I’d Rather Be Reading by Anne Bogel, released September 4th, is an absolute joy to read. This book is a beautiful love letter to all the bookish souls out there. This wonderful collection of essays takes you on a journey through a book lover’s life, prompting the reader to remember the book that first got them hooked on a story, when and where they first fell in love with reading, and all their bookish quirks. The reader will find themselves relating wholeheartedly to each chapter. Book and reading enthusiasts will nod their heads and say “me too!” with each new antidote.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It truly spoke to my bookish soul and I felt that I had found a kindred spirit amongst the pages. In chapter 3, “I’m Begging You to Break My Heart”, Bogel’s description and explanation regarding when she read Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Abraham Lincoln biography Team of Rivals, reminded me of the time I read James Donovan’s The Blood of Heroes. Bogel had said that Goodwin had written the life and assassination of Lincoln so beautifully well, that even though she knew how Lincoln died, she still found herself feeling great emotion over the ending. I felt the same way when I read The Blood of Heroes, which is about the siege of the Alamo. Donovan handled it in such an incredible and reverent way that I couldn’t help cheering the Alamo men on, though we all know it was to no avail. I felt that book deeply and this chapter made me remember it.
Another superb chapter was chapter 5, “Hooked on the Story”, which explores the first book that got Anne hooked on a story, as opposed to just enjoying reading in general. This chapter will take the reader back to the first book that got THEM hooked and my, what beautiful memories. For me, that book was Louis L’Amour’s The Lonesome Gods. I just could not put it down. I was in 7th grade, my father had handed me the book (from his own collection) and, knowing that I loved western movies, said that I might like it. I was hooked immediately and it actually pained me whenever I had to put it down to do something else. Needless to say, I finished it quickly. It was the first time a story drew me completely in and held me captive until the very end. Even now, it still stands as one of my absolute favorite books, 15 years later. It’s a book I make a habit of reading every year.
Believe me when I say, this is not a book you want to miss out on. It’s like sitting down with a very dear friend and having a deep conversation, sharing memories and secrets that only a select few would understand and appreciate. If that’s not enough to get you to read this book, might I also mention that Anne devotes a little part of this book to discussing the bookish movie You’ve Got Mail? I loved and agreed with her take on the character of Kathleen Kelly and her concern that so much of what she saw in real life reminded her of something she read, when in reality, shouldn’t it be the other way around? Kathleen was concerned that her experiences were cheapened because she had read about it beforehand. Anne makes an excellent argument against that view and I couldn’t help but pump my fist and say “here, here!” Way to go Anne! ;) Well done.
I give it a 9/10.
Liz Austin. Bibliophile. Writer. Book hoarder. I would rather be reading....