Self, DO NOT SUCCUMB TO IT!

I’ve never really been a blogger who has been stressed about reading. (Seriously, before blogging, it would have baffled me that a reading or a hobby based on reading could be so stressful). I have the normal waves of “AHHH SO MANY BOOKS TO READ!” or “AHHHH SO MANY NEW RELEASES HOW CAN I KEEP UP?!?” (I never knew about new releases really before blogging) or “OMG I AM DROWNING IN BOOKS.” But they are small waves that travel through my body and momentarily freak me out and then are gone quickly.

I don’t keep a schedule for reading ARCs or any books, I read quite a variety of things old and new and I just generally keep it low stress for myself — because that’s just how I personally have wanted to go about this for the past (almost) four years.

But these past couple days? I had a meltdown. A big melty meltdown of toddler sized proportions. My thoughts are conflicting and confusing and…annoying? Because I hate stressing about things.

Can I just talk it out with you guys, please?

1. I feel so overwhelmed. There are so many books I’m never going to get to in my entire life. Likely even on my shelves I’ll never get to some of them. I don’t read by release dates but I try to be conscious of what I’ve got but, months like this where EVERYTHING good seems to be coming out, I am slowly feeling anxious over all the books I WANT to get to in this month (and the next) but know that at the pace I read and the time I have available to read that I’ll never get to all the ones I want to + the ones I want to buy when they come out. I get envious of other’s ability to read more than I can.

I feel like keeping up is a fruitless endeavor. I completely stress over which book to read next because I realize that I need to be smart about which books I read because of my finite reading ability and every dud of a book is time I could have had for a better book for me. I get all frantic about my choices and the ones left on the shelves. I feel like I’m missing out (is there book FOMO..there has to be? MAJOR BOOK FEAR OF MISSING OUT). I’m staring at all my books for review & the ones I’ve bought and I feel overwhelmed. Too many choices. Too much pressure. Not enough time.  When I feel like this I just want to hole up and read ALL THE HOURS OF THE DAY I HAVE FREE — because I’m genuinely excited about all these books but because of the book FOMO or stress or whatever we want to label it.

2. But then I have these other thoughts where I just don’t WANT to read all day every day, despite the rabbit-esque multiplying my TBR does on the daily, as much as sometimes I feel the pressure to do that because of blogging. I’ve talked about how last year I was feeling really unbalanced in life because of book blogging but I really do like to maintain some sort of balance in my life in all areas. Blogging has always been a struggle because it is so easy to let it take up a lot of time without even realizing it. I’ve been intentional about setting low reading goals even though I know I COULD read more + setting boundaries with blogging.

Sometimes I feel like, as much as reading is one of my favorite things in LIFE, I just don’t want to read THAT much and becoming a devouring machine that constantly and only ever is reading. I also want to savor what I’m reading. To not just move on to the next thing and let that be that – like how I was before I started blogging. I don’t want to treat reading like a race.  And on top of that..I really don’t want reading to be this stressful thing. (I know I control that though blogging DOES add to that).

And really..what’s the end game in me reading that much or trying to frantically read that much? It’d be a combination of the desire to read ALL THE BOOKS because as a bookworm I want to know all the stories & worlds & characters  & also it’s the pressure… but to what end? For what purpose? This is what I have to keep asking myself. I can’t do it all. I need perspective.

Sigh I feel much better getting that out. I’m taking deep breathes and just trying to go back to my zen attitude about reading and blogging. I’m okay with my little bookworm freakouts that happen from time to time because such is the bookworm life but I’m not okay with the rattling meltdown I had (for no reason) in the past couple days wherein I just stressed myself out big time about something I love and that keeps me sane normally.

Does anyone else sometimes feel the weight of all the books they will never get to?? Bloggers, do you feel stressed about reading sometimes?? How do you manage? I’m not used to succumbing to the pressure that’s always there! Please can we talk this out because Will just doesn’t get it at all!

DO NOT READ IN PUBLIC!

It’s that awkward moment when you are reading something that brings a volcanic eruption of FEELINGS in the form of tears that just comes flowing to the surface….and you are in public…away from the comfort of your own space where you can properly ugly cry your little heart out.

It’s the worst. My eyes are burning and my face starts to get flushed and I’m trying with all my might to HOLD BACK THOSE TEARS. I’m sure I look like a hot mess with my teary eyes and the trembling lip that I’m trying SO HARD to stop.

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And I just feel like everyone is STARING AT ME. Like I’m this unhinged crazy person. I mean, book people would probably understand this. The shedding of tears for fictional stories and characters. But other people? NOPE. I feel like they are all probably whispering like “what is wrong with this chick??” or awkwardly trying to look past me so they don’t catch eye contact with the crying girl.

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Sometimes it’s because I was dumb and chose something (Night by Elie Wiesel) when I knew I would be reading in public (an airplane). Seriously, who’s dumb idea was THAT? That book shouldn’t be read in public. I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER. Just like I know better than to read The Fault In Our Stars or any sort of cancer or grief or death book in public.

Other times I’m taking aback by the fact that the book I chose (Where The Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller) is making me cry while I’m reading in public (the pool at my apartment complex) because it maybe didn’t strike me as a book that might make me cry. And then it’s all panic to figure out how to stop the tears that I didn’t see coming.

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I had a potentially awkward crying episode a few weeks ago when I was reading while the kids I nanny were napping. Their mom works from home and sometimes will come downstairs for food or something to drink so I never know when she’s coming down. I was reading Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor, a book I knew would probably make me cry but I didn’t anticipate finishing while I was there, and I felt myself start to FEEL THINGS. Not just tearing up. I could tell I was going to full on ugly cry. I was willing my tears to stop because I knew she could potentially come down at any moment or the kids could wake up and I didn’t want to be SOBBING like a crazy person. But it didn’t work…and there I sat sobbing just at least hoping she didn’t come down or the kids didn’t wake up and trying to come up with possible explanations for my eyes (sudden onset allergies? I poked myself in both eyes? A sneezing or coughing fit??). Luckily I was in the clear.

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I stealthily was able to hide my crying while I was at the pool by dunking myself underwater so it looked like I was just wet and then putting sunglasses back on. It was a solid way to conceal my book induced tears. But what happens when I’m on a plane or a train or sitting in a cafe or any other sort of situation where I might be reading in public and access to water is not available?! How to conceal it?? I guess I could carry around a pair of sunglasses everywhere? Or maybe books that will inevitably make you cry should just come with a DO NOT READ IN PUBLIC warning? Or maybe I should only read books that are funny in public? (Ehh but then I become that weirdo girl on the treadmill laughing like a hyena…yep I’ve been her).

It’s a problem to read in public when you are someone whose book feels sometimes turn into very real tears. Until I can figure out how to control it I will be forever the girl you can find sobbing in public because of a book. I guess there could be worse things, right?

(ALSO: Will wants to know, and I quote, “is it normal for people to cry this much in general from reading a book??”

Let’s Talk: Have you ever cried while reading a book in public? Any awkward crying stories to share? I’m curious what books made you cry in public! Or are you a person that’s pretty good at pushing back those tears? Or maybe you don’t cry or express many visible emotions at all while crying?

I’ve Cheated. Or Something.

Back in January 2013 I asked you guys if you were book jugglers and I talked about how I was a serial monogamist when it came to how many books I would read at one time and why I was. (I also had a HELLA cute kid Jamie pic in that post). At the time I wrote that I was totally a one book kind of girl!

In this past year, I’ve totally changed somewhere along the way. I’ve cheated. Or maybe I’ve become a book polygamist. I don’t know. But all I know is that I’m juggling a ton of books these days and I feel like quite the playa playa. I don’t know HOW it happened but it just sort of did.

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I always have my primary book that I’m reading but now it no longer has all that love and attention to itself. Then I started having a gym book that I would read on my Kindle whilst on the treadmill but then I started doing other exercise-y things so I’m not there as often. Now that I’ve started nannying while I’m still looking for jobs I have my “nannying book” on my Kindle that I only read while I’m there. My kindle is just easier to hold when I’m reading and the baby is asleep on me. But, it doesn’t end there, I also decided it would be an excellent idea to add my commuting book, which is an audiobook, to really get some extra reading time in. The other week it even got a little crazy because I had a book that I had bought for my Nook, which is now deceased, so I had to read it on my Nook App so I was reading THAT.

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I’ve gotten out of control (and I totally feel like Papa Smurf above) but I sort of like it. Some observations:

1.  Surprisingly it’s been kind of nice because I feel like I’m not in a “I haven’t read in a week because I’m avoiding my book” slump as often because I am picking up something different so if something isn’t speaking to me and I’m avoiding it (before deciding to put it down..which I suck at) then at least I’m still reading SOMETHING at some point in my day.

2. I feel like I’m finishing more books. I don’t know if it’s true but I feel like it.

3: OMG MY BRAIN SOMETIMES. It can’t handle the switching back and forth.

4. When I’m not careful and I’m reading books that are maybe kind of similar..I really do feel like they bleed into each other. Gotta be smarter about that!

5. The one bad thing is that when I finish two book around the same time I’m like OH MAN NOW I HAVE TO WRITE TWO POSTS. Double the procrastination!

6. It’s really nice when I have an e-Arc of a book and then end up with a physical copy because then I make them both my primary and Kindle read while I’m nannying. I feel like I blow through books so fast!

7. One of my main reasons I didn’t like juggling books was because I felt like I would either a) have major indecision between which book to pick up if I was enjoying both or I would gravitate towards one and just abandon the other one altogether and it would never get read. I’ve realized that this point becomes moot now because I’m not just juggling them for the sake of juggling them but I have designated books that I only read in specific places or at specific times. It’s not like I’m just saying “okay I’ll read a little of this and then a little of that one” and keep rotating just because. THAT doesn’t work for me but apparently the fact that each book has their place to be read makes it work for me. PLUS, like with the gym book, it’s so motivating to know that I HAVE to go to the gym to read it!

It’s working for now and I’m not opposed to changing habits so I’m just rolling with it…this new found “book slut” hat I’m putting on.

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So, you may or may not have talked about your habits with me back then when I talked about my book monogamy, but I’d love to talk about whether or not you are a book monogamist or if you juggle those books like a pro! Do you have designated books that you only read at x time/place? Have you always been a one book person or a juggler? Any thoughts on anything I brought up?

This Always Seems To Happen!!

Last week I talked about the end of the year reading blues but this week I want to talk about another thing that happens to me at the end of the year.

I’d say I have a pretty good eye on what is coming out each month. I always scour the catalogs way ahead of time and I’m always up to date each month. However, without fail since I started blogging in 2010, the end of the year approaches and I realize there are some books that must have flown under my radar or something!

Sometimes I knew about the title but it didn’t stand out to me initially or I didn’t know what it was about but had seen it in passing. In other cases I completely just must have missed it and I don’t know how. Then all of a sudden I start reading end of year lists or Top Ten Tuesday lists and I keep seeing books being mentioned almost universally or by a few people I trust and I’m like WHY DID I NOT GET THIS MEMO? Why did I not hear of this book? Why was it so far off my radar??

So today I’d like to share with you the books that apparently flew off my radar and I plan to get to!

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If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch: I’ll be honest. This is one I had seen around but the cover didn’t really draw me in and the synopsis sounded similar to some other books on my radar so I just really didn’t pay much attention to this one. Then suddenly I see this explosion of love for this book!  I missed the boat apparently! OH and then it was on the Goodreads award thingy too! (Biggest pusher of this book: Judith)

Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg: I had never heard of this one until I started seeing Estelle rave about it and now I’m seeing lots of love for it and I definitely feel out of the loop! No idea what it was even about but I definitely want to check it out after such praise!

Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn: Another one I hadn’t heard of at all until bloggers had started labeling it as a favorite of the year. Where was I on this one??

The Summer I Became A Nerd by Leah Rae Miller: I had never heard of this one until someone said it was their hidden gem favorite of the year and lo and behold I find lots of people I know liked it on Goodreads. This one totally flew under my radar but seems like something I’d really like!

Unteachable by Leah Raeder: Okay, so I had heard rumblings of this one but had no idea what it was about or anything. I also kept confusing it with another book so that probably didn’t help. But I’ve seen this on some best of lists and people who have done my End of Year Book survey. Then I went on Goodreads and LOTS of people loved this one this year. WHAT THE HECK? And now reading what it is about…I AM VERYYYY INTRIGUED.

Splintered by A.G. Howard: I had seen this one before but didn’t know much about it but then everyone started talking about how they can’t wait for the sequel and how it was a favorite so I HAD to look to see what it was about. Why did I not know about this?!

Winger by Andrew Smith: I had never heard of this one until Magan started talking about it and gave it such praise! How did this slip off my radar? And now I keep seeing A LOT of talk about it. I’m vowing to buy it next with my B&N gift card.

Altered by Jennifer Rush: Where did this one come from and why hadn’t I seen anything about it? Lots of talk on my Twitter lately about this one! Especially from Betty!

My adult fiction picks:

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent: I’m always looking for a good adult historical fiction when I scour the catalogs but I never heard of this one until Hannah started raving about it and I just don’t know how I missed out on this one! It just came out in September but I’m just very surprised I hadn’t scoped it out before!

Margot by Jillian Cantor: Again, I’m the queen of finding good historical fiction and I never even knew this was coming out and I ALWAYS pick out historical fiction set during wars — particularly WW2! Why is this one just showing up on my radar now?

 

What about you — does this seem to happen to you at the end of the year? What books slipped under your radar this year that you HAVE to read next year because suddenly everyone is talking about it? Have you read any of my “slipped under the radar” books this year?

Current Status: Drowning In Books!!

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

When I Don’t Love A Book Everyone Else Loves..

When I don’t like a book that everyone else does or not AS MUCH as everyone else does my brain starts running through all the reasons why that could be.

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Is it just a case of it wasn’t my thing? Where there glaring problems I saw? Did my own values and experiences influence it and make me see it differently? But there’s one thing I always come back to and that’s the hype monster – which is both a good and bad thing for different reasons.

As a blogger I’m often reading books early before they have a chance to be hyped. It’s sometimes like I’m reading it in my own little isolated bubble or vacuum. I have few opinions to influence my thinking and really NO expectations to live up to. It’s a book that I may or may not enjoy and that’s all I know about it aside from the premise and the author.

But then let’s take the books that I’m late to the game on…books that people RAVE about and seem to be universally loved. Let’s just say it was a case of that I LIKED it but not as much as everyone else did — I didn’t get that OMG FAVE BOOK, life-changing experience that so many trusted people talked about. All those REASONS that made this book their favorite for all these years. I sit there and wonder that,  if I had been in a “reading vacuum” and never heard anything about this book — like in the case of those books I read early — if I would have felt differently.

So I sit there all…”ok, book, would I have liked you MORE had I read you back when you just came out and there was relatively no hype or I wasn’t involved in the blogging community where I’m always hearing opinions about books? Or would it have been the same? Maybe you really just weren’t an amazing book for me?”

And obviously I don’t have the answer to that. I can’t go back in time or  read every book in a vacuum where I hear basically nothing about it. But I feel sad for the books I could have probably LOVED if I hadn’t such high expectations of them because of all the hype. It’s one of the few downsides I see to blogging sometimes. I’m SO inundated with opinions that give way to expectations that it’s hard to read without being influenced by them. I JUST WANT TO BLOCK THEM ALL OUT WHEN I READ so I can have my own experience that is free of any hype.

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So let’s talk: Do you ever think about this? Are there any books you think you probably would have LOVED more if there wasn’t that dreaded hype monster or any sort of built up expectations because of people’s opinions – like if you read them early on or in a “vacuum” so to speak? Or do you think you were always destined probably not to LOVE those books? How do you keep those expectations and hype at bay to let yourself not be so influenced?

 

So Many Loose Ends

Lately I’ve been feeling like I have so many unresolved storylines just swirling around in my head and weighing me down. I posted a long time ago about how I suck at reading series but it’s really becoming an issue for me with all these series I’m in the midst of. I’m in series limbo all the time and I just feel there are all these loose ends just flapping about in my mind. I just feel like I’m in the middle of all these stories and my mind is in too many worlds and waiting on too many cliffs. I feel like I’m playing freeze tag with all these characters and they are just standing there frozen, in mid-run, waiting for me to tag them back in.

I’m BURNT OUT on series, friends.

I’ve been reading YA since August 2010-ish and, as of right now, I have 49 series that I’ve started and not finished (not counting companion novels). And I’m slated to start more in the next two weeks (City of Bones and Harry Potter).

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In fact I don’t even want to know how many series I’ve ACTUALLY finished. Ok, I looked, that number is sadly only THREE in that time.

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Why I’m In The Middle Of So Many Series:

- All of the books aren’t out yet. Therefore I’m just waiting and waiting and reading a million other things in between the release dates. NOT MY FAULT.
– I get distracted by all the shiny other books and STILL don’t pick up books in a series even if they are all out.
– I get tricked into reading books that I THOUGHT were standalones. SERIOUSLY STOP DOING THAT TO ME.

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- I have this weird thing where I don’t like my reviews to be consecutively from the same series so I end up spreading them out.
– I’m not sure if I want to completely give up a series or not. I thought the first book was meh but I’m still curious but can’t decide if it’s worth it to keep going or just ask someone to tell me what happens. I’m the worst at giving up on series!!
– It seems like that’s ALL there is these days. Ok, that’s a dramatic statement but when I go outside of contemporary YA there aren’t as many standalones.
– And not as serious but I get SCARED to move on to the next book in the series. Irrational fears I tell ya!

I think my challenge to myself for the Fall is to DECIDE which series I’m going to get RID of at least 3 series I don’t want to go on with and then pick 3 series to finish by the time Winter starts. I’ll probably go with series I only have one book left in to boost my confidence in my series sucking ways. Maybe that will help me feel like I’m less weighed down  by all these series. Maybe I should vow not to start any new series until I finish one??

Let’s Talk

Do any of you guys feel this way about series? Like you are burnt out or weighed down by all the unfinished stories? I’m curious if you know how many series you have started but not finished vs how many you have actually finished. How do you decide when to quit a series (please help me!) and do you abandon series often? Anybody else get tricked into thinking a book is not a series and then find out it is later or am I just not observant??

I Just Have To Shake My Head Sometimes…

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I haven’t ranted in a while (probably since this and this) but this is has  been a long time coming…

I’ll set the scene…

I’m reading a really great book on the train back from BEA (Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell actually). Minding my own business. Clearly really into my book. This guy decides he is going to try to chat me up…by starting off with “How’s the book?” which I clearly was like 2 pages into. I’m like “I don’t know..I just started it” as I am STILL STARING at the book avoiding eye contact to discourage further conversation. And then he continues to try to make small talk with me despite my very short answers and my bitchy facial expressions I know I was shooting him.

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WHAT IS WITH THAT?

You know, I wasn’t DOING ANYTHING. I swear sometimes people think I’m reading a book because I have NOTHING BETTER TO DO. That, by reading a book, I’m actually holding a sign that says “PLEASE TALK TO ME. I’M SO BORED & YOUR SMALL TALK WILL SAVE ME FROM CRUSHING BOREDOM.”

What is it about reading a book that makes people think it is ok to interrupt you and completely disregard what you are doing?

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It’s not even just strangers. I have family members who do this too. I’m okay with a “hey..let me know  when you are  finished your page or whatever so I can tell you something” or a quick interruption (Will is really good about this).  But I’m not okay with launching into a full on conversation with me when I’m trying to read without AT LEAST acknowledging the fact you KNOW I’m trying to read but want to tell me something. It’s as if they walk into the room and think I’m doing absolutely nothing.

As a reader,  I’m not TRYING to be anti-social or ignore you but, rather, I’m spending some time doing something I enjoy. As with any activity, when I’m done, I will happily converse with you. It’s just kiiiiinda rude to ignore the fact I’m reading and not take that into consideration before you launch into your hour long story. I’m not reading because I have a severe lack of anything else to do.

So, please, people who don’t read…STOP interrupting people who are reading. They aren’t bored. They aren’t looking for something else to do. Your attempt at conversation is not going to be well received.

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Unless mayyyybe you are trying to talk about books because you also read and loved the book I’m reading and then maybe I won’t lose it.

 

Does this happen to you guys? Is it strangers or family members or both? Tell me your stories and how you deal!

Look At Them All! They’re Mocking Me!

At night after dinner and before the gym, Will and I will put on reruns of Two and a Half Men and Big Bang Theory while I blog or read and he looks at shoes (he is a Nike whore) and does whatever he does on ESPN.com (seriously I don’t understand how he spends that much time on there..there are only a certain amount of games!). We were watching last night and I wasn’t really paying attention until this clip because that is SO ME!

I’m sure MANY a book blogger could have this same meltdown.

(You can skip to about 1:25 where it actually becomes relevant to my discussion. Favorite line: “Look at them all! They’re mocking me. I haven’t read any of them”  )

 

I’ve been having this freakout a lot lately. Mostly because tons of big life things have happened in my life and my family’s so I’m like WAIT WAIT WAIT where has time gone?? How is my baby sister going to college next year? How am I almost 30?? TIME OUT PLEASE. Then I feel the need to drop everything and go do ALL OF THE THINGS I want to do.

My freakout comes out the most in two areas:

1. When I think about all the places I’ll never get to see and experience. The people I’ll never meet while exploring. The food I’ll never try. The sunsets and sunrises I’ll never gaze upon from a new vantage point.
2. The books I’ll never read.

Let’s talk about that point number 2 since HEY this blog here talks a lot about books. I seriously stare at my shelves wide eyed sometimes knowing all that I own. Plus calculating the number of new releases coming out this year. AND THEN thinking about all of the amazing books that everyone raves about that I’ve never read and have been out for years or decades or centuries. I could start hyperventilating now.

I mean LOGICALLY I know HEY JAMIE..you can’t read them all. Get over it. There is just no way. And honestly I don’t want to spend my life holed up ONLY reading books. So there’s that. But sometimes I just very overwhelmed about the stories I’ll never read and the characters I’ll never meet and the way my life might be changed in some way by an amazing story. There’s so many good sounding books and I’m sure some will be duds but I want to inhale them all. I feel a little bit of this same book story frenzy Alan experiences whenever I think about it too much. I try to prioritize my reads according to what is personally important to me but even then…I know I’ll never get through even a fraction of what I want to. It’s maddening!

And really I know it is just a much bigger reflection of what I think about LIFE and not having enough time to do all the things I want to do. Reading is just one of those things.  When the crazy part of my brain pipes down I know that I just need to enjoy what I experience in life, not think too much about what I could miss out on and prioritize the hell out of my life — in books and all other things. Make time for the things that mean a lot and interest me. Allow myself to cease doing things I don’t enjoy or make me feel lively anymore (or stop reading books that aren’t grabbing me). Recognize when my priorities and tastes and interests change and be ok with it because that invites NEW things.

Whew, I need to breathe before I have an existential crisis. I will say I think it is helping me, in theory, to not BUY books at this breakneck pace that I do because realistically a lot are just going to sit. It’s really getting me excited (sort of) to cull my books more often and get rid of things that don’t match my tastes anymore!

Do you guys have freakouts like Alan did? Do you feel absolutely overwhelmed by all the books you know you are going to never be able to read? How do you prioritize? Do you cull books that you have bought but over the years haven’t read and your interests just aren’t there anymore? If anything, PLEASE tell me I’m not the only one who thinks about this too much.

I Get Rambly But I Can’t Stop Thinking About This!

So if you follow my updates on Goodreads of books I’m reading I noted this quote from Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley and have been thinking about it ever since.

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“Most times when I look at Shadow & Poet’s work I see something different from what the words are telling me. I like that about art, that what you see is sometimes more about who you are than what’s on the wall.”

 

 

 

It resonated with me so much because I feel like that about book sometimes. Books are  intensely personal sometimes and how your heart and soul interacts and wrestles with them is a beautiful thing beyond the surface of the story. Sometimes my heart reacts so powerfully that I nearly can feel it beating right out of my chest and wonder, “Was this book written for ME personally?” Or sometimes I feel like I can UNDERSTAND a character that maybe on the outside seems terrible or hard to relate to, but when I look at myself under the lens,  I see that we aren’t really that different because of  a similar experience. So much of my reading experience (especially in the contemporary realm) is tied to my own life experiences, values and feelings.

This  has especially felt true to me being part of this community. I love seeing how one book can feel so many ways to different people. It’s  amazing to know that other people are reading the same words and the same story is being laid out  but we are experiencing it a thousand different ways. The random thoughts that invade our brains at different moments. The different memories that become unearthed as we read a scene. The character who reminds us of somebody we know. My brain isn’t just solely processing the words I am reading but it’s like this explosion of memories and thoughts and FEELINGS.

I think this is why I have such a hard time saying something is a BAD  book. You read my reviews and you know I honestly tell you the things that did/didn’t work for me and whether or not I  liked a book but it’s hard for me to say definitively (there are exceptions) that X book is a HORRIBLE BOOK THAT NOBODY SHOULD READ because I know that books that others hated have resonated with me.  I know that, in fact, sometimes my reading of a book DOES have more to do with who I am and my experiences than it does than the words on the page.  As a reviewer, I try to tell you enough about why it was such a good/bad experience for me for you to decide if it’s a book that you want to give a chance to. Note: this has nothing to do with how ANYBODY else reviews because this is just how I operate.  I’m just saying that, FOR ME, it’s always hard to say stuff like that because I am SUCH an emotional reader who is very aware that my experiences and values and feelings about things very much affect the way I read something. Obviously, there are books that are more FUN for me and don’t really have this effect and it’s very much whether or not I liked the plot or the writing and yada yada yada...but I know it’s how I read a lot of the time.

I think this is why I feel sad when people get blasted for their opinions on a book..because reading is such a personal thing and is special for each and every reader. You can’t help that you didn’t like a book or feel the way so many other people did. I think maybe sometimes some authors wouldn’t erupt into AUTHOR HULK MOOD over a person simply not liking their book if they thought about it like that — that “sometimes art is more about who you are than what’s on the wall (pages in this case)”.

I love that people interact with art. That it means something. That it can make you feel so deeply one way or another. I’m glad we don’t just simply read the words on the pages but interact and provide our understanding.  If we all read it with the same lens we probably wouldn’t have much to talk about.

So let’s talk: What do you think about the quote I shared? Do you think this is true or not so much? I’m curious to know what you think about that quote in relation to how you read (and review if you are a reviewer) books or if you don’t find that to be the case at all for you?

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