Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “While You Were Reading” as Want to Read:
While You Were Reading
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

While You Were Reading

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  1,212 ratings  ·  223 reviews
Words are messy. Love is messier.
A hilarious, insightful new novel from the creators of Books on the Rail

Meet Beatrix Babbage – 29-year-old dog-earer of books and accidental destroyer of weddings.

After ruining her best friend's nuptials, Bea relocates to the other side of the country in search of a fresh start, including meeting new people, living life to the fullest and f
Paperback, 400 pages
Published July 1st 2019 by Simon & Schuster Australia
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about While You Were Reading, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about While You Were Reading

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.72  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,212 ratings  ·  223 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of While You Were Reading
Kylie D
Well, I did enjoy this book, just not as much as I enjoyed 'The Book Ninja" from the same authors. In 'While You Were Reading' we follow the story of Bea, new to Melbourne with no friends as such, and a job she hates. Her only respite is the café downstairs, owned by barista/poet Dino. Then one day she comes across a book in a second hand bookstore. It's not just any book though, this one has scribbles and annotations from a previous owner, and Bea soon becomes obsessed by finding the writer of ...more
Mandy White
While You Were Reading is a book for book lovers - a book about books and those that love books - what is not to love? Set in Melbourne this is a light hearted book that you can get lost in for a few hours. The characters are fun and realistic, while the story will make you laugh and cry at the same time. As a book lover I found this book very relatable in that when you find somebody that gets it, really understands what it is like to love reading you don't let that go.

Bea has just moved to Mel
Brooke - One Woman's Brief Book Reviews

**4.5 stars**

While You Were Reading by Ali Berg & Michelle Kalus. (2019).

Beatrix is 29 years old and has just done a runner to Melbourne for a fresh start after accidentally ruining her best friend's wedding. But life is still stagnant with a dead-end job and a non-existent love life. Her only friends are her books, her barista Dino and her cleaning lady. Then Bea stumbles across a second-hand novel inscribed with poetic notes and is
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
At home with a new baby, I'm in need of lighter, fun books these days and everything about the premise of this one indicated it would be a great fit for me. The protagonist's name is Bae, a name I loved and wanted to give my baby, and it's about a passion for books and reading and sharing those things with others. Sadly, the novel did not deliver on its premise.

Bae Babbage is 29 going on 30 (or perhaps 29 going on 14?) and a bit of a follower. Her best friend Cassandra is a dominating, judgement
Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
3.5 stars
Bibliophiles unite, the team behind the Books on the Rail movement and the co-author’s of The Book Ninja, which was released to great success last year, are back. While You Were Reading is a fresh, very contemporary, fun and sweet romance, complete with moments of mystery. This is a delightful novel that will thoroughly engage all booklovers. Just don’t let the book list at the end pass you by!

While You Were Reading makes the claim that ‘words are m
Abbie | ab_reads
Jul 21, 2019 rated it liked it
3.75 stars

Thank you to the authors @aliandmichelle for gifting me a copy of their latest book - and of course for letting me be a part of Bea’s bookstagram account! That’s right, this is a bookish contemporary romcom where the main character Bea finds a heavily annotated book in a secondhand bookshop and sets up a bookstagram account to find the mystery writer. It’s such a cute premise and I’m happy to say that it delivers!
Bea as a main character was hilariously goofy and adorable - the amount
Tamsien West (Babbling Books)
Jul 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
A light, fun, romantic read. For lovers of happy endings, literary references, and Melbourne cafe culture.
Gloria Arthur
Jun 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: the-bookshelf
While You Were Reading

The first pages into this book, I began to think that it was probably more targeted to a younger demographic, but once I was further into the story I found myself happily committed.

Beatrix Babbage 29, is a devoted book worm from Perth and she's just accidentally wrecked her best friend's wedding!

Feeling that her life is a total mess Beatrix relocates to Melbourne. Once settled in trendy Melbourne she finds she hates her job and is lonely without friends except for Dino the
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
After accidentally ruining her lifelong best friend’s marriage, a mere hour or so after the wedding, Beatrix Babbage moves from Perth to Melbourne looking for a fresh start, but it’s more difficult than she envisioned. The only respite from her loneliness is provided by The Nook, where barista/slam poet Grover ‘Dino’ Dinopoli, scribbles book quotes on her coffee cup, and pastry chef, Sunday, occasionally lets her lick the spoon.

Until, one evening while exploring the city, Bea, a self confessed b
Kristy (sometimes_i_read_books)
What a fun, quirky romance this was, full of bookish references, lots of laughs and plenty of relatable moments.

This is the story of Bea, who flees to Melbourne after ruining her best friends wedding in Perth. In Melbourne Bea falls in love with the annotations written in a second hand book and and is determined to find the original owner.

Reading this made me feel warm and fuzzy, it’s a perfect feel good book! Highly recommended for fans of a good rom-com.

Thanks so much to @simonschusterau and @
Aug 08, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: library
Oof. Just when you thought this couldn't get worse, it did. Please do yourself a favour and avoid this.

From the very first page I was turned off by the writing style. It was, for lack of a better word, wanky. Even book-ish people don't speak in quotes or book titles. The entire way through this came off as obnoxious, rather than charming, which, I assume, is what Berg was aiming for.

But the real issue here was the plot (or lack thereof). The entire book hinged on a fantastical idea to start wit
Jun 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
What a gorgeous contemporary romance novel! I’m a complete newbie to Ali & Michelle’s work, having never read The Book Ninja but hearing so many good things about it. What I loved about this book was that the main character was a total book nut, and she starts her own bookstagram account! It was so funny to read the ‘comments’ under her posts, where we see a lot of the same types of comments we all get used to seeing beneath our photos.

The romantic part of the book was really cute and enjoyable
Oct 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
The dynamic duo of Ali Berg and Michelle Kalus return with their second novel, While You Were Reading. Like their debut novel The Book Ninja, While You Were Reading is a celebration of all things literary in the city of Melbourne. I enjoyed getting to know the quirky protagonist, Bea, as she embarked on an adventure that was peppered with quotes and references to books. Through Bea, the authors explore themes such as literature, love, making mistakes, moving on and forgiveness.

When readers firs
Elsa Joseph
Jul 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
While You Were Reading is the follow up to Ali Berg & Michelle Kalus hugely successful ‘The Book Ninja’. I am happy to report that this book didn’t disappoint and celebrates two of my favourite past-times, books and coffee! After accidentally ruining her best friend’s wedding, Bea Babbage escapes from Perth to Melbourne to start a new life. Bea is a passionate bibliophile and spends most of her spare time reading in the Nook, a small coffee shop where she gets to talk about books with Dino, a po ...more
Jun 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-for-review
Ali and Michelle, co-authors of The Book Ninja, return with a great new contemporary novel about a woman in a new place and job, without friends after a terrible fallout with her best friend. Bea then finds a second-hand book with the most intriguing and compelling hand written notes through it. Finally, she has some excitement in her life on her fresh start and is determined to find the previous owner of this book! 

Our main character Bea is an woman just turned thirty and  definitely a relatabl
Jul 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
I felt that this book was quite predictable. There were a number of characters introduced and I didn't find myself 'falling in love' with them or really getting to know enough about them for me to care about their individual stories. It was a quick and easy read but the journey to the ending was not engaging enough for me. I do however think that this will be super popular at the age group it is targeted for.
Apr 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
Another great book from Ali and Michelle! I stayed up late, read any opportunity I could get so I could follow Bea’s adventure. As a perth girl who moved to Melbourne, I connected with Bea immediately. The book made me laugh out loud many times, as well as surprise me with twists and turns. I also loved the nod to characters from The Book Ninja, very nostalgic and sweet!
Tala  Lolias
Jul 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing

I'm not a huge fan of Australian authors or Australian inspired books but this was super cute and it portrayed Melbourne extremely well.

I couldn't pick a better character such as Bea that was super quirky, loved books and coffee. Cant forget the coffee. I love that authors are picking up on the bookish vibe and writing more in regards to that!

Danielle Alder
Sep 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nyssa Sutherland
While You Were Reading is a quirky, lighthearted novel just perfect for a weekend read. A delightful contemporary romance about finding your true self, and real friends that warmed my heart, and had me staying up late till the last page.

Full of bookish references, and plenty of Melbourne haunts, there's lots to love including very relatable bookworm Bea, who is trying to rebuild her life after moving to Melbourne for a fresh start. Picking up a second hand book at a local bookstore, she falls in
Jun 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc-books
This book was WOW. Set in Melbourne, it follows Bea Babbage who recently moved to the city from Perth, trying to find herself whilst tracking down a mystery writer.

I loved every page of this book and I felt a connection to Bea and the other characters. The plot itself also got me hook, line, and sinker and I loved EVERY page of this book.

The book references and relatableness of the coffee addiction Bea made this book very well rounded!

I was thankful enough to receive an advanced review copy vi
Sophia McQuillan
Aug 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book! It is a book that made me laugh out loud and become completely invested in the characters. The story line was supported by an insatiable love of books. This a book for people who love books and share in that community!

Beatrix Babbage accidentally wrecks her friend’s marriage and moves to other side of the country, UNESCO City of Literature: Melbourne and cultural capital. It is here her life turns around.

Highly recommended! I’m bringing it to the The Last Chapter
Jun 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
5 stars seems silly for a romantic fiction right? Wrong! This is the second book from the lovely ladies who wrote “the book ninja” and this one is just as enjoyable to read as their first one!

I also love the list of books at the end that were spoken about in the book. Oh and the mention of Willow & Wine!!!

Can’t wait for number 3 from them!!!
Lucy Moore
Aug 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I couldn’t put this book down.
A nice, easy, light read.
Molly - bookgirlbetweenthepages
Review: While You Were Reading by Ali Berg and Michelle Kalus ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
So I think it’s official that Ali Berg and Michelle Kalus are one of my favourite author duo’s! I have absolutely loved both of the books they have put out and I cannot wait to see what they release next. I read While You Were Reading in one night 😅 once I started I couldn’t stop. One little thing that I really loved about this book was the little references back to their first novel, The Book Ninja, through character came
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The coffee addict in me had to purchase this cute book, especially when it’s set in Melbourne and my neighbourhood the Mornington Peninsula.

This amazing book is about a hot mess of character who ruins her friendship with her best mate and up and leaves her home town to move to Melbourne to start a fresh new life, when she comes across a secondhand store and falls in love with a book.
Bea then goes on an adventure throughout the book as she makes her mission to find the author that has left littl
Emer (A Little Haze)
14/01/2020 Library eLoan

Don’t have the patience for this simpering style of writing. Feels so forced and unnaturally chipper, and the book name dropping is not cute. It’s irksome. Managed to read four chapters and when it got to the bookstagram account I bailed. I’m far too cynical or maybe am in too much of a sour mood for this

First DNF of the year it is.
Kate (ihavenoshelfcontrol)
Jul 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is super cute and I loved it! It’s lots of fun and a perfect rom-com for book lovers! The main character even starts a bookstagram account and it’s funny to see the comments she gets on her posts. I highly recommend this one!
May 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Fun, breezy and full of bookish references, While You Were Reading is the second novel by Books on the Rail founds Berg and Kalus. Fans of The Book Ninja will enjoy the crossovers, abundant literary references, romance and humour.

After booklover Bea unintentionally ruined her best friend's wedding in Perth, she dropped everything and moved to Melbourne as penance. What she didn't expect was to fall in love... with a book! Full of insightful marginalia, Bea's second hand treasure sets her on a qu
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Maggie's Going Nowhere
  • The One
  • Losing the Plot
  • The Mothers
  • The Shelly Bay Ladies Swimming Circle
  • The Strangers We Know
  • The Model Wife
  • Just an Ordinary Family
  • Going Under
  • Just One Wish
  • A Lifetime of Impossible Days
  • Allegra in Three Parts
  • A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing
  • The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling
  • Jane in Love
  • It Sounded Better in My Head
  • Six Minutes
See similar books…
Co-founder & Professional Aussie Book Ninja at Books on the Rail & Co-author of The Book Ninja and While You Were Reading (Simon & Schuster). ...more

News & Interviews

  Let’s say it now and say it proud: Horror is back.  This summer, as the world was thrown into uncertainty by a pandemic and our...
103 likes · 31 comments