Your Reading Life

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.

I can’t help myself. I simply can’t leave this book unread. I keep trying to let it go, but I find myself picking it back up. I feel like Michael Corleone in The Godfather: “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.”

Maybe this has happened to you. You pick up a book you think you’ll like, but you’re just not hooked. Then, for whatever reason, you decide to stick with it. So you give it another 20 pages, another 50, another 100 … at this point, you’re invested. You’ve dedicated your precious reading time to this book. You’re so close. Do you plow through to the end? Or do you let go? It’s a book lover’s dilemma.

Always begin with “Once Upon a Time,” and finish with “The End.”

“I’ll never forget all the impromptu stories my father told me at bedtime,” says Nicole Sprinkle. “When my daughter was a toddler, I tried to keep this tradition alive in our house.

At first, I felt nervous. How was I going to make up something interesting and fun on the fly? My dad revealed a few helpful tips—passed down from his own father—and they never fail me.”

We want to create a “read it forward” moment for you: when you discover a book, read it, love it, and pass it on to a friend. Every week, we feature behind-the-scenes stories from authors, editors, and booksellers. We introduce you to books long before they hit the shelves, so you’re the first to know about the next great book. And every week we offer a Read It First giveaway. It’s easy to enter for the chance to win an Advance Reader’s Copy of a great book. Join the conversation!

My name is Rachel Goldberg, and I’m afraid of commitment.

Through my total and utter scouring of all Googleable NYC book clubs and literary associations and public readings, I’ve determined that there are too many awesome readerly things going on in every neighborhood and at all times.

Which is horrible. I simply can’t participate in all of them. And I wonder: What else is out there for me? How can I possibly commit to just one when there are so many thrilling, exciting, heartbreaking adventures to read up on just outside the boundaries of my current book club?

“My favorite character was Beatrice,” says RIFer Barbara M. “She is a compassionate and forgiving woman who led a difficult life, and in spite of the anger, bitterness and disappointment she sometimes felt, she never purposely allowed those feelings to influence her twin daughters.”

At once a family epic and a historical drama that brings the streets and neighborhoods of Boston vividly to life from World War II through the civil rights era to the present day, A Life Apart takes readers along for the emotional journey as Morris and Beatrice’s relationship is tested by time, family loyalties, unending guilt, racial tensions, death, and the profound effects of war.

Something has to give, and apparently I can’t leave my clothes behind in order to stack the wardrobe with books.

“The thing about being a critic is that you get sent a lot of review copies,” says Kaite Welsh, “and while that’s wonderful, sometimes I feel like Mickey Mouse in The Magician’s Apprentice when his spell goes wildly out of control.

We move in a week. There are 28 boxes of books, and that’s not counting the pile I need to read in the next fortnight which I have optimistically refused to pack yet. In comparison, my clothes only fit three relatively small suitcases.”