Book Review: Spying on Whales

Author: Nick Pyenson
Published: June 26, 2018
Genre: Nonfiction – Science
FLW Rating: 5/5

[Thanks to Viking Books for the free review copy!]

This book was truly everything I wanted it to be. Since it’s so up my alley, I set my expectations high and was so nervous to be let down. I’m here to tell you this book is immensely readable with equal amounts of technical knowledge and layman terms, something I always worry about with a sciencey-nonfiction.

Spying on Whales is a book about the past, present, and future of whales, but also about what it’s like to be a paleontologist studying whale fossils. Pysenson does a great job building the intrigue of whales, even for someone like me who is already a serious whale lover. He reminds the reader of how little we know about whales and how elusive whales really are. As the largest animal on earth that never stays in one place and never goes on land, they are incredibly difficult to study and scientists are still actively discovering new things about them.

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Besides learning about whales, I loved the tone of this book in relation to science, being a scientist, and the future of the planet.

Pyenson demostrates through his own actions and his writing how much there is to learn in the world of science. This is a personal comment of mine, but growing up I never wanted to go in to science because through the way things were presented to me in school, it felt like the whole world was already figured out. (I went in to engineering so that I could put science in to action, so I didn’t stray too far, but I’ve always felt like I was duped in school!) I love how the writing style of this book encourages curiosity in the reader. I feel like that’s how science should be viewed at all ages!

In terms of being a scientist, Pyenson references funding a couple times and I totally understand that that is a huge part of being a scientist, but he never dwells on the struggles of the lack of funding. (If you’re interested in that check out Lab Girl by Hope Jahren) I loved that he stuck to his research topics and didn’t dwell too much on personal hardship, especially since the book wasn’t pictched as a memoir.

And finally, I loved that Pyenson’s view on global warming wasn’t super apocolyptic. I really thought that that was where the “future” section would go, considering whales live in our warming oceans. I enjoyed how Pyenson acknowledged climate change while also not making the book about that.

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Overall, I learned so much from this book and had my already great interest in whales renewed! I’ll also note that this book is only about 230 pages, so easily readable in a few long sittings (I read the first section while on an airplane and it was great airplane reading!). An overly long nonfiction can quickly turn something fascinating to something that will never end – so I appreciated the concise nature of this book!

5 Stars to Pyenson and this great book – walk, don’t run to get it when it comes out next Tuesday — and then take yourself on a whale watching tour! 🙂

Book Review: The Resurrection of Joan Ashby

Author: Cherise Wolas
Published: August 29, 2017
Genre: Literary Fiction
FLW Rating: 3.5/5

I have been hearing praise about this book non-stop for the last year – yes since before it was released. One of my favorite book bloggers sang its praises and made me extremely curious, but with a length of over 500 pages I wasn’t willing to commit.

After all the build up, I’m a little bummed to say that in regards to my feelings on the book, I’m conflicted.  It 100% met the hype with its thoughtfulness, diverse plotline, and prose, but there the structure and formatting felt jumpy and forced me to feel distracted and disinterested.

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The Resurrection of Joan Ashby tells the story of, you guessed it, Joan Ashby, or Ashby as she prefers to be called. By the time Ashby is 21, she has already had two best sellers and is known around the world for her short story collections. She has plans to write indefinitely and not be distracted by love, marriage, or children, until exactly that happens. But this isn’t a story of someone who falls in to the sociatel norm of loving that path – this is the story of a someone struggling with their loss of identity — hence the preference to be called Ashby.

As I reflect on this story, it strikes me how much I connected with Ashby and care about the life that I was able to enter in to, if only for a short time. I am someone who wants children one day, but this story highlighted how “normal” that is, and how that normalization would be hard for someone who does not. And that’s why I think this book is so important. It does what it can to legitimize Ashby’s emotions in a world that doesn’t understand.

Is motherhood inescapably entwined in female life, a story every woman ends up telling, whether or not she sought or desired that bond; her nourishment, her caretaking, her love, needed by someone standing before her, hands held out, heart demanding succor, commanding her not to look away, but to dig deep, give of herself unstintingly, offer up everything she can?

So with such a strong connection to the plot and the characters, I felt frustrated to feel disinterested for most of the middle section of the book. The bottom line for me is that the writing format did not flow the way it needs to in such a long book. The book is primarily written as a typical novel, but it begins with a magazine or newspaper article about Ashby and her successes, then intermittantly throughout the book her work is inserted in to the novel, and in the middle of the book there is a long sections in the format of “recordings”. While it was interesting to have a book-within-a-book, it took my brain a long time to transition in and out of these sections. This may be a personal preference, but particularly when the book is long, I find it important to get in the groove of the author’s writing and be able to read easily. 530 pages of struggling in and out of unexpected formatting and a variety of stories was tiring.

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If you remove the exerpts from Ashby’s writings and the some of the other oddly formatted sections, I think the book could get down to a very hard hitting 350 pages. I would read this book and recommend it to everyone I know. At 530, it’s too long, too jumpy, and although I kind of hate to admit it, still pretty good by the time it’s all said and done.

Have you read this book? Let me know in the comments.

Scribd Unlimited – Real Talk

It’s no secret I’ve been singing Scribd‘s praises for the last three months – so I want to talk now about the downfalls – the glitches, the frustrations, the WHYS, everything.

To be clear – I still think Scribd is a fantastic value. For $8.99 per month you can have unlimited audiobooks at your fingertips – on and offline. With select new releases available on pub day. To say I’m always impressed to see that so many highly publicized and new books are available is an understatement – I literally thank my lucky stars that I don’t need to purchase, pine over, or library-hold-wait for a chance to read these wonderful books.

However, I’ve noticed some serious pitfalls that I want to highlight if you’re starting to fall for all of my praise. Also I’m not a programmer, but I don’t think these things would be too hard to achieve. Just saying… 🙂

There’s no way to tell how much time if left in a book.

This is seriously so frustrating for me. There are, of course, a few ways to kind of tell but nothing legitimate. On the home screen it will round to the nearest hour but, to be honest, I don’t even know if it’s rounding up or down.  The player screen will also tell you the time left in the chapter, and in the Table of Contents area you could theoretically add up all the time left in future chapters – but seriously, who has time for that? (computer algorithms, that’s who.) I’m a major countdown person when I read books (even books I love!) so I find this super frustrating.

There’s no Google Cast function.

All I want to do when I’m doing housework / cooking is listen to my audiobooks! It makes the time go faster and makes me less upset that I’m not doing exactly what I’d rather be doing – reading. It drives me crazy that I need to use headphones – I know, I know, this is a major first world problem – when I can “cast” every other app to my smart speaker. Most of the time I don’t even have to cast, I can just say “Hey Google play 99% Invisible” (the best podcast). Google has been advertising that that’s how Google Books works works, so please Scribd, pay Google whatever they’re asking and get a freaking cast button in your app. (Thanks!)

MAJOR ISSUE: They delete books from the library with no warning!

So here I was, thinking I got away with “cheating” on my Unread Shelf Challenge for the month and enjoying listening to A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson, when all of a sudden, I open my Scribd app and it asks me if I’d like to “continue listening to the sample”. THE SAMPLE?! I was 75% of the way through (or so I estimated because there’s really no way of knowing). Low and behold my book was gone!

I started noticing this pattern when I first got the app – I immediately “saved” Spineless and Beartown, two books high on my TBR, only to discover later that they weren’t available in the library. This one feels so much worse – I was literally in the middle of listening to it! If you had told me yesterday that it would be unavailable today, I would have finished it! It really bugs me that I got no warning, and if I didn’t own the hardcopy I would have no way of finishing the book without paying additional money (to someone else, not even Scribd).

So there you have it, all my Scribd frustrations. Have you experienced something similar? Do you love another audiobook app I should try? Lemme know!

Let’s Grab Coffee

So – I’m currently in the middle of four books. I hate getting to this point, but it is what it is! So in lew of a second review this week, I thought I’d just let you know what’s on my mind. I also love the idea of getting coffee with all of you book lovers, so I thought I’d use this premise as a start for this post.

If we were getting coffee, we’d briefly cover some life stuff.

What I’m Looking Forward To

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Cannot wait to start this one! Honestly, one of my most anticipated books of the summer.

 This weekend I’m heading to Savannah, Georgia for a bachelorette! Of course I’ve planned my books more than my outfits, so I’ll just quickly mention that 🙂 . I’m planning to finish The Ressurection of Joan Ashby and take Spying on Whales in case I have extra time. I can’t wait to get to Savannah – I’m excited for the architecture, the sunshine, and of course my friends!

This trip also signals the start of summer travel for me! I’ve historically been a big fall traveler, but this summer we actually have so many fun plans! Between now and mid September I’ll be traveling to Savannah, San Francisco, New York, Baltimore, as well as some camping and backpacking in Southern California.

What Else Is New

Not too much – life has been great but busy in San Diego. I started a new job about six weeks ago so that has been taking up a ton of my time (we’ll get to that). I had my book club last week and was reminded of how much I love all those girls and having a group like that in a new city!

and then we’d get down to serious book talk..

 

New Routines

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With my new job, I’m almost exclusively only able to read on weekends. With my previous job, I had a lot more time in the mornings so I was able to do some housework and exercise before work. On top of that, I’ve also noticed that I’m much happier to sit down for long periods of times than short, so during the week when I’m tired and can only read for 20 minutes, I usually opt to read for zero minutes.

I’m mentioning my new habits because they’ve seemed to put a hard limit of 1 book per weekend on my reading quota. And my takeaway is this: I should stop overstuffing my TBRs. I’m just putting pressure on myself and until something changes in my routine, I won’t be able to accommodate more books.

Spoilers! (Not actual spoilers)

This one is in two parts. I’m currently reading A Walk in the Woods – in which Bill Bryson takes on the Appalachian Trail – and I met someone who had walked the Trail and also read the book and he literally spoiled the WHOLE book. Ugh. I thought I didn’t mind, but then I started reading it again and it’s not as enjoyable. UGH.IMG_20180604_080202_648

Additionally, I’ve been thinking a lot about spoilers in my reviews. When I read a review, I typically most enjoy hearing about the structure of the book, and so I try to include that in my reviews. Whether its an alternating narrator, written through a series of letters, or… an unreliable narrator, I usually think it’s good to know going in to it. However, I recently read a book with no knowledge going in to it except that a friend enjoyed it and lent it to me, and I slowly discovered the unreliable narrator component for myself. It made me think that maybe knowing the narrator is unreliable is a SPOILER! I posted a poll on my instagram and most people disagreed with me, but I’m still on the fence (let me know what you think!)

Bookish Home Improvements

I’m writing this post from…. my new reading spot! It’s about 2′ away from my desk, so not to worry, I haven’t traveled too far from my normal spot. My house has a third floor attic area that we haven’t really known what to do with. I thought it had potential for a loft space so besides putting my desk up here, I bought this amazing beanbag from Urban Outfitters and found a TV stand on craigslist. I need so many decorating touches, but it is now functional, and I’m loving my new spot!

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One other (semi recent) addition to the loft area is a book cart – or just a utility cart if you please. I saw these all over instagram and wanted to have my own. I’m using mine for books related to my job, or other a typical books, like a guide to photoshop and coloring books.

ARC’s

I recently recieved some fantastic books from publishers and I’m so excited to read them without any expectation and share them with you guys! These include:

I also have some netgalleys but honestly, I’m just not as excited about kindle books! Is that bad? I think I’m going to stop requesting Galleys.

Ok! I hope I didn’t talk your ear off! And definitely drop me a line with your bookish updates as well 🙂

Book Review: Love With A Chance of Drowning

Author: Torre DeRoche
Published: February 14, 2013
Genre: Memoir
FLW Rating: 3/5
Format: Audiobook

Love With A Chance of Drowning was brought in to my life very…. haphazardly.  As someone who meticulously plans what I’m going to read next, I was so surprised to open my email to Tracy, my IRL book club host for May, announcing the book and saying “What’s that you say? It wasn’t on the selection list … I know, I should’ve put it on the list and forgot. It’s a travel memoir that I think we all need our lives. And since there was a book tie, I’m going rouge and hoping you love it” Keeping an open mind, I wrote back “I like the initiative you took there!” and then searched and was pleased to find that it was available on Scribd! For the next two weeks, my walks across downtown San Diego (to work and back) took me on a journey from San Francisco, to Mexico, Tonga, Australia, and everywhere in between!

The book is narrated by Torre, who tells the first hand account of how she came to travel across the Pacific Ocean in a sailboat with one other person and no crew. At the outset of the book Torre arrives in San Francisco for a one year OE (Overseas Experience for those who don’t live a carefree Kiwi/Aussie lifestyle where this is common enough to need an acronym). Her only self-and-family imposed rules are “Return to Australia in 12 months” and “Don’t fall in love with an American”. Well, luckily she meets a wonderful Argentinian man, but he still jeopardizes her 12 month plan when he invites her to join him on a sailing trip across the Pacific Ocean.

While the book had an interesting premise, I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t really enjoy travel memoirs (unless they’re by Bill Bryson – that’s another story). Torre is a self proclaimed worry wart, which contrasted strongly with her unfailingly calm counterpart. It definitely made for an interesting dynamic! My reaction to the book, however was that they both were a little too haphazard with their safety and the safety of those around them – which really got to me after a while. They are honestly so lucky to be alive considering the amount of close calls they got themselves in to! I can appreciate a good near death experience, but the ones in this book seemed a little too repetitive and not caused by random events, but by very preventable conditions and poor choices made by Torre and Ivan.

I did really appreciate seeing Torre’s growth and her descriptions of the scenery were was probably my favorite part, but couldn’t help feeling frustrated with Ivan, and feeling like she had hitched herself to a sinking ship (literally and figuratively!)

This book may be more enjoyable if you have experience sailing and could relate, but to me I just couldn’t put myself in their situations and say I understood! The other girls in my book club said they found her really relatable so I definitely encourage you to pick if up if you enjoy travel memoirs or just spending the day in a sailboat!

What I’m Reading: June 2018

If you’re anything like me, a new month means a whole world of new books to read! A planned TBR (to-be-read list) kind of stresses me out and who needs that. Instead, I thought I’d share with you some books that I would love to read this month, but with no pressure associate with them.

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Books I’ll maybe read this month 😉

Most Anticipated Title

First things first, Us Against You by Fredrik Backman comes out Tuesday, June 5th and I preordered myself a copy — Us Against You is the sequel to Beartown – second in a trilogy – and I couldn’t be more excited. I also am planning to meet the author in the end of the month, so this is a must read! (So much for no pressure..)

A Planned Buddy Read

First in order, though, will be The Resurrection of Joan Ashby by Cherise Wolas. Jamie from @jamiereadsbooks offered to buddy read it with me, and after enjoying my first buddy read for The Great Alone, so I’m excited to try this strategy again.

The Unread Shelf Project

As always, I’ll be participating in The Unread Shelf Challenge – The Challenge for June is to read a book about travel!  I’ve had the idea in my head for a while that I would read Modern Lovers by Emma Straub in June. However, when I looked up the description of the book, it sounds like its about people who all live close to each other in Brooklyn. So I’ll either choose this book because it’s the one I’ve been saving to read while traveling, or I’ll follow the prompt and pick up A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson! I love his travel writing. Whichever makes me more excited when it comes time to choose!

The Rest

Right now I have two unfinished books that I’d like to finish next month – The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner and The Mirage Factory by Gary Krist. The Mars Room is a novel about a woman who grew up in San Francisco and through a series of difficult life circumstances and poor choices, ended up with two life sentences. The Mirage Factory is a great history of Los Angeles set between 1900 and 1920, following three pioneers who helped shape the city in to what it is today!

And a friend recently lent me two books and I’d like to read one of them next month! I think my first choice will be Ghosted by Rosie Walsh which is a thriller coming out in late July!

In terms of audiobooks – both of my Unread Shelf Project (potential) picks and one of my unfinished books, The Mars Room, are both on Scribd so that will definitely help me make it through those! (Thank God for Scribd)

Oh and my wish came true!! I wished that Calypso by David Sedaris would be a BOTM selection in May but it turns out it’s a BOTM selection for June! So of course, that was my choice this month. If you want to join (and receive a copy of Calypso or any other the other great choices), use my referral link for a free book!

Here’s to June!

Book Review: Educated

Author: Tara Westover
Published: February 20, 2018
Genre: Memoir
FLW Rating: 3.5/5

Educated was one of those books that came on to my radar suddenly, and then never really went away. When I first heard about the general premise – a self taught girl who later graduated from Harvard with a PhD, I made the thoughtless assumption that said girl was probably from an underdeveloped country. It was when I found out that she grew up in Idaho, that my interest was piqued. Really? Idaho? IN the United States? I don’t usually think myself very ignorant to what can happen in the US, but still this book surprised me. While Tara’s story is interesting, I found myself constantly wanting to pull lessons and explanations from her story, and that’s where it fell short for me.

Educated tells the story of Tara Westover, a young girl brought up in a survivalist family in Idaho. While her family members are practicing mormons, she makes it clear on Page 1 that this is not a story about mormonism, but a story of the small sect of Fundamentalist/ Survivalists Mormonism that her father believes in. Her father distrsuts  the government, the public education system, and the medicial institution (to name a few..) and believes that it would be a tragedy to partake in anything sponsored by any of the above. He subjects his family to these theories, so that, as a kid growing up in that environment, you wouldn’t know much better. What results are a series of accidents, close encounters with the outside world, and eventually, self discovery and rebellion.

As with any memoir, the most interesting parts come through the mishaps and adventures, of which there were many. Some seemed too shocking to be believable, which I suppose is a testament to the circumstances of Tara’s upbringing. The other highlight of course, are the successes. With each step that Tara took away from her parents’ home, I found myself happily rooting for her.

The final piece of the memoir puzzle, to me, is a conclusion– Lessons learned, reflection, etc. After finishing Educated, I began Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer without realizing the similiarities — UtBoH discusses (at least in the first few chapters), a sect of fundamentalist mormons in Arizona and the lives they live. Even just starting this book shed so much light on Educated and also showed me how much of the story had been missing. My takeaway is that Educated is not a stand alone story, and Tara’s family is not as individual a case as the book had led me to believe. There is a lot to be learned, but Educated is not a standalone nonfiction. Instead it offers a peek inside, and is most effective when coupled with other knowledge.

Overall, I’m happy for Tara that she was able to find her own way in life, and ultimately this was a story of great triumph over a restricted childhood (to say the least). I didn’t feel like I learned a lot from it, and for that I don’t think I would recommend it to a friend.

Have you read this book? What did you think?

Book Review: The Great Alone

Author: Kristin Hannah
Published: January 30, 2018
Genre: Literary Fiction
FLW Rating: 5/5

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Wow – I cannot say enough good things about this book. I ordered it back in February from Book of the Month and it took me until now to read it because I really wanted to be able to savor it. I still wasn’t sure the time was right, so I created a poll on Instagram, asking my followers to vote on The Great Alone or The Mars Room. The result was almost unanimously in favor of The Great Alone, which was just the kind of kick in the butt I needed! However, the best outcome of that poll was that my new friend Chelsea messaged me asking if I would be interested in a buddy read! I said yes, and the back and forth discussion with Chelsea ended up being so much fun and a great way to unpack this book in which SO much happens! (I will talk a lot more about that buddy read in a future post because it was such a great experience – but we’re here to talk about the book!)

The Great Alone tells Leni’s story. Leni, of course is a fictional character, but she felt so real and to me and she had such a powerful story to tell. Her mom was 16 when she got pregnant with Leni and married Leni’s father, who shortly thereafter was deployed to Vietnam where he unfortunately was taken as a POW. Years after his return, the family was gifted property in Alaska through the will of a fellow POW, and Leni, her mom, and her dad decide to take the offer and move up north. What they don’t anticipate is that while living far from the rest of society may have its perks, it also has some serious consequences. Leni’s father’s mental health struggles in the cold dark winters, and being so far from family and resources makes it hard for for Leni and her mom to find a way to survive in his company.

What I liked so much about this book wasn’t necessarily the story, but the characters. Each character was so well developed and was fighting their own battle. In life when we, and those around us, are all going through something, it can be hard for us to a) help each other and b) sort out our emotions. I thought the author gave Leni so much maturity in her ability to sift through her emotions – sadness, guilt, anger, and fear – as four distinct feelings, and also consider what others were going through as well. I can be picky about character emotional intelligence, and the author giving young characters more emotional intelligence than they would really possess, but this felt right. It made Leni a strong character, and helped the reader process the events as they were happening to Leni too.

Overall, the writing in this book was extremely readable – which is something I love, especially in a long book. I don’t want to be struggling through uniquely structured sentences for 440 pages. That has its place and time, but I was glad that I found this book to be easy reading.

The one warning I will give with this book is that it is trigger HEAVY. I know triggers are discussed a lot these days so I’ll let you know that there is a lot of domestic violence and a lot of grief. For as wonderful as this story is, it carries a heavy plotline and I felt sad for most of the book. To me, that speaks to the power of the book, but for some I know it may be too much to handle.

But back to the positives, when I closed this book, I knew I’d never forget Leni, her mother, or any of the other characters in this book. I truly spent most of a weekend reading this book – and to me it was a weekend well spent!

Book Blogger Tag

I was tagged by Elissa at Elissa Reads to participate in this challenge! I’m due for a meet-the-book-blogger post, so I thought this could be a good introduction to me and my blog writing process!

Note: This form was created by Jamie @ ALittleSliceofJamie

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1. Where do you typically write your blog posts?

At my desk! One of the reason’s I’ve been able to post more recently, is because I finally set up a desk in my house, which has been great for sitting down and pulling my thoughts together.

2. How long does it take you to write a book review?

A long time. I never time it because that would stress me out but it’s not very quick. I can normally get my first round of thoughts down in 10-15 minutes but then its going back, refining my word choices, and checking for typos that takes a long time. I care a lot about the reader getting the information and emotional understanding they need, so I try to make sure I’m choosing words with the right connotations.

3. When did you start your book blog?

February 2017! I was feeling unsatisfied with my engineering life – not enough creativity! – and also felt like I was just reading books and forgetting them. Having a place to write creatively and process the books I was reading felt like a good idea.

4. What’s the worst thing about having a book blog in your opinion?

I don’t think there is one. Maybe overcommiting to reading as a hobby, but is that really such a bad thing? I don’t put too much pressure on myself to write, so it’s just enjoyable so far.

5. What is the best thing about having a book blog in your opinion?

First and foremost – the interaction with all of you! If it wasn’t the interaction, I’d have a reading journal 😉

I also enjoy the creative process of writing reviews. I typically ask myself “What was the best part of this book? Why would I read it? What would I want to know before? How did this book make me feel?” I often find that some book reviews don’t set up the intrigue for the future reader and I try to to do that. The best compliment I can receive is that someone started reading a book because of my review!

6. What blog post have you had the most fun writing so far?

I’ve been enjoying writing reviews recently! Emma in the Night and Beartown were really fun for me to write about.

7. What is your favorite type of blog post to write?

Review posts are great! I enjoy discussion posts, but often worry I don’t have the authority to make generalizations and give advice – if you’re reading my blog you probably already have some bookish opinions of your own!

8. When do you typically write?

When I have free time! Sometimes a Tuesday, sometimes a Saturday. There’s no real rhyme or reason. Mostly when I’m between books and deciding what to read next.

9. How do you write your book reviews? With a cup of coffee or tea? With Netflix? Cuddled up with your fur baby?

Typically with a can of La Croix at my desk. No music. I can’t think about words while music is on. If TV is on it needs to be something I’m not really watching, like overly long reality TV shows – Hello The Bachelor and The Voice.

10. When do you write your book reviews? Right after finishing the book? Two weeks after finishing the book?

I try to keep it within a week or two but definitely less than three weeks. If it goes past three weeks, it’s not getting written. However, I really like having time to process my thoughts before I sit down and write. That way it’s more helpful and less reactionary.

11. How often do you post?

Aiming for twice a week! I’ve been doing well over the last month – we’ll see how that translates in to a busy summer!

I tag anyone who’s interested in participating! I don’t like tags because they feel cliquey, but in the interest of sharing the love, check out a couple people I’ve been interacting with recently:  Anne from I’ve Read This, Laila from Big Reading Life

I like big books..

.. and I cannot lie. 🙂

Yesterday on my instagram feed, my friend Sonja @readblend had a really interesting post about how she struggles with long books and was asking for any advice. I gave her my two cents, and it made me think about how much I actually love long books.

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Some of my favorite long books of the past few years!

My favorite style of reading – a genre I defined myself so may or may not be real – is immersive. Whether its a literary fiction, non fiction, or even a mystery/thriller I just love to feel like I traveled to another place in the world and met a whole group of new people and had the chance to get to know them. A good book will do that and I’ve noticed that typically longer books get the chance to because of the amount of time they have to build the world and develop the characters.

I’m current working through The Great Alone and I am so obsessed. While I may not have left my apartment for a substantial period this weekend, I’m so tempted to tell anyone I talk to tomorrow that I traveled to the Alaskan wilderness, survived my first Alaskan winter (which trust me, I know, is brutal), and fought to save a family from an abusive and alcoholic father (I’m not sure if I succeeded yet — TBD). When you get a good book like that, I love to go all in and not worry about the length – and actually savor that it doesn’t have to be over yet.

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So good! This is pretty much what my weekend looked like.

And in case you’re struggling with long books, and my inspirational speech wasn’t enough, here are a few of the strategies that have helped me read more long books:

  • Don’t plan your TBRs. You won’t be so worried about the exact date that you finish a book if you don’t have another 7 you need to get to before June 1st.
  • Read for long periods of time when you do read. I like to look 50 pages ahead and see if there’s a chapter ending around roughly page 250. Then I’ll say “ok I’ll read until Chapter 18.” It makes the page numbers less relevant and also lets me have a finite stopping point. And if you read a 500 pages book in 50 page increments its pretty much the same as reading a 300 pages book in 30 page increments.
  • Read it quickly! Part of the “dragging” of long books is that sometimes you’re intimidated to sit down with it so you only pick it up every few days and then it drags because you’re missing the urgency and excitement. I tend to fly through long books because I read them when I know I’ll have time to dedicate to it and feel fully immersed — and once I’m in to it, there’s no putting it down!

And finally – I commented a few of my thoughts on Sonja’s thoughts and THE AUTHOR OF MY NEXT ANTICIPATED LONG BOOK liked my comment and commented too! So here’s one more piece of advice from Cherise Wolas, the author or The Ressurection of Joan Ashby:

I just fall into the world of the novel and immerse myself in the journey. And for me it’s always about the journey, never about getting to the end in a rush

So there you have it! Let me know how you feel about long books, and if you have any favorites ❤