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

Slow Down: A Lesson for Readers Who Skip Descriptive Paragraphs

In a world of “binge-watching” readers should slow down.

Like many bibliophiles I know, I like to keep a tally of the books I read. It’s useful, and good for the ego, to keep the list on hand.

Sometimes, I take the number crunching even further. I can tell you, for instance, that, as of May 1 of this year, I’d read 13 books, for a total of 3,698 pages. When I’m speeding through a book, I like to measure my rate. It ranges, on average, from 30 to 60 pages per hour.

It’s probably not hard to see the attraction of such record keeping. When we’re inundated with forms of entertainment (as we most certainly are), reading, watching, listening, and playing can all seem akin to participating in an eating contest. The more we consume, the closer we come to “winning”—to being ahead, in the know, intelligent, savvy.

Your Reading Life Good for Book Clubs

Reading as a Family Affair

“Show me a family of readers, and I will show you the people who move the world.” ―Napoléon Bonaparte

Reading is often pinned as an act of isolation, but does it have to be?

Reading is a culture in my family. No, strike that, reading is a compulsion in my family. My mom, dad, brother and I–and now my sister-in-law–are all voracious readers. It’s always been like that, and to this day we have an almost sacred respect for someone’s need to curl up in bed with a good book.

When I was a kid, especially on cold winter Sundays, my whole family would bundle up, get in the car and go to the bookstore. The minute we got there, the team would break out to our zones and explore for a few hours until we had all made our selections. Then we’d go home, my dad would make a fire and we’d all curl up in different corners of the house and read.

Your Reading Life Good for Book Clubs

Loved That Bestseller? Read This!

There are plenty of lazy reading days ahead of us this summer, and if we know you like we think we do, you are well on your way to finishing today’s bestsellers and will soon be in need of another read to throw in your beach bag.

Here are some backlist read-a-likes to match your current favorite book. Whether you are looking for something historical, biographical, or fun & romantic, we’ve got your back.

Your Reading Life Good for Book Clubs

Book Recommendations for Every Kind of Vacation

Especially when packing space is limited, choosing the right book to bring with you on vacation is a fraught decision

Whether you’ll be journeying to a lake, boarding a cruise ship, or setting off an a whirlwind tour of Europe, you can’t go wrong with these novels and memoirs that’ll transport, challenge, and inspire you in equal measure.

“That’s the thing about books…they let you travel without moving your feet.” –Jhumpa Lahiri

Your Reading Life Good for Book Clubs

Loved That? Read This!

Did you just finish a book and think to yourself, “Gee, I sure would like to read another book just like this one!” You’re in luck!

We all know that feeling: in the absence of a sequel, immediately searching for another book that has similar qualities to the one we just finished.

Read It Forward has your back. We’ve picked five popular reads we’ve seen everywhere this summer and paired them with books that read similarly. From funny essays to realistic family stories and thrilling plots — let us know what strikes you as your next choice!

Your Reading Life Good for Book Clubs

Our Favorite Book Podcast

This bookish podcast, lovingly produced by two publishing veterans is a book-lover’s dream. Recommendations, behind-the-scenes info, all combined with all-out enthusiasm and excitement for the written word.

Books on the Nightstand is a long-standing podcast. The 335 episode was posted this past Tuesday. Imagine 335 episodes of all books, all the time. It’s a beautiful thing.

The podcast is run by two publishing veterans who also happen to be two of the most well-read people we’ve encountered. They bring a passion and excitement to their book recommendations that make us feel downright giddy as we mentally stack each book mentioned onto our already-teetering TBR pile.

Your Reading Life Good for Book Clubs

Finding Your Fiction Alter Ego

We all want to be the Lizzie Bennets and the Katniss Everdeens–the stars of their stories, archetypes in their own right.

But as much as we like to self-flatter, really we’re more likely one of the other, less spunky Bennet sisters, or hapless Peeta Mellark. So, how do you accurately assess your literary alter ego while being realistic about your strengths and shortcomings?

There’s the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the psychological Sorting Hat before J.K. Rowling created the four houses of Hogwarts. In fact, the first fictional character I found myself matched to was James Potter, the ENTJ (Extroverted Intuitive Thinking Judging) or “Maverick” of the Harry Potter Myers-Briggs spectrum. My type (the Rational) has also been called the “Field Marshall” and the “Executive”–not exactly titles I would claim in daily life. But the MBTI pegged me in all four categories.

Your Reading Life Good for Book Clubs

5 Eccentric (and Brilliant) Ways to Organize Your Bookshelf

Whether you’re moving, remodeling, spring cleaning, or finally getting around to building the library of your dreams, the question of how to store and display your book collection is bound to come up. Traditionally, most of us arrange our reads alphabetically, by author.

While this method sometimes produces some fun juxtapositions—I’m always delighted to see Henry James sharing shelf space with the Fifty Shades trilogy—it’s not exactly the most imaginative.

If you’re looking for ways to spice up your home library—and spark a conversation among your book-loving friends—try one of these alternatives.