I'd Rather Be Reading by Anne Bogel
Can you recommend a great book?
For so many people, reading isn't just a hobby or a way to pass the time--it's a lifestyle. Our books shape us, define us, enchant us, and even sometimes infuriate us. Our books are a part of who we are as people, and we can't imagine life without them.
I'd Rather Be Reading is the perfect literary companion for everyone who feels that way. In this collection of charming and relatable reflections on the reading life, beloved blogger and author Anne Bogel leads readers to remember the book that first hooked them, the place where they first fell in love with reading, and all of the moments afterward that helped make them the reader they are today. Known as a reading tastemaker through her popular podcast What Should I Read Next?, Bogel invites book lovers into a community of like-minded people to discover new ways to approach literature, learn fascinating new things about books and publishing, and reflect on the role reading plays in their lives.
Sometimes a book comes into your life at just the right time. Sometimes people do the same. I believe that this book was meant to be the one I picked up recently because it spoke to me - Kay, the reader - so very clearly. It's a short little book, only 161 pages. It contains a series of essays by Anne Bogel, she of the blog Modern Mrs. Darcy
and the podcast What Should I Read Next?
I've listened to her podcast a few times. I've not read her blog. Seriously, every essay here made me nod my head - yep, that's me - I totally agree - I've done that! - Me too! There's nothing earth shattering or shocking in these pages. There are several quotes that I'll share. This would make a great little gift book for someone or a quick little read for yourself. Watch for it at your local library. I think any avid reader would relate to many of the things Anne shares. I certainly did and it made me feel like I could again 'reinvent' my 'reading life'. Here's a few quotes that spoke to me:
On confessing your literary sins:
Reader, whatever secret you're keeping, it's time to spill it. I'll take your confession, but the absolution is unnecessary. These secrets aren't sins; they're just secrets. No need to repent. C.S. Lewis once wrote, "Friendship...is born at the moment when one man says to another, 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one.'"
Reader, you're not the only one. Keep confessing to your fellow readers; tell them what your reading life is really
like. They'll understand. They may even say, "You too?" And when they do, you've found a friend. And the beginnings of a great book club.
On the readers I have been over the years:
I've been many kinds of readers over the years, and I remember them fondly. (Sometimes I think I can imagine the readers I might yet be.) I'm the sum of all these bookish memories. My head is so full of musings and insights and ideas from books that I'm not sure who I would be or how I would think if they were all taken away.
On coming of age as a reader:
When faced with the task of establishing your own reading life, you did it, or maybe you're still in the middle of doing it.
Like other kinds of growing up, this doesn't happen overnight. The transition happens slowly, over time. We make a reading life by reading, and we stumble as we figure it out, learning through trial and error not just what
to read for ourselves, but how. Establishing not just that we will
be readers, but determining what kind
of readers we will be.
On books triggering memories:
...as a devoted reader, I've noticed how the books themselves serve as portals to my past, conjuring similarly powerful memories. There's something about glimpsing, and especially handling, a book from long ago that takes me right back to where I was when I first read it. The book triggers memories of why I picked it up, how it made me feel, what was going on in my life at the time, transporting me so thoroughly that, for a moment, I feel like I'm there once again.
On re-reading books:
When I find myself in a dreaded reading slump, nothing boosts me out of it faster than revisiting an old favorite. Old books, like old friends, are good for the soul. But they're not just comfort reads. No, a good book is exciting
to return to, because even though I've been there before, the landscape is always changing. I notice something new each time I read a great book.
On being asked to relate your 'favorite' book:
Aside from the sheer impossibility of choosing just one
favorite book, her question was daunting for another reason: I felt I'd been asked to lay my soul on the table. Reading is personal and never more so than when we're sharing why we connect with certain books.
On starting a reading journal (and I recommend doing this too!):
Reader, if you'd rather live in your reading moment than document it, I totally get it. I'd rather be reading too. But learn from my bookish regret: I don't care what system you use (and I use the word system
loosely) as long as you use one. Start today, because as soon as you begin, you're going to wish you'd begun sooner. Record your books as a gift to your future self, a travelogue you'll be able to pull off the shelf years from now, to remember the journey.
I know this was really long, but appreciate your time if you've made it this far. May I just say that I am grateful to be sharing my reading life with all of you. Here's to having plenty more years and books to share together!!