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I’d Rather Be Reading

The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life

By Anne Bogel
12-minute read
Audio available
I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life by Anne Bogel

I’d Rather Be Reading (2018) is a collection of stories and anecdotes that document the life of a bookworm and offer advice to fellow bibliophiles. From overflowing shelves to forbidden reading, these blinks offer a colorful take on what it means to be A Reader.

  • Readers
  • Writers
  • Obsessive collectors and hobbyists

Anne Bogel is the author of the internet blog Modern Mrs. Darcy and presents the podcast What Should I Read Next? She has also written several guides to reading and book lists, including her own Reading People (2017). She lives in Louisville, Kentucky with several thousand books, four children and her husband.

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I’d Rather Be Reading

The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life

By Anne Bogel
  • Read in 12 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 7 key ideas
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I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life by Anne Bogel
Synopsis

I’d Rather Be Reading (2018) is a collection of stories and anecdotes that document the life of a bookworm and offer advice to fellow bibliophiles. From overflowing shelves to forbidden reading, these blinks offer a colorful take on what it means to be A Reader.

Key idea 1 of 7

Books are windows into the soul, present and past.

It’s the classic question most of us have asked or been asked at an interview or on a date: "What’s your favorite book?”

There’s a good reason for that. The books you like say a lot about you. They give a real insight into the soul of their reader.

Anne Bogel was asked that very question when she met a new friend over coffee one day.

But she wasn’t ready to divulge. It’s a pretty intimate question after all, and she was also worried about what this new friend would think of her answer.

If she’d made the case for Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited, maybe her friend would think she was a boring old windbag who restricted herself only to the classics.

On the other hand, if she claimed a soft spot for Marisa de los Santos’s lighthearted romantic comedy Love Walked In, maybe she’d seem a little more fun. The risk was that it might appear that she never tackled serious literature.

But of course, no one has the same favorite book forever; they change. If you remember what your old favorites used to be, then you’re also going to be reminded of who you used to be.

Just as the smell of a certain kind of floor polish can take you back to old school gymnasiums and memories of vaulting the horse, so books can take you back to certain times in your life.

Maybe you still remember which book you were reading when you took your first trip abroad. Or, more painfully, which books you chucked out when your heart was first broken. Every book is bound tight to the time in your life when you read it.

But like all memories, memories of reading can get mixed and foggy. That’s why it’s important to keep a record.

Some vociferous readers even keep diaries, logging key scenes and memorable quotations from books. Bogel was skeptical of such practices at first. She used to simply retort, “I’d rather be reading.” But then she became jealous of a friend who kept an especially rich log.

Ever since that moment, she’s written a simple log herself. Just when she can, and just a few details: the name of the book, the date, and a little star if she’s especially fond of it. Nothing more than that.

It’s hardly exciting, but it gets the job done. It helps her to remember all the books she’s read – hardly something she could do extemporaneously. All she needs to do is glance at a title, and she’ll be taken right back to when she was reading the book. It gives these volumes an afterlife they might never otherwise have had.

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