Book Lovers’ Delight: I’d Rather Be Reading by Anne Bogel

We are readers. Books grace our shelves and fill our homes with beauty; they dwell in our minds and occupy our thoughts. Books prompt us to spend pleasant hours alone and connect us with fellow readers. They invite us to escape into their pages for an afternoon, and they inspire us to reimagine our lives.”

The audiobook for Anne Bogel’s I’d Rather Be Reading, read by the author, was the perfect companion to a day filled with cooking meals and cleaning my room. It’s lighthearted and a breeze to listen to; I sped through like eight chapters without even noticing.

I'd Rather Be Reading 2- bookspoils

(Chapter: “A Reader’s Coming of Age”)

I’d Rather Be Reading is a collection full of spectacular, talkative essays that chronicle and accentuate the simple things in books make us love in them. Bogel’s love for books shines so sincerely in her writing. Her bookish enthusiasm reminded me of why I read in the first place.

Not out of habit or duty, but because reading is part of who they are. It’s in their blood. They’re book people.”

This book also reminded me of the human connection I feel after reading a good Nonfiction essay collection, which I haven’t experienced in a hot minute. Surprisingly, it also brings back memories on all those books that made up your life one by one. The ones that changed the game by making you love reading, the ones that you hate to love and love to hate, the funny books, the childhood favorites, and so many more that came to shape the person you are today.

There’s a love letter to the library next door. Taking the hint when a book arrives at the right time in your life when it seeks you out. Living out her bookseller dreams for a day (and the odd requests received). Being “book bossy” and the treacherous ground of unsolicited advice that accompanies recommending people (especially her kids) what to read. The beauty of rereading a book, which reminded me of a podcast I listened to that hosted BookTuber Ariel Bissett, who talked more in detail on why rereading matters: We read to find books we love and want to revisit.

Coming of age with books and rereading them years late makes you see and uncover different things each time. They’re like photographs, taking you back to the exact moment in time when and where you read.

Rereading can make you remember who you used to be, and, like pencil marks on a door frame, show you how much you’ve changed. ”

Other goodies include a full chapter on Bookworm Problems. The hidden pleasures in reading the acknowledgments and sharing some of the favorite last page excerpts from books the author has read.

“I’m a reader who always wondered what the writing life was like, and not knowing the details, supplied my own—” “But in the acknowledgments, the authors hint at the practicalities of writing books, brass-tacks details that might otherwise never occur to readers.”

I enjoy reading the acknowledgments at the end as well because it makes for a less abrupt switch of mindset between reading and not reading. It also grants me the time to part peacefully from the book, like having trailers after the movie to prepare me for the exit. Also: “I especially enjoy stumbling across miscellaneous goodies and oddities, the things an author can’t include anywhere else”

In short: I’d Rather Be Reading capture the truth of our bookish experience in bite-size chapters consumable anytime and anywhere in your busy day.

Lastly, I have to mention this brilliant idea the author had on getting her hand on her library records. These records show so much of our timeline; our history through our bookish finds. It would be an ineffable experience.

“Based on my borrowed titles alone, I’d be able to clearly see the months and years I spent away from my hometown, the one I’m happy to live in even now. I would be able to spot the summer I got engaged, when I checked out every book on wedding planning in the library system. The month I learned I was pregnant and immediately cleared the shelves of those books. The sudden surge of board book checkouts a year later, after we’d added another tiny reader to our household. It’s all right there, in my library records.”

Among the many noteworthy book recommendations, I’m already on my way to my local library to browse their book shelves. Oh, and, of course, the on theme black-and-white illustrations scattered throughout the book were a joy to look at:I'd Rather Be Reading 1- bookspoils(Chapter: “Windows to the Soul”)
I'd Rather Be Reading 3- bookspoils(Chapter: “Confess Your Literary Sins”)

I'd Rather Be Reading 4- bookspoils(Chapter: “Book Bossy”)

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Why I Fangirl over Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl (Spoilers: Levi)

If you’ve been following my reviews for a while now, you probably know by now that Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl is an all-time favorite of mine; I make sure to reread it every single year.

This time around, I decided to revisit the book through a different medium by checking out the audiobook for the first time, as I mention in the Parks and Rec book tag (where I feature Reagan for Ron Swanson’s question, yet somehow still wound up including my perfect sunflower and the pride of Arnold, otherwise known as Levi Stewart).

As I mention in the tag, I feel like even the audio-narrator is enjoying herself with Reagan’s character because I can always hear a hint of a smile upon reading her comically outrageous lines. They’re profound contributions to this world.

“There was just no fear in her. No hesitation. Talking to Reagan was like standing in front of an oncoming train.”

However, since I already uploaded an extensive review full of ravishing ravings for Fangirl in 2016 that you can check out here, I decided to twist things around for this reread and feature the list of everything important I noted during my reading experience (which I can visually represent with this very accurate gif below):

  • Starting with the most beloved cast of characters that always bring out the best feelings out of me, I made sure to take my sweet time with this audiobook, listening to a little at a time every other week or so. More specifically, Levi has me wrapped around his finger; he leaves me grinning from ear to ear so easily. And I have to elaborate by making a whole new point about this…
  • I felt like Jim Halpert, smiling into the camera, because every time Levi shows, I’d inevitably look into a nonexistent camera like I’m on The Office, while trying to hold off the wisp of a megawatt smile showing on my face. Like, get you a guy like Levi who goes out of his way in making sure you’re comfortable and showing signs that he genuinely likes you.

Just to give you a feel of what I’m talking about, here’s a couple of instances that made me smile uncontrollably in his presence:

    • Walking with Cather late at night from the library to make sure she gets back safe and sound to her dorm.

“Just Cather, huh?”
“Just Cath.”
“Did you get lost in the library?”
“No.”
“I always get lost in the library,” he said, “no matter how many times I go. In fact, I think I get lost there more, the more that I go. Like it’s getting to know me and revealing new passages.”
“You spend a lot of time in the library?”
“I do, actually.”
“How is that possible when you’re always in my room?”
“Where do you think I sleep?” he asked. And when she looked at him, he was grinning.”

This loving, loyal sunflower has the biggest smile and an even bigger heart. Which is why I was beyond elated when I read Rainbow’s comparing him to a golden retriever (“For the constant good-natured game of him.”). Mainly because of a Youtube comment I shared in my Parks and Rec tag that used exactly that phrase to describe the relationship unfolding between Andy Dwyer and April Ludgate: It’s like watching a grumpy cat and golden retriever get married. And it represented a lot of what Cath and Levi’s interaction held for me.

  • Plus, having them slowly bond over Cath’s “secret, dirty fanfiction” is something that will never grow old on me. I’m utterly amazed at how effortlessly Rainbow captures that intimate moment of growth from being acquaintances to friends to something more.

“It’s not dirty.”
“Read me some anyway.”
She let go of the pillow; he’d probably already filthed it beyond redemption.
“Why?”
“Because I’m curious,” he said. “And I like stories.”
“You just want to make fun of me.”
“I won’t,” he said. “I promise.”
“That’s what you and Reagan do when I’m not here, right? Make fun of me. Play with my commemorative busts. Do you have a stupid nickname for me?”
His eyes sparkled. “Cather.”
“I don’t exist to amuse you, you know.”
“One, are you sure? Because you do. And, two, we don’t make fun of you. Very much. Anymore. And, three…”
He was counting on his fingers, and his cheeks were twitching, and it was making Cath laugh.
“Three,” he said, “I won’t make fun of you, to anyone but you, from now on, if you’ll just once, right now, read me some of your fanfiction.”

I’m blinking hearts.Pretty sure that with that Levi has ruined all other guys for me. I mean, having someone’s defining feature be kindness above all is cathartic. It’s like I always make sure to ask myself if the guy in front of me lives up to Levi’s standards, and if he doesn’t, well…

  • The peak, of course, hits with getting to experience my all-time favorite scene on audio, featuring Cath reading The Outsiders to Levi through the night. Any book that has the characters bond by reading a book out loud to one another is the way to my heart, all thanks to Fangirl being the primary instigator. I have to say, though, that listening to this part was so worth the wait, since my eyes couldn’t skip ahead out of anticipation as usual. I could actually savor each line and unpack the hidden meaning within the words. I even listened to the ending with closed eyes, and it was so perfect because Cath was tired and her eyes were tired, and I felt it all.

“Cath exhaled. Then inhaled. Her chest was so tight, it hurt both ways. Levi shouldn’t get to make her feel this way—he shouldn’t even have access to her chest.”

They had me going to bed with a smile on my face. Madness…

I’m pretty sure I can quote the whole book on Levi’s sunny disposition if you’ll let me, so this is as good a stopping point as any on that… I’ll just end by mentioning that THEIR DOMESTIC SCENES TOGETHER ARE MY NICHE.

  • The level of detail we’re given about the characters hits the exact right spot for my nosy-self. Like, knowing that Reagan’s voice sounds similar to Kathleen Turner’s rasp is *kisses fingers like a satisfied chef* perfect. Oh, and the random fact that the seatbelt in Levi’s truck is a hassle to pull through is bliss to know. It’s these little things that make the characters seem that more real in the big picture.
  • Which leads me to discuss how much of a blast I had actually giving a listen to the Spotify playlists created by Rowell for both Cath and Levi. Now, I can actually know what songs she had in mind during the most iconic of scenes, such as the infamous Emergency Dance Party.
  • It’s frankly terrifying how much I get Cath. Every time I reread Fangirl, I either discover something new about myself or connect together pieces about myself through her. We have so many overlapping thoughts and actions, so I thought this was an incredibly well-done part of the story. I felt it most strongly the morning after the shared half-asleep kiss with Levi, when Cath tried to convince herself all the reasons they would never fit together.

“He’s different,” Cath said. “He’s older. He smokes. And he drinks. And he’s probably had sex. I mean, he looks like he has.”
Reagan raised her eyebrows like Cath was talking crazy. And Cath thought—not for the first time, but for the first time since last night—that Levi had probably had sex with Reagan.
“And he likes to be outside,” Cath said, just to change the subject. “And he likes animals. We don’t have anything in common.”
“You’re making him sound like he’s some rowdy mountain man who, like, smokes cigars and has sex with prostitutes.”
Cath laughed, despite herself. “Like a dangerous French fur trapper.”
“He’s just a guy,” Reagan said. “Of course he’s different from you. You’re never going to find a guy who’s exactly like you—first of all, because that guy never leaves his dorm room.…”

The last line is THE STRONGEST THING I’VE FELT IN MY LIFE. I’m beyond thankful that Cath has someone like Reagan to set her straight. Their blossoming friendship was one of the most unexpected to appear with their juxtaposing personalities, and yet it grew to be one of my favorite friendships to read. I was thunderstruck time and again by their casual daily interactions that brought about some of the most memorable lines of the book.

  • Speaking of, the amount of times I had to pause the audiobook to release my pent-up laughter just goes to show how utterly brilliant Rowell is at creating incomparable comical moments at the most unexpected times. I’ll be still laughing minutes after I read a certain phrase because it’s on a loop in my head. Like, I never get over this particular line Levi throws at Cath the first time they hang out in his room/attic:

“Read something else,” he whispered, kissing the skin below her ear.
Cath took a deep breath. “What?”
“Anything. More fanfiction, the soybean report … You’re like a tiger who loves Brahms—as long as you’re reading, you let me touch you.”

The “the soybean report” got me good. I’m so keen on knowing HOW Rainbow comes up with this stuff… What follows afterward between Cath and Levi is, of course, one of the best scenes for them as a couple, but I won’t bombard you with more, since I’m obviously a complete fool when it comes to these two together. (And it’s impossible to choose just one moment to capture.)Screen Shot 2018-02-28 at 09.46.55With having read all of Rowell’s books (some even multiple times) I just have to say that she excels at making us EXPERIENCE a story instead of merely reading words. Fangirl explores the subtle real-life moments of young adulthood that are often forgotten about, and it makes her writing endlessly readable.

See you in my next reread of this book!

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Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying Fangirljust click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!Fangirl-- bookspoils

Review: Unqualified by Anna Faris, Chris Pratt (Foreword)

The road that led me down to pick this book up is a funny one and can be mainly credited to one character: Andy Dwyer. So basically, I was in a funk of watching a bunch of Parks and Recreation videos that started off with this hilarious compilation below of Chris Pratt bloopers that had me nearly choking with laughter, while simultaneously wiping away laugh-crying tears.

I inevitably went down a rabbit hole of binge-watching clip after clip of Parks and Rec, and all this to say, I knew something productive would come of it because this whole preface led me to Unqualified by Anna Faris, since I recalled that Chris Pratt wrote the foreword, and after reading his words, I can only say: Andy would approve.

But the funny thing is, I quickly forgot all about the previous noise when I put on Anna’s easygoing narrative-voice on audio (perfectly made for storytelling), which snared me in right away. I immensely enjoyed the window into her whirlwind world.

Her comic memoir and first book, Unqualified, will share Anna’s candid, sympathetic, and entertaining stories of love lost and won. Part memoir, part humorous, unflinching advice from her hit podcast Anna Faris Is Unqualified, the book will reveal Anna’s unique take on how to navigate the bizarre, chaotic, and worthwhile adventure of finding love.

The book showcases an honest firsthand account of despising high school (“The guiding question of my teenage years was simply, How do I survive this time in my life?”), getting rejected from audition roles (the most exciting one to read about was the Friends audition that later led her to a much bigger role in the show), school-grade crushes (“It was that heady rush of young love that has no basis in logic at all.”), marriage, family, sharing her “penchant for digging into other people’s personal lives,” and more on life and all its aspects. I bonded over the many insights shared from Faris.

The biggest compliment I can pay is that I was so into Unqualified that I continued dreaming about in my sleep, granted I stayed up listening till 1 am and slept for only five hours that night, but still. This book reads of truth. Also, I’m glad I decided to listen to this on audio since her soft-spoken, calming voice has this subtle raspy factor to it that I came to appreciate.

Other essays that stood out for me were about:

  • going to her high school reunion after twenty years and having her 90s romantic movie-worthy ending… just read this passage:

 “I’d been at the reunion for all of one hour, but it was long enough for me to feel like I was in high school again, and to be ready to get out. I mean, Green Day was pumping through the loudspeakers. Chris drove down and picked me up, as we’d planned, and it did feel a bit like the lion rescuing the lioness from the hyenas. It was amazing to watch the reaction as he came through the door. I still felt like headgear-wearing, awkward Anna Faris, but when Chris came in, he was all movie star. There was a collective gasp as he whisked me away and, yes, that was fairly satisfying, I guess. I’m human, after all.”

  • her utterly moving chapter about her son, Jack Pratt. This was the most telling chapter in her memoir where I was continually taken off guard, and I applaud Anna Faris for her ineffable strength and endurance. I felt all the things she described, from the terror of feeling her water break two months before she was due, to the boredom through her bed rest, and then the inevitable scenario of going into labor… All these high-intensity moments stayed with me long after the last page.
  • unfolding the history behind Chris’s fascination with learning to french braid, which had piqued my interest last year when I saw this:

“My mom loves to French braid my hair. It’s a weird thing she does even now that I’m an adult. But she always starts a little too high and I end up looking like a sister wife. Three or four years ago, Chris was watching her do a French braid and wanted to learn. He already knew how to do a regular braid because his sister taught him when they were kids, and he’s into knots in general, from being an outdoorsy guy.”

  • And last but not least, what’s a memoir with sharing some blast from the past photos?

Unqualified 1-- bookspoils“(I’m the short one).”Unqualified 2-- bookspoilsUnqualified 3-- bookspoilsUnqualified 4-- bookspoils


My knowledge of Anna Faris before reading this could be narrowed down to her character Cindy Campbell in Scary Movie (which I definitely shouldn’t have watched at the age that I did), but after reading Unqualified, I feel like I’ve got a more solid perspective on her as a person, which is all I could’ve asked for. Bottom line: I love a good spot-on memoir I can be swept into.

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Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying Unqualified, just click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!