just keep reading, reading, reading.

i made a decision at the beginning of the year.

i had read probably ten books so far, and was looking over my booklist, when i noticed that of all the books i’d read so far, only one of them had been a reread. that’s kind of cool, i thought. and then i had an interesting idea. what if all the books i read this year were ones i’d never read before?

i liked it, but then i realized i would have to reread the hunger games before the movie came out to refresh my memory, because how else was i going to accurately compare the movie as derived from the book?

turns out i didn’t have time to do that, and i actually remembered the book pretty well anyway, since i basically reread it to write this post.

it also meant, and i didn’t realize this until about last week, that whenever i manage to get my hands on insurgent (which would’ve been the day it came out except i have an inexplicable dislike of hardcovers, and refuse to buy them under just about any circumstances. shauna niequist’s bittersweet is about the only exception, and i don’t even have an explanation for why), i won’t be rereading divergent. but jessica put a link on her blog to a recap by veronica roth, so it looks like that problem is solved, too. whew!

i also decided that this year, i was going to read books that broadened my perspective, which meant, much like last summer, more books i was trying on whims, more nonfiction, more memoirs, and more not-the-same-stuff-i-always-read.

some of you might remember the two pictures on instagram that came toward the end of each semester this past year, prominently displaying stacks of books, with a precise count of how many in the caption. i have been in too many libraries for too many research projects this year, i’ve decided.

& sometimes, when i am in these libraries, i have delusions about what i’ll do when i’m done researching whatever projects i’m in the middle of at the time.

for instance, i was in the library about a month ago snatching up every book i could on france in world war ii and the massacre at oradour-sur-glane four days after d-day when i saw a book entitled ten years’ exile by madame de staël. it’s the memoir of a frenchwoman who was the bane of napoleon’s existence (or probably just one of them, as i imagine napoleon had similar feelings for the british, for example, as he did for this woman).

the book is overdue at the university library, so on friday, i finally sat down to start it, get it over with, and turn it back in. it was absolutely inconceivable to me that i turn it in without reading it first. if i get a book from somewhere, i have to read it. it might take me a while, but i will read it.

so i started madame de staël’s memoir, and then i decided, as interesting as this woman is, as interesting as napoleon is, and as interesting as france and this time period and a myriad of other characteristics of the memoir i was reading are, i didn’t want to read it.

in fact, the only thing i decided i wanted to read, fresh off what felt like a thousand different research projects on a thousand different things, was fiction. good fiction, obviously, but fiction. my favorite fiction, too: colleen coble, jenny b. jones, denise hunter, and whatever else i could find that was delectably fictitious – but not anything i’d previously read before, because let’s face it, i have to stick to at least one carefully thought out decision i’ve made this year, right?

so i put it down and watched tv instead.

the next day i sat and thought about reading madame de staël again, but i still didn’t want to. and that was the point at which i finally was like, “life is too short to read a book you don’t want to read, however broadening it might be, so there,” and picked up colleen coble’s new book, which i’d bought at barnes and noble a month or so ago as a tantalizing promise that once classes were out i would indeed have a life again, and as a motivator for finishing well.

and sunday i forewent thinking about madame de staël altogether and went straight for jenny b. jones’s there you’ll find me, which i preordered last august, if you will believe it, in anticipation of its october release; received it the day before it released; didn’t have time to read it during the semester, and then just never read because i knew i was going to love it and wanted to save it for after i read other books that i had borrowed, because i had to actually give those up at some point in my life.

so there you’ll find me has languished on a shelf for months, but i finally read it sunday and it was like another breath of fresh air. fictitious fresh air, but whatever.

& i think i have finally scratched madame de staël’s memoir off my list of books to read. life is too short to read something you don’t want to when you have a stack of books waiting that you do want to read.

with that said, i’m looking for recommendations – and they don’t have to be fiction; i’ll read anything, besides madame de staël or books published by university presses – to keep me occupied in the hours i’m not working or filling out job applications. if you’ve read anything good lately, let me know!

also: my sweet friend erin is dropping a load of awesome stuff on a lucky winner, so if you like free advertisement, target, starbucks, & accessories for home and hair, you best head on over. i threw in a custom blog design, too! best of all, there’s no madame de staël to be found.


  1. says

    Yay for a post about books! 😉 I’ve been reading more this year than I have in a long, long time. Basically, I cut back on television, because there are so many books I want to nose dive into. Geek out, much?

    Just finished “Devergent” and can’t wait to start the next one. I think I’ll download it on my nook next week.

    My two cents on books to check out:

    “I Will Carry You” by Angie Smith
    “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett
    “House Rules” by Jodi Picoult
    “Plain Truth” by Jodi Picoult
    “Number The Stars” by Louis Lowry
    “The Bridge of Peace” by Cindy Woodsmall

  2. says

    no madame de stael. got it.

    i loved reading tyfm! jenny b. jones is such a sweetheart (i met her in person last summer and she gave me a free copy of her book ‘save the date’ and signed it for me and then i went to a class where she taught on fiction writing, very helpful) and her writing style is just so hysterically delicious.

    i totes agree with ya on the whole “life is too short to read a book you don’t want to read, however broadening it might be…” bit. and i agree. i actually have a book that’s been sitting in my room for well over a year that i was supposed to review way back when, but i could never bring myself to finish it. it’s rare that a book pains me too much to not read it through until the ending, but this one took the cake and unfortunately ate it too.

    i just finished reading liz curtis higgs’ book ‘really bad girls of the bible’ yesterday and i loved every single page of it. there was so much grace and wisdom to be found in that book!

    as far as fiction goes though, i just started reading erin morgenstern’s ‘the night circus’ and every page is tantalizingly and vividly written. i’m looking forward to seeing how the story goes, and ends.(yes, there was an f-bomb in the beginning of the novel that i wasn’t too crazy about stumbling upon, but it did somehow fit the time, the character and the situation, not that that makes it right. lol!)

    happy book hunting to ya, friend! =)

  3. says

    Re-reads for me never seem to happen (no matter how much I may want it) because I have so many “new” novels to read – seriously, it is not even funny how many books are lined up on the bookshelf!

    Hm… I just read The Lucky One which was actually “good.” Am reading a novel by Julie Lessman (gosh but her books are passionate!) and also recently finished Becky Wade’s debut novel. It was quite good albeit more of a sweet nature.

  4. says

    I completely agree that life is too short to read books you don’t want to read. I used to always think I just hate reading, but really I just hated the books I was forced to read in school. I’ve got so into reading the past year and I love it! I love reading what I want to read when I want to read it. So much better than reading for class most of the time. 😉

    – Katelyn

  5. says

    anything Elisabeth Elliot, Corrie ten Boom, Jim Ellio, AW Tozer — will do. I’m currently re-reading ten Boom’s tramp for the Lord. Too good! And I rarely read a book twice.

  6. says

    I loved “Number the Stars,” which Mrs. Pedersen suggested.

    I also LOVE Carrie Ryan–start with “The Forest of Hands and Teeth.” It’s riveting.

    And Ally Condie’s “Matched.”

    They are probably two of my favorite books.

    “Fight Like a Girl” is also a good, faith-based book … although I currently can’t recall the author.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *