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.

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(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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Intimate Truths and Their Quiet Impact in The Storyteller by Eshkol Nevo

In preparation (and excitement) for this newest Nevo release to land in my hands, I reread my favorite story in Three Floors Up that entails the peak of his writing, for me: capturing snapshots of day-to-day life, like, Hani and Eviatar’s domestic tasks and the small moments that speak volumes in your family life. I still get goosebumps when I reread this:

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The set-up of this book introduces basic questions you can find in any interview, but the main character takes this opportunity to plunge headfirst into the truth, which is what I like so dearly about the writing style. This Q&A concept allowed for a lot of freedom, similar to a book of essays or short stories, where if you don’t vibe with a particular question you can move on to the next one. I’d doze off when politics were discussed (like the campaign run), but when the writing would zoom back in to focus on the relationships with his wife and the complicity of raising children, I was all ears.

In particular, I wanted so badly to hear more about Shira and her kind curly-haired nature boy, Nadav. Shira also had such a dynamic history with her father that came crashing down on such a high note of mistrust, and I wanted to live through the resolution, not have it given to me in one line. Same goes for the wife’s final decision regarding their marriage after the event of Noam’s Bat mitzvah that was entirely glossed over, even though all were discussed and build-up throughout the book.

Plus, the story of Iris and her youngest son Nimrod that was my absolute favorite scene in the book. Like. an actual thrill shot through my heart when I read it. Full of memories and nostalgia you’d share around the table with your family, this is what this book felt like. We feel included in any conversation and the inside jokes shared, which is best felt by the interactions between the best friends in the group.

This book was so honest on every part of the character’s life, especially within his marriage, that I low-key had to check if the author was going through a divorce… I kept thinking about his answer at the start of the book about the blurred lines between truth and fiction: if a lie in a book becomes true over time in real life, what happens then?

There’s so much covered over the span of The Storyteller, and I like how I can catch myself thinking about something different each time I think back on it.

More Shira and Nadav!

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Historic Female Friends in Bosom Buddies by Violet Zhang, Sally Nixon (Illustrator)

Featuring 25 remarkable and inspiring female friendships throughout history, Bosom Buddies is an illustrated celebration of these empowering relationships between women. From the formidable Trung Sisters and friendly rivals Katherine Mansfield and Virginia Woolf to powerhouse partners Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King, writer Violet Zhang captures the love, challenges, encouragement, and adulation of female friendships across time. With winsome illustrations from illustrator Sally Nixon, Bosom Buddies is a tribute to gal pals everywhere. Great as a Galentine’s Day gift or to share with your best girlfriend, just because.

Bosom Buddies arrived in the mail as a saving grace for the coming Shabbat, since I didn’t have anything left to read (save for dipping in and out of my worn copy of Fangirl) with my local library going through renovations.

Also perfect timing for this book, on female friendships through the ages, to land in my hands, considering the movie I recently watched that expresses the tiny nuances of a friendship between Marlo and Tully, which I rave all about in my film review for Tully here.

The first thing I noticed upon picking up Bosom Buddies is the effort put into producing the book: the feel of the paper in your hands as you flip from page to page and the clear jacket bounding it make for timeless pieces. And I’m just grateful such a neat concept exists in the book world.

I do want to note that at the very start of my reading experience, the entries of the female friends come across a bit Wikipedia-esque, but since they were so quick to go through, I overlooked this tiny hindrance. The essays did provide many unknowns with a prompt speed.

However, since this is about the grandiosity of friendship, which is so personal, I would’ve enjoyed that aspect to be expanded by offering more intimate tales, like an inside joke or an experience the women shared together; something I couldn’t find on my own through googling their names. I wanted someone to write about them through extensive research so that I wouldn’t have to do it on my own.

I did then appreciate the end of each essay giving voice to the women by sharing their quotes. Though it sometimes felt like the entry beforehand and the quote shared after had no shared correlation.

So I was also glad to see that the more I read on, the more my requests were being answered. Featuring remarkable girlships such as:

  • Virginia Woolf & Katherine Mansfield (1910s)
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  • Oprah Winfrey & Gayle King (1970s)Bosom Buddies bookspoils 3
  • Amy Poehler & Tina Fey (1990s)Bosom Buddies bookspoils 1
  • Ilana Glazer & Abbi Jacobson (2000s)Bosom Buddies bookspoils 4Screen Shot 2018-02-28 at 09.46.55

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Expected publication: August 14, 2018

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