Bookworm Problems: Getting Bogged Down by Books

#BookwormProblems Bookworm Problems - This was my problem last month. I was reading a few longer books and got bogged down in all of them and they were taking for-ev-er to get through. I found myself spending a lot more time randomly surfing the internet instead of reading them. Or even reading something else.

None of the books were bad either – they just weren’t compelling me to pick them back up again, or to keep reading them. One of them was really gripping – until about halfway through and then it lost its way a bit. Another was just too long in general, and should have been edited down more.

It drives me nuts that I let myself get stalled on reading when I know I added a ton of great books to my stack last month – why didn’t I just move on to one of the others?

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Bookworm Problems: Deciding When to Buy Books

#BookwormProblems Bookworm Problems - In a perfect world, I’d buy every book I wanted. Support for authors, publishers, the literary world in general – it’d be great. Unfortunately, not only would that require way more discretionary cash than I have, but I’d also need a new house with an entire floor dedicated to my books.

Instead, I buy some books, but I use the library for most of what I read. So how do I decide which books to buy, and which ones to borrow?

I buy books by friends and ones by authors I want to support. I buy cookbooks and other books I want to reference – lately that’s including a fair amount of homeschool material. And then I buy books and book series I love love love and want to have.

I borrow books I’ll read once, or ones I’m considering buying. It’s like a trial run to see how much use I think they’d get. Anything that doesn’t fit into the “buy automatically” goes here.

Where I run into trouble is with kids books – it’s easier for me to know with my own books if they’re ones I love enough to buy. But with my kids? There’s a lot of value in owning books and having a print-rich environment, but we still aren’t going to buy allthebooks. I want to buy only the ones they LOVE and are good long-term acquisitions. (Don’t worry, I do still buy a few just for fun.)

And that would be why I could always use another bookcase. Too many books – it’s definitely a bookworm problem. ๐Ÿ™‚

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E-Readers and the Example They Set for My Children

#BookwormProblems Bookworm Problems - EReaders and the Example They Set for My KidsLast month I wrote about reading after having children, and one of the points I mentioned is that I think it’s important for me to set an example of reading. I want my children to see me read, so I don’t want my only reading time to be while they are napping or in bed for the evening.

But, e-readers add an extra twist to it. If I do all my reading on my phone or Kindle, it doesn’t look that different to my children than if I was just playing games or surfing the web. I want them to see me with physical books as well, so it’s clear what I’m doing.

Or am I overthinking it? They invariably ask what I’m doing, or they want to see, and it’s easy enough to tell them I’m reading a book. They know that my Kindle is only for reading books – no games on it at all (it’s a PaperwhiteAmazon Kindle Paperwhite, not the FireKindle Fire).

I still want to make sure they see me with physical books, and they definitely see me carrying home stacks of books from the library, so that counts for something, right?

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Reading after Having Children

Reading After Having ChildrenI read a lot. This is nothing new in my life, but I remember feeling aggravated pre-children when I would get condescending metaphorical head-pats about how that was all going to change once I had my first baby. I’d NEVER read again.

It’s hard to argue with someone who is so convinced they are right, and that you will never know until you join their club. I’d usually just say something about how I couldn’t imagine not reading at all, and that I grew up with the example of a mother who was a devoted reader, despite having three children. I had proof throughout my childhood that being a mother did not require putting aside your own books!

Sure, my reading habits have changed – I don’t read as much, or for the long stretches of time that I once did. And yes, binge reading is a very rare thing, but I’m still reading. Now at least I can offer an alternative viewpoint if anyone tries to claim it’s impossible to read once you’re a mom. It’s not: if it’s a priority for you, you’ll still read. And I think that’s the key to it – it has to be a priority.

Why do I feel so strongly about this?

Partially because I don’t agree with the thinking that becoming a mom automatically means never spending a moment on something you enjoy ever again, but also because I adamantly believe it sets a good example for my kids.

Reading is important, and if they see me reading it will hopefully mean more to them than if I just tell them that it’s a good thing to do. If all I do is read to them, and encourage them to read, but never do it myself, it seems like that is more likely to produce adults who think reading is only for kids. That’s not at all what I want!

Simply from a parenting perspective, I think it’s important for me to read my own books when they can see what I’m doing, not only when they are asleep or otherwise occupied. Quiet reading time for everyone! (ok, we’re not there yet, but I can dream.)

It’s nice that something I feel strongly about from a parenting perspective (promoting my children reading) aligns with something I feel strongly about for myself.

My Vocabulary Outstrips My Pronunciation Ability (a Bookworm Problem)

#BookwormProblems Bookworm Problems - My Vocabulary Outstrips My Pronunciation AbilityI hinted at this in my post yesterday, when I mentioned my difficulties with a recent readaloud for my kids.

My vocabulary knowledge, built up through my years of reading, far outpaces my pronunciation ability. Most of the time this doesn’t matter; I can work around it and pick another word when I’m talking if I’m uncertain I know how to say something else.

But when I’m reading aloud, and get caught unexpectedly scrambling to fill in a different word? That’s a problem. Sometimes there might not really be a different word to easily substitute.

I guess the advantage right now when I’m reading to my children is if I don’t know how something is pronounced, they certainly don’t either so they have no idea I might be misleading them. I do hate to think that I am though. I can see some “let’s look this word up, not for the definition but for the pronunciation” times in our future.

Surely I can’t be the only one with this bookworm problem??

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Bookworm Problems: Buying Books and Not Reading Them

#BookwormProblems Bookworm Problems - This is related to the bookworm problem of an overflowing to-be-read list, but not exactly the same thing.

I buy a book for fill-in-the-blank-reason:
– I think I’ve got to have it
– It continues a series
– It was a great deal, too good to resist
– etc, etc, etc.

And then, instead of prioritizing it or something sensible like that, I go back to focusing on my library books. You know, the ones with due dates that force me to read them.

I have birthday and Christmas books from I don’t want to admit how long ago, still waiting patiently for me to read them.

And this is why I’ve been setting a reading goal each year to actually READ MY OWN BOOKS. Not just library ones. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Update on Books I Was Looking Forward to Reading in 2014

Way back in January I shared a list of titles that I was looking forward to reading during the year. Let’s look back at that and laugh at how few of them I actually read. On the plus side, some of the ones I did read I enjoyed, so at least there’s that.

Only one fiction title

Looking Forward to Reading in 2014: CressCressLooking Forward to Reading in 2014: Cress (The Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer by Marissa Meyer

Original thoughts: Loved the previous books in the series, so of course I wanted to read this one.

The verdict: Read it. Loved it. Impatiently waiting for the next ones in the series.

Books from Bloggers

Looking Forward to Reading in 2014: Notes from a Blue BikeNotes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic WorldLooking Forward to Reading in 2014: Notes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World by Tsh Oxenreider by Tsh Oxenreider

Original thoughts: I loved her earlier book One Bite at a TimeOne Bite at a Time: 52 Projects for Making Life Simpler by Tsh Oxenreider, read her blog, and like the premise of the book. Why wouldn’t I like this one?

The verdict: It was ok, but if you’ve read her blog much at all not much of it is new. Overall I was kind of disappointed in it.

Looking Forward to Reading in 2014: Girl at the End of the WorldGirl at the End of the World: My Escape from Fundamentalism in Search of Faith with a FutureLooking Forward to Reading in 2014: Girl at the End of the World: My Escape from Fundamentalism in Search of Faith with a Future by Elizabeth Esther by Elizabeth Esther

Original thoughts: Her blog, is thought-provoking if a bit hard to read at times (I get occasional flashbacks to my upbringing, in not-a-good-way).

The verdict: Haven’t read it. The library recently added it to their collection, so I should be able to give it a try soon. Whether or not I’ll finish it is up in the air.

Looking Forward to Reading in 2014: Something Other Than GodSomething Other Than God: How I Passionately Sought Happiness and Accidentally Found ItLooking Forward to Reading in 2014: Something Other Than God: How I Passionately Sought Happiness and Accidentally Found It by Jennifer Fulwiler by Jennifer Fulwiler

Original thoughts: Love love love her blog, and have been reading it for years. Plus, conversion stories fascinate me.

The verdict: Two thumbs up!

History is Awesome

Looking Forward to Reading in 2014: A History of the World in Twelve MapsA History of the World in 12 MapsLooking Forward to Reading in 2014: A History of the World in 12 Maps by Jerri Brotton by Jerry Brotton

Original thoughts: My library career included a stint cataloging maps, and I love history, so combining the two sounded heavenly.

The verdict: Borrowed in on the kindle and it was not a good pick in that version. Then I had a baby and my virtually all my reading had to be done via the kindle. So this title has to wait.

Looking Forward to Reading in 2014: One Summer America, 1927One Summer: America, 1927Looking Forward to Reading in 2014: One Summer: America, 1927 by Bill Bryson by Bill Bryson
Original thoughts: Love his books A Walk in the Woods and In a Sunburned Country, and this sounded like just my sort of history book.

The verdict: Borrowed it from the library, but then had a baby and couldn’t focus on it like it needed. Most of my reading post-baby has been of the lighter variety. Hope to get this one again in 2015.

Looking Forward to Reading in 2014: The Bully PulpitThe Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of JournalismLooking Forward to Reading in 2014: The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism by Doris Kearns Goodwin by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Original thoughts: She’s written another favorite title of mine, so I expected to love her latest.

The verdict: Didn’t even try it. Once again I’ll just blame the baby – this is a big work of nonfiction and will need more brain power than I had last year to give it. I’m not even sure I’ll get to it in 2015.

People are Fascinating

Looking Forward to Reading in 2014: The Heir ApparentThe Heir Apparent: A Life of Edward VII, the Playboy PrinceLooking Forward to Reading in 2014: The Heir Apparent: A Life of Edward VII, the Playboy Prince by Jane Ridley by Jane Ridley

Original thoughts: Sounded interesting, about a historical figure all but unknown to me.

The verdict: Borrowed it, and returned it unread. I’m such a mood reader, and I never felt in the mood to even try this one. Apparently I’m not as interested in Edward VII as I thought back in January.

Looking Forward to Reading in 2014: Elizabeth of YorkElizabeth of York: A Tudor Queen and Her WorldLooking Forward to Reading in 2014: Elizabeth of York: A Tudor Queen and Her World by Alison Weir by Alison Weir

Original thoughts: I do love Weir’s books, and Tudor history.

The verdict: Borrowed it, didn’t read it. See above regarding brain power and it being lacking.

No, really, I think this sounds fantastic

Looking Forward to Reading in 2014: The King of SportsThe King of Sports: Football’s Impact on AmericaLooking Forward to Reading in 2014: The King of Sports: Football's Impact on America by Gregg Easterbrook by Gregg Easterbrook

Original thoughts: I am a former (pre-children) devoted NFL fan and used to read Easterbrook’s Tuesday Morning Quarterback column every week.

The verdict: Borrowed it, and read the first quarter. Then I had a baby and had to return the book before I finished it, and haven’t borrowed it again. I’m not sure I want to honestly – it’s so depressing about the negatives regarding the football industry that it’s hard to read.

Faith

Looking Forward to Reading in 2014: Encounters with JesusEncounters with Jesus: Unexpected Answers to Life’s Biggest QuestionsLooking Forward to Reading in 2014: Encounters with Jesus: Unexpected Answers to Life's Biggest Questions by Timothy Keller by Timothy Keller

Original thoughts: Keller’s books are fantastic. This one probably is too, right?

The verdict: It was good, but not as great as I expected. This is perhaps just a reflection of my very high expectations for his books.

And, a bonus one, because it doesn’t even have a title yet (as far as I know), but apparently Rachel Held Evans has another book coming out next Fall. I find her books very thought-provoking, and whenever it releases, I’ll be anxious to read it.

The verdict: This one got pushed back to a 2015 release, so now I have it to look forward to next year!

So let’s see, out of 11 titles available in 2014, I read (as in completed) 4 of them. I read at least a chapter of 3 others, and read nothing at all of the final 4. That is really unimpressive, but probably what I get for being somewhat ambitious with my nonfiction selections in a year when I was having a baby.

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2015 Reading Goals

2015 Reading GoalsI’m keeping it very simple this year:

  1. Read 156 books.
    That’s 3 books a week, children’s titles over 100 pages count towards the total.
  2. Read all book club selections.
    With one exception: if there is one book that I absolutely hate, I can not finish. I call that the “House of Mirth” rule in honor of the book that inspired it. ๐Ÿ˜‰
  3. Attempt to read all of the books I mentioned I was looking forward to reading.
    If I don’t like the book, I don’t have to finish it, but I do want to at least give them all a shot.
  4. Get new children’s books monthly to share with the kids.
    No numbers here – just want to keep fresh material coming in, along with the books we already own.
  5. Read the New Testament
    I want to say read the entire Bible, but I’m trying to not be overly ambitious, and I don’t want to set myself up where I’m reading it for speed over anything else.
  6. Promptly share books that I’ve finished via my Pinterest board.
    I did so well at this goal this year, at least pre-baby. And then this got ignored in favor of more pressing needs. We’ll give it another try this year.
  7. Clear 12 more books off of my TBR stack at home.
    I don’t have to finish them – if I start one and decide it isn’t for me and I’m going to get rid of it, that counts too. I just want to whittle down the stack some more one way or another. They do need to be physical books however – the point of this is to clear out the backlog of books on my bookcases.

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2014 Reading Goals: April Progress

2014 Reading Goals

  1. Participate in my 2014 Reading Challenge.
  2. Read 208 books.
    I think I’m going to revise this one down to 156 (3 a week), since the original goal was set before I knew I was pregnant.
  3. Read 40,000 pages.
    Still waiting to see if I need to revise this one – I’m actually not too far off track, so I may not need to adjust it down.
  4. Read all book club selections.
  5. Get new children’s books monthly to share with the kids.
    Still on track with this one!
  6. Listen to 1 audio book.
    I tried a new audio book – The Wizard of Oz – and listened to three chapters. And then got bored with it and read the book. Apparently I am hating audio books right now.
  7. Read through the entire Bible in a new edition.
    This one is not happening. I do think I’m going to adjust it to the New Testament only, as an acknowledgment that life (i.e., morning sickness and exhaustion and later a newborn) means things change.
  8. Promptly share books that I’ve finished via my Pinterest board.
    As long as “promptly” means some time in the month, I’m still covered. ๐Ÿ˜‰
  9. Clear 24 more books off of my TBR stack at home.
    I read 3 from my own bookshelves, so I’ve gotten a little bit ahead of the pace I need to keep. Maybe I’ll reach this goal! Update: apparently I can’t count. I read two. Still on the right pace, but I’m not ahead of schedule.
  10. A subgoal of number 9: 12 of those 24 books need to be from my Christianity stacks.
    One of those three two was, so I’m still right on schedule with this one. ๐Ÿ™‚
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On Being a Mood Reader

mood readerIn my post about How I Choose What I Read, I explained how I try and balance what I’m reading, and how I try to pick books that will be worthwhile, either from an entertainment or educational standpoint.

What I didn’t really discuss then is the other side of that: how I also end up reading multiple books at a time and require a large supply of books available to pick from at all times because I am a complete mood reader.

What does this really mean?

  • My library card is perpetually maxed out to keep me stocked with lots of options. I constantly have a juggling game going on with making sure I have enough space on the card to get my new books, and at times have to return books unread to make that space.
  • Having to read a book to meet a deadline (whether it’s self-imposed or not) is one of the best ways to kill the pleasure of reading for me. As I write this, I still haven’t quite finished last month’s book club pick, The Secret KeeperThe Secret Keeper: A Novel by Kate Morton, not because it’s a bad book or I’m not enjoying it, but because I’m not in the right frame of mind to want to read it.
  • This also keeps me from making progress on any other books. I’m writing this on April 19th, and so far I’ve only finished five books this month. Yes, FIVE, and one of them was a cookbook, mostly because I feel like I shouldn’t read anything other than the books I “need” to read (The Secret KeeperThe Secret Keeper: A Novel by Kate Morton, Pride and PrejudiceThe Annotated Pride and Prejudice: A Revised and Expanded Edition by Jane Austen, and review books that are waitingwaitingwaiting). And I don’t want to read them, so I surf the internet or otherwise do other things with my reading time.
  • My house perpetually has stacks of books scattered around. Books that I think I might read, and maybe started a chapter or two, but have abandoned for the time being. Our house has a deep windowsill in the master bedroom, and it has become a staging ground for book stacks. In addition to the stack on my night stand, on the book case, and the floor when things really get out of control.
  • I have started declining all review books. I just can’t keep up, and I feel terrible when it takes me forever to read a book, but I hate feeling forced to read a book to meet a deadline. Especially because forcing myself to read a book tends to be the best way to guarantee that I won’t like the book as much as I might have otherwise.

Some of this is I think I’m in a bit of a reading slump, despite having finished several books recently that I’ve really enjoyed. Despite having lots of books that I really do want to read ready and waiting for me. Despite knowing that I need to take advantage of the reading time I have right now, because it’s going to shrink even more this summer.

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