8/7/17

On Reading Multiple Books

I've had this post simmering in the back of my mind for a few weeks now, and seeing this post on Book Riot propelled me to actually write it.  I have multiple books on the go at the moment, and by multiple books, I actually mean five.  FIVE BOOKS.  The funny thing is that I actually wrote a post with an identical title back in 2014, where I explained my thoughts on the matter in a completely different way (click here if you want to see what 2014 me thought on the topic), or keep reading to see how 2017 me thinks differently.

In 2014, I'd just delved into e-reading, so I found myself with a physical book, an audiobook and an ebook on the go at the same time.  Bouncing between formats was fine, but I'd decided that this was too much and I was going to slow down and read only a physical book and an audiobook at the same time.  Flash forward three years, and I've upped that quotient, but strangely enough, I'm okay with this.  My feelings on the matter are very in line with the Book Riot article, where the writer talks about taking the time to savour a longer read, but knowing that she'll feel like a book slump is coming on if she reads the same book for too long.  THIS IS SO ME.

I read Shantaram last month and it took me exactly one month from start to finish.  I loved it, every moment of it, and I spread it out over the month on purpose, planning to read 30 pages per day.  In all honesty, part of me thought that it might end up being the only book that I read in July, but I found myself reading through my 30 pages on the train to and from work, and then reading another 30 pages in the evening, resulting in me being a day ahead of schedule.  So, at one point over the long weekend in July, I set aside Shantaram and read a thriller.  Then, there were a few scorching hot days where my brain was melting and I picked up a lighter read.  Every time I went back to Shantaram, it was because I was excited to pick it up, not because I was trying to get my pages read.  In the end, I ended up finishing the book ahead of schedule because I was enjoying it so much and tore through the last part of the book, but I absolutely loved both taking the time to savour it and allowing myself to read other things at the same time.

Yesterday, Tome Topple started and, although I haven't posted a formal sign-up post, I'm joining in.  I picked up Strange the Dreamer, which I hadn't planned to read this year, but it's been calling my name from the shelf.  It's just over 500 pages, so it satisfies the challenge, and I totally plan to savour it over the next couple of weeks because Laini Taylor's writing is utter perfection.  I also have a non-fiction book on the go from the library (the GTD method, which I heard about on Boho Berry's channel), plus I'm finishing up the Lux series and I have two audiobooks on the go.  And, you know what?  It's totally working for me.  Although it's a lot of books, I find myself gravitating towards what I'm in the mood to read, and I'm actually reading more this way than I have in previous years.  I've already read 52 books this year and, if I can stick to my reading plan, I may even finish all of the books that I had planned to read this year (for the first time EVER!)  I love that I'm still reading what I want, when I want, and haven't felt slumpy at all in recent months.

So, we'll see if there's another similarly titled post in three years' time about how reading multiple books isn't working for me, but for now it's working just fine.  If you read multiple books, or if you don't, please let me know why in the comments below!

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8/3/17

Leave Me - Gayle Forman


I read If I Stay back when I first started blogging, and didn't enjoy it much, but I really liked the movie when I was home sick one day and found it on TV.  I picked up Just One Day when the blogosphere went crazy over it and liked it, but I felt a little underwhelmed.  I chalked it up to the hype, and thought I'd give Gayle one more chance with Leave Me.  It's an adult novel about a mother, so I was ready to connect with the main character and feel all kinds of feelings.

Nope, nope, nope.  This book just did not work for me.  I stopped reading the physical copy and switched to the audio so that I could get through the story and see if the main character redeemed herself at all by the end, and was supremely disappointed.  First of all, the premise is that the main character has a woman who's so busy juggling her life (husband, twins and work) that she doesn't realize that she's had a heart attack.  While recuperating, she packs her bag and leaves.  Just up and leaves her family!  Although I understand her perspective of being the rock that holds the family together (I sometimes joke that my husband would be lost without me because he doesn't know the password to his own email account), there is absolutely no way that I would ever walk away from my family like that.  Granted, I've never suffered a major health crisis, and it's hard to predict with any certainty how I would react in that situation, but the whole point about fiction is to explore these imaginative situations and "experience" them in a safe way, like having a dream about doing something you'd never do in real life.  No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't connect with her actions, and the fact that she stayed away for a ridiculously long amount of time.  If the story had been spread out over a weekend, and she'd panicked and fled, and just needed a day to calm down and return home, I think I might have connected with her a bit better.  She was gone a LONG time, and it just didn't feel realistic to me.

If you're a fan of Gayle Forman's other books, you'll definitely like this one, as it has her signature writing style and character development.  It's no better or worse than her other books, but reading this has solidified my belief that I'm just not a Gayle Forman fan.  I wish I could say differently, because she's so loved by so many readers, but this is my unpopular opinion.

Note: I received an egalley of this book for review from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  This did not influence my review of this book in any way.
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8/1/17

The Secret History of Us - Jessi Kirby

Jessi Kirby is one of those underrated writers that really deserves more credit.  My first of her books was Things We Know By Heart, which I read as a review book a couple of years ago.  I had Golden sitting on my shelves for a couple of years, and read that one shortly after.  I still have two of her books on my TBR and I'm grateful for that fact because each of her books have managed to wow me in a different way.  Some contemporary writers write a particular style of book that works for them (think Sarah Dessen and her perfect of growth and learning books), which is awesome and I love the predictable enjoyment factor.  With Jessi Kirby's books, however, I go into each one not really knowing what type of story to expect, which I LOVE.

The Secret History of Us is a thriller and opens with a girl being pulled out of the lake.  Everyone around her is certain that she's dead and her rescuer begins performing CPR.  The girl lives and its her story that we read, as she tries to piece together her memories of that fateful night.

The opening scene perfectly set the pace of the book; I was sucked into the story from page one and couldn't put it down.  Liv's character development is so real and genuine and I found myself really connecting with her as she tried to puzzle through her life.  It's a short, well-paced book and I flew through it in 24 hours, sneaking a page or two in whenever I could.  This book releases in the summer, and is perfect for a camping trip read, curled up by the campfire or stretched out in the sun on a warm dock, but will also be perfect to curl up with in front of a roaring fire when the weather turns chilly.

Note: A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  This did not affect my opinion of this book in any way.

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