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I'd Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life

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For so many people, reading isn't just a hobby or a way to pass the time--it's a lifestyle. Our books shape us, define us, enchant us, and even sometimes infuriate us. Our books are a part of who we are as people, and we can't imagine life without them.

I'd Rather Be Reading is the perfect literary companion for everyone who feels that way. In this collection of charming and relatable reflections on the reading life, beloved blogger and author Anne Bogel leads readers to remember the book that first hooked them, the place where they first fell in love with reading, and all of the moments afterward that helped make them the reader they are today. Known as a reading tastemaker through her popular podcast What Should I Read Next?, Bogel invites book lovers into a community of like-minded people to discover new ways to approach literature, learn fascinating new things about books and publishing, and reflect on the role reading plays in their lives.

The perfect gift for the bibliophile in everyone's life, I'd Rather Be Reading will command an honored place on the overstuffed bookshelves of any book lover.

156 pages, Hardcover

First published September 4, 2018

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About the author

Anne Bogel is an author, the creator of the blog Modern Mrs. Darcy, and host of What Should I Read Next? podcast.

Her newest book Don’t Overthink It: Make Easier Decisions, Stop Second-Guessing, and Bring More Joy to Your Life came out on March 3, 2020.

Her second book I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life explores the way our books shape, define, enchant, and even sometimes infuriate us. It’s the perfect gift for any bibliophile and will command an honored place on the (overstuffed) bookshelves of any book lover.

Reading People: How Seeing the World Through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything digs into Anne’s experience with the personality frameworks she loves the most and walks you through 7 different frameworks, explaining the basics in a way you can actually understand. She shares personal stories about how what she learned made a difference in her life and shows you how it could make a difference in yours, as well.

Modern Mrs. Darcy, which derives its name from a Jane Austen book, is a lifestyle blog for nerds who appreciate Anne’s modus operandi of approaching old, familiar ideas from new and fresh angles. While Modern Mrs. Darcy isn’t strictly a book blog, Anne writes frequently about books and reading. Her book lists are among her most popular posts. She is well known by readers, authors, and publishers as a tastemaker. In 2016, she launched her podcast What Should I Read Next?—a popular show devoted to literary matchmaking, bibliotherapy, and all things books and reading.

Anne lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with her husband, four children, and a yellow lab named Daisy.

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Profile Image for Dr. Appu Sasidharan (Dasfill).
1,145 reviews2,179 followers
August 31, 2022
The reading tastemaker, Anne Bogel (from the popular podcast- What should I read next), apprises us with the new strategies of approaching literature. There is nothing better than this book to quench your thirst for bibliophilism.

What I learned from this book
1) Why is it important to read books?
Reading helps to improve your attitude, focus, empathy, vocabulary, communication skills, personality, and confidence. It is one of the important hobbies that can change your life.
"Books provide a safe space to encounter new and unfamiliar situations, to practice living in unfamiliar environments, to test-drive encounters with new people and new experiences. Through our reading, we learn how to process triumph and fear and loss and sadness, to deal with annoying siblings or friend drama or something much, much worse. And when we get to that point in our real life when it's happening to us, it's not so unfamiliar. We've been there before, in a book. This ability to "preview" real-life experiences through books is one of the big perks readers enjoy."

2) The art of rereading books.
I am a person who is crazy about rereading books. I have been rereading some books I love the most, like the Bhagavad Gita, for an umpteen number of times. The author tells us the importance of rereading in this book.
"When I find myself in a dreaded reading slump, nothing boosts me out of it faster than revisiting an old favorite. Old books, like old friends, are good for the soul. But they're not just comfort reads. No, a good book is exciting to return to, because even though I've been there before, the landscape is always changing. I notice something new each time I read a great book. As Italo Calvino wrote, "A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say." Great books keep surprising me with new things."

3) How can you select a good book?
This is a very complicated question to ask. Different people have different methods for selecting a good book. Ms. Bogel tells us the most accepted methods here.
"When we talk about reading, we often focus on the books themselves, but so much of the reading life is about the reader as an active participant. To put a great book in your hands, here's what I need to know: When you turn to the written word, what are you looking for? What themes speak to you? What sorts of places do you want to vicariously visit? What types of characters do you enjoy meeting on the page? What was the last story you wished would never end? Which was the last volume you hurled across the room?"

4) How does a reader evolve?
This is a vital process in a reader's life - the transition from reading due to other's insistence to reading as a personal preference.
"Every reader goes through this rite of passage: the transition from having books chosen for us to choosing books for ourselves. When given the choice, some choose not to read. But you, dear reader, moved from being told what to read to choosing for yourself. From reading on assignment, perhaps to please someone else, to reading at your own leisure to please only yourself. When faced with the task of establishing your own reading life, you did it, or maybe you're still in the middle of doing it."

5) Which is the only lifestyle that gives you the right things at the right time?
Reading is the only lifestyle which gives you this benefit.
“For us, reading isn’t just a hobby or a pastime; it’s a lifestyle. We're the kind of people who understand the heartbreak of not having your library reserves come in before you leave town for vacation and the exhilaration of stumbling upon the new Louise Penny at your local independent bookstore three whole days before the official publication date. We know the pain of investing hours of reading time in a book we enjoyed right up until the final chapter's truly terrible resolution, and we know the pleasure of stumbling upon exactly the right book at exactly the right time."

6) Why is it said that every book is a new opportunity for changing our life?
Every good book we read gives us an opportunity to alter our lives in the best way possible.
“To readers, those books—the ones we buy and borrow and trade and sell—are more than objects. They are opportunities beckoning us. When we read, we connect with them (or don’t) in a personal way.”

7) What is the most important thing in the life of a reader?
We should devote adequate time to select books. Never ever regret for spending more time reading book reviews or surfing books in a bookstore. It is one of the most important things in a reader's life as it helps to select the right books that suit our personality.
"As a devoted reader, I lovingly give countless hours to finding the right books for me. I don't think those hours are wasted; part of the fun of reading is planning the reading. But I've learned that sometimes, despite my best efforts, a book unexpectedly finds me and not the other way around. And when it does, it's okay to reshuffle my To Be Read list and go with it."

8) Why books are always better than movies?.

Books are almost always better than movies. There are only very few exceptions for it. There are many reasons for it. The most striking reason I found is that books are more creative and detailed, which helps us visualize the characters in a certain way.
"Your favorite book becomes a movie, and you're terrified to see it because you're fond of the way you picture the characters and hear their voices in your head."

9) The relevance of classics in the modern world.
Classics will help us to understand the different worlds and civilizations and historical perspectives.
"She decides to reacquaint herself with the works that have endured: Jane Austen, Jane Eyre Anna Karenina. (And thereby learning the timeless lesson that would serve me well in the years to come: if you're looking for a great book, going old is never a terrible idea.)."

10) Why is it said that reading is personal?
Reading is considered as an intimate act, perhaps more intimate than any other human activity. The author marvelously describes why it is considered an intimate act.
"When we read, we connect with the books (or don't) in a personal way. Sometimes the personal nature of reading is kind of a pain, making it difficult to find a great book for an individual reader. Sometimes finding the right book feels like a hassle—especially if you're standing in the bookstore aisle or perusing the library stacks or even scrutinizing the teetering pile on your nightstand, debating what to read next—when all you want to do is find a book you will love, that you'll close in the span of a few hours or days or weeks and say, "That was amazing." A great book. That's all you want. But reading is personal. We can't know what a book will mean to us until we read it. And so we take a leap and choose. Reading is personal and never more so than when we're sharing why we connect with certain books."

11) Bookworms concept of vacation
The concept of vacation and summer camps are entirely different for readers compared to others.
"You take five books to the pool because you can't decide what to read next. You can't comfortably manage your purse because you shoved three books in on the way out the door, unable to decide what to read next. You pack twelve books for a five-day vacation because you can’t decide what to read next”

12) How can you make your children read books?
This is a crucial question that many of my friends ask me. The answer is pretty simple. If you start reading books, your children will automatically follow you. If you buy many books and try to make your children read them, there is a very high probability that they will never obey you. But if they see their parents enjoying reading, they will also become a good reader. It is because parents are always children's superheroes.
“I have hopes and dreams for my kids, as parents do. I hope they'll live right and live well, find love and fulfilling work, and not endure too much heartbreak on the way. And I also, specifically, hope that one day—when they're old enough to choose for themselves, apart from me—they'll discover that they too are book people. One day, not as far off as I would like, they'll head to the bookstore with friends, or on a date, or on a quiet weekend afternoon to spend a pleasant hour by themselves. Not out of habit or duty, but because reading is part of who they are. It's in their blood. They're book people."

13) The things only the bookworms will understand.
There are many things in the literary world that only bookworms will understand. The author is mentioning a few of those in this book.
"You can't put the book you just finished behind you because you still want to live it. You have a terrible book hangover, and it lasts three days. Ibuprofen does nothing for it. You're sad because whatever you read next can't possibly be as good as the book you just finished. You despair because nothing you read can possibly be as good, ever again. You finish an amazing series and need to grieve that it's over. You need to mourn the loss of a beloved character. You wonder why these events have no cultural markers, because you definitely need one"

14) Is your bookshelf a reflection of your personality?
The books you chose to read says a lot about your personality. Every book on your bookshelf tells a lot about the type of person you are. The way you arrange books on your bookshelf (whether it is color-coordinated or alphabetized, or cluttered) is a cogent reflection of your psyche.
"When we share our favorite titles, we can't help but share ourselves as well. Shakespeare said the eyes are the windows to the soul, but we readers know one's bookshelves reveal just as much."

15) Why are book reviews crucial in a booklovers life?
Book reviews are very important in a booklover's life. Good reviews will help them to select good books much more easily.
"Bookish enthusiasm is contagious, but it isn't sufficient—not if I want to find the books that are truly right for me, and for you to find the ones right for you. It's easy enough for me to say, "I liked that book," or "I didn't," but I often struggle to explain why. I'm constantly surprised at how difficult it is to articulate my thoughts on what I've read in a way that is coherent, useful, and enjoyable, whether I'm sharing a five-thousand-word formal review or a twenty-word text message. But I feel I owe it to my fellow readers to try, because my comments help others decide what is worth reading and what should be read next."

My favourite three lines from this book
“If my real life reminds me of something I read in a book , I'm reading well -- and I'm probably living well, too.”

“To hand you a great book, I don’t just need to know about books; I need to know you.”

“I’m constantly on the lookout for like-minded readers, those kindred spirits whose circles overlap my own on the Venn diagram of reading tastes.”

What could have been better?
This book is just 156 pages long, and I finished reading it quickly. That is the only negative thing I can tell about this book. I wanted at least 500 more pages in it because I simply loved reading it.

5/5 If you are a bibliophile, grab your comfort food during the weekend with this book because you are going to have a fun-filled ride with a lot of déjà vu.
Profile Image for Anne Bogel.
Author 7 books54.8k followers
April 8, 2020
It has just come to my attention that I never reviewed my own book! Well, I'm making amends for that right now, today.

I hope readers find that this beautiful book does exactly what it set out to do: entertain readers and delight them, make them laugh and maybe get a little teary, cause them to nod in understanding and pause to consider their own reading lives.

I hope this book inspires readers to remember why they fell in love with reading in the first place, and to look to the shelves in libraries and bookstores and even their own homes with renewed enthusiasm. I hope this book places more than a few new-to-you titles on readers' TBRs, and prods them to return to old favorites.

This is a book by a devoted reader, for devoted readers—and readers, I hope you love it.
Profile Image for Mischenko.
1,014 reviews97 followers
February 21, 2019
I found I'd Rather Be Reading at my local library and couldn't resist. I wasn't familiar with the author and it was the title that made me grab it. This was a fun, quick read containing a collection of short essays regarding life as a reader. Learning about the author's experiences as a bibliophile was interesting and I found that I could relate to many of them, especially the essays about book problems, how books shape us as people, and how books find us.

As a devoted reader, I lovingly give countless hours to finding the right books for me. I don't think those hours are wasted; part of the fun of reading is planning the reading. But I've learned that sometimes, despite my best efforts, a book unexpectedly finds me and not the other way around. And when it does, it's okay to reshuffle my To Be Read list and go with it.

I found certain parts more entertaining than others and even had a few good chuckles. Honestly, I didn't think all of the content was spectacular (not all of it hit home), but I like the way the author wrote it. I think any reader can find something to enjoy in this book.

3.5 stars
Profile Image for Lauren.
432 reviews
August 5, 2018
Readers, listen up.

This book is a hot beverage & a cozy blanket on a chilly evening, or a cold glass of sweet tea on a summer’s day. It is Bag End to Frodo Baggins. It is delighted gasps, mhmmm’s, giggles, “I never thought of that!”s, & “I do that too!”s.

It is the perfect gift for a fellow reader or the perfect comfort read for a Tuesday. (Or any other time ending in “day”.)

Pick this one up ASAP & spend a minute with a kindred spirit. You won’t regret it.
Profile Image for Reading_ Tamishly.
4,297 reviews2,289 followers
September 7, 2021
I can so relate well with the author.
What she feels about reading, writing, other authors,the different types of readers,book hoarders and so much more.
No one has ever put down in words the life of a reader so well.
There are many books that were mentioned in the book that I am planning to read. Yes, reading a book on books does that👍
Recommended to all. This will be a very encouraging book for those who plan to read more.
One of the best reads ever👌

*I really need to reread this one.

(I reread it and I can relate much more now!
January, 2021)
Profile Image for Virginie Roy.
Author 1 book599 followers
February 27, 2021
Do you have a friend with whom you can talk about your reading addiction? I don't really have one, but I felt like Anne Bogel was mine while I was reading her book. I enjoyed this feeling so much!

I read a couple of nonfiction books-about-books, but that's the first one where the author talked about libraries as much as Bogel did. She understands me so well... Was this book written about me or what? Just like her, my dad used to buy books and my mother used to bring me to the library. It was my heaven and I consider myself lucky to visit the same library (a few times a week) since almost 30 years.

Bogel's collection made me think about my reading life, my reading evolution. I remembered the first books that touched me, the ones I read more than once, the ones I read just at the right moment (sometimes a couple of years after buying them)...

I almost bought this book a couple weeks ago, but decided to request it from the library. When I started it, at first I regretted not buying it because I already loved it so much, but the chapter ''What I Need Is a Deadline'' made me laugh: I have to admit, if I had bought it, I would not have read it yet. Thanks to the library deadline (three days from now), I read this wonderful book... Now, I can buy it and read it again later!

(Would next week be too soon?)
Profile Image for daph pink ♡ .
929 reviews2,560 followers
June 28, 2022
I felt like I was holding a mirror. This book will go down in the history my bookish life as one of the most relatable ever. And the fact that so many people can relate to this book bought an immense sense of joy bevause that way I know I am not alone.

This book cekebratea READING TROPES like :- living close to library, re-reading, picking up those comfy books again and again, finding the right book at right time, working at bookstore and our favourite one adding books to our never ending tbr and many more.

Can't recommend it enough to the fellow bookworms around the world..

Profile Image for Megan.
137 reviews
November 5, 2018
Well, here I am again, having a total opposite opinion about a book than the majority of people on Goodreads! I promise I wanted to like this and am not just being contrary just for the sake of it!

So important thing to note: I have 131 books on my "books-about-books" shelf so you could very much say it is my thing. I’d say about half are of the same non-fiction anecdotal/essay style as this one.

I listen to Anne's podcast about books pretty regularly and again, I think I may be the only reader not head-over-heels obsessed with her. I basically listen more for whoever the reader is that week and their insights/book choices.

I sometimes (well often) think that I am a very sweet, patient, mannerly person. I’m a teacher. And an introvert. And generally slow to anger or speak up in crowds.

But then I listen to this podcast or meet someone like Anne in real life, and I am like, “oh yeah, I forgot, I am blunt as hell.” She is lovely but I just have too much fire in me for Anne and I want to scream “LET IT OUT” to her! If you have ever listened to her podcast she is always very gingerly saying things like, “I know some readers don’t like to say they HATE a book so what book do you not care for…” or “the subject matter was just too much for me….” Just a complete difference in personalities (reading and otherwise). I will rant and rave about things I hate (books or otherwise) and get just as worked up as what I love. I read dark and bitter and depressing and weird. I am also all about the cozy, let’s feel comforted aspect about reading. But for me, she never pushes deeper than that. I want to know random facts you learned and tangents a la Nick Hornby! I want your ranting about how much you hate an author. I want more off-the-wall choices and odd stories about her reading life. I want lists and creativity!

This just felt so blah and safe to me. Every essay was very surface level and not that well-written. As someone who has read a lot in this category, I didn’t feel like any essay was something your average avid reader couldn’t have come up with themselves. I bet if I didn’t read a lot of “books about books” I may feel more generous. I’d have that “WOW, she gets it” feeling. But I don’t.

For better takes on the genre (is this is it’s own genre? It is at least it’s own dewey decimal section..) I recommend:

Housekeeping vs. the Dirt by Nick Hornby and all volumes in his collections of Believer columns where he just writes about books

Judging a Book by Its Lover: A Field Guide to the Hearts and Minds of Readers Everywhere by Lauren Leto Snarky and fun.

The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe More of a fleshed out memoir with a story but talks A LOT about books. Also his new one Books for Living is just as good.

Bibliophile: An Illustrated Miscellany pretty and informative

So Many Books, So Little Time: A Year of Passionate Reading by Sara Nelson Been a long time since I read this so hopefully it holds up but I remember loving it.

How Reading Changed My Life by Anna Quindlen Really short and veers into sentimental like this but with more substance!
Profile Image for Jami Balmet.
Author 8 books569 followers
September 8, 2018
I’m a little torn on this one. Really I think I would give this a 3.5. I enjoyed the chapters (the first half probably more) and found myself nodding along a lot as a fellow bookish girl. But after getting to the end of the book, I felt it was a little dull. I love and cherish books and I love encouragement for reading more...but the book gave little else. I thought she would go into HOW to pick the right books for you, tips she’s learned from picking books for dozens of people on her podcast, etc. This book is definitely a gift book. It was a light, enjoyable read but not a cherished favorite or anything. If you are wanting a more in depth and practical book on the topic, I highly recommend Book Girl by Sarah Clarkson.
Profile Image for Carol.
829 reviews482 followers
December 11, 2018
I'm a fan of Anne Bogel's. I read her blog, The Modern Mrs. Darcy, listen to her podcast, What Should I Read Next?, so it was a no brainer to read her book, I'd Rather Be Reading. The subtitle alone brought joy to this reader.

One of my favorite parts of Bogel's book memories was her time spent living next door to the library. Imagine what this means to a book lover. Any time the library is open you can just swing on by.

Her love of reading began at an early age. Her mother grew up visiting the library, her father grew up visiting the bookstore. Her mother took her to the library and set her free, letting her choose to her heart's content. Her father took her to the bookstore where he let her wander and browse. Bogel does not wander far from the tree. Nature or nurture, she had it made.

She's one of us, a bibliophile with heart. And she makes darn good recommendations. What's not to like?
Profile Image for Cara.
267 reviews189 followers
August 25, 2022
Let me start off by saying this cover is so cute!! What's not to love about a book with books on the cover? If you are NOT a reader you will NOT understand this book at all. I'd Rather Be Reading by Anne Bogel is a book lovers delight. As Anne was talking about her reading habits it made me laugh because I was like yup, I do that too!! This book was absolutely amazing, and I agreed with it most of the things she was talking about. Anne mentions other books you might want to add to your tbr list, for me this was a bit hard because I have a never ending tbr pile. My mom picked up this book from the library, and when I noticed she was reading it, I kept asking her day after day if she was done because I knew I had to run to this book. I apologize for this review being so long, but I'd love to hear some of your thoughts if any of you struggle with anything while reading📚💗!!!

For so many people, reading isn't just a hobby or a way to pass time, it's a lifestyle. Books are a part of who we are as people, and we can't imagine life without them (I AGREE)!. When I was thirteen-fourteen years old I fell in love with books, when high school started I fell out of love with reading because of school, in 2020 I decided to give reading a try again, and ever since I haven't stopped! I'm the type of person who logs my books on goodreads, but I also have two notebooks where I write everything down. One notebook is filled with books I want to read and books I've read throughout the years, in the other notebook is where I do my challenges. Most people would think that's too much but it helps me stay organized, but it also helps in case you lose your goodreads account.

"You forgot to eat dinner because you were finishing your book". So, I resonate with this quote a little bit because when I'm reading I won't get anything else done, I'll say oh I'll do it in a second and never get to it because I want to finish my book. "Part of the fun of reading is planning the reading", I agree with this quote a lot because I have all my books planned out, sometimes I'll be going through goodreads and find books I really want to read asap, which causes me to shuffle my tbr and put those books on top. Organizing your bookshelves can be a bit difficult, "Buy books you don't like and will never read because they are beautiful", this is a big problem for me, I'll buy books or pick books up at the library because I just love the cover, but will never read because I don't feel strong about the genre or it's not my go to.

A bookworm problem I struggle with is, "you realize halfway through a book that is part of a series and you accidentally begin with book four", I have done this so many times because I thought the cover was eye catching and it was one of my many favorite authors, but I have learned my lesson with this to check goodreads. Another bookworm problem is "Your tbr list is longer than your arm, but you still can't decide what to read next", this is a huge problem for me because I have books on my tbr I placed there months ago and never want to read them because I found better books that caught my attention or an author comes out with a new book and you know you have to run to it asap. "Someone asks you to name your three favorite books, but you narrow your list". I strongly agree with this quote because I'll be in a book discussion and someone will ask me my top three favorite books, but I can't pick ONLY 3 because I read so many amazing books that instantly become my favorite (Reminders of Him by Colleen Hoover and so many more!)

Here's a question for anyone who reads this review, with so many books to read, how can I possibly decide what to read? What to read now? What to read next? I'd love to hear some of your thoughts!!

My biggest problem that I do is I read a book and then I tell my mom to read it instantly because I know she hasn't read it yet, even though I know she has a billion of her own books to read. Something else I learned in this book is that readers love pens, for me this is a bit hard because I read a lot of e-books, but when I read a physical copy of a book I like to right down notes of things I want to add in my review. "You know everything you need to know about a person from the answer to the question, WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE BOOK?

You know a person when you ask them what is your favorite book, and they tell you "I don't read"😱!! We then can't be friends because reading is my life💗📚!!!!! IF YOU ARE A BOOK WORM I HIGHLY RECOMMEND READING THIS AMAZING CUTE LITTLE BOOK!!!!
Profile Image for Anna.
758 reviews513 followers
September 24, 2018
Having finished the book, the one question I had in mind was “What was the point of this book?”

Nothing I haven’t already read in perhaps hundreds of lengthy articles and quirky blog posts of my favourite bookish people, and even then, from one link to another, I felt more connected and got more in-depth approaches to almost every imaginable bookish problem than this collection of vignettes evokes.

To quote the author: “Did I just choose to spend four hours of my life on this?” Granted, it was an hour, but still...

Not what I was expecting! Although it is true that 9 times out of 10 I would rather be reading than do anything else, I wouldn’t go as far as to shove my bookish pretentiousness in my friends’ faces. Unless you follow me on GR you don’t know what I’m reading or how many books I manage to finish in a year, and unless you specifically ask me whether I would recommend this or that title, I don’t wear flashy signs with “You have to read this!” or “I’m a book nerd, hear me roar flip the pages of my current read! It is awesome!”

More than disappointed, I was annoyed...

This might be a useful book for a younger reader.

1.5 stars
Profile Image for Lori  Keeton.
478 reviews107 followers
February 24, 2023
3.5 stars rounded up

How good it is to be among people who are reading.

Several years ago I stumbled upon this wonderful little podcast called “What Should I Read Next?” In it, Anne Bogel acts as a book matchmaker to her guests who provide her with a little background on their reading habits, likes and dislkes. Because I discovered the podcast after it had already begun, I had to start from the beginning and binge listen. Let’s just say, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Anne as she used her gift and knowledge of books in order to provide her guests with their next favorite read. I gleaned so many new authors and books and my TBR grew rapidly. Anne’s love of Wendell Berry and Wallace Stegner came across loud and clear and I picked up Berry’s Jayber Crow and Stegner’s Crossing to Safety as a result. And I cannot be more thankful for the gift of these two authors.

In her first book, Anne’s thoughts and reminiscences are amusing and jovial. Anne recognizes how personal reading is and that each one of us is our own unique bookish self when it comes to choosing what we like to read. She personalizes her own reading life and demonstrates through anecdotes how readers change and what we like to read is affected by our lives.

I particularly enjoyed the chapter about confessing your literary sins - you know those guilty secrets that only a fellow book lover would understand. I’m sure you’ve already noted a few your own!

She gives us insights about reading from the perspective of childhood all the way through adulthood and into motherhood. Culling our personal libraries and reorganization of our shelves can be quite daunting for book lovers. The importance of rereading our favorites because if it’s a truly good book, we will glean something more from it especially because we are not that same reader. I especially loved Anne’s chapter that talks about all the readers that we are throughout our lives. We are the culmination of all the different ages and stages of our reading lives and because of all of those reading memories, we are the reader that we are. Take all of that away, and we would not be the same.

I am happy to have finally read Anne’s first book which is really a memoir of her own bookish life. Anne likes to say she is a kindred spirit to those of us who are bookish people. Thanks Anne for putting into words what many of us have experienced in our own book-filled lives!
Profile Image for abigail ❥ ~semi-hiatus~.
254 reviews578 followers
September 26, 2022
5 stars
"Shakespeare said the eyes are the windows to the soul, but we readers know one's bookshelves reveal just as much."

This was one of the most relatable books I have ever read. It's a book about reading books and what it's like/feels to be a bookish-obsessed reader. Bogel talks about and describes so many thoughts, feelings, actions, etc. that I myself as a reader have experienced and it was incredibly exciting. Each person's reading experience and habits are different but it truly is exceptional to know that something you do is a, "What? You too!" kinda moment. Because be as it may, each reader is different— but we have many similarities and commonalities.

"You're in the middle of a great book, but you need to go to work. Or to dinner. Or to bed. You're in the middle of a great book, you forget to eat dinner. You keep reading "just one more chapter" until 2:00 a.m., and you cannot keep your eyes open the next day."
Profile Image for Kate Olson.
2,199 reviews724 followers
September 3, 2018
(I received a free copy of this book as a member of the launch team).

This book is an absolute delight. It’s a beautiful small volume of essays about books and reading and is something every avid reader will want to read and savor. And if you are looking for a gift idea for a bookish friend in your life, what an amazing choice this book would be! This book made me laugh so hard I cried, and then it flipped and made me cry for real. I related to every single word and will definitely be re-reading it again and again - it has definitely earned a place on my forever shelf.
Profile Image for Anissa.
860 reviews258 followers
April 2, 2023
I'm always up for a book about books and readers so I chose this. It was a very quick and easy read and had a good many things that I as a reader related to. It's not life-changing or anything but I did find myself smiling in recognition, chuckling and finding some poignant passages and moments. I had a good number of highlighted passages to remember and I always consider that a good sign. I read this through Kindle Unlimited.

Profile Image for Maxwell.
1,136 reviews8,148 followers
September 17, 2018
A delightful collection of book-ish essays by Anne. I related so hard to all of the musings about being a reader, about book addictions, hoarding books, canceling plans to finish a read, etc. Anne is a lovely person who has written a beautiful little book that you should definitely go read and then buy a copy for the reader in your life.
Profile Image for Giselle Bradley.
747 reviews181 followers
March 2, 2019
Now I've this 3 times. In 6 months. It just fills me with joy.

If there is any book I have read this year that I would recommend that YOU read. It's this. If you are a reader, a book-lover, or a library user, please pick this up. It spoke to my soul like no other. I have never read something so relatable before. Anne perfectly captures what it's like to love books with such an intense passion. After I finished this I picked it up and read the whole book again cover to cover. This is the epitome of a "book for book lovers" and a "book about books". I need my own copy ASAP.
Profile Image for Raymond.
338 reviews247 followers
July 20, 2019
"Reading isn't just a hobby or a pastime; it's a lifestyle"

"I'm grateful for my one life, but I'd prefer to live a thousand-and my favorite books allow me to experience more on the page than I ever could in my actual life."

"Old books, like old friends, are good for the soul"

"Books are portals to all kinds of memories-but only if I can remember that I read them" -Anne Bogel

This is one of the best books for book lovers. Anne Bogel’s book reminds you why you love to read and gives useful tips on how to enrich your reading lifestyle. There were many times in this book where I thought she was talking directly to me. For example when she wrote about not being ashamed of not having read the books everyone has read. She promotes reading books that appeals to you because your reading life is your journey. You know what you like and don’t like. I also like her suggestion about reading the acknowledgment section all the way through. In the past I usually skip or skim it. Bogel gives good reasons why you should start.
Profile Image for Debbie W..
726 reviews491 followers
April 22, 2020
Amen, sister! I think this book was written about me! I listened to the audiobook read by the author herself. Before I finished listening to it, I purchased a print copy online because (a) it's definitely a book I would want to read again (and again) and savour each chapter, and (b) I felt she read it too quickly for my listening pleasure (hence, minus 1 star). Reading is extremely personal. The author DOES give many helpful pointers (e.g. I could give recommendations, but I will NEVER tell someone that they SHOULD read a certain book ever again)! This book made me nod in agreement, laugh out loud, and think about new ideas. I appreciate all readers, including Goodreads friends and members who rate and review books - your opinions are gold to me! I could go on and on, but one last note - to all Goodreads members, please don't be a book snob and judge others by what they read. We read what we want/need to read at this point in our lives.
December 11, 2021

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I'd never heard of Anne Bogel or her blog, but as an ardent reader, I find something irresistibly cozy about meta-books and I knew I had to read this as soon as I found out about it. There were parts about I'D RATHER BE READING that I really loved: for example, the idea of book twins (that kinship you find with individuals who share a near-perfect match to your own reading tastes), or the books that you feel ashamed about not reading because everyone else thinks you should. I think for the "right" reader, this book will be an easy five stars.

Anne Bogel reads books that are considered classics and consistently top best-sellers' charts. I have very different tastes than her-- I like to read things that a lot of people would consider trash. Heck, even I consider some of it trash. But I love it anyway. #sorrynotsorry Anyway, for every anecdote about loving reading that are broadly relatable, there's passages waxing on Madeline L'Engle and grandmothers floating magnolia leaves in jars of water.

I liked this book but it wasn't really for me. The most relatable book I've encountered so far is A FUCKED UP LIFE IN BOOKS, which I found much more relatable, so that probably gives you an idea in how this book ended up falling short for me.

3 5o 3.5 stars
Profile Image for Nat.
554 reviews3,177 followers
November 22, 2018
bookspoils i'd rather be reading
Book Lovers’ Delight: I’d Rather Be Reading by Anne Bogel

“We are readers. Books grace our shelves and fill our homes with beauty; they dwell in our minds and occupy our thoughts. Books prompt us to spend pleasant hours alone and connect us with fellow readers. They invite us to escape into their pages for an afternoon, and they inspire us to reimagine our lives.”

The audiobook for Anne Bogel's I'd Rather Be Reading, read by the author, was the perfect companion to a day filled with cooking meals and cleaning my room. It's lighthearted and a breeze to listen to; I sped through like eight chapters without even noticing.

I'd Rather Be Reading 2- bookspoils

(Chapter: “A Reader’s Coming of Age”)

I'd Rather Be Reading is a collection full of spectacular, talkative essays that chronicle and accentuate the simple things in books make us love in them. Bogel's love for books shines so sincerely in her writing. Her bookish enthusiasm reminded me of why I read in the first place.
“Not out of habit or duty, but because reading is part of who they are. It’s in their blood. They’re book people.”

This book also reminded me of the human connection I feel after reading a good Nonfiction essay collection, which I haven't experienced in a hot minute. Surprisingly, it also brings back memories on all those books that made up your life one by one. The ones that changed the game by making you love reading, the ones that you hate to love and love to hate, the funny books, the childhood favorites, and so many more that came to shape the person you are today.

There's a love letter to the library next door. Taking the hint when a book arrives at the right time in your life when it seeks you out. Living out her bookseller dreams for a day (and the odd requests received). Being "book bossy" and the treacherous ground of unsolicited advice that accompanies recommending people (especially her kids) what to read. The beauty of rereading a book, which reminded me of a podcast I listened to that hosted BookTuber Ariel Bissett, who talked more in detail on why rereading matters: We read to find books we love and want to revisit.

Coming of age with books and rereading them years late makes you see and uncover different things each time. They're like photographs, taking you back to the exact moment in time when and where you read.
“Rereading can make you remember who you used to be, and, like pencil marks on a door frame, show you how much you’ve changed. ”

Other goodies include a full chapter on Bookworm Problems. The hidden pleasures in reading the acknowledgments and sharing some of the favorite last page excerpts from books the author has read.

“I’m a reader who always wondered what the writing life was like, and not knowing the details, supplied my own—” “But in the acknowledgments, the authors hint at the practicalities of writing books, brass-tacks details that might otherwise never occur to readers.”

I enjoy reading the acknowledgments at the end as well because it makes for a less abrupt switch of mindset between reading and not reading. It also grants me the time to part peacefully from the book, like having trailers after the movie to prepare me for the exit. Also: “I especially enjoy stumbling across miscellaneous goodies and oddities, the things an author can’t include anywhere else”

In short: I'd Rather Be Reading capture the truth of our bookish experience in bite-size chapters consumable anytime and anywhere in your busy day.

Lastly, I have to mention this brilliant idea the author had on getting her hand on her library records. These records show so much of our timeline; our history through our bookish finds. It would be an ineffable experience.

“Based on my borrowed titles alone, I’d be able to clearly see the months and years I spent away from my hometown, the one I’m happy to live in even now. I would be able to spot the summer I got engaged, when I checked out every book on wedding planning in the library system. The month I learned I was pregnant and immediately cleared the shelves of those books. The sudden surge of board book checkouts a year later, after we’d added another tiny reader to our household. It’s all right there, in my library records.”

Among the many noteworthy book recommendations, I'm already on my way to my local library to browse their book shelves. Oh, and, of course, the on theme black-and-white illustrations scattered throughout the book were a joy to look at:

I'd Rather Be Reading 1- bookspoils
(Chapter: “Windows to the Soul”)

I'd Rather Be Reading 3- bookspoils
(Chapter: “Confess Your Literary Sins”)

I'd Rather Be Reading 4- bookspoils
(Chapter: "Book Bossy")

Get this beauty of a book through my Amazon Affiliate: I'd Rather Be Reading by Anne Bogel . I’ll make a small commission!

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

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This review and more can be found on my blog.
Profile Image for RuthAnn.
1,297 reviews178 followers
May 9, 2020
Thank you to Baker Books for my free copy!

This collection of essays is charming and chatty, and I will definitely give it as a gift in the future. I nodded along as I read - lots of "me, too!" reactions along the way. I have to imagine that any bookish person will feel similarly. It's a bit of preaching to the choir, but readers gonna read, so it's all good. The only reason I'm not effusive about this book is that, as a regular reader of Modern Mrs. Darcy and listener to the What Should I Read Next podcast, the concepts here felt pretty familiar. And that's not necessarily a bad thing, but the cumulative effect didn't knock my socks off. But then, why do we go to coffee with friends or set up book clubs? Not necessarily to knock our socks off. This book is comforting and friendly, and you will probably enjoy it, so go ahead and read it.

My favorite essays were:

The Books That Find You
My Inner Circle
Book Bossy
The Readers I Have Been
Again, For the First Time
Profile Image for Kevin.
1,503 reviews34 followers
November 21, 2019
I love books about books and this one hit the nail right on the head. My favorite essay is the one where she talks about when here house was right next door to the library, and I could fantasize that my house was right next door to my favorite library too. Even though I'm lucky enough to be easy walking distance to 2 branches of my towns library. Among other of my favorite topics were how to organinze your book shelves and the joy of rereading.
Profile Image for Lisa.
1,468 reviews563 followers
September 26, 2018
My copy of I'd Rather Be Reading is a small hardcover book with a beautiful cover. Holding it and reading it was a calming experience during a very stressful week. There is nothing new or groundbreaking here - just a fellow book lover sharing her experiences and insights about reading. That's exactly what I needed and I enjoyed every page.
Profile Image for Britany.
967 reviews417 followers
November 15, 2021
This was delightful! Certainly something that every reader would enjoy. A book about reading and books. Anne Bogel aka Modern Mrs. Darcy has put into words the dilemmas that every person passionate about books and reading feels. From the mundane to the serious (knowing you'll never in your lifetime read all the books on your TBR), I appreciated every story.
Profile Image for Kaytee Cobb.
1,855 reviews368 followers
September 13, 2018
I love this collection. I'm not a re-reader, but I know I will pick This up to read these essays again and again. I know I will turn back to these book darted pages for smiles and comfort and sweetness and even ideas in the future. This is absolutely THE love letter to books that I've always wanted on my shelves, and this little book will be with me for the rest of my days.
Profile Image for TS Chan.
700 reviews868 followers
December 26, 2020
I usually have bookmail delivered to my workplace, for there is no better way to break the dreariness of work, and it is always a delight when I see an email from the office mailroom titled "1 Package For You". One afternoon, I saw one such email popping up in my Inbox and was most perplexed since I was not expecting any packages at all (it was nowhere close to my birthday or Christmas either). As I picked up the ubiquitous Amazon package from the mailroom, I was still trying very hard to remember if I ordered anything lately that I might have forgotten about. To my utter surprise and delight, I opened the package and saw this lovely bound hardback copy of I'd Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life by Anne Bogel. The book's cover featured a beautiful rendition of a cosy reading spot, which I later discovered is a watercolour painting of Anne Bogel's home library. Ah, so envious!

The most beautiful thing about this book was that it was a surprise gift from someone who I consider to be my book twin. While not being completely identical, with me being partial to science stuff which she dislikes and her penchant for Christian-fiction which admittedly I've never really tried, we are as close to book twins as one can possibly get. And without meeting each other in real life at all. For it is only a book twin who will buy this book for me, with absolute conviction that I will love it.

And I certainly did. I've not read as diversely as Anne Bogel did, and I don't think I ever will.  I am trying to, even though science fiction and fantasy will always be my favourite, making up over half of the stuff I read. Regardless, all her endearing and honest essays resonated true and clear to me. Be it about reading as a child and growing up, or about how rereading old favourites can be daunting as one changes through life, or that overwhelming To Be Read that has more books and titles than we can possibly tackle in my lifetime, and lots more. But there was one in particular which made me most poignant.

My library books come into my house and go out again, leaving behind only memories and a jotted in a journal (if I'm lucky). I long for a list that captures these ephemeral reads - all the books I've borrowed in a lifetime of reading, from last week's armful spanning back to when I was a seven-year old kid with my first library card.

I yearned to remember and relive the days when I was a child getting my first ever library card. Aside from what my father could afford to buy for me, I've exhausted all the books which could be borrowed from my relatives' bookshelves.  Given my father's modest income as a school teacher and being the sole breadwinner then, he decided to get me a library card. Safe to say that my library card alone was not enough as well. Between me and my brother, we used up the quota of both our own library cards as well as our parents. Those treasured memories of our trips to the library, squealing in delight as we pile on book after book on our small arms, tottering over to the check-out counter with heavy stacks and then awaiting eagerly to get home to dive into the wondrous worlds afforded by books. If only I had the presence of mind to record what I've read during those childhood years. Oh, how wonderful would it be to flip through an old notebook or diary, to recall all those books that have taken me to more places and introduced me to more friends than I could possibly imagine.

I started with the idea of writing a review of this lovely book but my rambling has become more of an essay of my own.  I think you get the idea of how Anne Bogel's collection of essays evoked all these memories and emotions in me from being a reader for almost a lifetime. I say 'almost' because I sadly took a long hiatus from reading regularly after I graduated from university. Aside from being quite expensive, books were also not that accessible in my country back then. After paying for rent, transport, food and clothing, I didn't have much left for books. The combination of pursuing a career and finding my feet around relationships also took me out of my usual reading habit for close to a decade. Oh, to think of all those books I could've read in that decade, time lost to me now.

I'll also be perfectly honest here and say that my love for this book is also greatly influenced by the fact that this was a gift; one so thoughtfully given that I couldn't separate my feelings from its content narrative and that act of giving. Thank you so much, dearest Celeste for this wonderful little book and, most of all, for being my book twin.
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