Tag Archives: library

Book Abandonment, and Why It’s Okay


Readers often feel a sense of guilt when abandoning a book. It could be simply that we’re not quitters, determined to finish a project or task no matter how unenjoyable. We’ve committed to this book, checked it out at the library or paid good money for it at the bookstore, and we are damn well going to finish it. Even if it’s the last thing we do.

Maybe we’re also competitive or, if you will, gluttonous. We want to read as many books as we can get our hands on. We’ve told ourselves we were going to read X amount of books this year (I’m currently behind on my personal 2017 Goodreads Reading Challenge). If we can simply push through this book, it’s one more toward that goal, but in doing so, we end up slowing ourselves down.

The reasons we choose to give up on a book vary. It’s naive to assume that because you like a book everyone else you know will too. Reading is subjective. Sometimes your favorite blogger or Goodreads reviewer will fail you.

Here are a few reasons it might be time to let a book go.


The Libraries of UC Berkeley

This past week, I was in the bay area at a conference hosted by UC Berkeley. I was lucky enough to get a little free time and wander around the campus, and one thing I found that I fell instantly in love with was the first library I stumbled upon, the Doe Library.


Yes, those tiny dots are people and that white thing on the right side is a huge tent. This library is ginormous.
Yes, those tiny dots are people and that white thing on the right side is a huge tent. This library is ginormous.


UC Berkeley is known for its libraries. The campus is home of the fourth largest university library in the United States, just falling short of other schools like Yale, Harvard, and the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. I didn’t know this at the time I was wandering the halls of the Doe Library (thanks Wikipedia), but what I did know was that this was the biggest library I had ever set foot in, so I decided to have some fun.

The first thing I saw upon entering the library was a statue of Mark Twain, so of course I had my friend, Andrea, act as my model and pose with him.


Andrea found the conversation stimulating.
Andrea found the conversation stimulating.


After our deep and thought-provoking conversation with bronze Mark Twain, we continued to explore all of what the library housed—and it was a lot.


Literary Paraphernalia: 10 Bookish T-Shirts

We scoured the internet in search of bookish T-shirts for this week’s Literary Paraphernalia post.

Get it here.

This T-shirt is the perfect mix of modern, vibrant colors and the classic Edgar Allen Poe.

Get it here.

This quote is perfect for so many reasons. Even if you’re not a huge booknerd, it still has meaning. The full quote comes from Cassandra Clare’s book Clockwork Princess.

Get it here.

During my undergraduate years in college, I read Henrik Ibsen’s play A Doll’s House. To this day, it’s probably one of my favorite plays. Without giving away any spoilers, A Doll’s House was quite controversial when it debuted in 1879 because the female lead, Nora, made a life-changing decision that seemed to spit in the face of typical gender roles of the time. This T-shirt is created from the classical text. You can actually read it!

Get it here.

I’m a bad booknerd, in the sense that I rarely go to libraries. To be fair, I think I’m doing libraries everywhere a favor—because much like with movie rentals, I can never seem to return items that I borrow. I also like giving friends old copies of books that I love—in part because I hope they’ll enjoy it as much as I did but also as an excuse to buy a new copy. But if you’re a proud library-card-holding book lover, this T-shirt comes with a library stamp graphic that you’re sure to love.


Getting Kids to Read More

Children’s literacy is a big concern for the nation. We, as a society, all want our children to read, but getting them to read through intrinsic rather than extrinsic motivation can be difficult.

When I was a kid, we had extrinsic types of motivation for reading—if we read, collectively, a certain number of books, we got a pizza party in second, third, and fourth grade. In fifth grade, we were offered a root beer float party for reaching our goal. In sixth grade, we had points we’d get for books read, and with those points we could buy stuff from the teacher’s store—things like cute animal erasers and pencils.

These actually really suck as erasers.

I enjoyed the books I read, but I know a lot of my other classmates read for the rewards rather than reading the books for the content. That’s the problem with extrinsic motivation—the motivation is external, and that external motivation can circumvent the purpose of the motivation for the promise of a reward.

But extrinsic motivation is easy, which is why it’s often used by teachers in the classroom. Kids can understand material rewards for the work that they do, but that isn’t necessarily something that should be reinforced in a classroom.


Sorry Dewey

I have purchased and assembled my very first full-sized bookshelf and, after a few hours of screwing and hammering, I realized that I had a task ahead of me I didn’t have to face when I just had my books in boxes – how to organize my books on the shelf.

Yes, I used stuffed animals as book ends.
Yes, I used stuffed animals as book ends.

Way back in junior high, I did actually volunteer to help out in the library and I learned the Dewey Decimal System for organizing books. While this system works wonders in libraries, my lonely little shelf didn’t need to be organized in such a meticulous manner. Instead, I really wanted to think of aesthetics because I wanted my first bookshelf filled with books to look good.

I could organize all my books by size and weight first, then organize them alphabetically by author last name. That would make the most sense, but who says that I make sense on a regular basis?

I could just put the books away and worry about them at a later time because it was 11 p.m. at this point and I had just spent a few hours assembling my shelf, but that would have also been too easy and would have made too much sense.

No, instead, I organized by size, weight and color. Yes, color.


Don’t Deny it: You Want a Home Library, Too!

I’ve known for a long time that I want a library in my future home. When I was fourteen and had absolutely no money to my name, my father taught me how to log on to his Amazon and Ebay accounts so I could order books that would magically appear on the front porch within one week. I would order anywhere from three to five books every time I logged onto his account, so I accumulated a library of books very quickly. With just over two hundred books in my apartment today, I am well on my way to my goal of having a library in my future home. I don’t think it will need to be anything fancy; I just need a room to display my books and read them one by one in a big comfy chair by the fireplace, perhaps with a glass of red wine or gin. If it is two stories, that would be rather nice, too; then I could have a rolling ladder or a spiral staircase. Or both. Nothing too special, really.

Some days when I’m feeling uninspired by life, I go on Pinterest and look up bookshelves and home libraries, reminding myself that if I can just bring myself to write a best-selling novel, I can actually have the money to bring my dreams of having a home library to reality.

Here are some from my “Library Inspiration” Board:


A Library of My Own

I love books, as an English major, writer, and avid reader, I have collected quiet a bit of them.

I’d be ashamed to share my library though – I have one bookshelf with too many books, and a bunch of decorative boxes scattered around my room filled with the rest of my books. Besides these book keepers, I also have books stacked on my night stand, on my dresser, by the foot of my bed, next to my bed, and in bed with me. Yes, I sleep with books.

My excuse for not having better book storage is that I rent a room and have limited space. That’s never stopped me from buying more and more books, however, and I have started quiet a collection. I have books on Latin, Shakespeare, literature from around the world, pop-fiction (World War Z, Game of Thrones, etc.), fantasy, science fiction, history, poetry (of course), heck, I even have a ton of cook books (I like to cook), and so much more.

One day, I want a library that looks like this:

Desks and all. I need all the desks. Why? Why not!