Monday Musings | How You Do Find Your Next Read?

A Window Opens Elisabeth Egan Book Cover One More Page Blog

Today I indulged in one of my favourite guilty pleasures by stopping by the bookstore after work. I happened to see A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan on the shelf and remembered Lupita Reads‘ recommendation and excitedly picked it up. This made me think about my other recent purchases and it made me realize that I do most of my book discovery online. More specifically, my book blogger friends and publishers’ social media accounts play a huge role in introducing me to my next read.

In my publishing class, we learned about consumer habits in terms of book purchasing. I learned that books bought in non-bookstore environments (such as Costco) are more likely to be impulse buys, whereas the majority of people shopping at independent bookstores have a specific title in mind when they visit.

In terms of discovery, it seems like word-of-mouth is still the most effective way to help a book gain traction. Of course, a lot of our word-of-mouth communication has moved online.

And, while I’m sure there is some sort of bias in this sample (note: this is my attempt at sounding scientific), I want to hear how you discover books!

When was the last time you bought a book impulsively? Where were you? Where do you find out about new books? (eg. a newspaper’s books section, bestellser lists, bloggers, etc!)

10 Reasons Why I’m Thankful For Blogging and the Bookish Community

Karen One More Page Blog

When I started One More Page less than 8 months ago, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I mean, I knew it would entail a lot of reading and reviewing, but I had absolutely no clue how much it would, not to be too hyperbolic, change my life. I know it sounds crazy, but when I take an introspective moment and think about where I was last year compared to this year, I realize that book blogging has made a huge positive difference. Last year was difficult for a few reasons: I had just moved from Vancouver to Toronto and thus hardly knew anyone in this big city, I had just moved in with my boyfriend and that needed getting used to, and, to be honest, I had no idea how to work towards my passions even though I felt a strong urge to do something. So, as I gear up to celebrate Canadian thanksgiving this year, I thought I’d list 10 reasons why I’m thankful for blogging and the bookish community.

1. The amazing books I hear about on a daily basis.

I’m sure all book lovers will agree with me that our to-be-read piles can get pretty out of control. Well, let me tell you, book blogging and being more active in the online bookish community has definitely exposed me to A LOT of amazing books daily. I have to carefully pick and choose which ones to add to my to-read list or else it would be even crazier than it is now, but I’m thankful for the fact that I am constantly finding new books to love.

2. It has broadened my reading horizons.

The great thing about learning about so many new books every day is that some of them are books I never would have heard of otherwise. Better yet – some of these books are ones that I would never think to pick up had I not heard about them from trusted friends. Being in this community has given me a sense of adventure when it comes to reading again, and for that I’m thankful.

3. The community.

Who would I turn to when I need book recommendations if not for this wonderful, welcoming community? Whether I’m having a bad day and need someone to vent to or have just read an AMAZING book that I NEED to talk to someone about, you guys have always been there to listen. I’m so, so thankful for you!!

4. It has taught me not to be ashamed of what I like to read (aka taking the “guilty” out of “guilty pleasure”!)

When I was still in university and an English major, I would sometimes feel guilty admitting that I was REALLY excited for the new Shopaholic book or the new Meg Cabot novel. However, since joining the blogging/bookish community, I have finally found friends who understand what a hunk Michael Moscovitz is (Hi, Adriana!) and this has really made me come out of the “guilty” shell. So what if I occasionally love reading “chick lit” or young adult novels? That doesn’t make me better or worse than any other reader. Thank you, all, for finally setting me straight.

5. The wonderful friends I have met in real life.

As I mentioned before, I hardly knew anyone in the city besides my family members, boyfriend, and work friends after moving here last year. I’m so thankful for the bustling Toronto literary scene and for the wonderful bookish people that organize and go to those events! Thanks to these events, I’ve been able to meet some amazing people in real life and even though we don’t hang out all the time, it makes me so happy to see a familiar face from time to time. I want to make a special shout-out to Leah from Books Speak Volumes: I’m so thankful that you drove all the way to Toronto just to hang out!! Also thanks to CJ from ebookclassics for co-hosting the book blogger brunch with me! I can’t wait to do it all again. 🙂

One More Page kmn04books Summer Book Picks

 6. The authors.

Where would we all be without the amazing, inventive, and compassionate authors that write books for us to love every day? I’ve been so lucky to meet some wonderfully inspiring writers over the past year! Thank you all for writing books that have truly made me think, feel, and dream! Now if only I could get over that stutter I seem to develop when I’m near authors I love…

7. The opportunities.

There is no denying that book blogging has introduced me to things that I never would have been able to experience otherwise. Thank you to Penguin Canada for sending me my very first review book (the beautiful, heartfelt The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry), to Random House Canada for always being so supportive of me and my blog, to House of Anansi/Groundwood Books for understanding how cathartic it is to read books that make you cry, to the many other publishers and authors that have gotten in touch, and, most recently, the CBC for giving me my five minutes of fame on their website! 🙂

8. It’s really helped me feel at home in a big city like Toronto.

I know I’ve kind of touched on this earlier, but meeting bookish friends and attending literary events around the city has made me feel so much more comfortable here. I love that the bookish world is truly such a community, and such a friendly one at that! Book people are truly the best people. 🙂

9. It has pushed me to really love reading again after not reading for a year.

With the added exposure to so many great books, it would be difficult for me to NOT fall back in love with reading! I really believe that everyone is a reader. If you don’t think you like reading, it’s probably because you haven’t found the right book for you yet! I’m thankful for my reignited passion for reading.

10. It has confirmed my love for the bookish world and just how much I want my career path to be related to books.

Back when I was deciding whether to “take a risk” and become an English major, the main source of stress was the worry that nothing would come out of it career-wise. Well, three years have passed since I decided to dedicate all of my time and energy into literature and books and I really can’t say I regret it at all. My blogging journey has only reaffirmed how much I want to be, to quote Ariel, a part of this world. My goals are now clearer than ever and I am really, truly thankful. From the bottom of my heart.

I’m a little worried that I got too sappy there, but everything I’ve written here is true. I have so much love for what I do with One More Page and I am grateful for everyone that I’ve met and everything that I’ve learned in the past 8 months. Thank you thank you thank you. (I think I should also give a mini thank you to Sean, who doesn’t ever lose it when I keep getting more and more books…)

What are you thankful for this year, book-related or otherwise?

Monday Musings | Book Blogger Guilt

Remains Reread

(Excited about this beautiful book? Or hiding my face in shame? Maybe a bit of both.)

Hi friends! Happy Monday! I simultaneously can and cannot believe it’s been another week already. I think I’m still feeling the residual post-summer sadness/slump and so I haven’t been as motivated to read read read as I usually am (though I have been -slowly- reading some amazing books!). On top of this, I’m pretty busy at work these days as we’re gearing up for our annual sale. This means a lot of last-minute preparations and working longer hours. I hope I don’t sound like I’m complaining here because I love what I do and I am so appreciative of the things that I have learned; it’s just that I feel so tired after work that blogging is not always the easiest way to relax. For me, this slumpiness and blog-slackery has been leading me to something pretty unproductive: book blogger guilt.

Do you ever feel book blogger guilt? I have so many reviews to catch up on and so many post ideas waiting to be materialized that my procrastination while I’m at home makes me feel so guilty. I’ve seen a few release dates come and go and I still haven’t written my reviews for the books yet. Instead of picking myself up and writing these posts, I’ve been panicking about how I haven’t written the post. Thanks, brain! The worst part about this whole thing is that I do genuinely have things to say about these books… I just somehow can’t find the words and energy to do so. Everything has been leading to a feeling of general crappiness, making me feel unaccomplished and unmotivated.

So, here’s my question to you, fellow book bloggers: how do you do it all? Do you have a system where you write a post the moment you have an idea for it or do you set aside a time each week to do your writing? Do you ever feel guilty when you fall behind on blogging? How to you get yourself out of the slump?

So far the only solution I have is to learn to schedule posts in advance. This is going to be my new personal goal!

Monday Musings | “Rereadable” Books

This past week I’ve been thinking about re-reading books more than usual. What with the The Remains of the Day reread with Random House Canada (#RemainsReRead), and my insistence that David Mitchell’s new novel The Bone Clocks is a book that begs to be re-read, it seems to have been a theme on my blog lately.

This prompted me to wonder: why do we re-read certain books and not others? For me, whether I re-read a book depends on mainly two things. One, I will re-read a book if absolutely loved the story. Maybe its ideas really resonated with me, or the characters were so wonderful that they feel like old friends (hello, Harry, Ron, Hermione, Neville, Luna, Fred, George…you get the picture), or maybe it just has the magical ability to transport me into a different world, space, or time that feels extremely cathartic. If I finish the book feeling sad that I have to say goodbye to it, I will almost always add it to my mental “revisit later” list. Second, I will re-read a book if it holds sentimental value to me. Maybe I read the book at just the right time and it left a strong impression, or maybe I got the book as a graduation gift or a “pick me up” book after a rough time. If I have strong feelings linked to a book, I am more likely to pick it up again and read it for nostalgic purposes. Sometimes a book will combine reasons one and two – those books I am pretty much guaranteed to re-read. What makes a book re-readable to you?

Now, I don’t want to assume that everyone re-reads books because I’ve definitely come across readers that never re-read books, even if they loved a book the first time they read it. One of the main reasons for this, according to what I’ve heard, is time. There are so many new releases coming out each week that the reader doesn’t want to spend extra time on the same book. Being a sentimental person with a long TBR list I can see both sides, but eventually my attachment with some of my “re-readable” books wins out. There’s just something special about revisiting an old story and reconnecting with it. Plus, some books are so layered and intricate that you can always find something new within the pages, whether it be a detail you missed or a new angle you’ve never examined before, so I think that keeps a freshness to it too.

So, let me ask you: Do you re-read books? Why or why not? If you do, how do you determine whether a book is “re-readable” or not? As always, I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

One More Page Nominated for A Liebster Award!

Karen One More Page Blog

Today I woke up to the wonderful news that Shannon from River City Reading has nominated me for a Liebster Award! Shannon has been nothing but supportive and helpful to me since we met online, so it’s extra special that this nomination comes from her. Thank you Shannon!

With the nomination came 11 questions so get ready to learn 11 new things about me! Here goes…

1. Do you have a specific way that you organize your bookshelves? If so, what made you choose that system?
I actually don’t have a real bookshelf right now! I have a row of books on my window ledge and then a few stacks on a table and around the house. There are a few that are in a cupboard, but they’re not really displayed. When I did have a bookshelf, I organized them by publisher and then alphabetically. I like the look of having the same publisher’s books together (especially if they’re classics) and it would feel wrong to not have them lined up alphabetically (by author)!

2. How has your reading changed since you started blogging, if it has at all?
Great question! My reading has actually changed in a few ways. I keep more notes if I’m reading a book that I know I’m going to review now, and I pay more attention to how I’m feeling and how characters/plots are developing. Another big difference is that when I don’t like a book, blogging has forced me to think more critically about why. Before I started blogging I could easily write it off but I like that I have to justify my answers in a coherent way now.

The other thing that has changed is my reading taste! I used to stick to a few specific genres, but since blogging and reading reviews on other blogs, I’ve started reading other genres. I’m really happy about this because I could have been missing out on some amazing books otherwise! An example that comes to mind is Sara Benincasa’s Great. I’m not sure if I would have heard about it/picked it up if I hadn’t heard about it through blogging/Twitter.

3. Do you ever wish you had chosen a different career/education path? If so, what?
I went to school for English Literature and I’m so happy that I did. Reading and thinking critically about books is my passion (thus, the blog) and I hope to pursue a career in publishing, so I have no regrets at all! I’m hoping to go back to school at some point for publishing, but I love my major and am glad I did it!

4. If you had to guess, what percentage of your  reading do you think is done in print, e-book and audiobook?
Right now I read 100% print books. I am hoping to get an e-reader at some point, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. I used to listen to audiobooks a bit more but I find a lot of narrators to be hit or miss, so I prefer reading it on my own.

5. How did you choose the name for your blog?
I actually had a bit of a tough time coming up with a blog name. It was originally called kmn04books but I felt like I needed something more accessible. I was discussing this with my boyfriend when he suggested One More Page and I loved it! I feel like we’ve all felt the urge to read just one more page before bed/going to work/etc so I think it’s really fitting.

6. What was the best book you read last year?
Last year I graduated from university and took a hiatus from reading. It was unintentional but it resulted in me not reading very much. So I’ll go with Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being, a book I read early this year and loved. It was published last year, so I hope that counts!

7. What was the last movie you watched? Did you like it? Were you at home or in a theater?
The last movie I watched was Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I liked it! I don’t know very much about the Marvel universe but it was a very entertaining movie. I watched it in the theatre.

8. Do you read hardcover books with or without the dust jacket? Why?
I always read hardcover books without the dust jacket. I don’t know if it’s just me but I always find a way to crumple it up if I keep it on! I also feel like having the dust jacket on makes the book feel more delicate so I take it off to read more comfortably. I actually touched on this a few days ago when I asked whether readers had a preference between hardcover and paperbacks. You can still cast your vote here. 😉

9. What is a book you haven’t read but everyone keeps saying you should?
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt and The Orenda by Joseph Boyden. I’ve actually added them both to my mental TBR list but I just haven’t gotten around to it yet! The Goldfinch just won the Pulizter Prize for Fiction the other day and The Orenda won Canada Reads earlier this year, so a lot of people have been reminding me that I still need to read them!

10. What upcoming 2014 book are you most excited about reading?
I think I’m most excited for Terry Fallis’ No Relation! It’s about a guy who works in publishing and whose name is Ernest Hemmingway. I haven’t read anything by Fallis yet but from what I’ve heard he’s a really witty writer! So I’m really excited about this. I listened to chapter one on his website and I can’t wait to have the print copy in my hands.

11. What book do you wish everyone would read?
There are so many! I think the Harry Potter series goes without saying, but I also think that everyone should read Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being because it’s such a beautiful and meaningful book. I also have a soft spot for Oscar Wilde, so I always recommend The Picture of Dorian Gray too!

Thank you again for nominating me, Shannon! That was a lot of fun. I hope you don’t mind me using some of your questions! For my nominations I choose Honey, I’m Reading! and Jaaron at Worn Pages and Ink to win the Liebster Award!

My questions:
1. How long have you been blogging? What made you want to start book blogging?
2. Have you always been a reader or was reading a hobby that developed as you grew up?
3. Do you have any books that you attribute your love of reading to? Are there any titles that were really influential to you?
4. What is your favourite part about having a book blog?
5. Do you have a specific way that you organize your bookshelves? If so, what made you choose that system?
6. What is one thing about you that most of your readers don’t know?
7. Do you annotate your books or do you like to keep them clean and pristine?
8. Does a book’s cover influence whether you pick up the book or not? Have you read any books despite not liking its cover and been surprised by how much you liked the contents?
9. Where is your favourite place to read?
10. What upcoming 2014 book are you most excited to read?
11. What book do you wish everyone would read?

I can’t wait to read your answers!