Your Reading Life

Extra Libris

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 Extra Libris

The Sex Lives of Siamese Twins Will Make You Laugh (and Cringe a Little If You’re an American)

Do you think a writer – like Irvine Welsh, who is from the U.K. writing about the U.S. – has a different perspective on American culture?

It’s always interesting to get the perspective of someone from another country, especially when it comes to our own popular culture. Things that we take for granted are thrown into stark contrast for someone who didn’t grow up here.

That’s certainly the case with The Sex Lives of Siamese Twins by Irvine Welsh. He’s the author behind the iconic book and film Trainspotting – he now lives in the U.S. and has turned his comic wit on American culture. As the Financial Times pointed out, “the excitement of Welsh’s writing derives from the perverse glee he takes in our lowest obsessions.”

Your Reading Life Extra Libris

Why I Go to Facebook to Decide What to Read Next

For me, choosing my next read is an exercise fraught with equal parts trepidation and eager anticipation.

Thing is: I’ve usually just finished reading something I loved and am feeling deeply satiated yet slightly maudlin over its ending, which makes the selection of a new book read feel very weighted.

Unfortunately, I rely increasingly less on traditional reviews in all the places I used to go, like The New York Times, for instance. It’s not because I don’t still value them; it’s just, sadly, a lack of time. The continual flow of recommendations Amazon sends me based on algorithms developed by what I download on my Kindle are very hit or miss. And I don’t keep up on Goodreads in the way that I used to as much either. Who has time for Facebook and yet another social media hub?

Your Reading Life Extra Libris

Help Us Build the Best Holiday Books List Ever

RIFers, you asked for holiday book recommendations, and we decided to have some fun with it. We’ve gathered some of the most unusual holiday books we could find.

Awkward Family Holiday Photos and Scared of Santa will give you a giggle with images of holiday cheer gone wrong. It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Zombies is just what it sounds like. And so is The Physics of Christmas: From the Aerodynamics of Reindeer to the Thermodynamics of Turkey. Fascinating! We had to include one of our all-time favorite holiday books for kids: The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming: A Christmas Story.

Your Reading Life Extra Libris

Top 10 Literary Halloween Costumes

Who says only the children get to dress up? From Miss Havisham to Mrs. Whatsit, here are 10 Halloween literary costumes for the bookish prankster in all of us.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, fall has descended upon us,” observes Emily Ansara Baines. “Leaves are changing. The wind is more brisk than refreshing. And the children now no longer want to play outside, making getting solitary reading time a tad more hard to come by.

Luckily, with the fall season comes a myriad of fun holidays, including my personal favorite—Halloween! There’ll be no need for tricks—and plenty of treats—with these getups!”

Your Reading Life Extra Libris

10 Surprisingly Spooky BOOks!

Readers Beware: not all these novels appear spooky at first: but as we’ve learned, it’s not fair to judge a book by its cover—much less its synopsis.

From literary novels like Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close to postmodern masterpieces like House of Leaves, Emily Ansara Baines includes some really unexpected books in her top 10 list.

This aren’t your typical Halloween reads (though Stephen King does make an appearance). Take a look and leave a comment with your favorites!

Your Reading Life Extra Libris

About Read It Forward

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!

Your Reading Life Extra Libris

Reboot Your Reading Routine

Have you ever read outside your comfort zone? If so, tell us about it! Was it inspiring or disastrous?

“Sure, you know all about getting into a rut at work, socially, and in your exercise regimen,” says Nicole Sprinkle. “But what about in your reading life?

Even pleasurable pastimes can become dull. While you probably stick with a favorite genre, author or style of writing – and with good reason, of course! – doing so sometimes that limits your perspective, your circle of knowledge, and even your imagination.”

Your Reading Life Extra Libris

Reader Spotlight: Review of Adam Sternbergh’s Shovel Ready

RIFer Karen won a copy of Adam Sternbergh’s Shovel Ready from us and wrote a review on her sister Kathy’s book blog, BermudaOnion.

“I really like his Spademan character even if he is a hitman,” she says. “He is flawed, but he does have his redeeming qualities. Told mainly through a series of dialogues the book is a fairly quick read.

It’s dystopian fiction that draws the reader’s thoughts to present day issues of religion, ethics and technology. If you’re not a fan of dystopian I think you’ll still enjoy this suspenseful novel.”