Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Places to Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is Favorite Places to Read. I actually did this topic as a freebie a few years ago, but I’ll do it again — while most of my answers are the same, it’s still fun to think about where I love to read. (Simplest answer — everywhere!)

Note: Photos are all mine; the illustration are from free web sources.

My new round of top 10 reading spots are:

  1. My backyard

2. My cozy book room (aka, downstairs TV/hangout space):

3. In a park

4. On an airplane

5. At the beach

6. Any pretty outdoor spot

7. Any place I have to wait

8. At a silent reading party (this photo is taken at a pre-COVID reading party, but I’m hoping eventually the idea of reading in a crowded room with other people won’t feel so strange):

And for audiobooks…

9. On a walk

10. Driving

Where are your favorite places to read? Please share your links!





Top Ten Tuesday: Reasons Why I Love Reading

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is Reasons Why I Love Reading. It seems challenging to break down into an itemized list why reading is such a dominant part of my life, but here goes:

1). Reading involves my brain, my emotions, my heart… it’s an immersive experience that makes me feel and makes me think.

2) I’ve learned so much from books! I love entering another time period through historical fiction, or learning about a place or a culture I might not otherwise encounter.

3) I can never be bored — I always have a book with me! Waiting on a long line at the store or the pharmacy? No problem — more time to read!

4) Bonding — Even if we have nothing else obviously in common, if I meet someone who loves the same book as me, we have plenty to talk about.

5) Flights of imagination — I love reading about fantasy worlds and feeling them come alive.

6) Getting to know favorite characters in a series. A well-written series can make me feel like certain characters are a part of my own life.

7) Living vicariously. Let’s face it, I’m probably never going to wield a sword or explore new star systems, but reading lets me feel as if I might, even if only in my reader’s brain.

8) Oh, the smarts! I’m adamant that reading makes us all smarter. Vocabulary, geography, scientific concepts — you name it, and I’m better at it because of reading.

9) The calming effect — sometimes, when times are tough or there’s just a lot of stress, opening a favorite book can feel better to me than meditation or even a nap. I can immerse myself in a beloved story or world and come out of it feeling refreshed and ready to face the world again.

10) Gaining empathy and understanding: Great novels let us into their characters’ hearts and minds. Walking in a character’s shoes and seeing how life feels to them is key to opening our hearts to people whose lives might not mirror our own.

Why do you love to read? Please share your TTT links!





Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite quotes about books and reading

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is Favorite Book Quotes.

My focus this time around is quotes about reading. Here are some quotes I love:

“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”
– Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

“Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.”
– Lemony Snicket, Horseradish

“… a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.”
– George R. R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

“She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain.”
– Louisa May Alcott, Work: A Story of Experience

“A library is infinity under a roof.”
– Gail Carson Levine

“Despite his money and his looks and all the good-on-paper attributes he possessed, he was not a reader, and well, let’s just say that is the sort of nonsense up with which we will not put.”
– Eleanor Brown, The Weird Sisters

“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.”
– Philip Pullman

“Reading one book is like eating one potato chip.”
– Diane Duane, So You Want to Be a Wizard

“A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.”
― C.S. Lewis

“Make it a rule never to give a child a book you would not read yourself.”
― George Bernard Shaw


What book quotes do you love? Please share your TTT link!







I went to a silent reading party… and had a (quiet) blast

File this under “things only a book lover would understand”:

I went to a silent reading party this week, and it was the most fun I’ve had in ages!

What’s not to love? A room full of bookworms (book enthusiasts… book nerds… book freaks… ), drinks all around, silent (but companionable) reading, and raising money for a good cause. I ask you — can you think of a more fun way to spend a Tuesday evening?

(The fact that I can’t says a lot about me, I know.)

So here’s what it’s all about:

Drink, eat, and read. Silently.

Drink, eat, and read. Silently.

Silent Reading Parties started several months ago here in San Francisco, hosted by Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler) and Radio Silence. They’re held on the first Tuesday of each month at a downtown hotel — a hotel with a very stylish “library bar”, which feels cozy and bookish as soon as you step inside. Starting at 6 pm, talking stops and reading begins. And the room remains silent. For an hour and a half, there’s light jazz music playing in the background while 40 or so bookish folks sit and read.



Seeing how it’s a bar, there are drinks, of course. There are menu cards on the tables, so you can order drinks and munchies without breaking silence.

And that’s what we did.

I finished the last few chapters of Dark Matter by Blake Crouch, while my friend read volume six of Saga, then started on the “Weird Junior Edition” of the Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook.

We read. Drank some wine. Ate some fries. Grooved to the jazzy tunes. And then at 7:30, the silent time was done, and the readers shook themselves out of their trances. Some stayed and schmoozed, some went on their merry ways. And I’d bet that most will be back next month for more.

All this wild and crazy fun, and a good cause too! A portion of the drinks proceeds plus the contents of a fishbowl full of cash (which Lemony Snicket personally handed round for contributions) all go to support the library of one of our local public elementary schools.

reading-4As if I needed any further inducement to sit and read!

My son thinks I’m weird, and wonders why I couldn’t have just sat at home by myself with a book instead of going out to read. But he doesn’t get it… and I bet anyone reading this post absolutely does.

Booklovers are solitary creatures in their pursuit of great reading — but who says we can’t read alone, together?


Consider me hooked… and absolutely looking forward to next month’s (sssssh… no talking!) party.







That’s it. I’ve reached my limit. No more!

I hereby declare my freedom to read like a leaf on the wind… (excuse my mélange de metaphors). Watch how I soar!


Way back when — on January 1st, to be precise — I made all sorts of promises and resolutions. And, well… I suck at resolutions.

I swore that I’d cut back on ARCs and concentrate more on reading the books I already own, and to tell you the truth, I didn’t do an awful job. I did cut back. I paid attention to release dates. I made myself a handy-dandy Excel worksheet so I could track my ARCs. I tried to make sure I didn’t have more than 2 or 3 per month for the first half of 2016, and I did my best to read them all as their publication dates rolled around. And for the most part, I actually did pretty great! Yay me!



buffy but

I’m still frustrated. I’m down to my last 10 ARCs (ignoring the unread ARCs from previous years), and I feel duty-bound to read them — but damn it all, I have so much else I want to be reading.

My books are piling up, and I’m feeling weighted down. And my overall feeling is:


I don’t want to read according to a schedule. I don’t want to read what’s next on my calendar. I don’t want to read because I said I would.

I want to read what I want, when I want.

This isn’t anything earth-shattering, and I know I’m not alone. We all get frustrated. It’s the same old, same old story:

so many

I’ll repeat myself:

I’ve had it. I’m done. I need my space.

So yes, I’m going to finish the 10 ARCs still sitting here waiting to be read. After all, they’re all books that I wanted to read — I made sure to only request ARCs for books I’d read anyway, whether in ARC format, fresh from the library, or even requiring actual money to change hands.

But once I’m done, I’m done. I’m not requesting any more ARCs this year. Which feels like a huge step to take, but I mean it. If I want to read a new release that badly, I can get it from the library or bookstore. And once it’s in my hands, I’ll know if I really want to read it at that very minute.

I’m just sick of delaying the books that strike my fancy because there’s an obligation book staring me in the face. So no more!

I’m getting off the ARC train.


Starting now.

Thumbs Down: Generic Book Titles

Someone recently asked me what I was reading, and I was completely stuck for an answer. Not because I wasn’t reading anything at all, or because I wasn’t enjoying the book… I just couldn’t get the name right.

Title... title... I know I know it... argh...

Title… title… I know I know it… argh…

There seems to be a plague of generic, repetitive-sounding book titles right now. Just looking back at my own books from my Goodreads shelves, I see:

  • What You Left Behind
  • The Girl You Left Behind
  • Those Left Behind
  • The Secrets We Left Behind
  • The Secrets We Keep

Plus a bunch about meeting, leaving, separating, missing…

  • When You Were Here
  • After I’m Gone
  • Before I Met You
  • Far From You
  • Until We Meet Again
  • Since You’ve Been Gone
  • The Last Time They Met
  • The Day We Met
  • The Next Time You See Me

To tell the truth, there’s:

  • The Truth About Us
  • All the Truth That’s In Me
  • The Truth About You and Me

More repetitions, patterns, and just general general-ness:

  • The Moment of Everything
  • The Theory of Everything
  • Maybe in Another Life
  • The Opposite of Maybe
  • Then and Always
  • The Here and Now

It’s not that these aren’t good books. Most are! But so many books have these bland, could-mean-anything titles — so when I look back at a list of book that I’ve read, I have a really hard time connecting these generic titles to a particular plot. Which is a shame, because in a real-life conversation without Google or Goodreads right in front of me, I’m stuck saying things like “that book I read about the boy with the dead parent” or “the one about the twin sisters” or some other unhelpful nonsense.

Do you have any book titles that you constantly mix up? Have you come across books with switchable, forgettable titles? Please tell me I’m not the only one who gets tripped up by interchangeable titles!


So. Much. Confusion.


You know things are bad…

… when you can’t even enjoy a good book.


Dealing with some unexpected stuff in my “real” (aka, non-book-related) life that’s turned kind of icky. And the worst part is, when I try to escape into the pages of a book, I’m completely unable to concentrate.

Not fair!

When life sucks, the book cure should always work!


Tried to listen to an audiobook while driving home, as I usually do, but it was completely pointless. I kept having to hit the “back” button when I’d realize that my mind had drifted away.


I shall persevere! I refuse to let the yuck keep me from my #1 cure for everything.


If only I could get my brain to turn off the distractions…

books 2

But I’ll be brave, march forward, and go stick my nose inside my book one more time! If I try hard enough, I’m pretty sure I can make the rest of the world go away.


After all:



Bookish Confessions: I buy books AFTER I’ve read them.

It’s not as bad as it sounds, really.

It’s not like buying a fancy dress, wearing it to prom, and then returning it after the weekend.

Nope. It’s actually much more innocuous than that.

Especially since I started blogging, I’ve become much more careful about spending my precious book dollars. The more I read, the more I’m tempted to buy… but because I read so damn much, my piggy bank could end up empty if I’m not careful!

book order pic

I’ve always been a library fan, and now I get totally excited when I get approved for an ARC that I really, really want to read. BUT — the problem arises when I read a book and end up loving it, and then I start feeling all mournful about the fact that I don’t have a nice copy of my new love sitting on my shelf, where I can pull it out and admire it, or just say hi when I walk by.

(Do I have an unhealthy relationship with my books? That’s a topic for another day.)

Book quote plato

So lately, I’ve mostly been reading borrowed books or ARCs… but then I end up falling in love, or else realize that the finished book is so gosh-darn pretty, or just can’t handle the fact that the book I just cried or laughed over lives on my Kindle, so it’s hard to pick up and hug.

Case(s) in point:

I fell in love with The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin — and couldn’t rest until I’d spent my Amazon gift card on a hardcover of my own.

I read an ARC of The Serpent of Venice by Christopher Moore, and really was feeling pretty satisfied about the whole thing… until my friend showed me her hardcover, with its maps and red letters and blue edges… and well, I was a goner. Bought. Done. On my shelf.

Is it a bit silly to buy a book I’ve already read? Well, maybe. Will I ever read it again? Why exactly do I need it on my shelf?

Well, it makes me happy. And yes, some I will read again. But mostly, it just warms my heart to know that the books I love are living in my house where I can see them whenever I want to.

*Humming with happiness* Why, hello there, Outlander. How’s your day going, Gone With The Wind? Wassup, The Sparrow? (Yes, my family does think I’m weird, to put it mildly.)

What about you? Do you have any odd habits when it comes to buying books? Do you ever buy books you’ve already read?

Share your bookish confessions in the comments!

Bookish Confessions: What would you give up for a bit more time to read?

When it comes to priorities, reading is right up there at the top of my list (along with food, shelter, and hugs).

I can and often do give up sleep (desperately needed, I might add) for the sake of another half-hour… or hour… or two of reading time.

Several years ago on a family camping trip, my son informed me that I didn’t know how to have fun — because while he and my husband were going out on the lake in a motorboat for an hour, I decided to stay on the lakeshore with a book and a blanket, and had a wonderful time reading in the sun instead.

Reading_woman_2 quote

Last week, I’d planned to go to a group exercise class on my lunch break… then skipped it when I realized I could put that time to better use finishing the book I was reading.

And over the weekend, my husband and daughter invited me to join them for a movie on cable… and I declined, because I’d been planning to read my book for an hour or so.

So, yes, I’m guilty of ducking out of exercise AND family time for the sake of reading.

book quote

How about you?

What have you skipped for the sake of more time to read? Share your bookish confessions in the comments!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Popular Authors I’ve Never Read


Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, featuring a different top 10 theme each week.

Here is my list of authors whose works I’d really like to read… but for whatever reason, it hasn’t happened yet:

Patrick Rothfuss: I’m really looking forward to reading his Kingkiller Chronicles series — but in keeping with my reading resolutions, I’m not going to start these books until I know that book #3 has a release date scheduled.

Kristin Cashore: I have all of the Graceling Realm books on my shelf… but just haven’t gotten around to them yet.

Agatha Christie: I always thought I should give her books a try.

Alexander McCall Smith: I’d like to try his books — either the #1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series or his 44 Scotland Street books.

Ned Vizzini: I’ve been wanting to read It’s Kind of A Funny Story, although I think I’ve hesitated lately just because it’s so sad to read a book by a talented writer, knowing his life was cut short.

John Corey Whaley: Still haven’t read Where Things Come Back, winner of the 2012 Printz Award.

Paolo Bacigalupi: I’m under the impression that I’ll love this writer, based on all the great things I’ve heard about Ship Breaker and The Windup Girl.

China Mieville: I have a friend who keeps insisting that I’ll love China Mieville if I give him a try… but frankly, I feel intimidated every time I think about starting one of his books. Sigh.

And here’s where I’m interrupting my top 10 list… because in my first draft, the rest of this post ended up sounding super negative and cranky, all about authors whose books I didn’ want to read… and frankly, it sounded kind of obnoxious. And who needs that?

So instead, I’ll use the rest of my TTT energy for going to a happy place… oh, like this, for example:

(And if that video doesn’t work, you can also see it here:

Which popular authors have you not read yet… but really, really want to? Let’s keep it upbeat, folks — I’m in my happy place right now!

Share your links, and I’ll come check out your top 10!

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