Not A Slump But A SOMETHING.

I haven’t been in a slump lately but I’ve been in a SOMETHING that has me reflecting a little bit.

I tweeted this recently:

 

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It’s not that I’m not excited about books (I am!) and I haven’t been reading bad books but it’s just more so that I’m indifferent to whether or not I read each day in the past couple of weeks. I’m not racing to read the books around me and I don’t really care if I’m picking up a book to be honest — I don’t give it much of a second thought.

I’ve confessed that I don’t always read EVERY day though most of the time I at least get a little reading in. I might go a couple days without reading and I’m FINE with that. I like to go where my whims take me. But after a couple of days I’m normally CRAVING it — though I will say that it wasn’t always that way before blogging.  I went a lot longer in between books (I also read a lot less books per year). Of course it’s much easier to not feel bad about not reading when you physically don’t have TIME to read…as opposed to the fact I’m just choosing not to. And it feels weird that it’s lasted this long.

And it’s funny, even though I don’t need to read every day and am okay with that, I start to feel weirdly panicky after this many days. I sat here recently kind of laughing at myself — WHY AM I STRESSING ABOUT SOMETHING FUN? Who cares how many books I read per year? Who cares if I haven’t read in 2 weeks as long as I’m enjoying what I am doing in the meantime? And even though I have a lot of “OTHER” posts that aren’t book talks…it still is hard to run a book blog when you aren’t really feeling SUPER DUPER EXCITED ABOUT READING.

And I came to the realization that I think a lot of times it is easy to let the blog run you. To forget WHY I created this blog. I started this blog to chronicle my reading journey. I don’t read so that I can blog or FOR my blog. But it’s easy to get wrapped up in that and let the two be so intertwined. So intertwined that it feels like, “OH I have to read so that I have things to post/I’m a book blogger..this is what I do” or a similar sentiment. It’s easy to let the blog schedule (yeah, I don’t have one bc I’m a mood reader) or the ARCs or new releases or the blog tour you said you’d do start to dictate what you read and how you read. To let the fact of being a book blogger make you feel like you need to read faster and more often and almost superhumanly. (End of year counts stress me out so I think about this instead).

 

It kind of has the beginnings of an existential crisis of sorts. What happens if I feel like this for an extended amount of time? WHAT HAPPENS? Will this all be over? WHO AM IF I DO NOT HAVE A BOOK IN MY HAND? And that’s when I have to stop myself from spiraling out of control and worrying about something so silly. I am a person with many interests and passions that change and fluctuate and grow.

So, while I’m sitting here in the midst of WHATEVER this is, I’m just trying to remind myself that this IS my reading journey. This is part of it. And I’m just going to let it take me wherever it does. I will not let the act of blogging dictate my reading. I will not try to force myself out of whatever THIS is.  I mean, maybe that’s part of my problem right now. Maybe I’m burnt out on the way blogging does affect my reading life even when it’s not necessarily in a BAD way?

 

I’d like to know:

1. Do you read every day? Does it bother you when you don’t read?
2. If you are a blogger, do you sometimes feel like your blog runs you a little bit?

In Theory I Like Re-Reading

I talked before about how my re-reading habits have changed before I was a blogger and then when I became a blogger but I have been thinking a lot about re-reading lately and why/why not I don’t do it.

In theory I would say I am pro re-reading but in practice? NOT SO MUCH.

 

Why I Don’t Re-Read:

1. TIME, my TBR-list & also the desire to experience new stories — This is the biggest factor & honestly I need to get over this. As a blogger I have these shiny new review copies that always seem to take up my time and I don’t make TIME for re-reads which is a shame. I’m always so stuck in the whirlwind of new releases that I don’t think about it. And it’s not even that I think “oh, well I won’t have anything to blog about” because I have NO problem blogging about a re-reading experience…it’s just I’m so stuck in the world of new books. And not even just NEW releases but just any story I’ve never read before. It’s always so EXCITING to read something you’ve never read before and I always love meeting new characters and going on new adventures.

2. I’m sometimes afraid they will not hold up to what I first thought: It’s a scary thought to me. That I could read a book love it and then years later HATE it. That the words that once really resonated or a romance I fell for could just fall so flat. I mean, I get that I change and grow and so do my tastes but also sometimes I just want to have those good memories of the book. It would be a sad day to read a book I considered a favorite (especially a childhood favorite) and just dislike it so much.

Why In Theory I Like Re-Reading:

1. Cozying up with old friends is fun: Seriously, sometimes it’s just a comfort to settle in with characters you love or a story that left you breathless. I tend to always reread portions of favorites when I’m in a reading slump because they just remind me why I love reading.

2. As much as I’m afraid the book holding up, I get excited about the new lens I might view it: We are always growing and changing and the lens in which we view the world changes through experiences and such. I think it’s exciting to pick up on things I might not have before or see a character/the story in a different way because of the time that has passed and the ways I’ve changed since my first reading. Wouldn’t it be amazing to re-read a favorite book and then just have all these other elements and words change you all over again in a different way. I remember when I read Eat, Pray, Love at the age of 21-ish I immediately thought, “I want to re-read this book again when I’m 30.”

3. It solidifies the favorites: Yes, it sucks to not feel the sparks on a re-read but how amazing is it to be like YEAH THERE IS A REASON THIS IS A FAVORITE!! I want to read it over and over again!

 

What I Want To Do To Change My Re-Reading Habits:

In 2015 I want to re-read more. It’s that simple. I want to choose a book a month that was important to me or I considered a favorite (some will be childhood books so I know they will be quick reads) and re-read it.

I want to reflect on where I was at in my life when I read it vs. where I am now. How I remember thinking about it vs. how I do now. I want to not be afraid about the fact that sometimes we grown in and out of books. I want to not be afraid that sometimes a book is really important and shapes you at a certain point in your life when you need it but it’s okay for it to not be as meaningful upon a re-read. I don’t want to be afraid of not loving it this time around but rejoice in the fact it really meant something to me at one point but now I have books that do that for me now. I can acknowledge the impact. Remember it fondly. Be a little sad. But really I want to explore these books that shaped me and look at how myself and the world has changed since my first read.

I know I started to wax poetic there for a moment about something like re-reading but honestly it fascinates me that I will probably NEVER have the same experience reading the same book twice.

 

Some Books I Want To Explore In My Re-Reading Adventures:

I haven’t decided on ALL the re-reads I want to do but these I know for sure.

+ On The Road by Jack Kerouac — a favorite in college and I’m super curious if 29 year old Jamie will see it in the same way that pretentious 19 year old Jamie did. The Jamie who had all these fantasies for what life would be like and how it would unfold.

+ The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath I talked pretty personally about this and where I was at in my life when I read this book and I’m just really curious how I’ll see it vs. how 18 year old Jamie did in the middle of one of the single worst times in my life.

+ The Giver by Lois Lowry — This was my all time FAVORITE book growing up. I re-read it about 10 times as a kid.

+ Just One Day by Gayle Forman — This is a more recent one (Nov 2012 I think) so I don’t have a ton of distance from it but it really CHANGED my life. It’s a Gayle book so I know it will hold up! IT WILL.

 

So let’s talk about re-reading! Do you re-read often? Why/why not? Have you ever re-read a book and then it didn’t live up? Tell me anything about your re-reading habits!

I Think I’ve Made A Terrible Mistake

I’ve always loved lending out books. As a kid, I practically begged my sister to borrow books from me. I love being excited about a book and getting others excited. I’ve converted some of my friends into readers and it’s delightful. Even when I’ve had to mourn some lost books, I’ve still joyously lent them out to friends in need of a new book for their vacation or just life in general. I don’t even get too worried about wear and tear to my books because you know how I am. In fact, I’m more scared to borrow books from other people than I am to lend them out. (I think I’m a weirdo in that regard maybe?).

But in my book zeal, I’ve realized I may have been a little too hasty with my lending.

 

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I’ve lost track of what I lent out and I’ve lent out things that perhaps I shouldn’t because it kind of gives me heart palpitations to think of ever losing.

 

3 situations I’ve found myself in lately:

1. Forgetting what I lent out: My little sister came to visit and said she wanted some new books to read. I was practically bouncing up and down that she wanted some books. So I loaded her up with 10 or so books and I can’t even remember which ones. The only one I do remember that I lent her FOR SURE is Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour which you know I super love. She said my cousin (who is also her age) wanted to borrow some too and I was just so excited to connect with them over books that I was out of control. I’m honestly terrified I’m never going to see these books again and I can’t even REMEMBER which books they are. I need to make people sign them out like I did when I was little APPARENTLY. Also, my sister is not ummm very responsible in keeping track of THINGS? About a week after I lent them out I had a moment of sheer panic for my books after my “OMG PEOPLE I LOVE WANT TO READ” high wore off.

2. Lending out favorites. SIGNED FAVORITES: My friend borrowed a bunch of books from me (and recently returned them…AH THE RELIEF)  and I was SO excited because I have gotten her into YA. She would read a little bit here and there but never YA. And now she’s hooked. SO OBVIOUSLY I hooked her up with my favorites from Gayle Forman (among others). BUT THESE WERE MY SIGNED BOOKS. And I trusted her no doubt. But I realized I maybe need some “borrowing copies” for my favorite books so I don’t have to part with my signed. WHAT IF SHE LOST THEM? Especially my Gayle’s. Can’t replace these personalized copies.

3. Lending out books to people who then lend them out to someone else: So my friend who borrowed my Gayle books? Well, she lent them to her sister-in-law and then her mom. NOW, she asked. She did. But I felt so awkward saying no and plus I WANT EVERYONE TO READ THE GAYLE BOOKS….so I said yes. I HAD NEVER HAD THIS HAPPEN BEFORE. I was ill-prepared and it scared me for my books to get even further away.

 

And now I’ve found myself with a bout of book lending anxiety. THE STRUGGLE IS REAL, friends. I’ve never really ever felt TOO nervous about lending and I’ve done it freely and joyously but now I kind of just want to be like THEY ARE MIIIIIINE. NO.

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But I really just like getting friends hooked on books I’ve loved. I’ve had a lot of personal success with lending my books and letting friends discover new favorites (my one friend who lives in my complex has been a READING MACHINE and has discovered all sorts of new authors to love from borrowing my books).  I know a lot of other people don’t like feeling like their friend’s personal library…but I’ve never minded it.

So now I’m all like: to lend or not to lend? Do I need to maybe have boundaries with certain books? Actually write down what people borrow? Stop lending so freeeely? I DO NOT KNOW.

 

What about you guys? Do you lend books out to people? Have any lending horror stories? How do you choose what books you are fine with lending?

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.

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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

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