Category: Discussion

A Weird Paradox: Library Books Scare Me

Posted July 18, 2014 by Jana in About Me, Discussion / 21 Comments

Ok, this is going to sound really weird, considering I’m going to school to become a librarian… but library books scare me. A lot. I can’t really help it! Each time I go into the library and rummage through books, I leave feeling this strong urge to wash my hands. I have always hated the idea of taking a library book to bed with me because of all the germs! I’ve told you before how I can’t read when I’m sick, but I know so many of you who get your best reading done when you’re cooped up in bed for a week! What if you’re reading a library book while you’re sick, sneeze or cough on it, return it, I check it out, I scratch my eyelid while reading, and BAM!!! I’ve got a nasty cold. It’s a scary, scary thing to think about! What about those people who read on the toilet? *shudders* Or what if someone’s cat coughed up a hairball on the shiny plastic cover and the cat’s owner cleaned the book off with a tissue and returned it? I’m seriously grossing myself out here.

I guess this comes from my plain old fear of germs. I do have OCD, and have struggled with a fear of germs since I was 14. I used to wash my hands until they cracked and bled in 40-50 places (I’ve counted). I remember in my high school PE class I had to wear gloves during volleyball because my hands were so dry and cracked that I did not want to bleed on the ball. I’m much better now (it happens when you decide holding hands with and kissing boys is just too much fun) and do not wash my hands all the time or irrationally freak out when someone is sick. I’m just sensible and wash my hands at the normal times as dictated by social convention. Even though I have “cured” myself of this irrational fear, though, I do struggle with resisting the urge to slip back into my old ways.

Anywho, you’ll be very proud to know that I checked out my very first library book for pleasure reading (not research books or books for school) last month and even read it in bed! And I did not get sick and/or die! So I’m making progress. :)

How do you feel about library books? Have you ever worried about their cleanliness, or is that just something you’re not concerned with?


This Year I Will Read What I Love

Posted January 17, 2014 by Jana in About Me, Discussion / 41 Comments

You know… I’ve been thinking lately about what I read and WHY I read what I read. Maybe this comes with being a “seasoned” book blogger, or something, I don’t know. I think all of this thinking started when I was doing my year end survey a couple weeks ago. I realized that I read a lot of “meh” books in 2013. There were very few that made me scream from the rooftops, “THIS IS WHY I READ!!!” As I was trying to come up with answers to the various questions, I found myself wanting to answer with the same handful of books because those were the only ones I LOVED. I don’t want that for myself in 2014. I want to read books I love. I don’t want to force myself to finish a book if I’m just not feeling it. I don’t want to force myself to read a book if I’m not in the mood right then, and would rather read something else instead.

I read to fall in love. I read to travel. I read to visit friends. I read to escape. I don’t read to review. I don’t read to please other people. I don’t read for the publishers or the authors or the publicists or the blog tour hosts or even for my blog readers. I read for me! I review because I want to share my love of books. I don’t review because I have something to prove, or because I feel like I have to. I review for myself, and if my blog readers are interested in what I have to say, that’s awesome! I will love you! I love talking books with people! I love being exposed to books I never would have read otherwise. I blog because I love the friendship. See? I do what I do for selfish reasons. And that’s ok! I’m allowed to be selfish.

My goal for 2014 is to come away with a huge list of books I LOVE. I want a big long list of books I could not live without. I will not be afraid to decline a review request. I will not be afraid to DNF a book if I’m just not feeling it. I will not feel obligated to do this or that, and I will not feel obligated to NOT do this or that. I’m making 2014 about me. Yes, I am SO going to tackle my review books. I am going to improve my Netgalley review ratio like you would not believe, and I am going to blow up Edelweiss with my awesome reviews. I am going to read those ARCs like it’s nobody’s business. But I am going about it with a completely different mindset. I am going to do it for me. I will find my new favorite book this year, and I will sing and dream and talk and dance about it. And if I come across a book that I just don’t feel, I will move on. It’s like dating. I will say yes if a book asks me out. I will curl up with it and give it a chance. But if it hurts me or disappoints me or says things I don’t like or makes me cry for bad reasons, then I will dump it. I will not suffer through a terrible book date because that’s not good for the book, and it’s not good for me.

I feel like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders! I feel like 2014 is going to be awesome! You should really try this. The moment being a book reviewer makes you feel like you’re going on a ton of mediocre dates and will never find your true love, dump those books and tell yourself you’re worth more than that. It’s what your mom would tell you to do.

Am I really late to this happy world of realizations? Does anyone else feel like I do?


Do you Suffer from Blogging Anxiety?

Posted August 19, 2013 by Jana in Discussion / 11 Comments

As many of you know, I have been traversing the entire United States by minivan because of my grad school orientation at Valdosta State University. I have been gone for over two weeks, and this blog has suffered so much. I feel like I’m going crazy here! I had these huge plans to read lots and write reviews when I get to my hotel every evening, but by the time I get to one I’m too tired to do anything! Last night I got into the hotel at 12:15 in the morning, and the night before I got in at 1AM! Who has time?

And, of course, this has made me very anxious. My inner blogging monster is screaming at me to review ALL THE THINGS. And write ALL the posts!

 

So, what do you do? Are you plagued by this obsession to post all the time? How do you handle it? Are you ok with taking blogging vacations? I mean, I know you’re not all going to leave me because I take a little time off, but still! This just feels weird…
 
In other news, I get home tomorrow night! Phew!

Do you check back for follow-up comments?

Posted June 20, 2013 by Jana in Discussion / 33 Comments

I absolutely LOVE comments on my posts. I love interacting with readers of my blog, to discuss bookish things and even milestones in my life! I love coming to you all for advice, and that’s actually what I’m doing today.

How do I respond to your comments? Do I reply here, or do you not come back to check and see if I did? Do I respond here just in case, and to show other people that I do respond? Do I tweet you? Do I reciprocate and go to your blog and leave a meaningful comment on a review of yours, while also thanking you for coming to my blog and then responding to whatever it was you asked me? Do I email you? I just don’t know!!!

Bottom line, I don’t want anyone to feel ignored. I love all of you, and I want to make sure you know how much I appreciate it when you reach out to me! Advice, please! What do you do? How do you make sure your blog readers know you care about the comments they leave you?


Armchair BEA 2013: Blogger Development

Posted May 29, 2013 by Jana in Discussion / 65 Comments

Armchair BEA is a fun online event that those of us who could not attend BEA in New York City can participate in! There’s ways to network with other bloggers, posts on blogging tips, giveaways, and happenings at BEA from people who are there. Visit the Armchair BEA blog to see a schedule of events!

Wow… blogger development. What a daunting topic! I always feel inadequate to discuss how to become a better blogger, because there are so many times when I feel like a little newbie blogger, even though I’ve been doing it for almost 3 years! Well, I’ve been solo blogging for about a year and a half. Solo blogging is WAY different than collaboratively blogging with The Broke and the Bookish, let me tell you. And I’m still learning! Here’s what I’ve taken away from my experiences over the last year:

1. Be outgoing and make lots of book blogger friends! Everyone feels like a newbie at some point, no matter how long they have been blogging, or how awesome they seem to be. Just like in life, we all have our own insecurities. For this reason, and I’ve noticed this with most book bloggers, people in this bookish community are incredibly accepting and supportive. Lean on them for support, ask for advice, and be gracious.

2. Utilize Twitter. It’s an amazing tool that has produced and forged some of my best friendships! Plus, it’s a great way to get the word out about your posts AND find out about fun things in the book world.

3. Jump on the blog tour bandwagon, especially if you’re new. You get lots of awesome opportunities and you can meet a lot of cool bloggers and bookish professionals.

4. There is a fine line between an acceptable amount of memes and WAY TOO MANY. If you want to participate in a bunch of memes, don’t do EVERY one EVERY week. I do Top Ten Tuesday almost every week. Sometimes I’ll do a book haul post or a Waiting on Wednesday, but not every week. Try to come up with your own unique ideas that keep people coming back. Otherwise, you’ll fade into the huge crowd of book blogs out there.

5. Branch out of your reading comfort zone, and try something new. Chances are you will end up discovering something amazing. Before I was a blogger, I did not read young adult. I didn’t read contemporary, or dystopia, or paranormal. I read mystery and historical romances. Boring! I’ve become such an eclectic reader, and it’s thanks to my blogger friends. This might not do wonders for your blog, although being a versatile reader is very appealing, but it will enrich your experience as a blogger.

6. Support indie authors. In my experience, self-published authors are some of the most supportive authors out there. I’m not saying publishing house authors aren’t, but these indie authors are in the same boat as you are! They are trying really hard to get themselves out there, just like you are! And if you help them, they will help you. That’s how I got my name out there.

7. I really do not recommend follower memes or follower giveaways. You do not want to buy your readers. You want to earn them because they like you. Nobody makes true friends in school by giving them stuff. They sit and talk with them, establish a common ground, and hang out together. That’s how the book blogging world works, too. Go visit blogs, post sincere comments, and continue. You’ll make friends instead of followers.

8.  Ask your readers for their opinions. People LOVE explaining how they feel. Hosting discussions on your blog is a great way to meet people, gain friends, and learn something!

9. Don’t be afraid to show people who you are. Make your posts personal. You don’t need to give your address or full name to your readers, but let them know you as a person rather than a blogging machine.

10. Blog because you love it, or you will burn out fast. In the beginning, I was totally high strung. I had to have followers, I had to read every book everyone asked me to read, I had to post a review a day, I had to schedule out a few weeks of posts in advance, I had to comment on every blog I could find, etc. I stressed myself out! You can’t do that. You will never enjoy blogging if you turn it into a huge job. I did not want to dread reading or blogging. Once I realized I was doing this for myself, I began to have a lot more fun. Never, ever do more than you want to do. And if you hate a book, quit reading it. Life’s too short to read books not worth finishing.

Well, these are just my insights. When I get discouraged, I think of these pieces of advice that have been passed down from blogger to blogger. And yeah, it’s really hard to do all the right things all the time and have any kind of life, which is why the last tip is the most important. Do what you can, be happy with it, and know that it’s enough for you. And a reward system really doesn’t hurt. Go ahead and buy yourself that book you’ve been wanting. Blogging is awesome, we’re all learning as we go, and you’ll have an amazing experience no matter what happens!

So, what do you think? What are you doing to try and develop your blog, as well as your online presence, in the book community? Do you have any words of advice that I might also implement? Leave your links, and I’ll stop by!


Discussion: Reading Order for The Chronicles of Narnia

Posted May 28, 2013 by Jana in Discussion / 23 Comments

 

Ok. I am SOOOO confused. I’m about to begin this series for the first time ever, and I have seen the controversy over what order to read the books in.

There’s the order in which they were written:

1.    The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
2.    Prince Caspian
3.    The Voyage of the “Dawn Treader”
4.    The Horse and His Boy
5.    The Silver Chair
6.    The Last Battle
7.    The Magician’s Nephew

There’s the supposed chronological order:

1.    The Magician’s Nephew
2.    The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
3.    The Horse and His Boy
4.    Prince Caspian
5.    The Voyage of the “Dawn Treader”
6.    The Silver Chair
7.    The Last Battle

And there’s the publication order:

1.    The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (1950)
2.    Prince Caspian (1951)
3.    The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952)
4.    The Silver Chair (1953)
5.    The Horse and His Boy (1954)
6.    The Magician’s Nephew (1955)
7.    The Last Battle (1956)

What on Earth am I supposed to do? This is worse than the Star Wars movies. I’ve read compelling arguments for all three orders… but I still have no idea! I mean, I’m kind of leaning most towards the publication order, but I don’t know if it’s the best!! Plus, the Barnes and Noble leatherbound classic (from Kimberly!!) has them in chronological order. Ahhh!

I figured I’d go to the experts: you. How did you read the Narnia books? Have you read them in multiple orders? I need to know the best order for a Narnia newbie.


Can I Have that Book Yesterday?

Posted April 18, 2013 by Jana in Discussion / 8 Comments

You know how sometimes you’re lollygagging on the Internet, and all of a sudden come across a review, or an ad, or a fangirl tweet, or some peer pressure from a fellow book lover and you eyes light up and you think, “I NEED THAT BOOK NOW.” But of course, it’s midnight and the book stores are closed, and you have to work the next day so you can’t go shopping early, plus Amazon takes forever… and you’re not into the idea of buying it on your ereader because the cover is sparkly and would look awesome on your bookshelf, and why can’t you just HAVE IT NOW. Am I right? I can’t tell you how many times that this has happened to me, and in this day and age… with all the technology and cool things like instant mashed potatoes… well, you know what I mean. When I saw this hilarious video, I could not help myself. I started dreaming.


So tell me. What books out there have had you so terribly excited that there was no earthly way it could get to you fast enough? Have you ever gone to extraordinary measures to get your hands on a book?
I think the worst I’ve done is drag my mom to the midnight release of Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer. Haha! The line was a couple hours long, and it was a school night! :P Oh, I did pay $30 for an out of print mass market paperback that I just HAD to have! Too bad I didn’t even end up liking the book, and only finished it because I spent so much on it!

Bookish News: eReaders Allowed During Take-Off Next Year!

Posted March 27, 2013 by Jana in Bookish News, Discussion / 12 Comments

So, I fly a lot. And I LOVE reading on flights. And up until I got a Kindle, I was allowed to read any time I wanted on a plane. But then… I got my beloved Kindle and was told to turn it off for 20 minutes while the plane took off, and then for 20-30 minutes while the plane prepared to land. That’s almost an hour of sitting in my uncomfortable seat, staring at the people with their tangible books, who were still reading happily. Who here understands this frustration? I’m sure I’m not the only one.

So, guess what? It turns out there is no scientific proof that these devices cause any problems at all! I mean, iPads are used in the cockpit during take-off, and we have all lived to tell the tale of our flight! You know what this means for us? Rules are changing. And we might get an extra hour of reading time while flying. That sounds pretty cool to me!

Want to read more about this exiting news? Visit this article.

Discussion: So, tell me! What does this mean for you? Are you excited? Do you not really care? Did you never follow the rules anyway? Haha. Do you like reading on planes? Any good recommendations for plane reading? With summer coming up, I know we all need some good books to read while traveling!


Stephanie Perkins Gets New Book Covers?

Posted March 4, 2013 by Jana in Cover Talk, Discussion / 17 Comments

So… I love Stephanie Perkins. LOVE HER. And I love Anna and Lola. And I am SOEXCITED!!!! for Isla. But… I’m not sure how I feel about the cover for it. Or the new covers for Anna and Lola. Don’t get me wrong. I did not love the original covers either. But… they have become rather iconic, you know? And they looked like YA romances. These new ones don’t, in my opinion. I like the colors, the pictures, and the pull away from pretty girls on covers, but I really do not like the typography. I dunno. I guess they need to marinate in my mind a little, but upon first look, I’m kind of iffy about this…

 

Discussion: So, how do you feel? Do you like these new covers? If so, what do you like about them? Are you iffy like I am?


When a Sentence is All You Need… (#1)

Posted October 15, 2012 by Jana in Discussion / 3 Comments

 

Back before I blogged about books, I still rated them on Goodreads. I never really wrote a formal review, but sometimes added a sentence or two about my thoughts. Or… even now, sometimes I read a book just to read it, with no concern for reviewing it. Or I’ll get into a review slump and feel like I have nothing relevant or interesting to say. I still like to voice my opinions, though, so here are my two cents on a few titles I read just to enjoy.

The Adventures of Huckelberry Finn by Mark Twain
I actually enjoyed this!

Wither by Lauren DeStefano
So depressing… I have hope that the next book will be a little happier.

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Not as good as the first one, but still worth the read. Can’t wait for the third book!

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
You know… I wish there was a little more romance, but the suspense factor was amazing and the ending was sweet.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Oh. My. I just found my new favorite book. Seriously! This was adorable. And I am SO excited to go to Paris now!!

The Host by Stephenie Meyer
Oh my. Wonderful. I got so attached to the characters and the story was captivating. This is definitely Stephenie’s best.

Do your reviews ever look like this? Sometimes a sentence really is all you need to get your feelings out. And for my fellow book bloggers, do you ever decide to just not review a book? Both Wither and Anna were books I intended to fully review, but then chose not to.