Oh The Pressure!

If you have any book loving friends, I’m sure you’ve passed books amongst yourselves and borrowed books from friends. After all, sharing is caring — especially amongst book friends. It’s so lovely — the generous nature of bookish people to want to lend out books (or maybe it’s just the compulsion we have to push books on people??). And while I am always down for borrowing a book from a friend sometimes I feel like there is so much pressure (mostly internal haha).

(Note: this is not a complaint about borrowing books from people or anything ungrateful or rude about their lending tendencies. I love borrowing books from friends but this is what goes through my mind. I happily borrow books all the time!)

So what kind of pressure do I feel?

1. Pressure to not eff them up. Maybe this is not something you feel as heavily, because I know most of you aren’t book manhandlers like I am, but this is a HUGE one for me! I’m pretty open about how I like dogearring and I’m okay with my books getting “loved” but I would NEVER EVER treat my friends books the way I treat MINE. But that means, for me, constant vigilance and awareness while I am reading. It’s like “OH SELF. Don’t eat that powdered donut while reading this book.” “SELF! Grab a bookmark!” “OH OH YOU IDIOT..DON’T SHOVE THAT BOOK IN YOUR PURSE. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU.” “DON’T CRACK THE SPINE OPEN THAT FAR.” It’s a lot of pressure because I have to pay attention to things I don’t normally pay attention to with my own books (seriously I must have not developed these reader quirks)! I would feel awful if I ruined a book of somebody’s — or not RUINED but even sent it back in less than pristine condition.

2. Pressure to get them read in a timely manner: I’ve told you all about what it’s like to be a mood reader and how it affects me but this is SO PART OF THIS. I will be so excited to borrow a book from a friend but my mood reading takes over and it might take me forever to decide I’m ready to read the book. I sit there and feel so much guilt when I see the book on my shelf and I’m like I SHOULD just read it right now but alas my mood reader tendencies dictate a lot. I’ve borrowed SO many books that I have taken an embarrassingly long time to read and I feel awful always. Luckily my friends are forgiving!

3. Pressure to LIKE them: Most of the time I’m borrowing a book that someone else loved and they think I should read so there is a huge pressure to like it though I know that my friends are okay if I don’t. But I want to like it! I do! When I borrow books I KNOW I’m going to be reporting back to the person when I finish it because if not that would be kind of awkward haha. I just get so nervous that I’m going to NOT like it and I’ll have to report back all WOMP WOMP I didn’t like it.

On the reverse side? When I lend out books, I’m totally that person who feels all nervous about if the person will like the books I’m lending them! I’m not too worried about minor “damages” when I lend out books because I just don’t care. I mean, pages ripped out or writing in my book would not fly but I’m not too worried about little things. But that’s just a personal preference (plus I love used, loved books). I think most of the time I don’t care too much about how long someone takes to read a book unless a) I want to re-read it and I don’t have it or b) if I’ll never get it back. RIP LOST BOOKS.

What about you?? Do you share my weird “anxieties” when it comes to borrowing books or have different ones? What about when YOU are the lender of books?

Go Ahead & Make Fun Of Me ALLLL You Want, Non-Reader Friends!

I apparently have this “quirk” that all my non-reader friends (most of the people I know outside of this community) think is really “cute”/like to make fun of me for. You see, it’s something probably TOTALLY normal in this community but, outside of it, people just think it’s kind of ridiculous…and a little bit excessive. Maybe strange?

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What is it, you ask?

I ALWAYS have 1-3 books in my purse (as well as my Kindle along with it typically — depending on the situation) and I ALWAYS keep a spare book in my car. That last one is the one that so often gets made fun of but I can’t tell you the comments I get when I go to grab something from my purse, which can surprisingly act like Mary Poppins’ bag, and have to pull out a couple of books before I can find whatever it is I’m looking for. (I seriously buy purses based on their ability to hold books).

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They always ask WHY, because they think it is a bit excessive, and I tell them but I think they don’t GET it because 1) they aren’t a reader and 2) they figure they always have their phone if they have to do any waiting.

BUT let me tell you how many of them laughed a couple of weeks ago…

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THIS, friends, is just one of the reasons I always carry a book with me AND in my car. A few weeks ago, because one of the glorious snowstorms that has tortured our area, my 25 minute drive home turned into almost 4.5 hours. GUESS WHO LOOKS SILLY NOW? Not me. I read THE WHOLE TIME when the traffic was at pretty much a standstill. Will, who doesn’t read and was on a road parallel to me for almost the same amount of time, had NOTHING to do except burn through our data on his phone and eventually he ran out of things to do. PLUS…batteries DIE, friends. So…even if my Kindle would have died, I had another book in my purse PLUS the spare book in my backseat! Now that’s just smart…

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This is just one of SO many reasons I ALWAYS carry books with me and happily am part of the big ass bag brigade to make sure that happens. I mean, you just never know in your day when you are going to be able to grab a spare minutes of reading or when an appointment waiting time is extra long, you end up waiting in a long line or when you suddenly are going to be stranded somewhere. Seriously, I could come up with a list of situations that could arise in which you could nab some extra reading time.

I’m sure you, my fellow bookworms, are all:

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But seriously. My habit is smart..not strange or silly! Okay world? You will see…one day you will end up stranded four hours wishing you had something to do. And I will be smugly reading away.

Do you always carry a book with you? How many? Do you have any “SO GLAD I HAD A BOOK” moments? Or, conversely, any “I WISH I HAD A BOOK” moments? What are some other things that the non-reading people in your life think are “quirky?”

Hey Stranger! I Like Books!

I love talking to strangers about books.

I struggle with this. I won’t lie. I want to be cautious and sensitive about people’s personal space and the fact that not everybody wants to talk or is as outgoing is me. But I’m not going to lie...every time I’m in the library or the bookstore and see someone holding a book I have read/heard about my body shakes like an excited dog and out of my mouth wants to escape a “HEY! I LOVE THAT BOOK. BUY IT” or “So you are also an adult who loves YA?? ME TOO!!” I guess that last one is awkward if they are buying it for like their teen daughter or something haha.

I don’t want to be creepy but I want to talk to you about books. You instantly gain points as a human if you are in the library or the bookstore. And I just get too ridiculously excited about books and making people read books and talking about books I loved. Sidenote: You, guessed it, I’m a very social person when it comes to books. Probably that annoying person who you just want to go away so you can continue browsing.

I’ve had good experiences with this personally.  I was at a used book sale  once and a lady started chatting me up and we became very friendly and tossing books to each other as we browsed through all the boxes of book. It was enjoyable and nice to connect with someone over something. I’ve had really nice people in bookstores encourage me to buy a book that was in my hands and tell me what they loved about it.

I don’t even mind when someone sees me reading on a train or something and says, “Oh I loved that book!” I mean, I might not want to have a full on conversation depending on the day and my mood but sometimes I like a nice little chat. Other times I just want to get back to said book. Most bookworms do understand both though I think?  I DOOOO hate when random people comment on what I’m reading. I’ve been hit on two times while reading and it was so painfully obvious they didn’t care about the book. The one time, after BEA, I was on the train and was only like obviously 2 pages into the book and the guy just kept asking me about it even though I was like, “I just started it. I have no opinions.” That makes me explode and not in a good way.

There’s also the other kind of encounters over books that result in a friendship or a bonding experience that I LOVE. Years ago I was at a party for Will’s mom’s engagement and I knew only a handful of people. Will’s mom introduced me to a relative of her fiance’s (hi Jenny!!) and basically was like, “Hey you both love to read.” I got talking to her and found out that she also loved YA and we chattered excitedly pretty much the rest of the party and both went away with a crap ton of recommendations. It was such an awesome way to connect with somebody over something we both loved and honestly it made the party WAY more fun for me.

I just love how books can make us connect to strangers or people we are introduced to. Obviously it’s like any mutual interest but there’s just something so easy about talking books with someone you barely know and I feel like I get to know them so much more by learning their favorite books or what they hated or how a book resonated with them.

I mean, even with the internet and this blogging things, look at how strangers have become some of my closest friends and I’ve been able to bare some of the deepest and most honest parts of myself with ease whether I’m talking about why I read books dealing with grief so much or books  that encourage me to LIVE or insecurities. All because of books. I’ve become a more honest person who sees the world with different eyes all the time.

GOD I LOVE BOOKS.

Let’s Talk:

What about you? Do you talk to strangers about books when you see them in the bookstore/library or reading in public? Have you ever made a connection with a stranger in a social situation and bonded over books? Does it BOTHER you or do you LIKE when strangers talk to YOUUUU about books?

How Unemployment Has Changed My Life As A Reader

I used to be the girl who would go to the bookstore weekly and hide the evidence in bags in my car so my family and Will could not comment on the excessive book buying. I hid those bags like dirty little secrets.

 

I used to be the girl who was constantly buying books online and smuggling the boxes in before anyone could see them.

 

I used to be the girl who bought books like some people bought lattes.

 

I used to be the girl who would impulsively buy books she really didn’t know anything about but decided to anyways because somebody on the internet said it was really good.

 

I used to be the girl who bought books all the damn time. Whenever she wanted. Even when she had shelves of unread books mocking her.

 

But, as many of you know, I got laid off right before my wedding. I went from working full time and living at home rent free (read: lots of disposable income I should have saved) to being unemployed and now paying for all of the Grownup Things in my own apartment with my new husband. I never thought my time of unemployment would be more than a few months. I thought I’d get a job easily (because I’m freaking awesome?) and be frolicking back in the Land of the Gainfully Employed with my paychecks just burning a hole in my pocket all the way to the bookstore and the clothing store and the makeup store.

But alas, the job fairies have not been kind to me as of yet and I’m still unemployed and, after the first couple months, I realized I had to change my buying habits — with books and in every other area of my life.

Here’s a few ways it has affected me:

+ the amount of books I buy (obviously): I had to severely decrease the amount of books I was buying. I’m talking a lot. I buy a book or two every couple of months now. It’s just not in the budget when it comes to books vs. paying rent. Brand new books have become rare treats to myself or made possible because of gift cards from family. It’s so hard to curb that habit of just buying so many books on a whim and not thinking twice about it. It’s taught me to be a more calculated buyer of books and I find myself spending my money these days on books from authors I know I love or a book I loved as an ARC and know I’ll reread. I still love to go to bookstores but it breaks my heart though I’ve gotten better to appreciate the art of browsing and creepily telling people they should buy books I loved.

+ my relationship with the library: I was a card carrying library patron prior to unemployment but I only went to my library sporadically. Now I go to the library A LOT. I could probably, in this time of unemployment, survive solely on the ARCs that I receive and egalleys I have access to but secret time: I don’t like reading ARCs all the time. I don’t always want to read “what’s hot” and new. I want to browse and find something for myself. I want to check out the backlists of authors I’ve just discovered. I don’t want to feel pressured to be part of someone’s marketing plan all the time. I love my library now and love borrowing books. Even when I get a job, my library is now going to remain a huge part of my reading life and I’ll be forever thankful for a place I can go and get free books from (except for when I don’t pay my fines like I confessed in this post.)

+ the way I deal with book tours in my area: I’ve been lucky that Philly gets some darn good tours and authors coming by. If it was a tour, I typically used to buy one of every author’s book (or more if I loved the author) regardless of if I’d read it and either keep it for myself or give it away on the blog but now I can only buy the ones I know I like/REALLY want to buy.

I like giving back and supporting these tours. Being unemployed meant going to a tour that I wanted to SUPPORT, but hadn’t read any of the authors yet and couldn’t justify buying because Will had lost his job temporarily too, and not getting anything signed and feeling like a jerk because I didn’t buy anything. I’ve been lucky that lots of the tours that have come through have been authors I LOVE so I use my very small book buying budget and am ABLE to buy them (and it happens that Gayle Forman came on my birthday so YAY BIRTHDAY MONEY) and enjoy the signing and support the authors.

+ feeling guilty because I felt like I wasn’t supporting authors: This has been one of the hardest things. Cass just posted about where she talked about supporting authors by buying the books we read and loved as ARCs and when I am not unemployed I pretty much do just that either for myself or for a gift or to donate to a classroom. It’s not the ONLY way to support an author but it’s just a practice I personally like. Buying books is a fun thing in it of itself but knowing with my purchase I’m supporting an author I love makes me happy. I’ve felt so much guilt for the number of ARCs I’ve received and read during my unemployment but have not been able to purchase when I’ve loved them. I know I give back to the bookish community in other ways as I talked about some of my donating practices of my own books to libraries and classrooms when I cull them, but I just kept feeling this guilt for not being able to support these authors. I’ve realized that, in fact, I DO support authors still even though I can’t do it in one aspect I wish I could right now. I talk about these books, I recommend them, I get people to read them or buy them and these are things I KNOW for a fact I’m doing based on readers telling me they bought something because I recommended it or seeing, after posting a book review, that people went off through my affiliate links to purchase it. I have solid proof that I’m still supporting books even if I cannot personally buy as many currently. I also don’t discount the fact that when I donate to libraries and schools I am potentially giving a reader the chance to discover a new favorite author.

 

I’ve learned a lot during this time of unemployment — I’m better with my money as a whole, I’m less impulsive (and that comes to buying books now too) and I’m very critical when it comes to deciding to buy something. I’m curious if that will stick when I get a full time job but I’d like to think maybe I’d be better about aimlessly spending my allotment of money for books and choose the authors I love, the books I REALLY want to read and won’t let sit for YEARS like some of my books and gift books to people a lot more. I’m really pleased it’s made me fall in love with my library all over again and to be thankful I have a good library with a great interloan library system. So, while it’s been sucky for now, I think I’ve learned a lot and helped some of my habits for the better.

Let’s Talk:

What is your book buying habit like? Have you ever had to give yourself a budget or maybe cut down because of a layoff like I did? Have you reformed from out-of-control-buyer-of-books to a more calculated or less impulsive buyer like I have? Are you just naturally selective of what books you buy?

The Ebb and Flow Of My Bookshelves

Upon finishing a book, after processing and all the normal things, the question that dashes through my mind even before “what to read next?” is “Am I going to keep this book?” That might surprise you since I told you I’m a book hoarder who is drowning in books but that’s mostly because I keep taking in new books. Honestly, at this point, most of my bookshelves are full of unread books.

I am pretty ruthless about getting rid of books after I’ve read them. I have four bookcases and I really don’t want to get anymore right now — unless I can have a whole library and in our current dwelling that means either giving up the bedroom or the bathroom or the living room. I have been trying to be a little more of a minimalist (trying is the operative word here) and I don’t want to keep things I’m not going to use…or in this case read.

It’s been hard to be so ruthless about it because on one hand I’m like MAN I paid for this book. It should stay! Or what if I want to lend it to someone? And sometimes it’s purely superficial because the cover is so BEAUTIFUL. And also because I just WANT to see SOOOOO many books in my possession. And sometimes I feel really conflicted because I feel like by getting rid of a book I’m like “YOU ARE NOT WORTHY” when the book, in reality, was quite good and I liked it.

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So as soon as I finish a book I make a decision to put it one of two places — back in its place on the shelf or I put it in my designated “to find homes for” space. I make my decision based on four questions.

1. Would I consider it a favorite? If it’s a favorite it automatically gets shelf space. If I was reading from an ARC/ebook I purchase said book because FAVORITES ALWAYS GET SPACE ON THE SHELF.

2. Will I reread it? Sometimes a book might not be an all time favorite but I could see myself wanting to revisit the story at a later date or reread certain passages or it was so darn thought-provoking that I know it will just keep on giving. Most of the time favorites ARE also rereads but sometimes not and I just want to have them to lend out and to just have in my collection.

3. Is it part of a series I love? If it’s part of a series I love, I’ll keep it even if that particularly book wasn’t a fave. I don’t care about matching series covers as I’ve admitted to before but I absolutely WOULD hate starting at an incomplete series though there are some books I’d rather wish didn’t exist in a series. Amirite here?

4. Is it signed? Sometimes I’ll keep a book that maybe wasn’t a favorite or a reread but I really LIKED if it is signed — especially personalized by an author I love. If it’s not personalized it’s a case by case. It’s tricky because sometimes I really liked the author but did NOT like the book at all.

 

So, if the answer is no to the four questions above what do I do?

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Pass them on to friends and family: If there’s a book I enjoyed and can think of a friend/blogger who might also enjoy it, I pass it along to them because I’d rather see it get read by a friend. Also, enter book club. They get dibs. I also pass them along to my teen niece and nephews A LOT.

Donate to bookish things I support: I donate them to my librarian friend + book clubber Katie for her to take to her library and put in the collection/use for sales to raise money for the library.  I also donate them to my library. I really love my library, even after a bad encounter with one nasty librarian, and I think their YA section is okay. I like to give back to them as much as I can. They’ve put some books in their collection and I always keep an eye out for when I can donate for their library sale. I also donate them to a neighbor who teaches English at a local high school and he puts them in his classroom.

If I exhausted all the ways of people I know + supporting my community, I will take them to a local women’s shelter and I plan on contacting a children’s hospital to see if they would take them (I don’t know what the rule is with that kind of thing).

There are so many different places I could donate my books to but these are just the ones that I personally do because I love matching books to readers first and foremost and I love supporting my local libraries and the English departments because I know it’s hard with resources being cut. I’ve also been wanting to look into other places in the community I can donate to also.

Even though I feel good passing them on + donating them, it’s so HARD being ruthless after I’ve finished a book. Aside from the very fond feelings for some of them,  there’s that actual parting with it thing that’s always HORRIBLE for a book hoarder. VERRRRRY TRAUMATIC.

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But in order to be a little more minimalistic and simpler in life, gotta do what I gotta do. It’s still out of control by most (probably not book bloggers) standards but I do feel better about not having books just collecting dust when they are off living life and being read by someone else.

If you aren’t so good at culling your bookshelves you should take a look at April’s guide to culling your books! Very helpful for you if you don’t know where to start because it is super detailed and covers books you’ve not read which is where I’m BAD at deciding. I’ve always had a foolproof plan for BOOKS I’VE READ so I’m hoping April’s questions will help me with a system to get rid of the unread books collecting dust. Also maybe I should just stop buying random books? But honestly a lot of mine are from LONG LONG ago that I just can’t seem to part with even though it’s been 6+ years and I’ve still not read them.

Let’s Talk:

Do you keep all the books you buy after you read them because you can’t part with them? Are you ruthless with getting rid of books? What do you do with them when you do decide to remove them from your shelf? I’d love to know the ebb and flow of your bookshelf!

I Read Like I’m At A Buffet

Before & After is a sporadic series I do which chronicles the differences between myself as a reader before I was a blogger and after I became a blogger because my habits have changed SO MUCH. Check the end of the post for previous Before & After’s.


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 I was more loyal to the authors I loved. What do I mean by this? When I found a book that I really LOVED I then went out and would get ALL of the books from that author. Immediately. Mostly because I didn’t know what else to read next so that was a good place to start.

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I realized in answering a question about my “most read author” for my A to Z survey (Goodreads has a cool feature I shared to look that up) that I have read A LOT OF BOOKS FROM A LOT OF DIFFERENT AUTHORS SINCE I STARTED BLOGGING. The majority of authors on my list I had only read 1-2 books from. I realized I don’t read straight through an author’s backlist anymore as I used to before. I think this is due to 2 reasons:

1. A lot of the authors I read now are debut or “newer” authors so they don’t HAVE a huge backlist.
2. Prior to blogging I didn’t really know WHAT to read. I didn’t have a ton of recommendations coming at me, as I talked about last week, so I would find an author and then just devour their works so I had something to read.

I still try to read my favorite authors entire works but I find that I have SUCH a variety in authors that I know of now and all these new books to try that I’m always flitting around to try new authors like I’m at a buffet. Trying a little bit of everything so that it takes a little more time to read all the works of an author I like.

 

Let’s Talk:

Has this happened to you since blogging (if you are a blogger)? Do you tend to read the entire backlist of a new favorite author as soon as you discover you love them or do you seem to read a lot of different books from lots of authors?

Previous Before & After’s:

The Time In Between Two Books – 2/27
Being Up On New Releases — 3/6
Book Real Estate — 3/15
Re-reading — 3/20
Meeting Authors + Myths About Them — 3/27
The Number of Books Read Per Year — 4/5
Recommending Books — 4/10
Chunky Books —   4/17
Reactions To Books — 4/24
Having People To Talk Books With– 5/8
Knowledge of the Publishing Industry — 5/15
How I Picked Up Books – 9/18

Before & After #13 : How I Picked What Books I Read

So you guys. Since early 2012 I’ve been working on this post I wanted to do about the differences between myself as a reader before I was a blogger and after I became a blogger because my habits have changed SO MUCH. I kept putting it off because of wedding plans. I wanted to make this cute graphic that was a list but, when I finally started to work on it this year, it was just looking TOO crowded with about 30 different things and overwhelming and not AT ALL what I had in mind. Then I decided…why not make it a series? The more I thought about it — it would lend to a better discussion if I just give you one at a time. I’m kind of glad my original idea didn’t work out because I’m liking this better. Check the end of the post for previous Before & After’s.

I said I would bring this series back up when I felt like it after taking a break for a while so I’m dusting it off for a couple weeks.

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 I didn’t have many ways of getting recommendations. I mostly browsed those tables at Barnes and Noble and then would just go browsing through the shelves if I didn’t find anything worthy on the tables to buy. I would also browse the library a lot. I didn’t have A LOT of people who read so personal recommendations were limited. In 2008 I joined Goodreads and then that became where I found all my recommendations because I became active in the groups on there until I joined blogging in 2010. So basically I did lots of browsing to find books, both in stores, libraries and on Goodreads, so I relied a lot on the summaries and sometimes the covers.

YA-book-bloggerI pick up books now based on blogger recommendations and already knowing what’s out. I’m always aware of what is coming out each season so I guess I still do a lot of browsing but now it’s of publisher catalogs. On occasion I’ll still browse the library (mostly for adult fiction) but mostly I find my books because I’m so involved in this community. I like having a ton of options because sometimes I just had no idea what to pick up before blogging but I do miss that feeling of going in blind and not having heard about a book SO MUCH (I mean, because really, in blogging we hear about books MONTHS and YEARS before they are released so by the time they are in store I’ve already heard SO much about it).

 

 

Let’s Talk:

If you are a blogger — Has the way you picked up books changed before/after blogging? How did you used to find out about books?  If you aren’t a blogger — Before reading book blogs how did you find out about books?

Previous Before & After’s:

The Time In Between Two Books – 2/27
Being Up On New Releases — 3/6
Book Real Estate — 3/15
Re-reading — 3/20
Meeting Authors + Myths About Them — 3/27
The Number of Books Read Per Year — 4/5
Recommending Books — 4/10
Chunky Books —   4/17
Reactions To Books — 4/24
Having People To Talk Books With– 5/8
Knowledge of the Publishing Industry — 5/15
The Variety of Genres — 5/22

Current Status: Drowning In Books!!

 

Will always comments on how he feels like the books in our apartment our slowly encroaching on his space and soon we are going to have to get rid of furniture in order to house all these books. I mean, LOGICALLY, I’ve known that since I started blogging in June 2010 that I’ve acquired books at a more rapid pace. But it wasn’t until recently that I feel like I’m actually drowning in books. I walk in my room and there are just piles that have no homes. I actually feel overwhelmed by them.

I’m running out of room. This month I got rid of many many tote bags filled with books and gave them to a neighbor who teaches high school English and then put a box of books in our mail room with a sign that said “free!” and even after cleaning off my shelves a little bit I’m STILL struggling with where to put them all.

The thing is…I suck at getting rid of books. I also suck at not acquiring them. (And don’t even get me started on the fact that I’m drowning in books and I still have a stack every week from the library). There are a lot of books I bought many, many years ago and I don’t think I’ll ever read them BUT WHAT IF I WANT TO? There’s also books I was sent for review (unsolicited) that I’ll never read for various reasons. I try to pass as many as I can along to local bloggers but without a job currently I can’t afford to be sending THAT many packages to give the remaining ones away.

My general rule that I set up for myself was that I would keep only favorite books that I would reread and that I would pass along the rest to other people I knew or donate them to a library/high school. I’ve done ok with that to some degree but sometimes I can’t bear to part with books I really LIKED but maybe wasn’t a favorite. I also am ruthless with getting rid of ARCS unless they are a signed fave. My strategy is great and all in theory to get rid after I read them if I won’t ever REREAD them but the fact that I acquire them faster than I can read them all is PROBLEMATIC.

And while it’s amazing to have so many books to choose from…it’s actually kind of overwhelming and I suffer from possibility overload. WHY DO I DO THIS TO MYSELF?? lol

 

Do you feel like you are drowning in books or are you good at keeping your shelves at bay? Do you keep every book you buy or receive? Are you ruthless about getting rid of books? What do you do with your books/who do you give them to? Tell me your methods, strategies, etc. Or just make me feel better that you are also drowning in books, too!

Some Friday Fun!!

The summer has always been a hard time for me as a blogger. I hate being inside. I want to be outside doing things and enjoying the weather because it’s my favorite kind of weather and summer always has great activities to take part in! I feel so unmotivated to sit and blog when I could be hiking or at an outside flea market or laying by the pool. Not only that but I came off a really big, weird blogging slump where I got so discouraged with how serious everything was becoming that I feel like I’m JUST getting back into the groove and I’m feeling like I want to get back to the basics of what I love about all of this: the fun of it all!

So I decided for the next few Fridays I just want to have some fun and just talk about books in non-serious ways and let you guys get to know me a little better! Feel free to join me(and link back) if you are feeling like you want to let down your metaphorical blogging hair and do something silly to relieve some pressure off your blogging shoulders as summer starts to wind down.

You all know I love surveys since I’ve hosted the annual End of Year Book Survey for the past 3 years and plan to again this year. BUT back in the day I was a Xanga and Myspace addict and I used to do ALL OF THE SURVEYS. A popular one was the A to Z survey with questions corresponding every letter of the alphabet about things like your age and the last person you talked on the phone with. I decided I wanted to to a bookish A to Z so I decided to create one myself!

AtoZsurvey

Author you’ve read the most books from:

Judy Blume (Want an easy way to figure this out if you have Goodreads and keep good track of your stuff? Go to your account, hit “my books”and on the left hand side under your shelves you will see “most read authors”)

Best Sequel Ever:

Though The Ever Night by Veronica Rossi. I LIKED UTNS but TTEN blew me away.

Currently Reading:

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead (FINALLY..ok people??)

Drink of Choice While Reading:

Tea! I really like all sorts of green and white teas and always down for recommendations of new teas to try!

E-reader or Physical Book?

I’m definitely a physical book girl but love my Kindle for the gym, review copies and for vacation so I can have lots of options with me.

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School:

Cricket from Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins. I definitely went for the nice, kind-of-into-dorky-things boys in high school. Also I had a thing with MY boy next door that never blossomed.

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Hidden Gem Book:

Bunheads by Sophie Flack

Important Moment in your Reading Life:

Discovering Goodreads. Without Goodreads I would have never started reading again. I was a huge reader but then fell off the map in high school/some of college. Goodreads led me to book blogs and here we are!

Just Finished:

Not A Drop To Drink by Mindy  McGinnis

Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:

I’m trying to get better about shutting myself off to some genres (you can help me!) without trying them but I’m certain I won’t ever read any erotica. It’s just not my thing. I don’t mind smutty but not super explicit.

Longest Book You’ve Read:

I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb (897 pages)

** easy way to find this out. Go to your Goodreads “read” list, don’t scroll down but where you are on the screen there will be this little tab on the bottom that lets you choose how you want to scroll or how many books you want display. There is also a sort option with a drop down and you can sort by page.

Major book hangover because of:

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

Number of Bookcases You Own:

4. Two are really tall and then the other two are smaller. I’m out of room so I have piles here PLUS I stored some books on bookshelves at my stepdad’s house.

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:

The Giver by Lois Lowry — definitely the book I re-read the most ever. I don’t reread often but when I do it’s been just one re-read. The Giver I just kept re-reading over and over again as a kid.

Preferred Place To Read:

In the tub. It really is my favorite place to relax and read. Also, in bed!

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read:

“Or maybe it’s not a miracle. Maybe this is just life. When you open yourself up to it. When you put yourself in the path of it. When you say yes.” — Just One Day by Gayle Forman. That book actually kind of changed my life and made me say YES to things I had been thinking about.

Reading Regret:

I regret not having read Harry Potter when it came out. I WANT TO BE A PART OF THAT CLUB WHO GREW UP WITH IT! You did see my secret project, yes? I was going to list a book I regretted reading but NOT reading this was a bigger regret.

Series You Started And Need To Finish(all books are out in series):

I have many but I’d say Jessica Darling series. SHOCKING I haven’t finished it considering how much I love it, huh? I’ve read the first three books but just can’t bear to finish it!!

Three of your All-Time Favorite Books:

The Book Thief by Markus Zusack, Just One Day by Gayle Forman, Pride & Prejudice

Unapologetic Fangirl For:

Trish Doller. Her debut, Something Like Normal, is pretty popular in the book blogosphere and one of my favorite contemporaries but Trish deserves so much more praise and I will shout it to everyone who will listen!!

Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others:

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins. PLEASE GET IN MY HANDS, book!

Worst Bookish Habit:

Tricky! What I deem as my worst bookish habit or what you all would? haha. I already laid out my book crimes and you guys cringed so I’ll just go with what I deem it to be…overdue library books! ALWAYS. I can never get it there on time!

X Marks The Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:

John Belushi Is Dead by Kathy Charles

Your latest book purchase:

Crown of Embers by Rae Carson. I loved The Girl of Fire of Thorns and got book three for review and then I saw this one was on sale!

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late):

The Program by Suzanne Young. I was going to put it down before bed but was like “what’s one more chapter?” and then uh oh…it’s 3am.

Ahh now I’m going to go put on some Dashboard Confessional and write my most emo post I can that is so perfectly pointed and my meaning is thinly veiled. Oh wait, I’m here…not actually in 2004. Doing a survey just TOOK ME BACK.

I’d love to see yours if you do it too — link back to me and then leave your link in the comments so I can come visit yours!

Happy Friday, loves!! Do something fun tonight!

First Impressions & My Habits

When I made my Top Ten Words/Phrases That Make Me Pick Up A Book I started thinking a bit about how the outside packaging of books affect me and I decided to share my habits! I’d love to hear yours!

 

authorblurbs

I’ve never been the type of reader who has ever really paid attention to author blurbs on books. I know I’m probably in the minority  on this one because I’ve always seen readers saying different things about being excited for a book because of X author blurbing it. For whatever reason, that’s never been a big pull for me to pick up a book. I think, prior to blogging (you can learn my other pre-blogging habits here), it was because I didn’t really KNOW a ton of authors so most of the time the author’s name meant nothing to me. I don’t really know WHY now they still don’t persuade me.

This year I proved myself wrong. I put a book on my TBR list instantly because of a Gayle Forman blurb. That book was Wild Awake and, while after I read the description I was even more intrigued, I knew I first was adding it because one of my all time favorite authors blurbed it. I almost didn’t recognize myself as a reader because that had never really happened before. I don’t know why it did but I think anything blurbed by Gayle Forman will do me in. I’m now reading a manuscript that is blurbed by Stephan Chbosky and I’m prettyy sure I would have picked it up SOLELY on that.

comparisons

I will say…I’ve always been a sucker for the “for fans of x and x” comparisons. Lately I’ve been pretty wary of them for getting BURNED too often but prior it always proved to suck me in when you compare a book to one of my other favorite books, authors, movies or tv shows. Even though lately I’ve been ignoring them more because they mostly disappoint me I’ll tell you comparisons that, despite KNOWING better, always make me weak in the knees and add the book solely for that reason: any comparison to Gayle Forman, Stephanie Perkins, Perks of Being A Wallflower, John Green, or some of my favorite movies.

This form of marketing can be SO SO helpful when done right but it pisses me off when it is dead wrong and I have to wonder if the person writing it actually read the book or they are trying to capitalize on a popular trend and don’t care if they are off base. Worst Case: The paperback I had purchased of IF I STAY said “for fans of Twilight”…..what even???? People looking for sparkly vamps were going to be disappointed to not find it (though it was such a good book they probs loved it anyways) BUT honestly I had looked at that book for SO long and that blurb actually repelled me.

summary

Ok, so weirdly I go into a lot of books blind — meaning I don’t often read the summaries. Obviously I do look at the summaries of books when I’m browsing but I mostly SKIM. However, when I’m hearing a lot about a book from trusted friends…I don’t read the summaries at all. I’ve found that this is sometimes so freaking awesome because I get surprised by things that were in the summary but I didn’t pay attention to or didn’t look at it at all.

As an aside, anyone else feel like some summaries kind of spoil the book with the info they give?? Sometimes I’m like MAN if you would have just left this part out it would be a better experience to have this revealed while I’m reading!

cover
Obviously a beautiful or interesting cover will grab me and make me interested in it and then maybe I’ll read what it’s about if I’ve never heard of it. A good design is nice but I’ll say it won’t be the only factor to pick up/not pick up a book. But it’s so hard not to notice a pretty or interesting cover! It also, I think, is the FIRST thing that catches my eye — before I’ll ever be able to see the blurbs, comparisons or the summary so IT IS IMPORTANT. Just like when I was dating..my eye was first caught by their looks as shallow as that might sound.

 

I’m curious about you guys…what are your habits? Do author blurbs get you? What about comparisons? Do you read summaries most of the time? Is a bad cover a deal breaker?

 

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