Sunday, January 11, 2015

Types of Readers

I have a review coming very very soon. But the book was so incredible that I don't want to submit the review until it's at least sufficient (I don't think words can do it justice; you'll just have to read the book to get the actual full effect).

But because I really want to keep writing more often, I was thinking of other things to write about while I was trying to decide what to read next.

Have you seen this picture of the “Types of Readers?”

It comes across my Facebook newsfeed probably at least once a month from one source or another. It came across again recently, and I got to thinking about how I've changed within the past 2 years or so from an Introvert Reader to somewhere between a Polygamist and Neurotic Reader. So here's that story and also a guide to what it's like for me in between books.

I remember in school, all the way back through elementary, I would find one author I liked and read everything they wrote. And then I would find another author, usually pretty similar to the last and read everything from them as well. This went on through the first couple years of college too, and after. Sometimes, if I find the right author or series, I will still read a lot of their work.

Over the past couple years, though, especially while working in a bookstore, I've realized how narrow my scope of reading has been. I don't want to only read chick lit and teen (which is most of what I read previously). I was pretty sure I'd never read a complete nonfiction work of any kind. Ever. And I was 23. So I've been trying to expand my reading to other genres. (There are still some genres I just can't read: history, sports, most sci-fi.) Around the same time, I came to the very sad realization that I will never finish all the books I want to read. So at this point, I won't finish books that I don't enjoy. I give it around 50-100 pages (depending on how long it is total), and at that point if I just can't do it anymore, I don't. And I've given up the guilt.

The main time I'm a Polygamist/Neurotic reader is between books. Once I finish the “main” book I'm reading, the one that really holds my attention and makes me want to finish it, I get a little lost. I'll start probably 5-10 books trying to find the next “one” to actually get through. I read a couple pages, then think about something else I'd rather do. Eventually I find the right one though and read it, then go back to some of the others I started.

I still binge on genres, though. I'll get sucked into humor biographies, or fairy tale retellings, or something else pretty specific and really want to read a ton of that until I get burnt out. And then it's time to start my insane process again.

This year, I'm attempting the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge to broaden my reading even more. If you want to join in, now's the time! There's even a Goodreads Group for it, and speaking of that, I'd love to see what you're reading so add me on there!

What kind of reader are you? Have you always been that kind or has it changed over time?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Resolutions. That dirty, dirty word.


I mentioned in my “First Review of the Year” that I have several goals for myself that aren't exactly the standard (at least from what I know about usual resolutions – losing weight, better finances, get organized etc – since originally writing this, it turns out my resolutions are pretty common, but oh well). So I wanted to actually write my goals for myself this year and put them somewhere I can revisit them toward the end of the year to see how I did.

  1. I want to find a new career. As much as I love working with books, retail isn't satisfying for me. Life is short and I want to spend it doing something that matters. Even if it's working in a library instead of a bookstore, I want to start myself on a path toward something new that will do more than pay the bills.
  2. Read and Write More. This is a tricky one. I want to broaden my reading horizons. I want to read more quality than quantity this year. I am semi taking the Read Harder Challenge from Book Riot. The goal is to gain new perspectives. I think this is crucial to living well. At the same time, I want to give myself the time I need to write. I haven't written a lot since school ended almost 2 years ago and even if it's not something personal, it's something I need to be able to unwind. Without writing, I lose sleep and don't focus or function as well as I know I can. I am going to try to schedule time for myself this year to write something, no matter what it is, each week. I am also enrolling in free classes on a site called (the first starts today!). I want to learn this year and really push myself to see what I am capable of. I can also get certificates to maybe use on applications to show that I'm willing and able to learn.
  3. Use a Schedule and Slow Down. This is the most important one to me for this year. I want to practice better time management. I want to better plan out my days so I can feel like I'm accomplishing what I need to, but at the same time, I want this to better my family time. I want to make sure I take care of what I need to do so that when I have time to spend with the ones I love, I am not worried about work or anything else so I can just enjoy them.

This is the first year I've actually admitted to making resolutions in a long time, probably since high school. But I think these are doable. If I'm not exactly where I think I should be when 2016 rolls around, I am going to follow the 4th resolution and stop worrying about things that don't need it.

Do you make resolutions? What are your goals and plans for this year?

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year, New Review

Is it naive and ridiculous to think: "This will be the year I review more books!"? Yes, yes it is. But maybe I'll review a few more than last year and that will be sufficient. I have several goals this year that have nothing to do with reading or writing (or weight loss or the other usual suspects), but maybe I'll write a little more often while I'm at it. Either way, here's the first review of the year.
(Disclaimer about this book: While I thoroughly enjoyed it, that does not mean everyone would. This is not one I'd recommend to just anyone, but for a select group of people that I think would actually find it fascinating. Also, it doesn't release until February 3. Sorry)

4 Stars

I’m not sure what I thought this book would be. But it wasn't anything I expected. And I can’t say I've read anything like it before. (Not that there isn't something like it, but I just hadn't picked it up.)

The best way to describe this book is that it is a biographical literary criticism. This is the story of Samantha Ellis re-reading her way through her old favorites, but with a more feminist eye after she engages in a debate with her best friend over who is the best heroine. While she’s re-reading these books, she is also trying to find herself: her career, love, and who she is.

What I loved:
*It was fascinating to read the feminist side of so many well known books and to see how reading books at different times in your life will change how you see them.
*It was fun to read a literary critic without feeling like you were caught up in the terminology, but instead you get to see how it actually applies to someone’s life.
*Ellis never got bogged down by the issues she faced. She used books to get her through some very tough times and showed what an important role books can play.
*The end. It was a realistic ending, but at the same time a lovely one.
*I’ve got a long list of books I need to read now. Books with strong women that I would like to learn more from. Unfortunately, that also means that I just have more books to read in a never ending list of books to read.

What I would have liked more:
*I know it wasn’t the point of the book, but I would have liked to have had more of Ellis’s story. It felt that while we glimpsed her, the book focused more on the other heroines, instead of Ellis. Maybe there will be a follow up. (That is a very personal thing to ask of someone, though.)

Overall, I would say that it may be a rather smaller audience that would really love this book, but for anyone who is interested in literary theory (without so much technical aspect), this was a fascinating and fun read.