You Know You Are A Reader When

You have a stack of unread books at home, but you still buy more. All those novels you bought ages ago? They’re still sitting on your shelves collecting dust.

You’re running out of space, yet that doesn’t stop you from adding to your collection. Which means you have to get creative. You end up stacking, squeezing, and shoving.

You would rather be in your room than go to a club. There’s nothing wrong with spending more time around characters than your friends. Besides, fictional people will never judge you or your decisions.

You can’t stop talking or writing about books. That’s why you started a book blog. Now you’re able to rave on and on without anyone interrupting you.

You tell people to read certain books until they finally cave. Afterwards, you have one-sided conversations where you’re doing most of the talking. You can’t help extolling the virtues of your favourite author.

You wonder what fictional characters would do. So you proceed to channel them, believing yourself to be a super cool protagonist.

You get books as gifts from family and friends. They know you need to read as much as you need to eat. Better yet, they’ll leave you alone when you crack open the latest novel from a beloved author.

You can never find a comfortable reading position. Anyone who needs glasses to see knows the struggle is even more real.

If you liked this post, you might enjoy You Know You Are A Writer When.

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A Q&A About Books, Goodreads, And Reviews

Why do you read?

I need to escape from reality or else I’d lose the little sanity I have left.

Why did you make a Goodreads account?

I didn’t want to rely on my memory to track the books I’ve read. Especially since I’m not getting any younger.

What do you look for in a book?

A good story. Great writing doesn’t hurt either. I like characters I can relate to, resonate with. Give me character development or give me fictional death.

What made you start writing reviews?

It wasn’t enough to read books. So I decided to review them too.

What are your reading goals for 2018?

They’re similar to the resolutions I made in 2017. I want to read every day. I’d also like to expand my bookshelf a bit. I tend to read more fiction than nonfiction, so I want to dip my mind further in the latter.

What are your reviewing goals in 2018?

I’m a bit behind on getting my reviews up, so if I can catch up that’ll be ideal.

Happy reading!

A Life Update You Didn’t Ask For

As I’m prone to do, I’ve been thinking a lot. Which is how this post of thoughts came to be.

I think I like the idea of making changes to this blog more than I like making change.

Obviously, my brain obsesses over blogging when I’m swamped with schoolwork. But maybe over the holidays, I’ll tinker with things.

Somehow, NaNo is in full swing. To be quite honest, I’m not trying to reach 50,000 words or any kind of a word count for that matter. Right now it’s enough to write every day even if the words are terrible.

I’m writing prose. I hope to start a novel and see the story through until the end. So far so good.

In a perfect world, I’d make writing my first priority. But I don’t live in a perfect world. It’s still a priority, just not my first or only.

My reasoning is when I’m eighty years old I won’t be able to dance to the extent I can now. I doubt my body will respond well to doing cartwheels then. Though I like to believe I’ll still be able to write when I’m an old lady.

For that reason, I’m trying to dance as much and as well as I can at this age.

Dance isn’t something I bring up much on this blog. I wonder if I should. There are definitely parallels I can draw between dancing and writing, blogging.

On another note, I’m quite pleased with my reading. Not so with my reviewing. I’m horribly behind in editing and posting book reviews.

I realize I’m better at keeping up with fictional novels than I am with non-fiction. Still, I try to read some non-fiction on the subway ride home, even though I don’t say so on Goodreads. I’m just more casual with my non-fiction reading.

Overall, I’m doing the best I can. That’s what matters to me.

I debated not bringing up school, but since I’m a full-time student, I figured I will. Despite all the assignments due this month and next, I’m managing. I haven’t failed anything. I like to believe I won’t.

If you’ve read this far, kudos to you. I hope you’re doing well. Wishing you the very best life has to offer. Take care. I want to see you around here.

 

The Importance Of Timing In Reading

Everyone is entitled to their opinions, especially when it comes to books.

Sometimes, maybe even most of the time, I’m hesitant to read a popular novel. For a few main reasons.

I don’t want people to hype up a book for me only for it to disappoint because of high expectations.

I also feel odd when I’m in the minority. Either I love a book that people generally don’t like or I dislike a novel everyone seems to adore. In that case, I tend to feel like I’m missing something. As if I didn’t get the essence of the story.

It’s easy to look at reviews or seek out other readers’ opinions nowadays. Thanks Internet.

It’s also easy to form a bias before reading something because of what someone else says. That’s why I typically avoid reading book reviews before I begin. I don’t mind looking at reviews after I’ve finished a novel.

Often times I find others are able to say what I want to say more eloquently than I ever could. Or better yet, reviewers are able to specify an issue or ten they had with a book that I did too.

When I decide whether or not I want to buy a particular book, I don’t usually read reviews. I’ll read the synopsis or summary. Maybe the back cover or the first page.

I want to form my own opinion without the influence of anyone else, even if I trust him or her.

Going back to popular books, there are a number of reasons why I haven’t read Harry Potter. And some days I wonder if I ever will. The whole being let down is part of it. As well as the prospect I may not love this series as much as my friends.

I’m a huge believer that timing matters. When exactly you read a certain book can change your entire perception of it. I know there are books I appreciate better now than when I read them five, six years ago. Even five, six months make a huge difference.

Same goes for books I’ve read recently. I feel I would have enjoyed them more had I read some earlier in my life like in elementary or high school.

Regardless, reading really is remarkable. So don’t let anything or anyone stop you from enjoying a good book at any time in your life.

A Q&A About Reading Habits

Lately, I’ve been wondering about my reading habits, which led to the creation of this post.

What’s your policy on finishing books?

I try to finish every book I start regardless of whether I love it or not. As a kid I abandoned stories more easily, but I’ve gotten better at sticking with something if I start. It helps that I pick up books I want to read now.

How often do you read?

Daily.

How much do you read?

As of right now, I strive to finish 50 pages every day.

When do you read?

Mornings because I prefer reading in natural light. Sometimes I’ll have one reading session in the morning and another in the afternoon. If I’m busy during the day, I settle for evenings or nights.

Do you read one book or multiple books at a time?

One book at a time. If I have to read more than one, that’s fine. I tend to do so when I’m in school. I’ll read a book for class and read something else for fun. Way back when, I used to read a fiction and nonfiction book simultaneously. But my nonfiction game has been nonexistent nowadays.

Is there anything you do before or after reading a book?

I wash my hands prior to and update my GoodReads status if I remember. Key word there is remember. Sometimes I forget because I’m old and getting older with each passing second.

Now I’m curious about other people’s reading habits.

Different Ways To Organize Your Bookshelves

Lately, I’ve been moving my books around because I’m not entirely happy with the way they’re displayed on my shelves. But I don’t know how I want to rearrange them exactly, so I decided to write a blog post about different ways you can organize your bookshelves.

By alphabetical.

Do the author’s last name or first if you’re so inclined. You might even decide to go organize according to the titles of each book. It’s up to you.

By colour.

Ombré. Rainbow. The possibilities are endless.

By genre.

Have one shelf for fantasy, one for mystery, etc. This is a good way to see what you like or dislike.

By height.

Shelves look more uniform when books are the same size. This is a fact of life. My heart breaks when I buy a novel that doesn’t fit in with the others.

By love.

Have your favourite books on one shelf. You can play favourites with novels. That’s totally ethical.

By status.

What you’ve read, what you’re currently reading, what you want to read. I have a shelf for all the books I own but haven’t read yet. Without fail, I’ll read a few novels on my to-be-read shelf only to buy many more. I almost always enable my own addiction.

By story.

Is it a standalone? A series? Also consider grouping books by the same author together. Because why not?

By type.

Paperbacks here. Hardcovers there. Easy, fast, simple. You’re good to grab and go.

By however you want.

Obviously, you can organize your books any way you like. Feel free to use one or a combination of the methods listed above.

Let me know how you organize your books. I’d love to get some inspiration for my shelves. It doesn’t help that I’m starting to run out of space either. But that’s a problem I’ll tackle another day.

A Rant In Regards To Reading

This post may or may not be a rant depending on your definition, but it will be about reading.

I think it’s important to read what you want and to enjoy your reading experience. No, you might not love everything about a certain book, but try to find something you do like.

Even though I read as an escape from real life, reading for me is almost akin to living in a way. I get to live different lives through fictional characters.

Maybe I’m using reading as a metaphor or analogy for living. I’m not too sure. Contrary to popular belief, I’m not an English major.

I just hope readers don’t feel pressured to read what they don’t want to just because everyone else is. Case in point: Herminia and Harry Potter.

I also do my best to finish what I start, especially if I chose to buy the book with the thought I’ll enjoy the story. Or at least, enjoy some aspect of the work. Sometimes, it’s the writing. Other times, I’m a fan of the plot or I’m fond of the characters.

Besides, reading what you enjoy will always win out over the alternative of not enjoying yourself.

Am I ranting or rambling? I’m not even sure at this point. Now that I’m older and wiser, I hope going forward, I will decide what’s best for my interests. Not allow others to decide for me.

So go ahead, read what you want. If you realize you aren’t enjoying the book, read something else.

It’s perfectly fine to pick up another novel if you aren’t enjoying the one you’re on right now.

Reading, like life, is about timing. Perhaps you don’t appreciate a certain book at this exact moment. But maybe in the future, you will.

That might mean you’ll grow out of books. Stories you loved in the past might not have the same effect on you years later. This is okay.

After all, readers should read what their heart desires.

Live your life. Read the books you want. Have fun. Enjoy yourself while reading.

You don’t get that time back.

20 Lessons I Learned As A Reader

I spent nearly all my life around books, so here are 20 lessons I’ve learned as an avid reader.

  1. Start.
  2. Try to finish.
  3. Timing is everything.
  4. Read what you want.
  5. Read when you want.
  6. Read how you want.
  7. Just read.
  8. Study what works.
  9. Never stop learning.
  10. Books are great teachers.
  11. Seek out other readers.
  12. Some stories won’t resonate with you.
  13. You can still take something away from a novel you didn’t like.
  14. Give books a chance.
  15. Step outside your comfort zone.
  16. Enjoy the act of reading.
  17. The right book at the right time can change your life.
  18. Leaders are readers.
  19. Make time to read.
  20. Happy reading is the best kind of reading.

What is something you’ve realized as a reader of books? I’d love to know down below.

Why I Love Reading Books

I think it's no surprise that I love books. More than a lot of things and many people in fact. But why exactly do I love papers with ink on them so much?

As a kid, I've always liked reading even before I realized I did. I buried my nose into all kinds of books.

Mainly because I enjoyed learning, and I still do. I'm all for gaining as much knowledge as I can. I especially want to know more about subjects that fascinate me.

Being able to escape from the real world was always welcome for me. Sometimes we just need to get away, be distracted for a little while.

At some point, I wanted to write my own books. As much as I love reading other people's stories, there's nothing quite like telling your own.

Of course, I love words. That's why I'm a writer. Reading books ignited my passion for writing stories.

In elementary school, I had a much smaller vocabulary. Younger me wasn't as confident with the English language as I am now, even more so when it came to writing in it.

I can still recall a memory of myself in class. I always asked this much smarter student how to spell certain words I didn't know at the time.

Interestingly enough, my first language isn't English. I grew up in a Cantonese speaking household. Back then, my parents didn't speak much English. So for several years during my childhood, I felt more comfortable with Cantonese, my mother tongue. After all, it was what I spoke at home.

Only after reading a bunch of English books did my communication skills improve. Over the course of my elementary schooling, I saw my grades in Reading, Writing, and Oral Communication increase little by little.

Nowadays, I still crave exposure to new ideas and beliefs. I may not agree with everything, but at the very least, I get a chance to see the perspectives of others. More importantly, I try to understand.

I owe writers and authors a lot. They keep inspiring me to speak, to share.

Frankly, I have little desire to spend my money on anything that is not a good book.

Spewing Bad Writing Advice

I spew plenty of advice all the time, especially when it comes to writing.

So here goes nothing.

The first sentence of your story should make readers want to read the second. So on and so forth.

Try to establish a conflict or some kind of tension as early as possible. If you can do so in the first paragraph, fantastic. If the conflict arises on page one hundred and ninety-nine, you may want to revisit everything before it.

What's necessary? What isn't?

Clean up your messes. It's fine to info dump everything in your head on the page the first time around, but take care of them when you come back to edit.

If you listen to nothing else I say, for which I don't blame you, hear me out on this: you are not obligated to follow anyone's writing advice. Listen. Learn. But you are your own writer.

What works for you may not work for someone else. Similarly, what works for others might not work for you. So you should do what works best for your own writing.

Make your reader care. Give them a reason to. Many even.

Dare to say something different. Think about what others are saying and say the complete opposite. Play devil's advocate.

Never neglect any element of storytelling. Create a compelling character or twenty. Throw them into a messy situation with conflict. Advance your story's plot at a good pace. Establish setting, location. Think about themes.

When you're stuck, consider the five senses. What can your protagonist see or hear? How do they feel? Does he or she smell something strange? Don't forget about taste.

Be unpredictable. Do the unexpected. Surprise yourself and subsequently your readers as well.

Take writing one word at a time, one day at a time.

Writing an entire novel or 100,000 words can seem daunting.

But writing 1,000 words or one page every day for a year isn't so bad.

I'm a broken record, aren't I?