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?

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!

What It’s Like To Be A Mood Reader

I’ve mentioned this quite a bit on this blog but I am SUCH a mood reader. It’s hard to really define what that means but basically my mood dictates how and what I read…and I just go with it because I don’t really want to force myself to read something I’m not in the mood for because it might make me not enjoy it as much as I would if I was in the mood for that TYPE of book. So I wanted to talk about what it’s like to be a mood reader.

 

1. I could start and put down 19049304 books in one day because I just can’t quite find a book that suits my mood. Seriously. Sometimes it’s soooo frustrating to pick a new book to read when I’m in a really specific mood. I can even pick up things that I think will be suitable for what I’m wanting and give it a few pages and I’m like EHHH NOT IN THE MOOD or maybe I can’t pinpoint quite what I AM in the mood for. My bookshelves get destroyed in the process and I just get so frustrated in the process of trying to pick out a book.

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2. I can’t keep any sort of blogging schedule in terms of review copies. I know A LOT of book bloggers will have their review copies in a nice, neat spreadsheet and they read by release date. OH MY GOD I WISH I COULD DO THAT. If I made a list I would probably abandon it day 1. I know I would. It would make things SOOOO much easier if I could have a process for picking my books (based on release date with older, backlist titles in the mix also) rather than relying on what I FEEEEL like I want. Because sometimes I just plain ol’ don’t know. This is also why I stink when I do my seasonal TBR lists. I try really hard to stick to them but my mood just demands something else so all lists go to shit eventually.

3. My library books often get sent back unread. I get all these amazing sounding books out that I really want to read and I am REALLY JAZZED about them. Flails and all. I’m so ready to read these books when I get them out. But then something happens where suddenly some of them don’t fit what I want to read in the next few weeks. Then I renew and renew but eventually some just get sent back without being read.

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4. I could be really, really excited about a book releasing and be DYING to have it..and then not read it for months. This also has a lot to do with my bookish ADD but it’s also a lot to do with my mood. I get soooo excited for a book. Let’s say it’s a really cute romance and I’ve been DYING for it..but I might be in the mood for something really dark that will make me cry. So I’m still excited about the new release but time passes and my mood just hasn’t quite shifted to something cute or maybe I’ve just had a case of bookish ADD with all the billion other new releases. SIGH.

5. I stink at reading books with people. This is one of the worst feelings. I so often want to buddy read or do a readalong with  people but if I’m not feeling it right then..I just can’t force myself to do it. I’ve learned pretty early on that I stink at this so I tend to avoid them so I don’t let people down when I decide I’m not in the mood for it but I’m pretty envious when I see people reading books together and I’m like WHY BRAIN WHY DO YOU HAVE TO BE SO COMPLICATED SOMETIMES.

6. Sometimes I won’t read for days or even a week or so. I’ve already admitted, in a post of reader-ly confessions,  that I don’t read every day or sometimes longer so that’s no surprise to you but sometimes my mood will make me a) so frustrated that I can’t figure out what I’m in the mood to read so I just WON’T until I figure it out or b) sometimes I really am NOT in the mood to read at all. So I do other things and I’m okay with. I just wait until I feel that pull to read again. I’m not a fan of forcing myself to read when I don’t want to. I read because I enjoy it..so forcing myself to when I’m not feeling it seems like not a good plan for me.

 

7. I rarely do blog tours because I don’t want to stick to deadlines. I don’t do a lot of blog tours for many personal reasons/preferences but my mood reading is a big part. There is no worse feeling for me when I realize I have a blog tour that I agreed to and I realize I need to read the book by a certain date and I am not at ALL in the mood for that book. You know what it starts to feel like then? Homework. And I haven’t had homework since my last year of college in 2008. And I just can’t handle that feeling.

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8. My reading count could totally fluctuate each year. Because I’m a mood reader, and sometimes that means I’m not in the mood to read AT ALL, I never have a goal of books to read really per month or year. I mean, I put a “reading challenge” on Goodreads but I never reach it. Since I just go with my mood, sometimes it means I read 10 books per month or maybe only 3 or 4.

9. I often feel bad about borrowing books from friends because I could take forever to read them. This has happened SO often to me and I feel like a jerk! A friend might lend me a book and I really do WANT to read it but I might not want to read it in that MOMENT. I don’t want them to think I’ve forgotten and I don’t want to look rude or anything. And especially if it’s a fave book they are letting me borrow I feel even worse because I know they are waiting for me to dive in! I promise I’m not rude but just letting my reading mood guide me!

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 But sometimes being a mood reader isn’t all that bad…

10. I venture into all sorts of genres and types of books. Being a mood reader means I flit from genre to genre, old books, new books, etc. I never know what I’m going to read and you never know what you are going to find me talking about here on this blog. It’s really kind of fun to read based on my mood because I get great recommendations from people! I can ask for a book that will break me or challenge me, make me swoon or make me LOL or make me curl up in the fetal position bawling and I find myself reading all sorts of different books.

11. I often have better personal success with books because I don’t force myself to read it. I give in to my moods rather than keep trying to trudge through a book. Sometimes it could be the book or sometimes it’s just that my mood doesn’t match the book. I’ve seen it happen where I start a book and I’m like EHHHH but then I put it down and start it later when I’m in the mood for it and it totally knocks my socks off. Or sometimes this still happens..

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BOTTOM LINE: I really don’t mind being a mood reader though sometimes there are some drawbacks to it. I felt so much less stressed once I realized I was a mood reader when it came to blogging because I was so struggling to keep up with release dates and keeping on top of ALL THE BOOKS. I simply adapted how I did things and my expectations for all this to fit how I read and it’s made all the difference. So that’s things like realizing it’s not a good idea for me to participate in readalongs or blog tours. And it’s helped me to realize it’s OKAY that I’m not a super organized person when it comes to my reading.

So what about you — are you a mood reader or do you try to read based off a list or some other method of your own choosing? If you a blogger, do review copies dictate how you read? I’m curious if anything I’ve talked about is the same/different as your habits!

On Binge Reading Series…And Why It’s Been Since 2008 Since I Last Did It.

So a couple weeks ago (I think) I was scrolling through Twitter and saw a tweet to a post about why someone likes binge reading book series. I didn’t get a chance to click through because I was just scrolling while waiting in line and I cannot for the life of me remember who it was that posted it (so sorry if it was you..let me know!) but it made me think for a bit.

When was the last time I binge read a series??

I binge watch tv all the time (seriously..Breaking Bad in December was the ultimate binge watch..GOD THAT SHOW) and I LOVE doing it. I get super invested and emotional and INTO it when I binge watch. It’s nice not having to wait for new episodes or even new seasons if it’s already out. It’s just plain ol’ FUN.

But I couldn’t remember the last time I binge read a series. I mean, we all know that I suck at finishing series and have a zillion unfinished series lying around. So I went on Goodreads, what a lifesaver that site is, and the last time I binge read a whole series was in November/December of 2008. And that series was TWILIGHT.

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Seriously like 5 years since I last binge read a series?? It has to be a mistake. (It’s not). The closest thing was the Unearthly trilogy which I read one and then a couple weeks later would read the next and then a few more weeks and I finished it.

So, I thought about it for a little bit and thought how sad it was that I haven’t binge read a series in such a long time. In theory, I like the idea because obviously I love BINGE WATCHING. But what has held me back?

It’s blogging. I’ve already realized how blogging has changed my habits toward re-reading and reading chunky books without me even MEANING to do it. And I think that blogging has made me not binge read series.

WHY?

1. I now always have a zillion things to read and I get some sort of bookish ADD and want to keep jumping around to different things. I KNOW about so many more books now and hear about them daily and I just try to frantically read them all and I think my attention span has just decreased because I want to be on to the next story or world or character.

2. THIS I’d say is the biggest thing. I had this weird thing about how I’d review them because a) I am never ahead on my reviews so they kind of just get written and scheduled for pretty soon after I read them. If I binge read, I felt like it would take me longer and I’d have nothing on the blog in terms of book review-y type material. Now that I don’t care too much about that, I guess this is a non-issue. But I’m still in the habit. And b) I always used to feel like I should review every single one individually and I always felt like it would be too much having continuous reviews from the same series.

3. A lot of times the series I started aren’t complete yet. With getting review copies, the series I start often tend to be newer series and I don’t make as much time for the older, completed series like I’d like to.

My “reasons” made sense in my head but I’m just like, “WHY, brain, did you complicate things and make me stop doing something fun?”

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So, in thinking about this, I decided I want to binge read a series soon because it’s soooo fun and I miss it. It’s gotten to be a bad habit to let blogging dictate my reading habits. I have a very laid back approach to this blog but those habits I formed pretty early on (feeling like I would have nothing to review if I took the time to binge read or too many reviews of the same series, etc) have been hard to shake even in my laid back, whatever approach. Some of it’s my own form of bookish ADD wanting to be reading different books but I’m going to make this happen and see how I like it. Plus, I think it might be fun to do a whole series review rather than try to review every single book because that’s tedious for me. I don’t know why my brain didn’t see that as an option way back when but, even if I had thought about it, I still would have been OH SO WORRIED about having zero review-y content for the duration of my binge read.

Getting excited to throw even MORE caution to the wind and not care and YOLO and all that good stuff when it comes to this blog. I don’t take this blog seriously and have been pretty laid back about it for a while but it’s just nice to find even more ways to not care. That sounds bad…but you know what I mean. I’ve formed habits I don’t like. They need to go. ASAP.

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So, here’s where YOU COME IN. I want you to recommend me a great series to binge read!!! Thank you in advance, book nerds! I trust your recommendations!

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lets-talk
Do you binge read series often? Why/why not? Tell me some of your favorite series you’ve binge read! If you are a blogger, do you find that blogging has changed habits like binge reading or rereading or reading long books?

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?

The Ebb and Flow Of My Bookshelves

Upon finishing a book, after processing and all the normal things, the question that dashes through my mind even before “what to read next?” is “Am I going to keep this book?” That might surprise you since I told you I’m a book hoarder who is drowning in books but that’s mostly because I keep taking in new books. Honestly, at this point, most of my bookshelves are full of unread books.

I am pretty ruthless about getting rid of books after I’ve read them. I have four bookcases and I really don’t want to get anymore right now — unless I can have a whole library and in our current dwelling that means either giving up the bedroom or the bathroom or the living room. I have been trying to be a little more of a minimalist (trying is the operative word here) and I don’t want to keep things I’m not going to use…or in this case read.

It’s been hard to be so ruthless about it because on one hand I’m like MAN I paid for this book. It should stay! Or what if I want to lend it to someone? And sometimes it’s purely superficial because the cover is so BEAUTIFUL. And also because I just WANT to see SOOOOO many books in my possession. And sometimes I feel really conflicted because I feel like by getting rid of a book I’m like “YOU ARE NOT WORTHY” when the book, in reality, was quite good and I liked it.

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So as soon as I finish a book I make a decision to put it one of two places — back in its place on the shelf or I put it in my designated “to find homes for” space. I make my decision based on four questions.

1. Would I consider it a favorite? If it’s a favorite it automatically gets shelf space. If I was reading from an ARC/ebook I purchase said book because FAVORITES ALWAYS GET SPACE ON THE SHELF.

2. Will I reread it? Sometimes a book might not be an all time favorite but I could see myself wanting to revisit the story at a later date or reread certain passages or it was so darn thought-provoking that I know it will just keep on giving. Most of the time favorites ARE also rereads but sometimes not and I just want to have them to lend out and to just have in my collection.

3. Is it part of a series I love? If it’s part of a series I love, I’ll keep it even if that particularly book wasn’t a fave. I don’t care about matching series covers as I’ve admitted to before but I absolutely WOULD hate starting at an incomplete series though there are some books I’d rather wish didn’t exist in a series. Amirite here?

4. Is it signed? Sometimes I’ll keep a book that maybe wasn’t a favorite or a reread but I really LIKED if it is signed — especially personalized by an author I love. If it’s not personalized it’s a case by case. It’s tricky because sometimes I really liked the author but did NOT like the book at all.

 

So, if the answer is no to the four questions above what do I do?

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Pass them on to friends and family: If there’s a book I enjoyed and can think of a friend/blogger who might also enjoy it, I pass it along to them because I’d rather see it get read by a friend. Also, enter book club. They get dibs. I also pass them along to my teen niece and nephews A LOT.

Donate to bookish things I support: I donate them to my librarian friend + book clubber Katie for her to take to her library and put in the collection/use for sales to raise money for the library.  I also donate them to my library. I really love my library, even after a bad encounter with one nasty librarian, and I think their YA section is okay. I like to give back to them as much as I can. They’ve put some books in their collection and I always keep an eye out for when I can donate for their library sale. I also donate them to a neighbor who teaches English at a local high school and he puts them in his classroom.

If I exhausted all the ways of people I know + supporting my community, I will take them to a local women’s shelter and I plan on contacting a children’s hospital to see if they would take them (I don’t know what the rule is with that kind of thing).

There are so many different places I could donate my books to but these are just the ones that I personally do because I love matching books to readers first and foremost and I love supporting my local libraries and the English departments because I know it’s hard with resources being cut. I’ve also been wanting to look into other places in the community I can donate to also.

Even though I feel good passing them on + donating them, it’s so HARD being ruthless after I’ve finished a book. Aside from the very fond feelings for some of them,  there’s that actual parting with it thing that’s always HORRIBLE for a book hoarder. VERRRRRY TRAUMATIC.

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But in order to be a little more minimalistic and simpler in life, gotta do what I gotta do. It’s still out of control by most (probably not book bloggers) standards but I do feel better about not having books just collecting dust when they are off living life and being read by someone else.

If you aren’t so good at culling your bookshelves you should take a look at April’s guide to culling your books! Very helpful for you if you don’t know where to start because it is super detailed and covers books you’ve not read which is where I’m BAD at deciding. I’ve always had a foolproof plan for BOOKS I’VE READ so I’m hoping April’s questions will help me with a system to get rid of the unread books collecting dust. Also maybe I should just stop buying random books? But honestly a lot of mine are from LONG LONG ago that I just can’t seem to part with even though it’s been 6+ years and I’ve still not read them.

Let’s Talk:

Do you keep all the books you buy after you read them because you can’t part with them? Are you ruthless with getting rid of books? What do you do with them when you do decide to remove them from your shelf? I’d love to know the ebb and flow of your bookshelf!

I Read Like I’m At A Buffet

Before & After is a sporadic series I do which chronicles the differences between myself as a reader before I was a blogger and after I became a blogger because my habits have changed SO MUCH. Check the end of the post for previous Before & After’s.


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 I was more loyal to the authors I loved. What do I mean by this? When I found a book that I really LOVED I then went out and would get ALL of the books from that author. Immediately. Mostly because I didn’t know what else to read next so that was a good place to start.

YA-book-blogger

I realized in answering a question about my “most read author” for my A to Z survey (Goodreads has a cool feature I shared to look that up) that I have read A LOT OF BOOKS FROM A LOT OF DIFFERENT AUTHORS SINCE I STARTED BLOGGING. The majority of authors on my list I had only read 1-2 books from. I realized I don’t read straight through an author’s backlist anymore as I used to before. I think this is due to 2 reasons:

1. A lot of the authors I read now are debut or “newer” authors so they don’t HAVE a huge backlist.
2. Prior to blogging I didn’t really know WHAT to read. I didn’t have a ton of recommendations coming at me, as I talked about last week, so I would find an author and then just devour their works so I had something to read.

I still try to read my favorite authors entire works but I find that I have SUCH a variety in authors that I know of now and all these new books to try that I’m always flitting around to try new authors like I’m at a buffet. Trying a little bit of everything so that it takes a little more time to read all the works of an author I like.

 

Let’s Talk:

Has this happened to you since blogging (if you are a blogger)? Do you tend to read the entire backlist of a new favorite author as soon as you discover you love them or do you seem to read a lot of different books from lots of authors?

Previous Before & After’s:

The Time In Between Two Books – 2/27
Being Up On New Releases — 3/6
Book Real Estate — 3/15
Re-reading — 3/20
Meeting Authors + Myths About Them — 3/27
The Number of Books Read Per Year — 4/5
Recommending Books — 4/10
Chunky Books —   4/17
Reactions To Books — 4/24
Having People To Talk Books With- 5/8
Knowledge of the Publishing Industry — 5/15
How I Picked Up Books – 9/18

Before & After #13 : How I Picked What Books I Read

So you guys. Since early 2012 I’ve been working on this post I wanted to do about the differences between myself as a reader before I was a blogger and after I became a blogger because my habits have changed SO MUCH. I kept putting it off because of wedding plans. I wanted to make this cute graphic that was a list but, when I finally started to work on it this year, it was just looking TOO crowded with about 30 different things and overwhelming and not AT ALL what I had in mind. Then I decided…why not make it a series? The more I thought about it — it would lend to a better discussion if I just give you one at a time. I’m kind of glad my original idea didn’t work out because I’m liking this better. Check the end of the post for previous Before & After’s.

I said I would bring this series back up when I felt like it after taking a break for a while so I’m dusting it off for a couple weeks.

book-blog

 I didn’t have many ways of getting recommendations. I mostly browsed those tables at Barnes and Noble and then would just go browsing through the shelves if I didn’t find anything worthy on the tables to buy. I would also browse the library a lot. I didn’t have A LOT of people who read so personal recommendations were limited. In 2008 I joined Goodreads and then that became where I found all my recommendations because I became active in the groups on there until I joined blogging in 2010. So basically I did lots of browsing to find books, both in stores, libraries and on Goodreads, so I relied a lot on the summaries and sometimes the covers.

YA-book-bloggerI pick up books now based on blogger recommendations and already knowing what’s out. I’m always aware of what is coming out each season so I guess I still do a lot of browsing but now it’s of publisher catalogs. On occasion I’ll still browse the library (mostly for adult fiction) but mostly I find my books because I’m so involved in this community. I like having a ton of options because sometimes I just had no idea what to pick up before blogging but I do miss that feeling of going in blind and not having heard about a book SO MUCH (I mean, because really, in blogging we hear about books MONTHS and YEARS before they are released so by the time they are in store I’ve already heard SO much about it).

 

 

Let’s Talk:

If you are a blogger — Has the way you picked up books changed before/after blogging? How did you used to find out about books?  If you aren’t a blogger — Before reading book blogs how did you find out about books?

Previous Before & After’s:

The Time In Between Two Books – 2/27
Being Up On New Releases — 3/6
Book Real Estate — 3/15
Re-reading — 3/20
Meeting Authors + Myths About Them — 3/27
The Number of Books Read Per Year — 4/5
Recommending Books — 4/10
Chunky Books —   4/17
Reactions To Books — 4/24
Having People To Talk Books With- 5/8
Knowledge of the Publishing Industry — 5/15
The Variety of Genres — 5/22

Reading On Vacation

Ever since I was little I had this habit of my “eyes being bigger than my stomach.” I heard that repeatedly when I was little from my mom when it came to food. I would order wayyyy too much and eat maybe half of it. I still do this with food but also with packing. Going away for a week? Yep, I’ll have 4 weeks worth of outfits probably. I do this with my books also when I pack for vacation (if it’s a beach/mountain vacation that is). I bring way more books than I ever actually read. Maybe it’s that I’m ambitious or that I like to have options (because god forbid you only pack 2 books and you read them both in the first two days or they both suck) or maybe it’s just that I end up NOT reading on vacation even though I plan to.

This happened to me this past week. If you caught my tweets or my Instagram you would have seen that I was on vacation. Every other summer my family rents 3 houses in Fenwick Island, Delaware which is right near Ocean City, MD where we spend the time hanging out with each other, beachin’ it or going to the pool. Then for the weekend we go to our annual family reunion/crab feast in the Baltimore area.

Ivac

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Breaking News: This week, on vacation, Genevieve learned how to say Aunt Jamie. It sounds like MAY-ME but I LOVE IT. She also said Uncle Willie (sounds like wee-wee).

 

 

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I brought 7 books PLUS whatever else was on my Kindle (this thing is a GODSEND for vacations) and I didn’t even make a dent in them. I can’t remember how much I read in years past but this year was abysmal considering all of the relaxing time we actually had. Seriously, we didn’t DO much but go to the beach or pool or hang out around the house together.

 I read:

-The last half of Just One Year by Gayle Forman
-Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers
-The first half of Not A Drop To Drink by Mindy McGinnis (which I finished most of on the ride home)

I think part of the issue was all the auntly duties. My sister is hugely pregnant (8 months) so I did a lot of chasing around of Genevieve and playing with her PLUS their other kids (4 of them) were there. Never a moment to yourself when you add in the 30 other family members there. (I literally escaped for two hours on a cloudy-ish day and read in the bathtub which was the ONLY reason I got Some Girls Are finished.) Everything Genevieve did was just so darn cute, too, so that didn’t help plus I weirdly had some motherly instinct in which I kept watching her to make sure she didn’t go running off…even though there were other adults nearby.

I don’t regret the time I spent with the family and what not but I will say I was kind of bummed at how LITTLE I read. I read a lot on our honeymoon but maybe it’s that it was JUST Will and I around the pool/beach so it was easier? If we are on a vacation to a city or something really active, I don’t get so bummed about not reading because I know I’m not going to but, for some reason, when I’m doing a lot of lounging on vacation I get bummed when I don’t read a lot because WHY NOT?

But I had a lovely vacation with my family so that’s what matters! Going on vacation and looking for some good reads?  Check out my list of good beach/vacation books or take a peek at which books are in MY beach bag!

I’m curious about YOUR habits so let’s talk:

Do you find that you read MORE or LESS than usual on vacation? Do you have “eyes are bigger than your stomach syndrome” when it comes to packing books for vacation and ending up packing WAY more than you could read? Or do you pack the perfect amount? If you read MORE on vacation tell me how you do it! If you read less, what is it that distracts you from it or do you just choose to read at a more leisurely pace? Have you ever NOT brought enough books on vacation?? ALSO, what vacations have you taken this summer??

First Impressions & My Habits

When I made my Top Ten Words/Phrases That Make Me Pick Up A Book I started thinking a bit about how the outside packaging of books affect me and I decided to share my habits! I’d love to hear yours!

 

authorblurbs

I’ve never been the type of reader who has ever really paid attention to author blurbs on books. I know I’m probably in the minority  on this one because I’ve always seen readers saying different things about being excited for a book because of X author blurbing it. For whatever reason, that’s never been a big pull for me to pick up a book. I think, prior to blogging (you can learn my other pre-blogging habits here), it was because I didn’t really KNOW a ton of authors so most of the time the author’s name meant nothing to me. I don’t really know WHY now they still don’t persuade me.

This year I proved myself wrong. I put a book on my TBR list instantly because of a Gayle Forman blurb. That book was Wild Awake and, while after I read the description I was even more intrigued, I knew I first was adding it because one of my all time favorite authors blurbed it. I almost didn’t recognize myself as a reader because that had never really happened before. I don’t know why it did but I think anything blurbed by Gayle Forman will do me in. I’m now reading a manuscript that is blurbed by Stephan Chbosky and I’m prettyy sure I would have picked it up SOLELY on that.

comparisons

I will say…I’ve always been a sucker for the “for fans of x and x” comparisons. Lately I’ve been pretty wary of them for getting BURNED too often but prior it always proved to suck me in when you compare a book to one of my other favorite books, authors, movies or tv shows. Even though lately I’ve been ignoring them more because they mostly disappoint me I’ll tell you comparisons that, despite KNOWING better, always make me weak in the knees and add the book solely for that reason: any comparison to Gayle Forman, Stephanie Perkins, Perks of Being A Wallflower, John Green, or some of my favorite movies.

This form of marketing can be SO SO helpful when done right but it pisses me off when it is dead wrong and I have to wonder if the person writing it actually read the book or they are trying to capitalize on a popular trend and don’t care if they are off base. Worst Case: The paperback I had purchased of IF I STAY said “for fans of Twilight”…..what even???? People looking for sparkly vamps were going to be disappointed to not find it (though it was such a good book they probs loved it anyways) BUT honestly I had looked at that book for SO long and that blurb actually repelled me.

summary

Ok, so weirdly I go into a lot of books blind – meaning I don’t often read the summaries. Obviously I do look at the summaries of books when I’m browsing but I mostly SKIM. However, when I’m hearing a lot about a book from trusted friends…I don’t read the summaries at all. I’ve found that this is sometimes so freaking awesome because I get surprised by things that were in the summary but I didn’t pay attention to or didn’t look at it at all.

As an aside, anyone else feel like some summaries kind of spoil the book with the info they give?? Sometimes I’m like MAN if you would have just left this part out it would be a better experience to have this revealed while I’m reading!

cover
Obviously a beautiful or interesting cover will grab me and make me interested in it and then maybe I’ll read what it’s about if I’ve never heard of it. A good design is nice but I’ll say it won’t be the only factor to pick up/not pick up a book. But it’s so hard not to notice a pretty or interesting cover! It also, I think, is the FIRST thing that catches my eye — before I’ll ever be able to see the blurbs, comparisons or the summary so IT IS IMPORTANT. Just like when I was dating..my eye was first caught by their looks as shallow as that might sound.

 

I’m curious about you guys…what are your habits? Do author blurbs get you? What about comparisons? Do you read summaries most of the time? Is a bad cover a deal breaker?

 

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