Would I call myself an avid reader? Yeah, man. A consistent reader? Nah.
I often neglect my books for days on end, even when I know I need a break from all the noise of screens + people + thoughts. It's become a real form of self-care for me that is truly essential.
If I don't consistently make time to read every day, I inevitably fill my 'empty' time with a screen. (Right now that screen plays 13 Reasons Why, and I just want to find out WHAT ALL 13 REASONS ARE SO I CAN GET ON WITH MY LIFE but the episodes are so freaking long and I have hobbies and shit to do! But I digress...).
Anyway, whether I read every day or not, books always seem to play an integral role in my life. I'm always looking at cover art, or making lists of books I need to read, or slipping into another used book store, or...well, you'll see. Just keep reading, eh?
Things I've Read Recently
Basically, I have a goal to read 30 books this year, but I also made it a goal to read several longer books this year. Longer books that I've been wanting to read for a while. And sure, I'm a pretty fast reader ... when I read. But, like I said, I often won't read for days on end. But recently, I did finish a few books that were all great!
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
I got through about 1/2 of this book before realizing that a woman wrote it. It's about male friendship + life + pain + abuse and it's really engrossing and long and good and mostly interesting. I do believe I'm a sucker for books about groups of friends, but the real reason I picked up this hunk of paper was because I was tired of seeing the cover everywhere and people exclaiming Ohhh it's so good and saaaadd and I criieed. It is good, it is totally sad, and I did cry.
The Arab of the Future by Riad Sattouf
I didn't know much about this before picking it up at the library. This is just part one of Riad Sattouf's memoir, and it depicts Sattouf as a child moving around the world with his parents. i loved it, but it has detractors; some believe he writes + depicts Arabs as stereotypical. Some people say it's impossible to clearly remember such detail about the early years of one's life. I don't know. I guess I just really enjoyed reading it. The visuals. The small funny things. I found the book reflective of life itself: mundane and profound in fits and spurts. Very short read; finished it in 2 hours. Can't wait to read the other parts!
Turning Japanese by MariNaomi
Please write + draw your entire life forever until you die.
I'm Currently Reading ...
... The Ground Beneath Her Feet by Salman Rushdie. And no joke, people: I can't find it anymore. My book. Where is it? I don't know. This is a real predicament. I bought this book some time last year in a feverish frenzy of book-buying. It's been sitting on our shelves/floor stacks for nearly 12 months and the minute I actually start reading it, I promptly lose it. I don't where it is, ya'll. After I finish this post I'll probably go on a hunt through the house. Ever rock and every stone shall be upturned!
I actually started a different Rushdie book back in college: The Satanic Verses. (Such a spooky name!!!) I never finished it, but I got far enough to be intrigued by his writing style. It's like, kind of magical and all about human interaction. It vaguely reminds me of Haruki Murakami. Anyway, I'm super pumped to read this one. Fingers crossed I find it later today and then buckle down and finish it this weekend! 💪
I Got Much Love For Book Clubs
So I started joining book clubs in Phoenix cos I wanted to meet people and have social interaction in a scheduled, pre-determined manner. I joined three! Two of them were excellent; one was a mistake that actually got me caught up in a really annoying group text for months afterward.
I only went to one consistently. It was the best one, though. The other one seemed like it had potential to be great, but the one and only book discussion I attended was after we read Gone With The Wind and I found myself at a table full of HWHITE people who thought GWTW was (HA!) actually an accurate depiction of antebellum south and slaves and the KKK. Byeeeee!!!!!
After that, I had to miss the next few meetings because of previous engagements and then we moved away never to return again.
Meanwhile, back in Illinois, I also decide to join a book club. SYKE! I actually just made a book club because I want to be the change I want to see in the world. There's one established book club (on Meetup) in my area, but they read mostly contemporary, new fiction.
I really wanted to read 'classics' and books that I always hear about but never make time for because I'm a buster. So I made that group. Heeelll yeah! It's called Classic Reads and we had our first meeting 2 weeks ago and decided on our first book club book: Gabriel García Márquez' One Hundred Years of Solitude.
I also discovered Belletrist, an online book club created by Emma Roberts (my lowkey fave) and Karah Preiss. The website design is dope, which I always appreciate, and so far, they've picked books I'm really interested in reading! Plus, a couple weeks after I found Belletrist, they were also promoted by two of my fave #bookstagrammers ...
Instagram + Books = Love
Yes, there is a niche for literally everything on Instagram, and books are a hugely popular flat lay piece, so #bookstagram (and other related hashtags) seems like a no-brainer.
I actually discovered the book lover's area of Instagram through a friend I follow on the app. Since then, I've been equal parts obsessed with and opinionated about #bookstagram,.
[Actually, sidenote, that quote that Hannah Horvath of Girls says in the final season: "I don't give a shit about anything, yet I simultaneously have opinions about everything." is always ringing in my head because it feels so relevant to everything + everyone in my generation. Including the way I use + view Instagram.]
I have a few fave accounts that I follow, and always have my eye out for nice cover design (because yeeessss, I judge every book by it's cover why would you NOT) and books to read in the future. It's fun! If you don't already, you should def follow @oosterbook, @bookmateriality, and @anintrovertedmess. And, uh, me of course!
Hey! Ho! You've reached the end of this post! You should let me know in the comments: What have you read recently? Do you follow any dope #bookstagrammers?