Read: [v] The act of interpreting and understanding language, symbols, and the written word.

Furiously: [adv] To do something with excitement and passion.

Congratulations to Lianne Cruz!

Pursit: A Collection of Artwork

has been selected as a Finalist in the Art category for the 2020 International Book Awards!

Showing posts with label love of reading. Show all posts
Showing posts with label love of reading. Show all posts

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Bookish Pauses and Quiet Musings

It's been a long time since I've included a regular blog post, Furious Readers. While this may read as a cause for alarm, the time away has been a blessing. We've had major changes within our personal lives, but we've also in the middle of major changes here at the Read Furiously office. Big things are happening and I couldn't be happier with how everything is playing out.

When I began this blog years ago, I had done so out of sheer inspiration. I had just finished a couple of books that left me with that full-on-Thanksgiving/cat-sleeping-in-a-sun-spot/perfect-London-foggy-weather/New-York-City-in-the-springtime feeling and I wanted to share my love of reading and my pure joy at finding these books with all of you. Then, as things happen, this idea began to gestate and transform into something bigger. Something that allowed me to continue to adore books - to read as furiously as I can - but still make a bigger impact.

And here we are today. Still reading furiously, but now we have a community of furious readers - some friends, some friend-of-friends, some complete strangers that are now friends - doing our best to ensure that reading can happen at any time to anyone. Over the years, we have published prose, graphic novels, a children's book, and poetry, making sure that every book finds its true reader. On a more personal level, I've learned what I am capable of, as a publisher, as a writer, and as a reader. And now we enter the final stages of the year with so many brilliant and wonderful plans on the horizon.

Forgive me if this all sounds very wordy and unclear - I am not intentionally keeping you all in the dark. I promise that as soon as we can share the news, we will via this blog and our social media. We are preparing to grow and to share more stories with the world. We are also expanding our creator roster and adding more submission calls (if you haven't seen the details for our first NJ anthology, check it out and be sure to tell a friend).

The next coming months will feature a lot of changes that we hope will create a stronger community of furious readers inside and outside of your friendly neighborhood bookstores. If you haven't already, be sure to subscribe to our emailing list so you can hear about our good news as they happen. Like us on social media, send us positive thoughts, read our books - any support and/or love is always appreciated and reciprocated. Starting today, we will have a new blog post, featuring all things book or bookishly related, every Thursday.

Until then, read often, read well, read furiously.
Continue Reading...

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Stress Free Binging

Editor's Note: The first lesson in a book buying sabbatical: Never go at it alone. I'm happy to report that Adam will be writing a few posts himself to highlight another side of our alternative reading journey.

As a long time comic book reader, there's always been a sense of urgency that comes with reading - a self imposed deadline to make sure you've made enough progress on your TBR pile to justify going to the comic book shop when Wednesday rolls back around. You don't have to read everything you picked up, but if you haven't read anything then it becomes difficult to silence the little voice in the back of your head saying "Do you really need to go back and get more?" New comics come out weekly, and all it takes is one week to really start falling behind. So if you want to get something new, you can't slack off.

Even as someone who reads most titles in trade form instead of single issues (where the frequency of release is much more manageable), I still find a small part of myself secretly hoping I come up empty when I glance over the list of new books that will be hitting shelves each week, that there'll be nothing new I need to add to my ever growing list. After all, it's just nice to have the time to play catch up every now and then.

Being a part of the Read Furiously's Book Sabbatical, I want to take this time to not only catch up reading titles I've fallen behind on, but also go back and revisit titles I've already read.

With an imaginary weekly deadline looming over my head each week re-reading something can feel a bit frivolous at times. You only have so many hours a week you can dedicate to reading, shouldn't you be spending it on something new, something that'll help quell the bookshelf worth of paperbacks and hardcovers making up your TBR pile (which is actually a full TBR bookshelf with mini-TBR piles in front of it at this point).

So having the opportunity to step back and really reflect on my reading, this seems like the perfect opportunity to indulge in some titles I want to revisit.

First up is Fables by Bill Willingham. With over 22 books in the series (if you don't count crossovers, standalone graphic novels, and spinoffs), I made it as far as volume 18 before I started falling behind, and as the series drew closer and closer to the end I started to come up with more and more excuses to put off reading the rest of the books.

As we entered the Book Sabbatical though, and I no longer felt the pressures of an oncoming Wednesday, it seemed the right time to return to Fabletown once more. Not just to finish off the series, but to re-read it all, from Legends in Exile to Farewell. I now had the luxury of time, so why not take a cue from Netflix and binge on a book.

But Fables seems like a the right choice to start. It's a series I began reading over ten years ago when I was still in college, and in some cases I haven't revisited the storylines in just as long. A lot of time has passed since then, and I'm a much different person now, my interests in some cases have done complete 180s. So the idea of going back and seeing how the books hold up is an exciting one.

Even as I was reading Fables the first time around it was one of those titles where my interest waned to varying degrees throughout it's run, so I can't wait to see what will it be like to read it all straight through. Will it be like when my wife and I try to pace ourselves watching Orange is the New Black only to end up finishing it in a single weekend, or will it be more like Arrow where the only reason we made it through season one was because we kept in on in the background while we did other things.

Regardless of the outcome though, just the luxury that the Book Sabbatical has offered, the opportunity to go back and reflect on the titles that have shaped me as a reader is a great one. And after Fables I've got a great queue lined up for other book series I've been looking for an excuse to dig up.

So till next time, Furious Readers.

Continue Reading...

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Do You Book Freeze? Part 2

Once we figured out how many books we had, we began to consider the growing trend of participating in a "book freeze." For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, a "book freeze" or "book ban" is the decision, made by the reader, to abstain from purchasing books for a specific number of months. Some book freezes last a year or a few months, or some don't last at all (as The Odyssey Online delightfully pointed out).

BookRiot and Broke By Books offer a great start to readers hoping to begin and to survive their own book ban/freeze, and I found them to be the most helpful in my research. Collectively, the blogs and reader websites all share the same idea:
  • It is usually referred to as a "ban" or "freeze" 
  • Most participants stress the importance of having a library at your disposal (to fight those book buying urges and to keep your TBR in tact)
  • There is a strong emphasis on creating wishlists and cashing in on a reward after the ban/freeze
These are all great pieces of advice, but the amount of books that are before and the idea of "banning" or "freezing" my book buying leaves me to believe that we at Read Furiously can take this one step further. I like the idea of putting a stop to book buying in order to assess and to play catch-up with my TBR, but I feel the process can be more reflective than disciplinary.

Let's be honest - if I were to "ban" myself from buying books as though I did something wrong each time I bought a book, my book ban would look a little like this:

Beginning on August 1st, we at Read Furiously are entering what we wish to call a "Reader's Sabbatical." Similar to a book buying ban or freeze, we will not purchase a book for 3 months, ending the sabbatical on November 1st. We chose to rename our book buying ban or freeze by following in the footsteps of Marie Kondo's concept of "sparking joy." I am so proud of our book collection and I don't want to think we are entering this book buying ban to punish ourselves for loving books. Instead, I want to take these 3 months to finish my TBR pile and to consider what books bring us joy and what books can be donated or gifted to bring others joy. 

And so it begins, furious readers! Time to enter the "Reader's Sabbatical." Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has been purchased (via midnight Potter party) and our reading lists have been created. Along with my usual posts, I will also keep you updated on our 3 months of bookshelf bonding.
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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Embracing the "Tsundoku"

Today I want to share with you Open Culture's piece on reading culture:

I came across this last year and I saved this post as a draft because, to be honest, I wasn't sure what to think. As a Furious Reader, I understand the allure of books and the joy of seeing an overcrowded reading pile. I have three reading piles around my house, a full library on my Nook, and two completed mini notebooks of potential reading titles. I understand the reader's need for new material, but the tsundoku has me thinking.  Mr. Jonathan Crow's article does not argue for a tsundoku to exist, but to use this phrase for a situation that most readers can relate to. While this is a beautiful word, and I agree with Mr. Crow's proposal, I wonder if embracing the tsundoku is a necessary part of the furious reader's life. 

Every reader has heard the counterargument from non-readers: When are you going to read all of this books? Don't you have enough books to read? Why would you write down books you might never get to read in your lifetime? To my nonreading friends, I understand the validity of your questions, but this is my true response:

Our His and Hers reading piles
To me, the pile of books is comforting. It's a symbol of the journeys to come and it gives me a chance to watch myself change as an individual. I often "edit" my reading pile a few times a year - to give other books a chance, to remove the ones I may get to another day, but not today, or to match whatever scholarship I've immersed myself in this semester. My reading pile is a summation of my year, a reflection of my different life cycles. It doesn't matter if I ever read all of the books on my tsundoku - what matters is the moment when I placed this book on my pile. I must have felt something profound, had some exciting experience, or felt a need to explore a different world when I placed that book atop a teetering pile of voices. Whenever I place yet another book on my reading pile, I remind myself that anything is possible. Many gardeners believe to plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow. I think you can say the same for to-be-read piles or lists. My reading pile and my notebook of potential reading topics reminds me that, deep down underneath my postmodernist worldview, I am still an optimist. 

My dear Furious Readers, I encourage you to embrace the tsundoku. Do not spend a year questioning your intuition as I did - I had the existential crisis for you (you're welcome). Look to your reading pile and say aloud to the titles that you may or may not read:  "I will see you tomorrow."
Continue Reading...

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Looking Back at the The Rosemont Book Festival

The Read Furiously table, complete with Furious Reader's tea, our books, and the I, Read Furiously Charity bracelets.
I'm not the first one to say this and I surely won't be the last, but writing can be a very solitary endeavor. We sit alone with our notebooks or laptops and fill pages upon pages with stories. We create these worlds from our imaginations all the while the real one continues on without us.

But that's exactly why it's so great to have events like the Rosemont Book Festival. They're the moments that remind us, as solitary an act as writing can be, reading is anything but.

This past weekend Read Furiously was lucky enough to have a table at the festival, and there amidst the picturesque campus of Rosemont College, we were reminded just how easily reading brings us all together. It was one of those moments that took us away from our keyboards and we let us share in the collective joy of the written word. We spent hours with people, talking and laughing over the shared experience of a good (and even a bad) book. We got to connect with other creators whose passion for the medium rivaled our own. It was an all together inspiring weekend that helped energize us for the next marathon of days and weeks spent writing.

So to the Book Club members, the Publishing majors, the volunteers, the faculty members, the creators, the anime fans, and all the Furious Readers we had the privilege of meeting, we want to say thank you. A large part of our mission with Read Furiously is to promote a love of reading and a healthy relationship with books. The Rosemont Book Festival was a shining example of the good that come from it, just how easily reading can turn strangers into friends. And it reminded us why those solitary hours spent writing are so important. It's because they aren't solitary at all.

Till next time, Rosemont, we hope you all continue to Read Friously. We'll see you soon.

The view from our table. Rosemont is pretty much
a mini version of Hogwarts.

Continue Reading...

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Finding Time to Read Furiously

When I was a kid, my favorite activity was reading.  Maybe that's an understatement - my favorite activity was reading everything in my path.  Books, TV Guides (especially TV Guides, I really miss them), newspapers, Avon books, street name it, I read it.  I read as though I couldn't get the words into my brain fast enough. My mother would send me to clean up my room and she would catch me, two hours later, in a pile of stuff on the floor reading a book that I found under the bed.  Although I come from a family who reads, it drove my mother crazy.  But I couldn't stop; I always needed more books to read:  The Egypt Game, the Goosebump series, Judy Blume, The Babysitters Club series, Tuck Everlasting, A Book of Mermaids, The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, etc. We never had a lot of money, so my saving grace was the library.  I would take out so many books that we created a designated library tote bag.  I was proud of that tote bag - I insisted on carrying it myself, all the while thinking about where these books were going to take me.

Fast forward to high school and I was still reading everything I could get my hands on.  I fell into a group of friends who loved reading as much as I did; soon, we were in a book club that consisted of us eating lunch in the school library and reading silently (occasionally, someone would pause and read a line aloud to the rest of the group - quietly, of course). Together we discovered, among others,  Francesa Lia Block, David Sedaris, the Jessica Darling series (Megan McCafferty's mother was our home economics teacher!) and Perks of Being a Wallflower.  

Going to college was terrifying - my biggest fear was I could not decide what books to bring with me (oddly enough, one of my students is transferring to another college next year.  It's far from home and she needs to live on campus.  She sat in my office and kept asking, "But which ones do I bring?  How do I choose?"  In the next beat she says, "Well I have to take Perks."  Some things never change, thankfully.  Don't worry - we made a tentative list of books, which I'm sure she will change in the coming months.  I know I did.).  Another fear had been that I wouldn't find a roommate who loved books as much as me.  Luckily, I brought the right amount of books and my roommates loved to read.  Some of my happiest memories are all of us lying about our one bedroom apartment (for five girls) and reading.  The patio door would be open, a breeze would be blowing in, and we would be sprawled like cats reading our books and magazines.  As I began to try my hand at film, my reading experience expanded to screenplays and graphic novels.  One of my favorite writing professors, Dan Pope (author of In The Cherry Tree) was known to hand out books to students.  When he stopped teaching, he continued to send his previous students boxes of books to read (I mean, a BOX of books, super heavy and super worth carrying up the many flights of stairs to my apartment...I still have every single one).

Today I still consider myself to be a furious reader (for all the obvious and not-so-obvious reasons).  However, my furious reading comes in waves - some days I am too tired from reading student papers to even think about picking up a novel.  Other days I want to binge-watch a new show on Netflix.  What had been so easy for me as a child, a teen, and a college student has now become another bullet point on my list of things to do.

But that's the problem, isn't it?  It is on the list, but it isn't a priority on the list.  Most of the time I'm thinking about what else needs to be done - laundry, dishes, student conferences, oh Lord, did I forget a paper somewhere, preparing for a conference presentation, visiting family, which job do I need to go to today? - while I'm reading.  Can I consider this to be *me* time? Am I allowed to take this moment to celebrate reading furiously?  

According to our current cultural norms, absolutely not.  We need to keep moving, we need to keep constructing the City upon the Hill.  And that city does not need more books.  My favorite lie to tell myself is that I will read furiously when I have time.  Guess what, my furious readers?  We will NEVER have time to read unless we make the time to read.  And why not?  It's just as important as going to the gym or making ourselves a healthy meal.  Reading is food to the soul; it tames the mind and enlightens the spirit.  Don't we feel that way after a good walk or a good meal?  We are told that children should read twenty minutes a day, yet we never think about how many minutes an adult should read every day.   I think the twenty minute rule should continue to apply, even as we enter our busy labyrinth of adulthood.  

I still read a lot (between 75-100 books a year), but I want to make reading a priority.  A real priority.  Twenty minutes a day is  good start;  I'll still allow the amazing days of binge-reading, but I won't wait for them to present themselves.  Twenty minutes is doable and it can be done every single day. It's time for a revolution - grab a book, take a seat, and begin to read.  It may not be as simple as it used to be, but it is still worthwhile.  

Twenty minutes.  Each day. Seven days a week.  Four weeks a month.  Twelve months a year.  Every year.  

Go forth and read furiously.>
Continue Reading...

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Reading Resolutions - Will 2014 be your year?

As January reaches its closing date, my mind keeps wandering to the New Year's resolutions that aren't going to see February.  Remember how simple our resolutions were on December 31st?  We wanted to eat better, have more experiences, take more vacation days, exercise more, save more money...and now the cold weather and the start of the new year make those resolutions more daunting.

To this I say - take heart, furious readers!  You CAN meet your resolutions and you can succeed in 2014.  You can get your "more."  But may I suggest just ONE more resolution to add to your list?

Buzzfeed (one of my favorite cultural information sites) offers a great New Year's Reading Resolution checklist.  If you can't complete all of them, here are a few that you should try to do in 2014:

#1 "Read a a classic novel" - this reading resolution is one of the hardest to do.  We all know that we should read a "classic novel," but what exactly counts as a classic novel? The OED defines "classic" as a period of time labeled as the "most outstanding" of its kind.  Just the definition sounds intimidating - especially to readers who don't make it a habit of reading classics (since this is a part of my job, I forget that classics are considered "homework" to the mainstream culture).  Most classics are blamed for being too boring or too outdated, but reading a classic work can be rewarding and inspiring - as well as a historical experience.  The learning experience from reading a classic cannot be compared to anything else. Some of my favorites:  To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee; Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte; 1984 by George Orwell; Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy; A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens; Dracula by Bram Stoker; and The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.  Once you work your way through the mainstream classics, you can discover the lesser-known works by these authors or attempt to read those classics that everyone claims to read, but can barely make it through Ulysses (the famous James Joyce masterpiece - this is not a terrible book - in fact it is fascinating and exciting - but beware the reader that claims Ulysses is his/her favorite book.  Chances are that person is lying), War and Peace (Leo Tolstoy), Foucault's Pendulum (Umberto Eco - this is so worth the read), Nightwood (Djuna Barnes), or The Waste Land (T.S. Eliot). If these oldies are too much to start, then try a contemporary classic such as Kurt Vonnegut (Cat's Cradle, Slaughterhouse Five) or Toni Morrison (Beloved, Jazz, Song of Solomon).

#7 "Shop at your local independent bookstore" - Shopping locally is great no matter where you go, but frequenting a local bookstore allows you to form a friendship with the owner.  My favorite part of my week is going to my booktrader, and I've enjoyed every recommendation that she's given me.  One day we were discussing whether or not we liked a particular series, and she said passionately, "If you don't love this book as much as I do, I will refund your money."  I love that!  And she was right - I did love the book as much as she did.  I was honored that she took a chance on me.

#11 "Set a book reading goal" - I read once that Stephen King reads 100 books a year.  I've read a memoir where the author read a book every day for a year.  With everything I have to do, I don't always reach my book goal, but I usually read between 50-75 novels a year.  If you're new to the reading goal idea, pick five to ten books that you've been meaning to read and work through that list.  Even if you don't reach your goal, your reading time was never wasted.

#13 "Get the non-reader in your life to start reading" - Every year I like to participate in World Book Night, which promises to spread "the love of reading, person to person."  If your application is accepted, you have the opportunity to pass out books to non-readers.  But even without World Book Night, you can celebrate this gesture by sharing something from your bookshelf.  Over the weekend, a friend of mine confessed that she needed to read more so I brought her a Willa Cather novel that I enjoyed.  I love Cather, but I didn't need this novel anymore - it deserved to have a new home.  She was so excited, even though she confessed that it may collect dust at first.  : )  I told her what I tell all non-readers, "When you are meant to read it, you will."  Reading isn't about pressuring someone or making yourself seem better than others  - it is about spreading joy and knowledge, which should be available to everyone.  Sometimes a person doesn't read regularly because he/she doesn't know where to start - it is up to the furious readers to serve as guides for their new journey.

Continue to read furiously in 2014!  Eleven more months to go!

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