Your Reading Life

Good for Book Clubs

We RIFers are voracious readers and we love to tell a good story. Your Reading Life features personal essays, reader reviews — anything that embraces our literary lifestyle. Pull up a mug of your favorite cozy beverage and join in on the conversation.

Your Reading Life Good for Book Clubs

Books You Love That No One Else Has Read

We all have them – books that we love that we’re surprised no one else has read.

Kirsty Logan, author of The Gracekeepers, shares five books she loves that no one else has read, including Boy Heaven by Laura Kasischke.

“As a fan of folktales, fairytales and mythology, I also love their modern equivalent: the urban legend. Here’s Kasischke takes a classic urban legend and places it in the setting of a girls’ summer camp. Her prose is gorgeous, creating a tone both ethereal and uncomfortable. I’m a big fan of books about ‘teen-girl realness’, and Boy Heaven is dead-on with the feelings, sights, and smells of girlhood.”

Your Reading Life Good for Book Clubs

Our Dream Collection of Literary Shirts

Wearing a cool shirt? That’s nice. Wearing a cool shirt that celebrates a love of reading? That’s awesome.

We scoured the Web for our favorite literary shirts of all time and found fifteen tops that fit the bill. Tank tops, sweatshirts, and more will help you express your love of books in a shout-it-from-the-rooftops kind of way.

If we had a walk-in closet, it would be filled to the brim with these funny, witty, and charming shirts. Warning: Your wallet is about to start calling your name…

Your Reading Life Good for Book Clubs

Reading Against the Tide

How much do others’ opinions subconsciously sway whether we’ll like a book or not?

“I thought back to when Eat, Pray, Love was published and how every single woman I knew in New York City and beyond was a believer,” remembers Nicole Sprinkle.

“I’d lapped it up and loved it too. Then, ironically, a few years later there was a major backlash. Suddenly, people seemed to be coming out of the woodwork to say they didn’t like the book, that it was unrealistic, the narrator unlikeable. So what happened? Did the book become uncool because of its mainstream popularity, made into a movie with Julia Roberts as the lead? Or had readers been swept into thinking they loved it in the first place?”

Your Reading Life Good for Book Clubs

7 Books That Will Make You Appreciate Your Mom

Happy Mother’s Day, RIFers! We want to hear about your favorite ‘mom books’ and we’ve collected some of our own.

You often see lists of books to give for Mother’s Day, but less frequently do you see books that, in their explorations of mother-child relationships, hit home the importance of celebrating Mother’s Day.

These stories about the joys, tears, and frustrations of having a mother will do just that. From classics like Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying to book club classics like The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan to more experimental books like Break It Down by Lydia Davis, we have something for everyone.

Your Reading Life Good for Book Clubs

How to Read It Forward Across Generations

The “first impression” my boyfriend’s dad had of me was The Sparrow‘s very dark, graphic, anti-faith ending.

When my mom first gave me a copy of The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell for Christmas 2010, I accepted it with some trepidation: OK, it’s sci-fi, but her book club read it. They’re a bunch of moms who aren’t very in touch with the genre.

But a few months later, I took a writing class in which one of the students recommended “this amazing 1990s sci-fi novel, about Jesuit priests trying to colonize a planet and failing mightily – oh, and the main character gets his hands all mutilated by the aliens!”

Your Reading Life Good for Book Clubs

The Literary Wedding, a Guide

“Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering.” ~Nicole Krauss, The History of Love

Wedding season is upon us. And all of us here at Read It Forward love it when couples incorporate a love of reading into their big day. Here are a few of our favorite ways to pull off a literary wedding.

From the perfect bookish bouquet to a wedding cake you’ll devour faster than a page-turning thriller to unique book-themed party favors, we’ve gathered some of the most original ways to bring your love of books into the big day.

Your Reading Life Good for Book Clubs

Have You Ever Met a Favorite Author?

I’ve only won a single prize in a contest, but was a pretty great one: a dinner with my favorite author, Toni Morrison.

“Several years ago,” remembers Eleanora Buckbee, “Toni Morrison visited my undergraduate university to give a talk, and the English Department arranged for her to have dinner with some undergraduate students. Invitation only, with fewer than 20 students.

All I had to do was email a 140-character tweet to the department head, explaining why I wanted this ‘once-in-a-lifetime chance to spend time with one of the greatest living authors,’ as the email instructed. Those 140 characters were some of the hardest I’ve ever had to write.”

Your Reading Life Good for Book Clubs

Why Reread? Because Books Change As We Do

The experience of rereading my old favorites has taught me a lot about how I used to think about the world—and hit home just how much I’ve changed in the intervening years.

It helps of course, that I was (and still am) an avid underliner and so have clear evidence of what I found, and find, especially meaningful. As I tackled for a second time three of my favorite books from that period—As I Lay Dying, Ethan Frome, and Travels With My Aunt—I was struck by the lines that had appealed to me back then, and the ones that appealed to me now.

Why were they different? How were they different? Could comparing my 15-year-old self’s favorite sentences with my new favorite sentences tell me anything about how I’d changed?