I talked about how I was doing a whole Bookshelf Revamp project in the Spring and I just, this past weekend, finished step 1 which was culling my books.
It. Was. The. Hardest. Thing. Ever.
I talked about how I was doing a whole Bookshelf Revamp project in the Spring and I just, this past weekend, finished step 1 which was culling my books.
It. Was. The. Hardest. Thing. Ever.
If you’ve read this blog for a while you know that I am a VERY eclectic reader of all genres but my most favorite and go-to genre has been contemporary YA for the majority of years I’ve had this blog (PS. this blog just turned 6 — come celebrate!).
T-minus 17 days until we leave for Europe for 2 weeks. OH EM GEE.
I’ve got soooo much to do and pack and get together for our trip in this time but of course, like the cliche bookworm I am, all I’m thinking about is what books I’ll bring. Because obviously….books.
After a vacation back in 2013 I mused on the fact that I never read as much as I think I will on vacation. I have that “eyes are bigger than my stomach” syndrome that my mom always would get on me about when it came to putting food on my plate. It’s the same way for books. I end up bringing 3x more books than I actually read. 3x more than I could ACTUALLY read in a time frame if I’m being honest. But I think I over pack on books because we all know that my reading moods dictate what I read so what if I’m not in the mood for the more conservative number of like 3 books that I’ll read and I’m left book-less because I just cannot even try to read something I’m not in the mood for.
I mean, Rory explains it best:
If you peruse Instagram or Tumblr on a daily basis, you might find yourself drooling over some personal libraries and shelves that are pretty much the epitome of #shelfgoals. I mean, they are beautiful and clean and organized and adorned with the cutest of cute things. And every day I pretty much have bookshelf envy.
Just a few examples.
I’ve talked a lot about how I suck at series! I’ve got some ideas why — getting distracted by other books during the wait between books, being afraid to move on, loss of interest over time — and it’s so sad because I LOVE a good book series. I even tried Operation Make Jamie Suck Less At Series and this year one of my bookish resolutions is designed to help me with this. I just want to be better at reading series and not leaving so many loose ends.
A thing happened to me recently….and I wonder if this is some of my hesitation when moving on with series….sub-consciously.
So I recently picked up a book 2 of a book I LOVED last year and that had just released this Fall (I barely read this Fall because of adopting Finn so I never got to it). Like suuuuuper loved. I was obsessed with the world and the characters and soooo emotionally invested. I couldn’t believe I had to wait for a book 2. I mean, I am on the HIGHEST of book highs upon finishing this book.
So I crack open the book all ready to be wholly immersed in this series again and just pick up where we left off……and I felt nothing.
I mean, sure, I was having a case of book amnesia as I always do (which reminds me…I have a post related to that that has been sitting in drafts for a bit and should publish that). But I read a summary and some spoilers about what happened thinking that might help. But it didn’t. I just did not feel those same feels heading into this book. I mean, it took place like pretty much right after the explosive ending of the first book so I should have been right back in there.
But there I was….feeling not much at all. I’m like OKAY OKAY you will get back into this, and I did, but it took a while…like 20-30% of the way in to finally feel those feels and that connection to the story and characters again. And I mean PRAISE KANYE that I ended the book again on the highest of book highs because it got even more amazing.
And I kept wondering….is it the book? Is it just not up to par? Or is it that year in between that just wedged itself in between book 1 and book 2 and slowly siphoned my excitement level and connection.
It doesn’t always happen to me. I can think distinctly of a few series that a year later (ummm Queen of Shadows!!) and I’m right back in the game. Maybe some of those are different? Maybe I talked about them and discussed them more with people throughout that year? Maybe it’s because some of them weren’t book 2’s but further into a series or a conclusion? I don’t know.
All I know is I think that is why sometimes I dread picking up the next book in a series when it’s been a while in between books. I know there is a chance that all that head-over-heels-in-love-with-this-series mega fangirl love and excitement has faded away a little bit with time. I’ve read 100 books since then. I’ve fallen hard for new books and characters. I’ve forgotten the details that made me fall in love. I can’t feel the pain or the exhilaration or the joy the book gave me with the same FEELING.
And it’s SAD. It makes me want to just wait til more books are out so I can binge read/semi-binge read but I also really like supporting the books when they come out and also it’s fun to read when a lot of other people are. In an ideal world, I would love to always be able to reread a series book before I moved on so I could at least come close to replicating those feelings and be super ready to dive into book 2 and rid myself of any of this disconnect (that isn’t the fault of the book itself).
But alas…I am a mere mortal.
Anyways, there is no real point to this post other than 1) I wanted to share how sad it was to have such a hard time being plugged back into this great story I loved and 2) I figured out yet another reason why I suck at series….despite loving being invested in a series.
For as long as I could remember I’ve always dreamed of having Belle’s library in the Beauty and the Beast.
Or at least some beautiful room full of bookshelves or at the very least some customized built-in bookshelves that line the walls. I’ve scoffed when Will (or anyone outside of this community) says I’m hoarding books and have delighted in continuing in building my collection. I’ve oogled bookshelves and libraries on Pinterest and elsewhere:
Since the beginning of my reading life I’ve always struggled to put down books I’m not digging (do the youth still say this? I just turned 30 so I’m having this irrational panic that I’m suddenly out of touch). When I came into the book blogging world I quickly found that there were people who could so easily declare they were putting down books they weren’t into without even a second though (namely my bff Anna). I always WANTED to be so ruthless with putting down books I’m not enjoying but I guess it’s just not my personality.
Since blogging, I’ve gotten BETTER at it. I say better, as in, I’ll do it in those times when it feels likes wrestling an alligator just to get me to sit down with the book. But I still have some ways to improve…
Last year I wrote about 8 reasons I struggle to put books down. Reason #2 on the list was that I’ve invested too much time in it. If I’m honest I think this is my BIGGEST struggle out of the eight — even more than just being nosy about the ending.
It’s a time issue for both types of readers — those ruthless book quitters and those who have a harder time.
People who are big champions of putting down books they aren’t liking/aren’t into say things like “life is too short to read books you don’t like.” I myself have repeated this mantra over and over in my head when I’m trying to decide whether or not to mark a book as DNF (did not finish, for those unfamiliar with the lingo of the bookish interwebs).
But for the part of me that struggles to put down books? It’s also a time thing. Like okay I spent an hour (or whatever time amount) of my life reading this book. If I give up, then I feel as though that hour was a complete WASTE of an hour because I didn’t complete the story and I was just reading for no good reason.
So then I have this very hard choice at hand! (And I’m like the Queen of Indecision and Avoidance). To figure out what is the bigger waste of time
And then there’s all the other questions that swirl through my head: Do I see it as a waste of time by having read and interacted with a book even if it was torture making it through it? Will I be annoyed if I don’t find out what happens if I put it down? Can I ask someone what happens if I put it down? Is the value in giving up that hour worth not slogging through more of it? Should I persevere through books when they require more attention or are “harder” to read (ie classics)? Is reading a book for an hour and not finishing it any more of a waste of time than I do mindlessly surfing the interwebs? AM I OKAY WITH THIS LOSS OF AN HOUR?
I don’t really have any foolproof ways for knowing for calculating the value of my time — whether I’ll be happy I put it down or that it’s a better use of my time to slog through.
Sometimes I feel a THANK GOD I STOPPED READING THAT I WAS GOING TO THROTTLE MYSELF WITH MY SHOELACE IF I READ ONE PAGE MORE but other times I don’t feel strongly one way or another. I mean, sometimes I finish a book I wasn’t digging and it’s like “eh well. That was that.” And then there’s those few times it’s like OMG WHY DID I FINISH THAT STAB STAB STAB. It’s a toss-up most of the time! Then just as rare –– the times I LOVED it after slogging through.
I’ve been in a mood when it comes to reading in 2015. I’ve been having 3 very distinct and reoccurring feelings about reading thus far. This post was originally kind of a mess when I started it a couple weeks ago — a bunch of random thoughts all pasted haphazardly together with cement glue like 1st grade Jamie would have done (she also really like to let it get stuck to her fingers so she could peel it off). I didn’t think it was ever going to see the light of day. Thought maybe it was just something I needed to get out for myself. However, after I was chatting with some lovely ladies on Twitter about it, I decided to take a look at it again and every thought kind of started to fall under these 3 distinct feelings. I’m going to talk about one over the course of the next 3 weeks to split it up because it would be massive (it’s already going to be too long because I’m overly verbose).
So we’ve come to the last part of my 3 part explanation of the state of my reading life this year. The other two things I shared (here and here) were definitely a reflection of habits created through blogging but this one doesn’t really seem to be related to the two. At least I don’t think it is.
This final persistent mood I’ve been feeling?
I’ve talked about in the past how I like re-reading in theory and how I used to re-read all the time before I started blogging. Time, my never-ending TBR list and the desire to experience new stories seem to be what has held me back from making re-reading a priority for me (plus that fear of things not holding up) but this year all I’ve DONE is crave re-reading.
Normally I crave new experiences, new characters, new words to fall in love with. I mean, there’s so much out there that could be a new favorite. I WANT TO DISCOVER IT.
But lately I just want to cozy up with old friends. I just finished a reread via audio of If I Stay by Gayle Forman (one of my favorite books) and am on the hold list for Where She Went. It’s been years since I’ve read these books in their entirety and it just felt so good to be back with Mia and Adam. You notice things that you never did before. You have a new appreciation for them when you revisit them sometimes.
All I can think about lately is how much I want to binge re-read the Throne of Glass series. I MEAN WHO AM I? I’m the girl who spends the first quarter of the next book in a series confused because I can’t remember crap and I refuse to devote time to reread. I just NEED to experience these books again. I mean, there is intense LONGING to be in them. Like physical LONGING. (The only reason I haven’t started rereading them is because I’m trying to hold off a little longer until we are closer to Queen of Shadows release).
I want to reread old childhood books I loved. I want to reread books I read as a teen. I want to read books I read at the beginning of my blogging journey. Things I read not so long ago but just love so much. I want to reread books that I think perspective and age may change my reading of it. I want to reread books that changed me. (I did make a list of books I want to re-read not too long ago if you want a glimpse).
I don’t know why I have this intense desire to reread ALL THE THINGS. I haven’t particularly been going through hard time (I always want something familiar when life is crazy and hard). I mean, things feel kind of unsettled for me in some ways. Maybe that could be part of it? Maybe I’m so burnt out on all the NEW NEW NEW and my brain/heart don’t quite have the capacity for all that new right now? Maybe I just am feeling nostalgic? Especially since I’m going to be 30 this year and I’m having a semi-crisis over it even though I know there is no reason to.
Or maybe there isn’t overarching philosophical or BIG REASON as to why. Maybe it’s just the reading experience. Maybe we are meant to experience books we love more than once.
One of my FAVORITE books from this year, Emery Lord’s The Start Of Me & You, has some great quotes and thoughts about rereading:
Do you ever get in these “OMG I JUST WANT TO REREAD” moods? Are you a re-reader in general — why or why not? What drives you to reread? What sorts of books do you reread?
PS. I also love this post that Hannah wrote about her reading year so far wherein she’s had some persistent feelings as well that seem to be driving her reading!
Back in 2012 I talked about one of my biggest bookish fears (I have lots of them — here, here and here) and I wanted to revisit the topic. I said that one of the things I fear is lending someone a book that is an all time favorite or when someone tells me that they are reading a favorite book of mine because of how much I rave about. BECAUSE ALL THE PRESSURE (what if they hate it? What if they think your taste sucks?). Now, at that point, I had only been into about 2 years of book pushing — erm I mean blogging — and now here we are at ~5 years of doing a whole hell of a lot of recommending and lending and being LOUD about books I love.
I still DO have this fear that they will totally hate the book I love so much and am sharing with them and never ever trust my recs again. But ya know what? The sweet, sweet victory of getting a friend totally into the books you love is FAR more worth the initial jitters/panic that they might not like it. And also I feel like at this point I have so many “wins” under my belt at this point and statistically speaking (I don’t really do maths that well so my statistics have no basis) I’m not going to able to have a winning streak for forever (I mean, that’s what I’ve learned from all the sports Will watches)?
I am also finding that I am FAR more triumphant when I get my IRL friends/family into the books I love. I mean, I always feel happy when I give a good rec to a blog reader or anyone else in this community. BUT there is something about giving those recommendations to the people in my life who don’t read as much as we all do and who don’t have anyone else giving them recommendations. I feel like this glorious matchmaker!!!
Can I share two of my biggest personal victories recently??? I want you to share yours in the comments, too! Let’s rejoice together!
* My little sister Paige: Paige is 20 and she’s pretty good about listening to my recommendations over the years. She’s in college right now so doesn’t have as much time to read but recently she LOVED some of my faves: The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson, the Jessica Darling series, and Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson. (Sorry, had to edit it out some ~confidential things haha)
* My friend Kelsey: My friend Kelsey and I have a standing date every Wednesday (mostly) during Survivor season where we hang out and drink wine while we watch. She reads occasionally and is a self-proclaimed slow reader. BUT LET ME TELL YOU SHE HAS BEEN DEVOURING BOOKS THAT I GIVE HER LATELY.
– If I Stay/Where She Went by Gayle Forman: We all know how I love Gayle’s books (if you don’t…where have you been??). She read these SO FAST and was obsessed. She passed them on to her mom and then to her sister-in-law and THEY were both in love.
– The Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi: I was SO happy she loved this one because I wasn’t sure how she’d do with dystopian. She liked The Hunger Games but that was all she read so it was hard to gauge WHAT she liked in the genre.
– Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas: THIS IS MY BIGGEST VICTORY. She has never read a fantasy novel in her life and was A LITTLE nervous. I was like, “look if you don’t like it…I will pick you out a new book from my collection when you come over next week.” BUT ALAS…the texts speak for themselves and the fact that she book talked it to another friend of hers!!! (Edited out A LOT of non-book talk in between haha).
I LOVE GIVING BOOKS TO MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY. AND TO ALL OF YOU. It’s those little things in life, like giving a book to someone who ends up loving it, that put a smile on my face. The little victories, man!!
There’s this thing that I do. I’m sure you do it too.
(Please tell me it’s not just me).
I go on and on about how I have SO many books that I’m running out of space. I’ve got review copies. Older books I’ve never ever read. New books I’ve acquired. ALL BOOKS I AM EXCITED ABOUT. Basically, I’ve got A LOT of books. More books than I can read in this life time. (And it’s not like I’m going to ever stop acquiring them).
So what do I do?
WHAT PERFECTLY NORMAL BOOKWORMS DO. (right right right?) I immediately get into my car and GO TO THE LIBRARY instead of picking up one of the books here.
Will doesn’t get it when I come home with library books. He’s all, “BUT YOU HAVE SO MANY BOOKS HERE TO READ. WHY DO YOU NEED TO GO GET SOME MORE?”
And I’m all:
+ I couldn’t find anything I was in the mood for on my shelves. (Him: OUT OF ALL THESE BOOKS…NOT ONE??)
+ There is no such thing as too many books. (Him: Yes. There is. You are Exhibit A).
+ THE LIBRARY IS MY HAPPY PLACE. (Him: ………..)
+ I RECOGNIZE THE INSANITY, OKAY, AND I AM FINE WITH IT. (Him: As long as you recognize it).
I do this with my closet too. I am out of hangers and really have no room for more clothes but I can stand there in my closet for 20 minutes and lament the lack of clothing options. Apparently it’s the same with the bookshelves. I can have a bajillion options (too many it feels like sometimes) but sometimes I still just like coming home with a stack of library books.
As I’m writing this, I just in fact came back from the library (I got Daughter of Smoke & Bone and Finnikin of the Rock in case you were curious). When I arrived home, there were TWO packages of books at my door. On my way to my bookshelves I tripped over a book. I stand in front of my bookshelves and immediately feel the guilt and the judging stares coming from them (and my piles…let’s be real..it’s Hoarders up in here).
It doesn’t really make sense why I went to the library and got more books….but I accept that it doesn’t make sense.
AM I THE ONLY ONE?? Can anyone make sense of my need to do this even though I have hundreds and hundreds of perfectly good books I’m excited about here??