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

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

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

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

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

 

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

[Keep Reading]

Reformed Book Buyer….Apparently

Last year I talked pretty openly about how unemployed has changed me as a reader. One of the big things was the way I bought books. Before this, I would buy books ALL THE TIME — books I’ve never heard of, books I’ve already read but don’t own, books that were recommended, etc. I was just pretty much buying books at an alarming rate and pretty impulsively. Anything that sounded remotely interesting.

I’m not unemployed now (yay NANNYING) but I’ve found that some of this super frugal book buying habits have stuck. And it feels weird? I mean, we aren’t in a particularly GREAT financial situation that would warrant me to buy a lot of books anyways but I would still think some of my former book buying ways would return.

I recently got a gift card for Christmas to Barnes and Noble. I was SOOOO excited to get it. I was like, “omg BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS I can’t wait to buy books.” And then I pulled up the Barnes & Noble website….and I bought nothing. Before? I would have added books to my cart for my gift card amount in 2.5 seconds and bing bang boom…no second thoughts. That order would have been placed. But suddenly I find myself in my mindset of “do I need it?” that I’ve been so programmed to be in when I was unemployed.

My inner monologue goes like this:
Oooh I really want this book. I’ve heard good things. HMMM but I could get it at the library. And (because I am ruthless about culling books after I read them) am I almost CERTAIN that it would be a favorite and I’d want to keep it because MAN I’d hate to buy it if I won’t keep it. I could buy a book that I already loved. AHH BUT I REALLY WANT SOMETHING NEW. But ALL THE BOOKS I ALREADY OWN AND HAVEN’T READ. I don’t knowwww. I CANNOT MAKE THIS DECISION RIGHT NOW.

It is the worst being inside my head. The WORST. It used to be soooo so easy to be a compulsive book buyer.

I’ve just become a more calculated book buyer, I guess. Pickier about what I buy. Discriminate. And sometimes I feel bad about it because I want to support ALL THE AUTHORS but I’ve realized that minimalism and not spending excessively is important to me. And I realize that I support authors and the industry, even if I’m not buying AS much as I used to, in so many other ways — getting books in hands of readers, reviewing here, reviewing on Amazon and other retail sites.

Here’s basically what I find myself buying:

– books from authors I know I like
– books I’ve read as an ARC or library books and consider favorites
– gifts: Sometimes I buy books I really LIKED as ARCs or library books but don’t necessarily want to own (I only own absolute favorites) and I give them to others.
– books for signings — I only do it if it’s a book/author I REALLY love. Previously I would buy pretty much any author that came through. I still GO to the events to support but I might not always buy if I’m unsure.
– books I am REALLY excited about, seem like a guarantee for me to love it and others I trust have said THIS WILL BE A YOU BOOK. (But this isn’t often…all the above things take priority)

Basically gone are the days of just buying books on a whim. I’ve become a little bit of a reformed book buyer as my situation has changed.

The only question is if, once I get a better job and more monies, if I’ll go back to my compulsive book buying habits. Only time will tell, bookworms.

What are your book buying habits like? Are you a compulsive book buyer or are you more calculated?

The Sacrificial Lamb Book

You might call it something different but you KNOW the feeling.

You just read one of the BEST BOOKS OF YOUR LIFE. You are high on those feelings. You are tweeting incessantly and telling anyone who will listen…just BASKING in those OMG HOW HAVE I LIVED MY LIFE WITHOUT THIS BOOK feelings.

And then you realize you have to pick your next book…at some point.

You know you have a book hangover. And you know whatever you read MORE THAN LIKELY is not going to live up to what you just read (if it does, you might implode I think). In a lot of cases that next book might be really awesome but it’s not THAT book that you just read. It ends up paling in comparison even when we aren’t TRYING to be like this.

THE SACRIFICIAL LAMB BOOK. That is what I have dubbed it for the past couple years.

I don’t have a definition for it but essentially in my mind it is the book in which you pretty much are sacrificing to be the next book after A BEST BOOK EVER kind of book. There HAS to be a next book. You can’t ride on the book hangover forever. So you have to choose one book to be offered to the book gods for the greater good of your reading life. A book that unfortunately might not end well because of your crazy high expectations from your last book.

IT IS THE WORST. I can’t even look in the eyes of my books when I go about selecting the sacrificial lamb book KNOWING how it might end. I try to be strategic about it.

Basically my strategy is:

1. Pick something SOOOO different than what I just read. So if it was a contemporary I might pick a crazy fast paced thriller or fantasy or something.

2. Pick a book that wasn’t necessarily one I was SUPER looking forward to: If I already HAVE high expectations of it? I don’t want anything else to affect the reading experience. So I’ll try to pick up a review book that wasn’t SUPER high on my priority list or pick out a random book from the library I’ve never heard of.

3. Try not to cry: No but really. No matter how HARD I try not to let my book hangover from THE BEST BOOK EVER affect my next read…it’s SO hard for it not to. Sometimes I get lucky and my sacrificial lamb book turns out giving me pretty strong feelings and it isn’t affected by it but so often it really DOES affect my next read or two.

So what about you guys? Do you ever experience this “sacrificial lamb book”? Also, do you have a different name you use for it? What’s your strategy when picking out your next book after a reading experience like that??

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?

I’m A Distracted Reader…Like The Worst.

I can get lost in a book all day with the rest of them — completely and utterly absorbed in the world or the character’s journey and not even realize that it’s turned dark and Will went back to bed an hour ago. But when it comes down to it, at my core, I’m a very distracted reader — something that even Will has pointed out lately.

There’s the distractions of other people wanting to talk to you or requiring your attention….or cute nieces who want to play with you while you are reading on vacation.

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But my biggest distractions?

 

My brain, the Internet and Netflix.

 

My brain:

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 My brain never stops. It’s always jumping around. This is why I have a hard time sleeping. I will be reading and something  on the page will spark something in my brain and I will start thinking about that or go research it or what not. Or I will get up from reading to put my laundry in (that I forgot to do) and then I will find myself embarked on an intense cleaning session for 3 hours all because I couldn’t find a lipstick I randomly thought about because I was washing the shirt I wore out the last time I wore that lipstick. I might get up to use the restroom and will see my nail polish and start painting my nails. Or maybe I’m really stressed about something and the whole time I’m reading I realize my brain is just thinking about it OVER AND OVER AGAIN and I’ve been reading the same sentence for an hour.

My brain just doesn’t cooperate sometimes for reading. It takes A LOT for it to finally settle in.

The Internet:

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This might be the WORST of them all. It’s so awful!! I’ll read like 10 pages maybe and then be like OH I need to pop on Twitter or check my email and the next next thing I know an hour has passed and I’ve just been scrolling or getting lost in link after link. Or it’s a continuous read 10 pages, refresh ALL THE THINGS, read 10 pages, refresh ALL THE THINGS (still nothing, Jaim), read 10 pages, refresh ALL THE THINGS and then get sucked into a Twitter conversation. Or maybe I’ll go to the park to specifically read and leave with 4 pages read because in my quest to get the most PERF outside reading picture to put on Instagram I got sucked into the internet.

Lately I’ve realized HOW BAD my addiction/the distraction has gotten and I decided that I would put my phone and laptop in a place that I could NOT reach from my reading spot. (That was pretty much my only solution that wasn’t getting rid of my phone/laptop or putting a shock collar on myself and letting Will zap me every time I went to reach for one of them). And you know what happened??? I’ve gotten SO MUCH MORE reading done because of it. I’m way too lazy to get up and retrieve my phone/laptop every time I get the urge to refresh ALL THE THINGS. So I sit there and reading and then maybe after an hour I do a little checksie on the interwebs and put it back down & read. It’s funny how when it’s right next to me it just CALLS to me to refresh and check in.

NETFLIX:

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Sometimes I go through random obsessions with new shows on NETFLIX and they just CALL TO ME while I try to read.  Once I get into a show that’s ALL I want to be doing. Pretty much why barely any reading got done when I marathon-ed Breaking Bad last year. I’ll be on the couch reading and it’s like THE OBSESSION just calls out to me and, in the case of tv shows, I just find myself wanting to be ONLY in that world…doesn’t even matter what book I have in front of me. I think this is why I can go a week or two without reading much…because every time I try to….that jealous & needy bitch Netflix is like I AM YOUR ONE AND ONLY SOURCE OF ENTERTAINMENT UNTIL THIS SERIES IS OVER.

 

I definitely think technology, especially my phone and my laptop, end up being the BIGGEST and most detrimental distraction for me + my reading time…and really with any other sort of productivity actually. Changing my habits has definitely helped a little bit! Honestly sometimes it’s a wonder that I get any reading done between these 3 things!

 

Let’s TALK:

Are you a distracted reader or once you are in the zone you are IN and not coming out? If you are a distracted reader, what are your biggest distractions?

Operation Make Myself Suck Less At Series

I’ve talked a lot about how I suck at series and how I really feel like I have all these loose ends hanging about because of all the series I’ve never finished. At the time I wrote my Loose Ends post I had 49 series that I started and that number has ONLY grown and my ratio of FINISHED books is abysmal still. There’s a lot of reasons WHY I suck at series/am in the middle of so many but we aren’t going to talk about that today.

No, today what I want to do is get my crap together and list out ALL the series that I’m currently in the middle of and prioritize and make it a point to finish them. I’d also like to drop at least 5 series. I’d love to do this with YOUR help. I’m hoping this will help motivate me having them all listed out here and I can start tackling them in a methodical way!

 

All The Books Are Out & I Still Haven’t Finished But PLAN TO

 

Divergent series by Veronica Roth (read Divergent, own the other two)
Something Strange & Deadly by Susan Dennard (read & LOVED Something Strange & Deadly, own the other two)
Legend series by Marie Lu (read & loved Legend and Prodigy)
Harry Potter by JK Rowling (read book 1…shhhh I know)
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead (read book 1)
The Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo (read Shadow & Bone)
Jessica Darling series by Megan McCafferty (Read the first 3 books, own the last two)
The Summer I Turned Pretty series by Jenny Han (Read The Summer I Turned Pretty, just got book #2 from library)
The Girl Of Fire & Thorn series by Rae Carson (Read Girl of Fire Of Thorn, own the last 2)
The Fury trilogy by Elizabeth Miles (Read Fury and Envy, need to read last)
The Body Finder series by Kimberly Derting (Read all but the last book)
Shade series by Jeri Smith-Ready (read Shade, own Shift)
The Chemical Garden series by Lauren DeStefano (read Wither and Fever, need to read Sever)
Flappers series by Jillian Larkin (read Vixen and Ingenue, need to read last one)
The Millenium series by Stieg Larsson (read The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo)
Crank trilogy by Ellen Hopkins (read Crank, own Glass)
The Night Trilogy by Ellie Wiesel (read Night, didn’t know it was a trilogy so must read next two)

Not All Books Are Out Yet But I Plan To Finish

 

 

Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas (all caught up)
The Winner’s Curse series by Marie Rutkoski (read The Winner’s Curse which is all that is out right now)
The Blackcoat Rebellion series by Aimee Carter (read Pawn which is all that is out right now)
Starbound series by Amie Kaufman & Megan Spooner (read These Broken Stars, coveting book 2)
The 5th Wave series by Rick Yancey (read The 5th Wave, drooled over book 2 ARCs on Rick’s Twitter)
The Colors of Madeleine series by Jaclyn Moriarty (Read A Corner of White, own second book)
The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer (only read Cinder, need to catch up on Scarlet and Cress)
Also Known As by Robin Benway (read Also Known As, have second)
The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shephard (read The Madman’s Daughter, have second)
The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater (read The Raven Boys, have second)
The Mara Dyer series by Michelle Hodkin (read The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, need to pick up second)
Seeds of America series by Laure Halse Anderson (read Chains, own second)

 

Series I Don’t Know If I Want To Finish Or Not

 

Gone series by Michael Grant
(if you read my review I explain my indecision after reading book 1)

The Mortal Instruments series by Cassie Clare
(I didn’t love the first book but I didn’t hate it…I kind of WANT to know but that’s a big investment into a long series that seems to never end)

So Close To You series by Rachel Carter
(I enjoyed book 1..and then I found out it was part of James Frey’s packaging company and I feel so conflicted now because I liked it and the author is lovely)

Eve trilogy by Anna Carey
(this was a page-turner of a first book but I didn’t LOVE it)

Darkness Rising series by Kelley Armstrong
( I liked the first book but just never got around to book 2..don’t remember what happened really)

Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld
(I read book 1 so long ago..well before I read YA..and I don’t know if it was my attitude toward YA or what. It was an interesting world!)

Find Me series by Romily Bernard
( I liked book 1 enough but I’m not like OH YEAH OMG NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS)

Series I’m Pretty Sure I Don’t Want To Finish…Seriously I Think We Are Done

 

 

Nightshade series by Andrea Cremer
(read it so long ago honestly…wasn’t ever compelled to move forward)

The Ward series by Jordanna Frankel
(So much potential but DID NOT LIKE)

Eve & Adam by Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate
( I don’t even know if there is more books but Goodreads makes it look like yes. Regardless I will NOT be reading them because I did not like this book at all).

The Innocents series by Lili Peloquin
(didn’t love book 1)

Starcrossed series by Josephine Angelini
( I read it so long ago and wasn’t IN LOVE.)

Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan
(I KNOW YOU GUYS WILL HATE ME but I just didn’t care after two books?)

Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris
( I read the first two books and they were fun but it’s been SO LONG)

Angel Star series by Jennifer Murgia
(Enjoyed book one but SO LONG AGO I have no idea and I don’t feel compelled to reread)

A Need So Beautiful series by Suzanne Young
(Super enjoyed book 1 but I heard the rest of series wasn’t worth it from a superfan friend and also it’s been YEARS since I read it.)

Duologies I Want To Finish

 

The Program by Suzanne Young
The Darlings Are Forever by Melissa Kantor
The Memory Chronicles by Lenore Applehans (sad this isn’t going to be a trilogy anymore!)
Kingdom of Xia by Cindy Pon (I totally don’t remember what happened though)
Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli (I never knew it was a duology until I started blogging!)
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simison (can’t wait for The Rosie Effect)
To All The Boys by Jenny Han (DYING FOR THE COMPANION)
Pivot Point by Kasie West (obsessed with this book, can’t wait to read Split Second)
Ashes by Melissa Walker
In The After by Demetria Lunetta (dying to know what happens!!)
Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland
Not A Drop To Drink by Mindy McGinnis
(this book was a GREAT standalone but I won’t deny myself more time with this world!)
The Rules For Disappearing by Ashley Elston

Duologies I’m Not Sure I Want To Finish

Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson (I just didn’t love it at all.)

Romance series

 

I put them in their own category since most of them don’t need to be read in order.

Bridgerton’s series by Julia Quinn (read The Duke and I)
Serendipity series by Carly Phillips (I didn’t LOVE Serendipity but I might try out another one)
Lucky Harbor series by Jill Shalvis (Really enjoyed Simply Irresistible and I plan to move forward!)
Rusk University series by Cora Carmack (All Lined Up was really enjoyable, can’t wait for more!)
Pushing The Limits series  by Katie McGarry (I LIKED Pushing The Limits but didn’t LOVE it the way others did..but I think I’d like to read on!)

<< Okay so what I need from YOU>>

*Out of the series I plan to finish, let me know which one you think I need to prioritize FIRST — whether it’s a series that’s complete now or one that I need to catch up even if they aren’t all out.
*Help me decide which ones I should drop out of my “not sure” and “pretty sure I can part with” list!

Also, let’s talk: do you struggle with keeping up with series? How many are you in the middle of?

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?

What Has Happened To Me?

I guess this was inevitable…

I had an amazing reading year in 2013 —  the kind of reading year where a good chunk of the books you read are just GOLD and all other reading years feel inadequate. I read a great balance of new and old and I loved SO many books.  I seriously couldn’t believe how much I TRULY loved so many books and I was so happy for that ( Even when people make you feel self conscious about that.) . Because, I mean, who doesn’t want to enjoy a good chunk of what they read??

However, here we are a month or so into 2014 and I’ve been a very grumpy reader thus far.

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I don’t even KNOW myself anymore.  Maybe I started off the year wrong considering for the first two weeks of 2014 I was sick? Maybe this is the inevitable coming down from a most excellent book year. I DO NOT KNOW.

It’s not that I’ve HATED every book I’ve read. It’s more like:

1) I’ve been super nit-picky which is SO not me. I definitely don’t like everything I read and obviously articulate this here but I’m not a nit picky reader at all. But this year I’m getting annoyed with SO many things and finding so many faults. Even Will has commented on how loud I’ve been getting about books. Even witnessed me chuck one across the room because I was so fed up.

2) I’ve LIKED plenty of books. Like totally enjoyable, would recommend type books.  But I haven’t gotten that WOW book. That book that I want to run out and tell everyone about RIGHT NOW. I want to find the kind of book I described in my If We Were Having Coffee post, “I’m talking those books that make you remember why you love reading. The ones that just knock you off your feet. I want to curl up and sob like a little baby because of how it wrecked me or because of how beautiful and amazing it was. I want to almost convince myself I never want to read again so this book could be the LAST BOOK I’D EVER READ if I died. End on an amazing note.” I want THAT kind of book in the midst of these “okay” to “good” books (and obviously the BLERGH ones).

Things I’m asking myself/thinking:

-I can’t pinpoint if it’s just me (stressed/discontent/feeling a lack of direction) or if it’s what I’m reading?

-Is this some sort of inevitable burnout that I need to ride out or take a reading break?

-Do I need to reread something I know I love (but oh god what if my current reading curse taints that for me??)

-Is there any correlation to the fact I’ve read mostly ARCs this past month? I mean, typically I have a much better ratio of ARCs to backlist. Maybe I need to go with some highly recommended, long standing books for a bit?

-WILL I BE LIKE THIS FOREVER? Because I can’t handle that.

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So, really, this post was kind of pointless but that’s my “state of the union” reading update for ya.

Have you ever gone through a similar slump? How did you get out of it? How’s 2014 treating you reading-wise — an excellent or a meh year thus far? ALSO..and this is important…recommend me your most WOW book that will give me the feels I want to feel.

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