Saturday, December 7, 2019

Would You Rather Be Reading Books?

 Image result for dog reading books images

Can a Kentuckian act as a tastemaster among readers, recommending books to read?

Anne Bogel, creator of the popular podcast, What Should I Read Next? does just that.  I haven’t yet listened to her show but I did enjoy her book, I’d Rather Be Reading:  The Delights and Dilemmas of The Reading Life.

She has great, short chapters on the things bookish people know, feel, and think, including:

·         How life imitates art – and the books we read.
·         How to organize our bookshelves.
·         How we change as readers over time.
·         The value of re-reading a book years later.
·         Finding a book twin for insightful book recommendations based on your tastes.
·         Getting your kids to become book people.

She previews her book in her introduction – and delivers on everything: “In this book, we’ll dive into the personal nature of reading – what shapes us as readers what we bring to the page.  We’ll explore how to read, how to choose good books, and what happens when we read had ones.  We’ll dive into why we connect with some books so powerfully.  We’ll peek into other people’s reading lives.  And we’ll enjoy every minute of it, because that’s the kind of people we are.”

Her book serves as a joyful, thought-stirring meditation on reading, the role of books in our lives, and the aspirations we have for others to enjoy being consumed by books. Here are some of the wonderful thought and comments offered in her book:

A Good Book
"You’re looking for a book that reminds you why you read in the first place.  One written well and that will feel like it was written just for you – one that will make you think about things in a new way, or feel things you didn’t expect a book to make you feel, or see things in a new light.  A book you won’t want to put down, whose characters you don’t want to tell good-bye.  A book you will close feeling satisfied and grateful, thinking, Now, that was a good one."

A Commodity
"A book is just printed words on a page; you can shelve it, shred it, ship it around the world.  It’s a commodity you can buy and sell, highly prize, or box up in your basement and leave to mildew.   We both loan them and discard them." 

Great Books
"But avid readers know a great book doesn’t exist only in the realm of the material.  The words between those covers bring whole worlds to life.

"A great book.  That’s all you want. But reading is personal.  We can’t know what a book will mean to us until we read it.  And so we take a leap and choose."

To Be Read List
"As a devoted reader, I lovingly give countless hours to finding the right books for me.  I don’t think those hours are wasted; part of the fun of reading is planning the reading.  But I’ve learned that sometimes, despite my best efforts, a book unexpectedly finds me and not the other way around.  And when it does, it’s okay to reshuffle my To Be Read list and go with it.

Tears Of Joy
"Sometimes a book brings the tears because you don’t want it to end.  You’ve been on a journey together, you and your fictional friends, and you don’t want to close that literal chapter of your life and move on."

Why Read?
"People read for a multiplicity of reasons.  Nearly forty years in, I can tell you why I inhale books like oxygen:  I’m grateful for my one life, but I’d prefer to live a thousand – and my favorite books allow me to experience people and places and situations foreign to my own day-to-day existence.  I love experiencing the new, the novel, the otherwise impossible – especially when I can do it from my own comfy chair."

You Are There
"Books draw us deeply into the lives of others, showing us the world through someone else’s eyes, page after page.  They take us to new and exciting places while meeting us right where we are, whisking us away to walk by the Seine or through a Saharan desert or down a Manhattan sidewalk."

Life Through Books
"Book provide a safe space to encounter new and unfamiliar situations, to practice living unfamiliar environments, to test-drive encounters with new people and new experiences.  Through our reading, we learn how to process triumph and fear and loss and sadness, to deal with annoying siblings or friend drama or something much, much worse.  And when we get to that point in our real life when it’s happening to us, it’s not so unfamiliar.  We’ve been there before, in a book."

Previewing Life
"This ability to “preview” real-life experiences trough books is one of the big perks readers enjoy.

"It’s a truism that early reading shapes the reader your become. We look back wistfully at the readers we were as children, and at the books we read on our parents’ knees, the ones we read under the covers with our flashlights, the ones we giggled over with friends.  Then there were the books we read in school from kindergarten to high school and maybe beyond, under the guidance of other readers who hopefully illuminated the meaning of what we read."

Adulthood Reading
"But then it happens. School is over, classes are done, and we become responsible for our own reading lives. Nobody else is in charge of what we read; those decisions are now all ours.  Now we choose what kind of readers we want to be; we chose which pages will fill our lives.

"We don’t enter adulthood as fully formed adults, nor do we enter adulthood as fully formed readers."

Revisiting Books
"When we revisit a book we’ve read before, we see how life has woken us up to understand passages that previously went over our heads.  The book itself highlights the gap between who I am and who I used to be.  I imagine this is why readers frequently revisit their childhood favorites:  they take us back to who we were then, reminding us of times long gone by.  Rereading helps us see how we have changed.

"A good book, when we return to it, will always have something new to say.  It’s not the same book, and we’re not the same reader."

Bogel concludes by perfectly summarizing how books are such integral parts of our lives and how they define who we really are.  “When we share our favorite titles, we can’t help but share ourselves as well,” she writes.  Indeed, we are what we read – and maybe read what we really are.

To learn more of Anne Vogel, see: and

“Use, do not abuse.  Neither abstinence nor excess ever renders man happy.”

“We eat too salty and live too bland.”
--Toon Verhoeven

“A world in which a better one can be dreamed of is not the worst.”

--Julien de Valckenaere

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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2019. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.

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