Jana Says

Living life from cover to cover

Tag Archive: reading

Interview with a bookworm

If you’ve spent any time on the blog, even if you’re a new reader (as in, this is your first visit), you know I love books. Like, a lot. Among the people I know in real life, how much I love books and reading kind of makes me weird and different and maybe moderately freakish. I’m okay with that, though, because if being a voracious reader is the worst thing people have to say about me, I can live with it. 

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Because of how much I enjoy reading, I get asked lots and lots of questions. So I decided that I’d answer some of them. In an interview. With myself. Enjoy.

So, Jana, you like to read. Can you explain why?

You realize this a ridiculous question, right? How can you not enjoy reading? It’s basically the best thing ever. It’s free entertainment, and there’s so many books, you’ll never run out of choices. You’re never bored with a book by your side. Not only that, reading increases your vocabulary and expands your imagination and makes you a better thinker and also, if you’re socially awkward like me, having a book means you have a reason to avoid eye contact and people in general. reading quote 2

Okay, that all makes sense. But how do you find books to read?

All over the place. I’ll browse best seller lists, list posts from Book Riot and Buzzfeed Books, I check out Amazon recommendations, and I use Goodreads to see what my friends are reading. Social media like Twitter and Facebook are great places to learn about books. I talk to my mom and sister, who read completely different genres than I do.  I also host a monthly books linkup where I get dozens of good recommendations. Having friends who are readers is amazing. And of course I have my standby authors who I can rely on for a new book every year or two.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

It’s hard to say that I have a favorite more than standby ones, as I mentioned. For instance, Jodi Picoult. She had a slump but seems to be coming back to quality books with her last two. I’m a big Nelson Demille fan, although he hasn’t published anything new in awhile. I am also a major fan of John Green which might also have something to do with his Mental Floss videos and YouTube channel as much as it does his books. And some new ones that I’ve been binging on or plan on binging on are Jojo Moyes and Lisa Genova, and then there are a bunch of first time authors who I fell in love with and I will read their new books once they’re published. This is a hard question. 

Sorry about that. Let’s make it easier for you. What’s your favorite book?

Really, you think that’s easier? It’s definitely not. I’ve talked about my favorite celebrity memoirs, 10 books that changed my life, and awhile ago, I wrote my (for now) ideal bookshelf so those are probably good starting points but to pick just one is virtually impossible. However, since you’re asking and if you don’t want to read my other lists (which I totally understand), I’ll say that some of my favorites are Garth Stein’s The Art of Racing in the Rain, S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders, Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park, and Wally Lamb’s I Know This Much is True. Recent favorites are You by Caroline Kepnes, All the Bright Places by Jennifer Nevin, and Stephen Elliott’s The Adderall Diaries.reading quote 5

That’s a pretty eclectic mix. Do you typically read a variety or do you stick to one genre?

While I’m drawn to memoirs and emotional, character driven novels, I do love a good chick lit book or mystery or anything that just seems interesting. I try to keep an open mind when it comes to picking books. In fact, I recently read a sci-fi book (The Martian) at the insistence of a friend and, despite my general loathing of that genre, I liked the book. I’ve read a few westerns and enjoyed them, too (if you want a recommendation, check out Patrick DeWitt’s The Sisters Brothers). If you close yourself off to a particular genre, you don’t know what you might miss. 

Do you watch movie adaptation of books? If you do, what do you think of them? 

That’s a loaded question. For the most part, movie adaptations of books are, in my opinion, horrible. They change the plots, leave out important details, and the characters almost never look or sound like what I picture in my head and it ruins it for me. In fact, there are a number of books I’ve loved that have been adapted into movies and I refuse to watch them. That said, recently, there have been a slew of books made into movies and the adaptations have been fantastic. I don’t know if it has to do with the novel writer being more involved with the movie or better casting or directing or something else. I still consider those exceptions to the rule, though. reading quote 3

Does that include 50 Shades of Gray?

Don’t talk to me about that blight on the face of books. Sorry about that. Okay, let’s get into the quick answer round. 

Go for it.

Does it offend you when people call you a bookworm?

Absolutely not. That’s like me getting offended at someone telling me I have brown eyes. It’s part of who I am.reading quote 4

What do you say to people who state that they don’t have time to read?

I don’t normally say anything. I just smile and silently judge them. I’m sure they do have time. They just choose to use it for other things. Which is fine if that’s their choice. It’s just not a choice I make. 

How do you find time to read?

I make time. It’s important to me and it’s something I’ve been doing literally as long as I can remember. Reading is big priority to me, like exercising is to other people so I make sure to fit it in to my day, even if it’s only a few pages. 

Do you enjoy the company of books more than the company of people? 

Most days.

Have you ever lost sleep from reading?

Of course. 

Has a book ever made you cry?

Yes. In fact, I’ve cried at the end of more books than I have movies. 

Paper books, eBooks, or audiobooks?

While I’m partial to real paper books, I’ve been known to read eBooks, too. I haven’t yet gotten into audiobooks.

Buy books or use the library?

Either. I prefer the library but I do buy books on occasion, particularly when I want to read a book my library doesn’t have.reading quote 6

Do you keep old books?

How can you not?

Any parting words? 

Hmm. I guess I’d say this–never, ever feel ashamed of what you read. Don’t worry about being a perfect reader because there’s no such thing. Just read whatever makes you happy without stressing if someone is judging you for it. Screw them if they do. Because reading–all reading–is magic.


Thanks for taking the time to chat with us.

Thanks for having me!

Now it’s your turn. Do you guys have any questions for me about my reading habits?


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This week in…: Volume 7

First, thank you all for your comments, feedback, and general awesomeness on Wednesday’s post. It showed everything that’s awesome about the blogger community and why I love it so much. Because even when you feel like you’re alone, you’re really not. 

That said, let’s move on to this week’s recap.

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This week in frugaling…I’ve recently started drinking coffee on a few days a week basis and because I’m cheap, I usually make it at home. I bought some Starbucks coffee grounds (which I do not like) but I did learn that I not only can get a little star on my rewards card from buying it but I can get a free tall coffee when the bag is empty so it’s like getting half my money back. On another note, does anyone know what to do with coffee beans you don’t like? I’m inclined to throw them out but it seems like a waste.

This week in reading…Last week I finished The Martian (LOVED IT and I am so glad I bowed to Kristen’s peer pressure to read it), moved on to Dan Harris’s 10% Happier, finished that and now I’m reading Jo Nesbo’s The Son. I also picked up Mobile Library by David Whitehouse and now have enough books to get me through until next month’s Show Us Your Books linkup on April 14th. Mark it down.

This week in TV watching…I binge watched Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and while I generally cannot tolerate Jane Krakowski (although I’ll admit, towards the last few episodes, my tolerance level increased), the show is awesome (edit: it took me a few episodes to get into but once I did, I enjoyed it. Like Parks and Rec, I’m glad I didn’t quit on it) and Ellie Kemper is spectacular. Casting her could not have been a better choice. And speaking of Netflix shows, Bloodline releases TODAY and since I have a major crush on Kyle Chandler, I’m thrilled the show is finally here (and thanks to Tonya for the heads up all those months ago about the show).


This week in parenting…Not only did I finally order a very sparkly cheer mom shirt (which, thanks to very poor word placement, I have to implement the Downy trick to stretch out the material) but I actually remembered to text one of her friend’s moms to schedule a play date, I let her sleep in bed with me after she had a nightmare (the husband was out of town for a few days so there was room) despite my strict “no child in the bed” rule, she put her laundry away without being reminded, and I learned she’s been buying salads for lunch at school. I feel like I’ve won all the parenting battles this week.

This week in internet links…Buzzfeed hit the mark with two great posts, 13 Incredibly Detailed Floor Plans of the Most Famous TV Homes and This is What Depression Looks Like (incidentally, I wrote a post with the same name awhile ago). Time shared a great article from XO Jane on how Being a Stay At Home Mom is Not a Job (as a current SAHM, I loved the perspective in this one) and The NY Times shared a photo series on what 2,000 calories looks like. Very interesting.

This week in laughs

funny-sneeze-car-crash-road-accidentbeing a bitch

That’s all she wrote this week. I’ll be back on Monday when I interview myself about my reading habits. Have a great weekend!

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Show Us Your Books!: March edition

You know those months when you read a ton of books and it’s hard to pick which is the best one because with the exception of maybe one or two they’re all so damn good and then you don’t really want to keep reading since you’re confident the hot streak has to end but you don’t want it to? That’s me after reading 8 books last month, loving 6 of them, and not thoroughly despising the other two. It was a good month, reading wise (in case you’re new to the linkup, my reading month is not a calendar month; it’s from the day after the linkup until the weekend before, when I write the post). 

So what did I read? Let’s find out.

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Why We Suck: A Feel Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy, and Stupid by Denis Leary This book was exactly what you’d expect from a book by Denis Leary. I’ve been a fan of his for a long time, particularly his stand-up and when I read the book, much of it sounded like the rants in his routine. Hilarious, offensive, rude, and also true. However, peppered in between the rants are stories about his childhood, his family, his career and to me, what’s abundantly clear is how much he loves his wife and children, the respect he has for his parents, and how proud he is of all he’s accomplished (which he manages to do without humblebragging). If you like him, read the book. If he bothers you, don’t. 

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Nevin Have you ever read a book that just destroyed you, emotionally? That how I felt about this one. It’s a YA book but it truly didn’t matter. I mean, some of it annoyed me, particularly how whiny Violet could be and her parents were atrocious characters but Finch’s part of the story? Holy shit. I cannot commend Jennifer Niven enough for dealing with mental illness and when Finch starts to go down the hole, you feel yourself going with him. The book has you forgetting you’re reading a YA book. And the end, well, that had me ugly crying more than The Fault in Our Stars. 

Ugly Girls by Lindsay Hunter I really wanted to like this book more than I did. The premise had so much potential. So much. And the last third made for compelling reading but you had to muddle through the tedious, boring, first two-thirds to get to it. What got on my nerves more than anything wasn’t so much the story line but the fact that the author, who’s clearly an adult, was trying way too hard to make the teenagers in the book sound like teenagers and wow, did they have poor grammar. It became painful to read after a few pages.

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng Jumping back and forth in time from the 1950s to the 1970s, it deals with a mixed race family dealing with the death of their favorite child. I don’t even know how to sum it up properly or express what I think about it except this book gave me all the feelings and I completely understand why this book made it onto every “best of” list for 2014. While I couldn’t relate to some of the experiences of the family, as a parent, and the parent of a girl, I could relate to the mother in the story more than I thought I would and their grief was palpable, which also struck a chord for me.

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler I don’t know how I feel about this one. It’s a great, creative concept about the intense and short burning high school romance but Min was way too dramatic and over the top for me. She was also obsessed with classic movies and when I say obsessed, I mean obsessed. And not real classic movies, made up movies with made up actors and titles and it got to the point with the constant talking about it I’d get angry. Also, the book is printed on photo paper (like Yes Please) and if a book is going to be that heavy, it needs to be better. 

You by Caroline Kepnes This book does down in my reading history as the single most fucked up book I have ever read. Every single character was contemptible, particularly Beck, the shallow, selfish, spoiled object of Joe’s affection (Joe is the narrator) and let me tell you, Joe is psychopath stalker with even more issues beyond that. But when you put them together, it makes for a story you cannot stop reading, even if it makes you paranoid and disturbed and compulsively checking your doors. I can totally see this being made into a movie and I’m crazy excited for the next book in the series.

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green Oh, John Green. Why did you have to write a book involving math? Despite that, this book the epitome of John Green YA. A boy gets dumped, he goes on a road trip, and meets/falls in love with a girl…blah, blah, blah. The math bugged me, it had an abundance of footnotes that made Jen Lancaster’s footnotes seem not so annoying, and the overuse of the word “fug” (instead of “fuck”) plucked every single one of my nerves. Had this book been longer, and had Colin been less likable, I probably would have put it down. And I love John Green so that says a lot.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins I recently learned the term “cozy mystery” to describe a book (it’s when someone who’s not law enforcement gets involved in the investigation of a murder or something along those lines) and when I think of that term, I think of a campy, simple book. This one might fall into that category but it is anything but light and campy. Murder, infidelity, domestic violence, alcoholism, infertility, jealous, and obsession feature prominently in the plot. Like the characters in You, it’s hard to like anyone in this book, although you will find yourself pitying Rachel at times, but when you put them all together, it makes a story you need to read.

If you’re going to add any to your list, make it The Girl on the Train, You, Everything I Never Told You, and All the Bright Places. I’m okay telling you to skip the rest, even if I enjoyed them. 

On tap for March: The Martian, The Economy of You, 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works, and The Son. That’s just what I have checked out. Not sure what else the library will send my way.

Now it’s your turn! Link up with me and Steph and let us know what you read. Nonblogger, leave a comment with your favorite (or least favorite) reads from last month:

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Show Us Your Books: February edition

Today my not so secret inner book nerd is rejoicing because it’s time for my and Steph’s monthly book chat!!! 

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I started off the month plowing through some books. I think I read 5 in 10 days or something ridiculous like that. Then I slowed down to a regular pace and read a more normal 1 book every 5 days or so. 

What I read ran the gamut, too. It was insanely eclectic, even for me. But rather than me rambling on about how much I read, let’s recap the books instead:

The Journalist and The Murderer by Janet Malcolm. Recommended for those of us who are huge Serial fans, it explored the relationship between a journalist and his subject, using the example of subject who sued the journalist who wrote about him for libel or something like that. I don’t know because I hated the book and I didn’t finish it. I barely remember what I did read. I do remember despising the author of the book, and the tone she set, right off the bat and that probably swayed my ability to finish it. It makes me sad because, being a huge criminal justice nerd, I should love a book like this. But I really just wanted to throw it out a window.

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes. A sweet book about a classic movie, written by someone who is both proud and humbled to have been a part of it (and he conveys that perfectly in the book without seeming too arrogant. He totally could have crossed that line, too). I love this movie, and have loved this movie, for so long and getting the behind the scenes sneak peek made me love it even more. If you read it for nothing else, read it for the Andre the Giant stories, how Cary Elwes and Mandy Patankin learned to fence, and the sidebar additions from the rest of the cast. 

The Adderall Diaries by Stephen Elliott. When I heard about this book, I knew it was right up my fucked up alley. Half memoir, half investigative (sort of) journalism about a murder, I was mesmerized more by the author’s horrible childhood and life in the S&M world than I was by the murder he investigated and reported. The author’s life intrigues me so much I will probably binge read more of his work, even if it’s not autobiographical. I just want to support his career. 

Paper Towns by John Green. I read this book in maybe a day and a half, if that much. It was probably more like a few hours but the story stayed with me for days afterwards that it feels like it took longer. Since it’s John Green, you know it’s YA, and the story was similar to Looking for Alaska in that it was a teenage boy obsessed with a teenage girl who goes missing. Except that the ending of this book is haunting, the whole story makes you think, and leaves you both happy and sad. I hope the movie adaptation does it justice. If the adaptation for The Fault in Our Stars is any indication, it will.

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger. So this chick was 17 when the book was published. Which means she was even younger when she wrote it. Given that fact, the shallowness of the story, the mostly superficial characters, and a weird storyline about parental alcoholism that’s only somewhat relevant get a bit of slack. It’s a cute, easy YA read that, had I been in high school when I read it, I probably would have loved it. My adult self was not upset that she read it. However, my adult self is completely displeased with the movie trailers and how they seem to have completely butchered the story. This is why books to movie adaptions have a bad rep.

The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace by Jeff Hobbs. Holy shit, you guys. What a book. If you take out the author injecting himself into part of the story (since he was Rob’s roommate at Yale), and maybe a little bit of the exploitative factor, it was a hell of a book. Jeff Hobbs is a fantastic writer, who was helped by the fact that Rob has a terrible, amazing, and, as the title suggests, tragic story. I don’t even know how to properly summarize the book. It should be it’s own post because I have so many thoughts on it. Even if you don’t like nonfiction, please read this one. 

Beyond the Pale Motel by Francesca Lia Block. Another blogger mentioned this one in a Show Us Your Books linkup and I apologize to that person because I can’t remember who it was. And I also apologize because good grief, did I dislike this book. I hated every character, including and especially the main one, it was terribly written, and what made me really dislike it is that the story had so much potential and I felt like she rushed through parts of it just to get to the end which she clearly thought was the big payoff, considering she named the damn book after the ending (trust me, that gives away nothing). It was not a big payoff. It was just ridiculous.

I’m currently finishing Denis Leary’s Why We Suck, Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You, and I have All the Bright Places, You, Ugly Girls, Why We Broke Up, and The Economy of You on tap for next month. We’ll also see what else the library chooses to deliver. 

So, tell me, what did you read? Link up below. Nonbloggers, let me know in the comments.

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This Week In: Doctors, cooking, and other stuff

No clever intro, diving right in except to ask if I made this topic a Friday linkup, would anyone participate? Please don’t feel pressure to say yes but I thought I’d ask. Let me know in the comments. 

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This week in being an adult…More doctors! I’m starting to wonder if I’m 37 or 87 and I am so sick of getting blood drawn. I basically have track marks and, seeing as how I have no diagnosis yet, they’re really there for no reason. And I don’t want to even mention the unpleasantness that is coming my way next month. Hopefully after that I’ll know what’s wrong with me and I can get effective treatment.

This week in cooking…I have been killing it with recipes this week. Hoisin meatballs (and I don’t like ground beef so you know it’s good if I’m recommending it), cheesesteak stuffed peppers, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, and chicken ranch tacos. I typically don’t do recipe posts because I’m too lazy to take pictures but I think I need to do that with these. Any preferences on which ones I should share?

This week in blogging…I don’t know what’s going on but my comment plugin is eating legit comments from real bloggers and dumping them in my spam comments. So, if you’re commenting and it looks like your comment disappears, it probably didn’t. It’s in spam jail. Don’t fret, though. I check it every day and release the prisoners who deserve it.

This week in reading…Finishing up Denis Leary’s Why We Suck and started Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You. I placed The Girl on the Train on reserve at the library and I’m like 235th in line. Fortunately, Steph saved the day and is mailing me her copy. Which segways nicely into…

This week in travel planning…Since Steph is awesome enough to mail me the book, I’m returning it by going into Philly next month so we can have lunch. I haven’t seen her since roughly 1999 so this is extra exciting. 

This week in TV watching…I won’t bother to recap the Super Bowl but let’s discuss The Blacklist. Anyone else watch it? Anyone else hella frustrated by all the commercials? This is exactly why I DVR everything. No commercials. Oh, and thanks for the comedy recommendations last week. I have some new shows to check out now. 

This week in updating my look…You guys know by now that I don’t do selfies but trust when I say I had Duggar hair. I cut about 5 inches off my hair AND had long layers added to it. Plus, it’s a new color and I absolutely love the way my hair looks now. And having it cut and healthy makes me not look like shit, which is an added bonus. 

This week in saving money…Lowering my cell phone bill (thanks for the heads up, The Consumerist), actually remembering to return my library books on time (no fines!), having my very handy brother in law work with my husband to replace the brakes on our car (saving around $400!), and using my CVS coupons (thanks to the app on my phone!) for stuff we need. Being cheap never felt so good.

This week in sheer awesomeness…Everyone catch Jimmy Fallon’s Saved By the Bell reunion? No? Here it is. You can thank me later.

 How was your week? Anything exciting planned for the weekend? 


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