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?

3 Things About Me As A Reader

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So let’s talk:

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

I’m generally a happy-go-lucky person and you all know that, as a reader, I’m not particular about my books so there really AREN’T a lot of things that I will get my panties in a bunch over as a reader. But the other day, after a stupid article about why adults should be ashamed to read YA popped up, I found myself really PISSED OFF. I mean, I didn’t let it ruin my day but I thought, “YEAH that pisses me off as a YA reader.” RAGE FACE.

So then I started thinking about what other kinds of things piss me off as a reader. I don’t rant often but this was kiiiind of therapeutic.

So here’s my list of some not-so-serious and serious things that piss THIS reader off.

 

1. Losing my page in a book:

If it’s left open to a certain page it’s because I was too lazy to get a bookmark or even a makeshift bookmark or for whatever reason dogear the book (which YEP I dogear my own books) but I WANT TO REMEMBER WHAT PAGE I WAS ON. Don’t close my book like it doesn’t matter. Then I have to go and try and FIND the page I was on without accidentally reading things on a page that might spoil me. DON’T TOUCH MAH BOOK, K?

2. Be condescending about what I’m reading.

Yeah, I’m reading YA or a romance with a glistening piece of MAN CANDY on the cover or pink fluffy piece of chick lit. You MAAAAD? Gotta problem? It’s like this — I read what I want to read because I’m a grown ass adult and I do the things I like because I’ve learned life is too short to walk around pretending I like things I don’t or denying myself things I do. So yep. I read those things right along side the literary fiction and the classics I own. You walking around with your nose up in the air squawking about how my reading choice is not good enough is certainly NOT going to make me feel bad about it so SAVE YOUR BREATH and GO LIVE YOUR OWN LIFE. If these people spent the amount of time caring about their own life than they do MY reading choice then MAYBE THEY WOULD LOVE LIFE MORE. Must be miserable to be them!

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3. Spoil a book for me.

I’ve talked about how careless book spoilers are like the bane of my existence but seriously…I will ninja kick you in the face if you spoil a book for me. I mean, I get if people talk openly about something like Harry Potter because most people (not me) have read it and it’s been out for forever. But sometimes I get so irritated by the careless book spoilers that happen on Twitter in conversation or in book reviews. LABEL THAT SHIT, YO. Talk about it in private because my eyes can’t un-see that!! Be more aware! I haven’t been spoiled TOO often but the couple times have just KILLED me because I know it could have been prevented. And this pretty much how I wanted to react:

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4. Say, “it’s JUST a book.”

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 THIS IS JUST MY FIST IN YOUR FACE. It is NOT “just a book.” Books have changed my life, dear uniformed person. Don’t EVER tell me it’s “just a book” because I’m emotionally distraught because a beloved character died or that I’m SO SO SO mad about something in a book. Books do things you just don’t even UNDERSTAND.

5. Interrupt me or try to talk to me when I’m reading.

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I told you that story about the guy on the train and how this irritates me to NO END. But seriously, don’t interrupt me when I’m reading. I don’t mind a “hey, I know you are reading but real quick…” if it’s important (Will is good about this) but when I’m trying to read…just shhhh until I finish my chapter or page at least if you want to have a full on conversation. And just because I’m reading a book on a train does NOT mean I am bored and wishing I had something else to do. Your conversation IS NOT SAVING ME FROM BOREDOM.

So, let’s talk friends! What are things that piss you off as a reader? Are any of these things that will make you insta-rage?

10 Things I Think My Husband Is Sick Of This Bookworm Saying

My husband is the best kind of non-reading bookish husband you can ask for. He’s supportive of this massive hobby of mine, listens to me babble on and on, will ship books out for giveaways for me, he stands in line for me for my favorite author and he takes in all in stride. Because let’s face it…living with a bookworm, and a book blogger, can quite the adventure. As good as he is about it all, I was certain there were things he was sick of me saying as a bookworm so I decided to have a go at making a list at things I THOUGHT he would be sick of hearing me say and then I got his opinion. And he agreed on all of them haha.

He did, however, want to add the disclaimer that “he is sick of it” in the most lovingly way possible.

 

1. “Hold on, I’ve got just one more page/chapter”

I say this A LOT. No, I can’t do this until I finish this chapter. Sorry we are running late but I had to finish the chapter. NOPE. Not turning off the light until I finish this chapter. I’m a pain in the ass honestly.

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2. “Look at the new books I got!!”

Whether it’s books in the mail (which he jokingly threatens to return to sender if he sees them first), books I buy or if I come home with a huge library haul, I seriously think this one, at this point where we are out of room and I have piles all over, is the one that makes him die a little bit inside. He sees those mailing wrappers of doom and I’m pretty sure he is considering divorce every time. He always jokes that soon he’ll be sleeping on books instead of a bed but we’ll see. Good thing I have the book community to be excited about new books with me because he’s probably plotting on how to get rid of them.

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3. “Nope, we can’t see that movie yet because I haven’t read the book and want to.”

I kid you not, there are still some movies I vetoed for this reason YEARS AGO (we’ve been together almost 8 years) that I STILL have not read the book for yet. FAIL. But honestly I want to read these books so if there’s even a chance…no way. Many a time we battle at the Redbox kiosk because I say no.

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4. “Did you know that’s based on a book??”

This piggybacks on the last one but I cannot help but inform people that HEY THIS MOVIE YOU WANT TO SEE OR THINK WAS SO AWESOME? Yep..it’s based on a book! Knowledge is power, people!

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5. “We need more bookshelves.”

On one hand, this would probably be a godsend considering there are piles all over. But every time I say this I think he wants to die a little because that means MORE BOOKS. He’s given in the last time I said this and I’m working on him right now. We went to Ikea last weekend and I’m like OH THIS WOULD LOOK CUTE IN THAT ONE SPACE.

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6. “Can you take a look at this for me??”

This isn’t necessarily a bookworm thing but a blogger thing. Any time I do anything like change my design or make a graphic or a video or have an idea…I always end up asking for his opinion but I know he doesn’t care but I NEED A SECOND OPINION, YO, AND YOU ARE SHACKLED TO ME UNTIL DEATH DOES US PART SOOO THAT COMES WITH THE TERRITORY. Poor him especially when I’m frustrated and need help.

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7. “I know you don’t care but I HAVE TO TELL YOU ABOUT THIS BOOK!”

Sometimes I read a book and I just have to like FREAK OUT about it (good OR bad). When I read We Were Liars last year I didn’t know anybody who had read it yet so I couldn’t very well TALK about it in all the spoilery detail I wanted to. So, oftentimes, I just have to tell him the entire plot and why I’m mad/emotionally drained/mind blown/etc.

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8. “Don’t talk to me right now. I have too many feelings to deal with.”

Okay I’m a crier. You know this. But when I finish a book that made me cry or set my soul on fire or was some other kind of intense experience..I literally cannot handle him talking to me. AS IF LIFE IS JUST GOING ON AS NORMAL. He is probably pretty sick of me saying this because he thinks “I need to get a grip on reality.” OH PLEASE.

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9. “Oh hey, there’s a bookstore! I just want to go in for a minute.”

Hahah because a minute is never a minute with me in a bookstore. HOWEVER, this one is the equivalent to his, “I want to stop in Foot Locker for a minute” so this kind of cancels things out because I am sooo sick of hearing that haha.

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10. “OMG I LOVE BOOKS.”

At random times, in our apartment, I will shout this. Mostly after a really good book or some good book news or when I get book mail or something. I think mostly he is sick of it because it is normally loud and obnoxious and at a pitch that is not pleasing to his ears or I’m flopping on the couch or being just generally dramatic when I say it.

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Bonus: Will said one I didn’t mention is the “can I bring a book with me?” any time we go to something I don’t want to be (sporting events mostly).

 

What are things (related to book life) that you think the people in your life of are “sick of” hearing you say? Are your significant others saying AMEN to this? :P

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?

My Reading Life + Social Media/Internet Influences

Little history of my bookish internet life: I’ve been book blogging for almost 4 years and I was really heavily involved with Goodreads since 2008. It’s definitely changed me as a reader (you can read about some of those ways I’ve changed as a reader in this mini series I did). It’s been amazing because I’ve found a place where I belong. Where I have friends who read and get as excited as I do about books. I’ve found people who don’t side eye me about what I’m reading. I’ve discovered amazing books and done awesome things and it’s just generally been the best thing for my reading life.

But there are some days where I think about my reading life pre-Internet and 2 big things stand out for me that have been hard to reconcile sometimes (though obviously do not affect me THAT negatively because I freaking love the online book community):

1. There is ALWAYS an opinion on a book I’m currently reading or trying to decide if I want to read/buy/add to my TBR: It is very very rare that I start reading a book and I don’t see an opinion of some sort. There are some books I’ve read very early so I didn’t have much influence (We Were Liars). Sometimes the opinions of people are just things like, “I LOVE THAT BOOK” which YAY and sometimes I will just be getting ready to start a book and someone will say how they didn’t like it and that is fine but MAN what a buzzkill when you are starting a book. Sometimes it’s not even a person telling me their opinion…sometimes it’s that I’m looking to add a book or I’m on the Goodreads page of the book I’m getting ready to read and I glance past star ratings and, even without reading their words, I SEE OPINIONS. A book I was really excited about? I could get very unexcited if I see trusted people giving it not so many stars. And then, as hard as I try NOT to, my mood changes toward the book. I’m so very influenced by opinions now, as much as I try to NOT let it affect me, because they are so readily available to me. Not at ALL so before the days of my reading life & the internet combining. Also, it really, really hard to go in blind to books these days..related to this point.

On the bright side: Sometimes I get to avoid books I probably I wouldn’t have loved by easily being able to access the trusted opinions of my friends at a glance. Also, nothing makes me even more giddy when lots of the opinions are YAYS.

2. Authors & their personalities are up in my grill. I don’t mean this in a bad way. But before the internet, I had no idea what my favorite author’s opinions were on day drinking or politics or that they feeling strongly about this or that. I didn’t know their family life or how they spend their days. I didn’t KNOW their personalities. They were just magical unicorn-like people who wrote books. I knew they were people but, man, social media makes them PEOPLE. I’m not the kind of person who really gets involved with author-reader drama but it’s hard not to notice when it’s all up in your grill. If an author has a crappy personality (or sometimes it’s just a bad DAY maybe!) or if they are rude or say something that rubs me the wrong way…it becomes hard to separate their books from who they are as hard as I try (because I really do understand that authors are humans who do make mistakes or have bad days or have opinons contrary to mine). That was never a problem before because I didn’t have to see it…I just saw the words in front of me. I personally have not had many BAD interactions but sometimes this does affect me or there is pressure there for me to balance them vs. their work (which is why I’m very choosy about the authors I follow).

On the bright side: AUTHORS ARE AMAZING. I love being able to connect with them. Seriously. It’s awesome to be able to be able to shout HEY I LOVE YOUR BOOK and they can say HEY THANKS or you can bond over your mutual love for a band or not wearing pants. For me, it’s mostly only ever been positive! And in some cases, interacting with an author has made me bump their books WAY up on my TBR list. For example: Recently I’ve had some fabulous interactions with Corey Ann Haydu and honestly? It really made a great impression on me and I started her book (Life By Committee) the very next day (it was fabulous by the way).

LET’S TALK: Has the internet/online bookish communities affected you in any way as a reader? Either the two things I mentioned or  something else?? I would love to hear about your experiences!

I’ve Got A Favor To Ask Of You All + Thoughts On Diversity In YA

One of my resolutions this year was to read more diversely — meaning to read more books by authors of color and/or also featuring characters of color as well as LGBT books. I’ve never been particularly conscious of what I am picking up — like I don’t pick or dismiss a book based on anything like that — but I want to be more conscious because unfortunately these books don’t always get as much attention as they deserve.

It’s hard, for me at least, to tell whether or not the publishers influence what is popular and the trends or if we, as readers, do. Either way, right now there is a lack of diversity and that needs to change. I was looking at my ARC shelf of what’s coming out this spring and summer and honestly? Not much diversity there. (I did just read & LOVE Jenny Han’s To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before). When I see what is really being pushed and promoted each season, there are only ever a few books by authors of color or featuring characters of color and maybe a handful more LGBT characters. I’ve never really consciously thought about it until recently. I’m 100% certain that the only people reading are not white people or straight people. I’m pretty sure it’s not that there isn’t anyone out there writing diverse characters. So why the lack of diversity? As a reader, I don’t want to JUST read about characters that are like me. I mean, yes, of course I DO want to see myself and relate but that is not the ONLY thing I want to read about. I love learning about lives I will never live, experiences I will never have, cultures I don’t know anything about.

As one of my favorite authors, Trish Doller, said last night on Twitter, “We need diverse books because everyone should see themselves reflected in the pages of books.” And that’s the thing…as a straight white female..I have tons of books to choose from where I will see myself reflected.  Some people don’t have the luxury to easily find themselves the reflected in books when they go to the bookstore. I could play eeny meeny miney mo at the bookstore in the YA section and I’d have a good chance of landing upon someone that looks like me. It’s not that I think readers of every color can’t relate to a main character of a different race or orientation — quite the opposite — but I do feel as though every reader should feel they are being spoken for..and that they HAVE the option of a good selection of books where they are reflected.

Recently, an event (BookCon) that is concurrent to the Book Expo, that I’m going to (I talked about that here), has been called out for their lack of diversity on their panels. Read: all white males. I’m not going to elaborate on that too much but you can read more about it here. The book world has been talking quite a lot about it and rightly so — especially in light of the kind of avoidance Book Con has been doing regarding the subject. There’s been a great Twitter hashtag going on (#WeNeedDiverseBooks) that I highly recommend checking out. Lots of great thoughts!

And here’s the thing, I’m not saying STOP READING WHITE AUTHORS AND MALES and what not. No way! Dear God no! And I’m not saying, “Shame on you if you don’t read more diversely.” I know that I personally pick up books based on what they are about — not who they are written by or what kinds of characters they feature. I will read anything if I’m interested in it and my interests are VERY wide. But I’m at a place right now where I’m really thinking about whether we as readers choose what the publishers put out there/promote/make trends or if they are the ones telling us what to read. And to be honest? I don’t want to just be following what is being pushed at me especially if it’s not what readers want or if it caters to only certain people. So, as a reader, I want to be more conscious especially in light of something like the BookCon debacle, because it’s just a reflection of a greater problem, and this has made me only want to succeed in this resolution even more.

So, here’s where you come in! There’s been an abundance of lists that have cropped up for people looking for books with more diversity and YAY! But I love coming to you guys for recommendations because you know my tastes and I trust your recommendations so I can find something that is a good fit for me! So I would love if you could leave me recommendations for books featuring characters of color (I do read quite a few LGBT books and have many on my shelves so I don’t need quite so many recs) or by authors that are persons of color that you’ve really enjoyed/think i would like! I would also love to hear any of your thoughts on this topic!

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