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

What Are Your Reading Quirks?

Reading quirks. C’mon, we know you have at least one … let’s confess in the comments!

Do you always read the last page first? Do you refuse to dog-ear pages? Without exception, do you write “This Book Belongs To…” in every book in your library?

Do you savor that delicious crack when you open a new hardcover (and refuse to buy a new hardcover unless it’s “uncracked”)? Do you smell your books?

Do you have a “good luck” book that you keep close on important days? Have you used the same bookmark for the last 10 years? Do you keep certain books hidden at the back of your bookshelf?

Your Reading Life Good for Book Clubs

Tell Us About the Books You Read Too Young

It’s unavoidable that children will be exposed to media that outpaces their emotional development: a racy scene caught on TV, a movie that they shouldn’t have been brought to . . . but what about books?

“After all, words (and the mental images they evoke) are seared into the brain long after fleeting stills from film or TV,” observes Natalie Zutter.

“Most people have a funny anecdote of ambitiously starting a book that was way too old for them, and never forgetting it . . . I always ‘read up’ as a child, regarding my grade-school library as a fortress of books to be conquered one copy at a time. If I ran out of books in my reading level, I would just move to the next one.”

Your Reading Life Good for Book Clubs

9 Beautiful Libraries with the Best Reading Rooms

Libraries and book shops are a Book Geek’s favorites places on earth.

(Librarians and booksellers are our favorite people on earth – but we’ll save that for another discussion.)

Books make any room beautiful, and some libraries take that beauty to the next level. And the smell of old books? Ahhh. You know what we’re talking about. We want to bring our favorite book to these reading rooms and spend the afternoon.

To celebrate literary oases, we’ve collected photos of some of the most gorgeous libraries in the world. Sleek and modern or intricate and classic – we love them all. We want to hear about your favorite library – join us in the comments!

Your Reading Life Good for Book Clubs

Reader Spotlight: Hissing Cousins

Alice collected vices: smoking, gambling, gossiping, sleeping past noon: she was like a Girl Scout in reverse, gathering demerit badges.

“A wonderful read and a very interesting look inside the Hyde Park and Oyster Bay Roosevelt families, represented by Eleanor Roosevelt and Alice (Princess Alice) Roosevelt Longworth,” reviews RIFer Lisa. “They were two of America’s most famous and politically astute women, also known as Mrs. Democrat and Mrs. Republican.

Eleanor is the better remembered of the two for all her humanitarian work, My Day columns, speaking ability, and ‘everyman’ touch. Alice not so much. She whispered in the background, displayed her cutting wit and sometimes cruel opinions at Washington dinners.”

Your Reading Life Good for Book Clubs

The Best Literary Themed Cocktails for Your Next Night Out

Confession time: we not only love books, we LIVE books.

Even when we gather for Happy Hour.

Our friends at PUNCH have shared some literary-themed cocktails that help us feel well-read while we’re out for a night on the town.

From the Boo Radley (named, of course, for the mysterious neighbor in Harper Lee’s great Southern novel, To Kill a Mockingbird) to the Oxford Comma (you get bonus points as a stickler for proper grammar while drinking this delicious gin-based cocktail), there’s something for your every mood, literary and otherwise. Cheers!

Your Reading Life Good for Book Clubs

9 Bookmarks You Can Make in 5 Minutes or Less

Hey, we read a lot. No time to waste looking under couch cushions for that $10 bookmark that lights up and is shaped like a unicorn.

It’s truth time: We lose bookmarks. A lot. Somewhere along our TBR pile we realize that cute bookmark we just bought is nowhere to be found and we’re back to marking our place by (gasp) dog-earing the pages, folding the dust jacket over the page, or using whatever’s handy (I have a penchant for receipts or old tickets).

This list of bookmarks is designed to give you the tools to quickly and effectively make your own bookmarks. They take practically no time to make and you can personalize them however you want. Let’s get crafty!

Your Reading Life Good for Book Clubs

What’s Your Genre Palate Cleanser?

How do you keep books with similar plots or settings from bleeding together?

“To avoid utter exhaustion in a specific genre,” says Natalie Zutter, “I’ve kept up this same pattern of a genre palate cleanser – that is, reading an entirely different book in between two of the same genre.

For example, to keep from mixing up the political intrigues of a non-gendered, space-faring empire and the mysterious plans of alien stewards hovering over Earth, I’ll turn to nonfiction – a memoir rooted in real memories and anecdotes.

A trippy, postmodern horror story meditating on documentary, truth, and a bloodthirsty house gets followed by a Regency romance filled with its own twists and turns of forbidden love and dreadful misunderstandings.”

Your Reading Life Good for Book Clubs

Forget Oscar Fashion, We Want These Dresses Made From Books!

Everybody’s talking about the red carpet hits and misses at last night’s Academy Awards, but we’re more inspired by these clever gowns made entirely of books!

(Or made from newspapers or magazines or telephone books … you get the idea.)

Sitting down might be difficult. And we’d want to stay way from rain (or open flame!) while wearing these beauties – but we’re all willing suffer a little for fashion, aren’t we?

Have you seen a nifty paper dress online? Share the link in the comments – we want to see it!