12 Reasons I Am Totally In Love With My Library

 

why I love my library

When I was a wee little anklebiter  I used to go to the library weekly with my stepmom in the summer. My sister and I would always run to the juvenile/teen section and she would go off in the adult fiction area. We would spend hours (well, at least it felt like that as a kid but alas I probably had no concept of time) and I’d come home with a stack of books I could hardly carry (I had a concept for that burning in my arm muscle so that is accurate for sure). I LOVED the library so much. It was my favorite place to go and I always looked forward to the trip — I have such great memories of going.

But then, as I got older, I sort of fell out of love with the library. Some of that was just my decline in reading during my older teens and early college so it makes sense. I only went during college for research for classes. After that it could have been that I avoided it because of the fact I wracked up the biggest fine ever because I lost a really expensive book when I was in my early 20’s. It also could have been because I became a book buying monster when I started blogging in 2010. I RARELY went to my library for the first couple years of blogging but then….unemployment. Unemployment changed a lot of my book habits but it helped me to fall back in love with the library and it’s really stuck as I’ve changed the way I buy books. I loooove going to the library again and have found it great for SO many reasons as an adult.

So let me tell you WHY I love my library so much!!
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11 Book-Related Things Or Experiences That Delight Me

 

There are just some really delightful book related experiences in life that can just make me happy on any given day. I could have easily made a list of 50 things but I decided to just talk about 11 things that make me happy/that I’m grateful for/makes me giddy as a bookworm.

 

1. The smell of a book: #booksniffer — New books, old books. I just love the smell of a book. (Maybe not so much super moldy or smoke filled books that make me hack up a lung but well taken care of used books). Speaking of which I really want this old book smell candle.

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Random Musings On Accessibility To Your Heroes

Things have changed so much in the author/reader space since my childhood/teen years. If I loved a book or something I didn’t have Twitter to jump on to exclaim my love for it directly to the author immediately. I had to write a letter on my best stationary (probably multiple times because I always would mess up or sound dumb), beg for a stamp from my mom, lick the icky envelope and mail that puppy…more than likely to the publisher who would then forward it and WHO KNOWS if the author ever got my letter. I sure never got a response. Sidenote: sometimes I really want to send snail mail to the authors of my most favorite books to show my appreciation rather than popping off a quick tweet or blog post.

I’ve talked about this before but authors, and our heroes/idols in general, are so incredibly accessible because of the internet. It’s great. It really is. I love being able to connect with an author whose book I loved. To talk to them about it. To show them my appreciation. To sometimes even create really good relationships past that. I love having some access to my favorites — to see the behind the scenes and get to know the person. To learn more about them. To go on this journey with them. It can all be a really positive thing.

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To Continue On Or Not?

That is always my question after finishing a book in a series: am I interested enough to continue on? 

It’s a hard question all around. I’m awful at finishing series in general and I’m the woooorst at deciding whether or not to put down a book when I’m not liking it. I have a list of reasons why it’s so hard for me — some of those feelings apply to my fear of abandoning a series.

Most of the time I’m pretty solid on my YES or NO if I want to continue on but I do have a good chunk that stay in that “Hmmm I’m not sure” area. However, what prompted me to think about this, is that over the summer I read but nearly DNFed a book 1 in a series that I just really didn’t like and was pretty sure I had no interest of continuing on. I didn’t think the writing was that great. It was pretty eye-rolly. Didn’t love the characters. But THEN..behold…book 2 shows up in the mail from the publisher and my curiosity was piqued again and I have NO idea why. I didn’t even like it! WHY would I even consider it? Maybe it’s because I’m curious. Maybe I’m just a glutton for punishment. Or maybe it’s because I am the most indecisive person who likes to doubt their decisions. Oof we sure are getting a little more into the psyche of Jamie territory there.

But here we are…a book that was solidly a NO is now possibly a maybe? GAH.

 

Typically my method looks a little bit like this if it’s a first book:

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10 Things I Wish Someone Would Invent

Sometimes I have these times in my life where I’m like GOD I WISH THIS THING EXISTED TO MAKE MY LIFE EASIER OR BETTER. Sometimes I find out that it’s like, in fact, a THING made by those As Seen On TV people and sometimes it just stays a great idea in my head because an inventor I am not.

There are quite a few things over the course of my reading life that I wished existed so if anyone wants to put their inventor hat on or like find a magical way to do these things I will be your first customer.

 

1. A device that helps you unsee spoilers: Y’all know that blatant spoilers are the bane of my existence but SERIOUSLY this would be perfect for those times that you are minding your own business on the internet and your eye hones in on a big fat spoiler for something you love on Twitter or Tumblr or in the comments section. You just hit the button and BOOM never saw that shit. Related: a device that shocks people when they are assholes about spoilers? Too cruel?

Cannot-unsee

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A Readerly Woe

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.

 

Does this happen to anybody else??? Or is it just JAMIE PROBLEMS — table for 1?

 

PS. Some of my other readerly woes — the logistics of reading heavy books and all 10 of these bookworm problems

Thoughts On Taking A Year Off From A Numbers Based (Goodreads) Reading Challenge

Last year at around this time I got ready to set the number for the yearly Goodreads reading challenge and I changed my mind about how I would approach reading in 2015. I decided I would not be setting a number goal for 2015.

I’ve been on Goodreads since 2008 and I’ve been doing the Goodreads reading challenges for however long they’ve been doing it. It was SO weird for me to not set one but I felt I just wanted to try something new. I kept toying with doing OTHER (non-numbers based) challenges but ended up being completely challenge-less for the year.

This was a little bit of my rationale from that post:

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

 

So I stand here..a year-ish later with some thoughts and observations:

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The Tale of Two (Warring) Bookworms Within Me

For as long as I could remember I’ve always dreamed of having Belle’s library in the Beauty and the Beast.

belle-library-dream

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:

366c465d22cb07fbd687c7b5a1af5d6b

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I Value My Time

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…

101395-but-its-hard-gif-Scott-Pilgrim-rN0I(source)

 

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.

clock-time-lapse-o

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

  1. Reading 1 hour of book and putting it down — and now I’m free to read something I might enjoy more but I’m out that hour with nothing to show for it. 
  2. Or spending 3 hours on a book that I didn’t like — I finished it (so yay I completed something) but I HAD TO FORCE MY WAY THROUGH IT or didn’t like it or whatever the problem was that made me considering putting it down. 

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 just know that I value my time and I want to make the best use of it — especially that every so precious reading time!

 

I’m more so really curious if this is something that anyone else struggles with! Do you DNF with ease or do you struggle like I do? HOW do you decide what is the better use of your time? Please tell me your thoughts on this!! Maybe your rationale will help me!!

Perception, Reality & Our Super Reader Community

perception-reality-online-book-community

 

I was on Twitter the other day and I saw a conversation, not at all a bad one, and there was just a random comment along the lines of “oh yeah that author is so popular and probably doesn’t really need the buzz like others do.” Totally understand the sentiment of wanting to support the authors that might not get as much buzz or that might be debut authors or under the radar! TOTALLY. I love doing that and do it all the time. SO MUCH. That’s not at all the point of this post.

What this comment made me think about is perception vs. reality. They aren’t always aligned. I knew this statement that was made about this author wasn’t necessarily fact as I know the author and know a little bit about their publishing journey. They are totally ~popular~ within our circles but outside of it they just aren’t as well known/have struggled. But I could see how this person who made the statement could think this given what they see online and in this particular community of ours! I really could! Especially in relation to how well loved they are IN our community. And I think this sort of thing happens a lot  — these innocent misperceptions based on what we see online vs the actual reality. (Especially since as readers, pre-social media, I don’t think we really HAD much of a look into ANY of this).

I think in our book blogging community, which is comprised of super readers and people who are really IN the KNOW when it comes to all things books, it doesn’t always reflect the reality of how a book does on a grand scale or how popular an author actually is. I know authors who are super popular in the book blogging world and I don’t think they’ve quite reached that level outside. It’s been jarring to me to think in my head how super popular and hyped a book is in this community and then talk outside of our community and realize it’s not as big at all. Or how I can talk to a librarian about a super popular book I see embraced by our community and they tell me it doesn’t move off the shelf ever. I’m like “WAIT NOT EVERYONE HAS HEARD ABOUT THIS AND AREN’T CLAMORING TO GET THIS ONE COPY?”

It’s so interesting to me sometimes how our reality in our community doesn’t always accurately reflect sales numbers or popularity out there in the world. Sometimes it makes me really sad. I’m like “LOOK. WE ALL LOVE THIS. WHY CAN’T THE WORLD?” And sometimes our reality totally align with the rest of the book world and, hey, maybe we even helped champion it. I wonder if it’s just that sometimes, despite how big our community feels and has gotten, it still is just a small sampling but we are passionate and loud and we see what feels like a lot of people talking about and reading certain books. It looks popular to us. We are just in this community where everything is amplified because we are so saturated with conversations about all sorts of books that it kind of skews our perception a bit. It’s a little bit like an echo chamber but not like in a negative sense. (Does that make sense? Maybe I’m looking for another metaphor?).

The other thing it made me think of, regarding perception and reality, is of authors themselves. I know that before I joined this community I automatically thought published author = successful and rich and being an author is their only job. That’s true sometimes but I know a whole lot of authors who have other jobs and being an author isn’t the only thing they do at all. There have been authors who have shared about the realities of being a mid-list authors and it definitely was one of the things that opened up my eyes to how off perception vs. reality can be.

I don’t really have a point to this post. Just a whole lot of musings on something that’s kind of fascinating to me. But I think, in thinking about this, it has just reinforced how super important it is to leave reviews for books I like and love on sites that might reach the non-book bloggers and people who aren’t saturated in this world like we are — Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes & Noble because every little bit counts and we are already championing these books so why not make sure our love for the book is heard outside of our community? (not saying you are awful if you don’t…god knows I am SO behind in cross-posting reviews).

It makes me want to think about what other avenues I can spread the word and how I can use my platform BETTER to help further champion the books I love. How can I better be a resource to people like teachers and librarians who are reaching people that I might not? We do an amazing thing by creating buzz and talking about these books and writing reviews but I’m asking myself how I can do better with just even a little more effort on my part personally to reach beyond this community.

Thoughts on this? Even if you don’t agree with me or think I’m totally wrong, I’d love to hear them! How can we reach beyond our community to make a difference for books we love?

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