I’m A Distracted Reader…Like The Worst.

I can get lost in a book all day with the rest of them — completely and utterly absorbed in the world or the character’s journey and not even realize that it’s turned dark and Will went back to bed an hour ago. But when it comes down to it, at my core, I’m a very distracted reader — something that even Will has pointed out lately.

There’s the distractions of other people wanting to talk to you or requiring your attention….or cute nieces who want to play with you while you are reading on vacation.

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But my biggest distractions?

 

My brain, the Internet and Netflix.

 

My brain:

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 My brain never stops. It’s always jumping around. This is why I have a hard time sleeping. I will be reading and something  on the page will spark something in my brain and I will start thinking about that or go research it or what not. Or I will get up from reading to put my laundry in (that I forgot to do) and then I will find myself embarked on an intense cleaning session for 3 hours all because I couldn’t find a lipstick I randomly thought about because I was washing the shirt I wore out the last time I wore that lipstick. I might get up to use the restroom and will see my nail polish and start painting my nails. Or maybe I’m really stressed about something and the whole time I’m reading I realize my brain is just thinking about it OVER AND OVER AGAIN and I’ve been reading the same sentence for an hour.

My brain just doesn’t cooperate sometimes for reading. It takes A LOT for it to finally settle in.

The Internet:

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This might be the WORST of them all. It’s so awful!! I’ll read like 10 pages maybe and then be like OH I need to pop on Twitter or check my email and the next next thing I know an hour has passed and I’ve just been scrolling or getting lost in link after link. Or it’s a continuous read 10 pages, refresh ALL THE THINGS, read 10 pages, refresh ALL THE THINGS (still nothing, Jaim), read 10 pages, refresh ALL THE THINGS and then get sucked into a Twitter conversation. Or maybe I’ll go to the park to specifically read and leave with 4 pages read because in my quest to get the most PERF outside reading picture to put on Instagram I got sucked into the internet.

Lately I’ve realized HOW BAD my addiction/the distraction has gotten and I decided that I would put my phone and laptop in a place that I could NOT reach from my reading spot. (That was pretty much my only solution that wasn’t getting rid of my phone/laptop or putting a shock collar on myself and letting Will zap me every time I went to reach for one of them). And you know what happened??? I’ve gotten SO MUCH MORE reading done because of it. I’m way too lazy to get up and retrieve my phone/laptop every time I get the urge to refresh ALL THE THINGS. So I sit there and reading and then maybe after an hour I do a little checksie on the interwebs and put it back down & read. It’s funny how when it’s right next to me it just CALLS to me to refresh and check in.

NETFLIX:

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Sometimes I go through random obsessions with new shows on NETFLIX and they just CALL TO ME while I try to read.  Once I get into a show that’s ALL I want to be doing. Pretty much why barely any reading got done when I marathon-ed Breaking Bad last year. I’ll be on the couch reading and it’s like THE OBSESSION just calls out to me and, in the case of tv shows, I just find myself wanting to be ONLY in that world…doesn’t even matter what book I have in front of me. I think this is why I can go a week or two without reading much…because every time I try to….that jealous & needy bitch Netflix is like I AM YOUR ONE AND ONLY SOURCE OF ENTERTAINMENT UNTIL THIS SERIES IS OVER.

 

I definitely think technology, especially my phone and my laptop, end up being the BIGGEST and most detrimental distraction for me + my reading time…and really with any other sort of productivity actually. Changing my habits has definitely helped a little bit! Honestly sometimes it’s a wonder that I get any reading done between these 3 things!

 

Let’s TALK:

Are you a distracted reader or once you are in the zone you are IN and not coming out? If you are a distracted reader, what are your biggest distractions?

But There’s Always Something Else At The End

Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer

I just finished Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer and I’m feeling unsure how I want to talk about it, other than just generally knowing I want to talk about my connection to this book. Whether or not I’ll “book talk” it later, I don’t know, but that’s the freedom I’ve given myself by hanging up my book reviewer hat.

What Belzhar Is About:

Belzhar is about a girl who gets sent to a school for kids with “issues” and they are supposed to heal. The main character has lost her boyfriend and gets sent there because she is unable to cope with it. She gets put in a special English class and there are only like 4 other kids in the class and it’s SUCH a hard class to get into and nobody knows how anyone gets picked…but every year kids in this class proclaim it as life-changing. When she gets in the class, she realizes they are going to be studying the works of Sylvia Plath the whole semester and they are given a journal writing assignment that leads her and her classmates to Belzhar…a place they all almost can’t believe is real.

I don’t want to give anymore away than that, but I immediately knew this was going to be an interesting book for me. The Bell Jar changed my life, so I was interested to see how the works of Sylvia Plath would change these kids.

My first Bell Jar reading experience:

I was a senior in high school. My mom had just been diagnosed with brain cancer and was told she had maybe 6 months to live (she ended up living for 2 years though, FIGHTER she was). The chaos that was unleashed on the day of that diagnosis forever altered my life. It wasn’t an after-school special where we rallied around each other and lived out her last days frolicking in the sun and such. There was anger that none of us knew what to do with. And that anger became as volatile as an active volcano. One night, everything was too much and I left. I packed a bag and called a friend and I left. I ended up living at a friend’s house for a month or so (a friend who, I might add, had the perfect Full House kind of family which made it harder for me). I only saw my family in counseling sessions until I returned home.

I was feeling very alone and, while thankful for the family housing me,  just felt like nobody understood. I was in this violent sea of anger and confusion and grief, just being thrashed by waves and feeling like I couldn’t keep afloat. I went to the library and decided to give The Bell Jar a try. No idea why. I just had heard of it and decided I wanted to read it. I will never forget reading this book in a room that was not mine, surrounded by people who couldn’t understand what I was going through. I stayed in that bed until it was over and I wept and I wept and I wept.

Someone finally put words to what I was feeling. I no longer felt alone. Or crazy. I understood Esther and that feeling of all-consuming isolation, like you are absolutely alone, trapped inside a bell jar nobody can even penetrate. I wrote like crazy after that experience — I knew I had to get it all out. I felt the tiniest light of hope in one of the darkest and confusing times of my life. That book helped me out of it in a way.

My experience reading Belzhar:

The characters in Belzhar know that bell jar feeling so well. As they each reveal their stories, you see the aching loneliness they have because of situations in their life. Soul-crushing pain and grief and guilt and confusion. There was one quote in particular that just really encapsulated both of our experiences:

Belzhar quote

But then they start reading Plath & writing in their journals. And these words – they save in a way. They let us know we aren’t alone. They allow us to feel outside of ourselves, which is exactly what helped the numbness dissipate for me. They give voice to things you couldn’t even assemble into words. Let you slip into somebody else’s life for a bit or get an outside look in to your own life.

Belzhar Meg Wolitzer

If I read The Bell Jar prior to that year, I probably wouldn’t have felt the way I did about it on a personal level. But words find you and take you where you need to go. Just like they did the characters in Belzhar — though definitely in a more physical way.

Reading Belzhar reminded me of the power of words and how healing they can be — whether they are the ones we breathe into ourselves or the ones we put out into the world for others to breathe in. It reminded me of how sometimes you read a book that your soul really needed you to read. It reminds you of your humanness and that we don’t have to share the burden alone. That’s what I loved about the English class in Belzhar. They didn’t have to share their burdens alone anymore — they had each other to share their pains and their guilt and the weight of the world they were each carrying.

And it reminded me of the hope…

There is more to that ribbon passage I shared above. It continues:

Belzhar quotes

It’s the kind of hope I had at the end of The Bell Jar that is mirrored in this book. When I read the end I saw that Esther knew that things weren’t going to be automatically easy, but she had reached the end of the ribbon where there was something other than infinite pain. She knew she could still descend into that madness and it would be hard, but there was hope. And 18-year-old Jamie, who felt so lost and knew that harder things were going to come because a cancer was currently wreaking havoc on her mom’s brain? She needed to know there was going to be something at the end of that ribbon. Something different. That it wouldn’t be endless pain.

As I read Belzhar I found myself instantly transported back to that time in my life and reminded of how powerful words can be. Things have been rough here in the present — not hopeless, but hard enough that it’s tough remember to have hope — and I think reading this book took me to a Belzhar of my own…a Belzhar I needed to go to right now.

SEEKING THE PERFECT BOOK

I KNOW…it’s Tuesday and I don’t have a top ten list up. My list is actually up at The Broke and the Bookish today so go check that out! I figured since I did the list over THERE perhaps I would talk about something that has been weighing on my mind recently.

Most of the time I’m pretty good at knowing what books might be the right ones to suit my mood (because you know I’m a crazy mood reader so that’s important). But lately I’ve just had a hard time because what I want is so, so specific. It’s not even a particular genre or theme or what not that I’m looking for. Nothing I can really anticipate.

And I try to ask for recommendations and I’m so unhelpful because I can’t even begin to describe what I REALLY want when people ask what I’m looking for or in the mood for. I tend to say something like, “I want a mindblowingly good book” and then I get some good recommendations but I realize how subjective it is and how maybe that’s not even what I mean.  I mean, I’ve read some mindblowingly good books recently. Some GREAT, AMAZING books that I would reread and recommend over and over again until I’m blue in the face.

And the mood I’m in right now? Those books, that I’ve given 4 or maybe even 5 stars, don’t even fit the bill of what I’m looking for right now. No matter how much they moved me or made me cry or REALLY GOT INTO MY SOUL. It’s weird.

Sometimes I want something and I don’t even know what it is that I want. I just know what feeling I want.

 

If I took out a Wanted ad for this book I’m looking for it would look something like this:

 

The book I’m looking for would be so profound and so earth shattering I’m pretty sure the axis of the earth might shift.

The take action kind of book.

The  I-will-never-be-the-same kind of book. A book that changes the landscape of my heart and my brain and my soul.

I want a book that makes me feel ALL THE THINGS and I mean ALL THE THINGS.

I want a perfect book and not even a technically perfect book but the book that feels so perfect you don’t even know if it’s real.

I want the best book and not the kind of best book that has to be recognized as the best book by the world.

I want a book that will make me consider not reading any more books because nothing will ever compare to it but it also makes me want to read ALL the books to find THAT kind of book again…because I NEED the fix of experiencing it.

I want the kind of book that I know was meant to find me. That I don’t know how I’ve ever lived without.

The book that lingers and lingers and is impossible to push from my mind no matter how many books I read in between.

I want a book that doesn’t even know it’s that kind of book.

I want a book that feels like it was written for me. Like an author scooped out the pumpkin-y insides of my brain and my heart and my soul and all the icky and beautiful and confusing things about me and made magic with it.

I want a book that is hard to explain why it makes me feels all those ways because words seem flimsy and dull when describing it and all you wish is that you could start a new language wherein you just FEEL things that people mean.

A book I almost don’t want to talk about. Because once I try to put it into words the magic is almost lost in some way by doing so.

 

I sound nutty probably. I don’t even know if what I want exists. Or if I’m just building it up too much. Romanticizing it. I know I’ve felt it before.  I know I have. But, hey book, if you are out there….make your way to me! I don’t want every book I read to be like this for me because that would be a whole lot of hearts bursting and souls changing and a whole lot of feelings I can’t deal with on a daily basis. But I just know that I need THAT kind of book right now. I really do.

 

Let’s TALK:

Am I completely batshit crazy or do you have moods like this where you need a very specific book like that or that you don’t even know what you want but you know what you want to feel? Do YOU have a book that has made you feel this way? Am I building up that SEEKING PERFECT BOOK notion so it’s almost unattainable?!

I Got The Message Loud & Clear: Reading Isn’t Cool.

Mostly my family and friends are very supportive of my love for reading even if they don’t altogether get it. As a child I was just as much of a voracious reader but honestly there’s always been this underlying “poking fun” with some of my extended family and it just makes me cringe when I think of it.

Even today as an adult I get these comments from them “reminiscing” about my childhood reading tendencies and while, I’m not super upset by them, they just get under my skin. As a kid, they made me feel bad too. And that makes me sad because why should a kid feel bad about reading??

There was, even now, these comments about how I was the lazy one out of my sister and I because I would rather sit and read.

And I just think there is something wrong with making a kid feel like they are lazy because their hobby of choice happens to be one that includes sitting (I mean, yes sure my butt hurts from all sitting I do while reading). I played outside and was VERY active as a kid but I always had a book with me no matter where I went as I do now (especially when I had to visit their homes) and would prefer reading to anything. But just because I was reading was not because I am lazy. There were many times where I felt like I should be “more active” like my sister because of their comments and I felt this shame that, because I liked reading, I must be lazy. I was at my baby sister’s graduation two years ago and one of them was telling Will ALL about how they could never get me up to bake cookies with them like my sister would because I was soooo lazy and would just sit there with my book. Insert questions if I’m still just as lazy. (Spoiler alert: I AM AND I LOVE IT. IF YOU CALL IT LAZY, I DON’T CARE).

There were so many comments about how I was “quiet as a mouse” with my nose in a book all the time and the way they said it it never sounded like a good thing in comparison to how my sister was.

This would happen when they were talking to their Bingo friends or introducing me to someone. “Oh this one you’d never know she’s there because she’s always reading.” “She’s so shy and quiet” or if I was reading after a long visit at my grandma’s house I would hear comments about how I should be more social LIKE MY SISTER. It always made me feel like I was this strange mutant. Also, it’s a big pet peeve of mine to assume because I like to read that I am automatically socially awkward or quiet. I AM QUIET BECAUSE I AM READING. Even as an adult I think they still assume I’m this quiet little mouse which couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve never been that. It always made me feel like I was not as fun as my sister.

“If you are that bored I can find you something to do”

I AM NOT READING BECAUSE I AM BORED, PEOPLE. I do not need a hobby as they always would try to suggest.

“She’s in her own world.”

Nah. I can hear you talking about me. But really this world I’m in right now is better than the one where I have to listen to you talk about your Bingo drama or talk about what a bump on a log I am because I like reading more than I like watching your soap operas.

These are just a few of the comments I would get frequently. I’m sure my extended family wasn’t TRYING to be cruel or anything but even now they speak about me in a way that I don’t like and as a kid it made me feel really bad about myself. Like I should be ashamed to be a reader because it was lazy or because I wasn’t as FUN and SOCIAL as my sister (which was not at ALL true). It stuck with me when I became a pre-teen (which is what I think was part of this HUGE gap of my reading history) because I thought boys wouldn’t like me if I was bookish and that people would think I was a “loser” for liking books. Being a bookworm wasn’t something that sounded very cool to my extended family so it probably wouldn’t be very cool to all the boys I was trying to chase and the new friends I wanted to make.

Being a bookworm held such negative connotations and even more so in middle school and high school where so many kids would proclaim how boring and uncool they thought reading was. So I stuffed that part of myself down very far for a long time and it took until the end of high school for me to start being open about it again. But even then I was all “Oh I read Jack Kerouac and Sylvia Plath (which I truly loved) but it made me feel like I was COOL and INSIGHTFUL in a way that admitting I read the latest Nicholas Sparks wouldn’t.

I got the message loud and clear: READING WASN’T COOL. And that makes me sad that so many kids end up thinking that. Hiding their love for reading like it’s a dirty little secret. Like being a bookworm means something it doesn’t. That’s the beauty about being part of the online reading community…you see we bookworms come in MANY MANY varieties. We don’t all share the same characteristics. Being a reader does not mean you are ONE CERTAIN WAY. Being a reader isn’t something to be ashamed of it and I’m not quite sure how it ever got to be looked upon in that way.

I love being a reader and I am proud of it being a part of who I am!

Let’s talk: Has anybody in your life ever made you feel bad about being a reader? When you were younger did you get the message that reading wasn’t “cool”? Did it impact you?

The Best Medicine When I’m Feeling Down…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Operation Make Myself Suck Less At Series

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

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

 

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

 

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

Not All Books Are Out Yet But I Plan To Finish

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Duologies I Want To Finish

 

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

Duologies I’m Not Sure I Want To Finish

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

Romance series

 

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

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

<< Okay so what I need from YOU>>

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

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

How Do YOU Define A Spoiler?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Okay I have two example of what I mean.

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

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

 

 

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

What Is A Bookworm To Do?

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

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

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

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BUT THEN. The new covers came out.

 

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

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

SO WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

 

True Life: I Think I’m A Creep

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

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

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Let me set the scene for you:

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

 

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

So what did I do?

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

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

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WHAT A CREEP AM I???

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

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

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

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

Blurred Lines

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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