this for an extended amount of time? WHAT HAPPENS? Will this all be over? WHO AM IF I DO NOT HAVE A BOOK IN MY HAND? And that’s when I have to stop myself from spiraling out of control and worrying about something so silly. I am a person with many interests and passions that change and fluctuate and grow.

So, while I’m sitting here in the midst of WHATEVER this is, I’m just trying to remind myself that this IS my reading journey. This is part of it. And I’m just going to let it take me wherever it does. I will not let the act of blogging dictate my reading. I will not try to force myself out of whatever THIS is.  I mean, maybe that’s part of my problem right now. Maybe I’m burnt out on the way blogging does affect my reading life even when it’s not necessarily in a BAD way?

 

I’d like to know:

1. Do you read every day? Does it bother you when you don’t read?
2. If you are a blogger, do you sometimes feel like your blog runs you a little bit?

In Theory I Like Re-Reading

I talked before about how my re-reading habits have changed before I was a blogger and then when I became a blogger but I have been thinking a lot about re-reading lately and why/why not I don’t do it.

In theory I would say I am pro re-reading but in practice? NOT SO MUCH.

 

Why I Don’t Re-Read:

1. TIME, my TBR-list & also the desire to experience new stories — This is the biggest factor & honestly I need to get over this. As a blogger I have these shiny new review copies that always seem to take up my time and I don’t make TIME for re-reads which is a shame. I’m always so stuck in the whirlwind of new releases that I don’t think about it. And it’s not even that I think “oh, well I won’t have anything to blog about” because I have NO problem blogging about a re-reading experience…it’s just I’m so stuck in the world of new books. And not even just NEW releases but just any story I’ve never read before. It’s always so EXCITING to read something you’ve never read before and I always love meeting new characters and going on new adventures.

2. I’m sometimes afraid they will not hold up to what I first thought: It’s a scary thought to me. That I could read a book love it and then years later HATE it. That the words that once really resonated or a romance I fell for could just fall so flat. I mean, I get that I change and grow and so do my tastes but also sometimes I just want to have those good memories of the book. It would be a sad day to read a book I considered a favorite (especially a childhood favorite) and just dislike it so much.

Why In Theory I Like Re-Reading:

1. Cozying up with old friends is fun: Seriously, sometimes it’s just a comfort to settle in with characters you love or a story that left you breathless. I tend to always reread portions of favorites when I’m in a reading slump because they just remind me why I love reading.

2. As much as I’m afraid the book holding up, I get excited about the new lens I might view it: We are always growing and changing and the lens in which we view the world changes through experiences and such. I think it’s exciting to pick up on things I might not have before or see a character/the story in a different way because of the time that has passed and the ways I’ve changed since my first reading. Wouldn’t it be amazing to re-read a favorite book and then just have all these other elements and words change you all over again in a different way. I remember when I read Eat, Pray, Love at the age of 21-ish I immediately thought, “I want to re-read this book again when I’m 30.”

3. It solidifies the favorites: Yes, it sucks to not feel the sparks on a re-read but how amazing is it to be like YEAH THERE IS A REASON THIS IS A FAVORITE!! I want to read it over and over again!

 

What I Want To Do To Change My Re-Reading Habits:

In 2015 I want to re-read more. It’s that simple. I want to choose a book a month that was important to me or I considered a favorite (some will be childhood books so I know they will be quick reads) and re-read it.

I want to reflect on where I was at in my life when I read it vs. where I am now. How I remember thinking about it vs. how I do now. I want to not be afraid about the fact that sometimes we grown in and out of books. I want to not be afraid that sometimes a book is really important and shapes you at a certain point in your life when you need it but it’s okay for it to not be as meaningful upon a re-read. I don’t want to be afraid of not loving it this time around but rejoice in the fact it really meant something to me at one point but now I have books that do that for me now. I can acknowledge the impact. Remember it fondly. Be a little sad. But really I want to explore these books that shaped me and look at how myself and the world has changed since my first read.

I know I started to wax poetic there for a moment about something like re-reading but honestly it fascinates me that I will probably NEVER have the same experience reading the same book twice.

 

Some Books I Want To Explore In My Re-Reading Adventures:

I haven’t decided on ALL the re-reads I want to do but these I know for sure.

+ On The Road by Jack Kerouac — a favorite in college and I’m super curious if 29 year old Jamie will see it in the same way that pretentious 19 year old Jamie did. The Jamie who had all these fantasies for what life would be like and how it would unfold.

+ The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath I talked pretty personally about this and where I was at in my life when I read this book and I’m just really curious how I’ll see it vs. how 18 year old Jamie did in the middle of one of the single worst times in my life.

+ The Giver by Lois Lowry — This was my all time FAVORITE book growing up. I re-read it about 10 times as a kid.

+ Just One Day by Gayle Forman — This is a more recent one (Nov 2012 I think) so I don’t have a ton of distance from it but it really CHANGED my life. It’s a Gayle book so I know it will hold up! IT WILL.

 

So let’s talk about re-reading! Do you re-read often? Why/why not? Have you ever re-read a book and then it didn’t live up? Tell me anything about your re-reading habits!

A Personal Response To A Shocking THING That Happened

I typically never write posts about drama or any THINGS happening in the book world (minus the Speak Loudly/book banning thing years ago) because 1) I don’t like getting blogging community specific to isolate my readers who aren’t in it and 2) I generally don’t have the energy to rehash these things… but something that happened over the weekend has given me a lot to think about so I feel I must.

What happened: I’m not going to go into details of what happened or analyze it for you or really give too many opinions. The only opinion that matters: what this author did was so wrong. It crossed a huge line. I read THIS article (it goes to a safe link so they won’t get hits) and was appalled. Basically an author stalked (no literally STALKED as in went to her HOUSE) a blogger who I know and wrote an article about it trying to pass her craziness off in this cutesy, funny matter. I was not laughing because no matter what this blogger did or didn’t do…stalking is a line that I’m NOT okay with. Dear Author wrote about this in detail so I’ll link that if you want more on this.

I’m not really here to talk about WHAT HAPPENED or give opinions other than how it made me feel personally as a blogger.

I started blogging in 2010. I wanted to talk about books I was reading and connect with other readers because I had nobody in my circle of people to talk books with. It was a smaller community then and publisher/blogger relationships were still in the earlier stages of forming. I fell into this community and became friendly with a lot of people quickly. I’ve met SO many people I met online IN REAL LIFE — at conferences and events and such. I have felt safe in this really wonderful part of the internet that I call home. My readers are lovely. I’ve had LITERALLY no drama in my blogging life.

I would have never, back in 2010, imagined a blogger could be stalked by an author over an opinion they had about their book — regardless of how the book blogger talked about the book or what she did or did not do.

I tweeted this after I read the article and processed it:

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A few things I’ve thought about since this:

 

ONE // I have always felt safe in this community and have been VERY open. I feel like you guys are my close friends and in some ways..family. Because of that safety, I’ve let my guard down and forgotten that the internet CAN be a scary place and is not always used for good. I haven’t given out OBVIOUS personal information but I think about the little ways someone could EASILY piece together important details if they wanted to and were looking that hard. I’ve tweeted landmarks across from where I live to local bloggers without even thinking twice about who was looking. I’ve not even thought twice about sending packages out with my return address and real name to giveaway winners. Everyone knows my husband’s name. My niece’s names. I’ve said where I used to live to authors and bloggers who are local and that my sister still lives in that town. I may have mentioned her name randomly (though I typically just say my sister).

Individually these things are probably not problematic but if the wrong person who I’ve wronged or who becomes obsessed (and no dear god I’m not saying I think this would happen to me) or WHATEVER gets a hold of it and wants to find out more personal details? THEY COULD. I’m not saying I’m not going to close up shop and stop being personal but it has definitely give me a lot to think about and I’ll be more vigilant about what I’m sharing online.

TWO// Younger bloggers and readers, please be careful. I’m a 29 year old woman and I see the mistakes I’ve made. The times I’ve let my guards down. I know it’s easy to feel comfortable but be careful about where your address is going. Your personal details. Who you are talking to. It’s a good reminder to all that we don’t always know who we are talking to and what kind of person we are interacting with. Talk with your parents about it. Think about where you can be safer.

THREE// It’s a scary time to be a blogger in a way — even in this bookish space. I’ve seen a book blogger being sued over something she wrote about a publisher. And now I’m seeing stalking. The bullying and the trolls and such were scary enough to me. I do not want to quit blogging but I’m finding myself overwhelmed about how things have changed since I started. I don’t write a lot of SUPER negative reviews because I generally don’t have the energy to spend that much time on something I disliked but it makes you think about how all it takes is for one person to become so enraged and so obsessed about the things you have written. The opinions you have.

FOUR // Just know that when I hold giveaways or have your personal information for ANY REASON..I destroy it. You can feel safe that your information will never be given to anyone other than who I have informed you would have it (ie: when a giveaway is sponsored by a publisher and I sent your info to a publisher).

FIVE // I KNOW that this is not the majority of authors. So many authors have been equally as disgusted and have spoken out about how this is NOT OKAY. I know that this is not the norm. That is comforting. I know that this community is mostly comprised of lovely people. I know this. But I think we can all do with being a little bit safer.

 

I know I’ve had a lot to think about after this. I’d love to know what it’s made you think about especially in regards to your safety as a blogger and internet user and how you safeguard yourself! (My intention is not to open this up to nastiness at all. I have my opinions of ALL aspects of this and I’m keeping most of them to myself and to close friends because that’s how I roll. So that kind of conversation isn’t going to be welcome here. Stalking is wrong. The end. You will not change my mind on THAT part).

8 Reasons I Struggle To Put Down A Book

I HATE when I’m reading a book and I’m not really feeling it. Because then…one of the hardest bookworm decisions has to be made. To put down the book or keep reading? I mean, it’s a tough decision. If I don’t put it down I am at risk for subjecting myself to something awful and possibly putting myself in a dreaded reading slump. I recently had a REALLY tough time putting down a book —  I put it down and was so close to talking myself out of it. But my book people on Twitter stepped in and off to the library I went to return the book.

I realized there’s many reasons why I struggle to put it down. Let’s explore them.

1. I think “IT COULD GET BETTER” and history has made this be true for me.

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Some of my favorite books started out rough or slow (Code Name Verity and Jellicoe Road). I can’t imagine not having those stories in my life!! But there are more books that DIDN’T get better…that weren’t that one that was worth pushing through. But I get so caught up in the fact that books I may have wanted to put down have been SO WORTH IT. Even though mathematically that’s a small percentage. But I’ve never like math anyways.

 

2. I’ve invested so much time into it.

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SERIOUSLY THOUGH. Let’s say I spent an hour or so reading a book. I CANNOT GET THAT TIME BACK. I could have been reading something else so I might as well just finish so it wasn’t wasted time. Plus, LET’S BE REAL….an unfinished book can’t count towards my Goodreads challenge and I can’t figure out a way for the pages I DID read to count in my pages read count on Goodreads. I NEED TO GET SOME SORT OF CREDIT FOR READING WHAT I DID. I might as well just finish the damn book to do that.

3. I like finishing what I start.

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It’s true. I hate starting something and then leaving it unfinished. (Although look at all my unfinished series…IT REALLY DOES BOTHER ME. I swear). It just nags at me.

 

4. I’m NOSY.

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I like to know what happens in most cases. Even if I’m not really digging it I mostly ALWAYS have the desire to know what happens. Even if it’s excruciating for me to keep reading or putting me in a slump. Sidenote: Book friends are so useful in this way. I always get them to tell me what happens if I don’t want to finish a series or a book.

 

5. It’s just kind of my personality.

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A problematic part of my personality. I suck at letting things go. This is why my closet has tons of things I haven’t worn in 5 years in it. I’m always like BUT MAYBE I WILL WANT TO WEAR IT. Toxic friendships? Took me years to let some go. I always try to tell myself things could turn around. It could change. People will be less sucky. Miserable situations? YEP I JUST TRY TO FIGHT THROUGH IT HOPING IT GETS BETTER. I’m just the worst at letting go….even when I know I should.

6. I spent money on it.

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I wish money grew on trees but ALAS IT DOES NOT. So if I spent money on a book? I feel the most guilt in the world to not finish it. I know I could pass it along or donate it but I still feel guilt like WOAH. This is also why I’ve gotten better about being more selective with what books I buy.

7. I have an obligation & I feel guilty.

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If it’s for book club, it was a gift, a bff’s favorite book or I said I’d read with a friend or anything like that? I AM DOOMED. I’ve only ever not finished one book for book club but I did have to put my foot down with that one because I was in a major slump because of it.

8. I’m unsure whether it’s the book or ME:

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I wrote this post “It’s Not You, It’s Me…Or Is It?” a long time ago but this is still a huge issue for me. Sometimes I can’t tell if it’s just a mood thing or it’s not the right time…or if it just really IS the book. If it’s a ME/outside factor than I’ll try to pick it up again sometime later (in an ideal world).

 

It’s a hard moment when I’m faced with dilemma of quitting a book. ALL THESE FACTORS MAKE IT SO HARD TO MAKE A DECISION.

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LET’S TALK:

Are you good at putting down books you aren’t into? What factors make it hard or easy for you?

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