Stuff.....from your bookseller

A College Student's view on Reading - March 22, 2019  Submitted by Sara

Hi everyone! I am Sara, an employee at A Likely Story! I am also a college student at Salisbury University, majoring in Elementary Education.

My passion for reading started when I was younger, I would always read any book given to me. My mother worked right across from A Likely Story, so I would come into the store and walked around and be taken in by all the books. Walking into a bookstore and be surrounded by all those literary worlds is something I will never grow tired of.

Being a Full-time student I work in the store when I am home for break and in the summer. I appreciate every opportunity given to me to work in this amazing store. Working at the bookstore has given me so many chances to meet and get to talk to so many fun and different authors. My favorite author would have to be Nicholas Sparks. I was fangirling the whole time he was here. It was my dream come true to meet him and get a picture with him.  

Being a student and keeping up with the latest reads is something I have not managed to do easily. My favorite genres are Mystery, Fiction, Military, and Thrillers. I am an avid reader of the Reese Witherspoon Book Club, I have liked all of these books.  My favorite, so far, is “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens, which is available at the bookstore. wink

I am someone who can truly read anything and I go through different phases of what genres I like the best. I can walk out of a bookstore with a romance novel and a Stephen King book. There is no shame for my genre tastes. I am able to read the newest books, and get back to the classics.

When I was in high school it was easier to read all the time, but now that I am studying and being active on my college campus, it is hard for me to find time to read. It saddens me now that it takes me a week to read one book. I try to find times throughout my day where I can sneak in a chapter.

After I have gone through my trial and error period for trying to read most efficiently at school, I found myself to have some tips to share:

  • It is so important to find a book that grabs you from the start. Something that you will be thinking about when you aren’t reading. That way you are yearning for the book and you read instead of watching tv or anything else.
  • Make time out of your day to read. Set yourself a ten minute block twice or more for a week. If you incorporate reading into your schedule, it starts to become a daily habit!
  • Don’t feel bad if you aren’t reading all the time. This one was hard for me; I would tell everyone how much of an avid reader I am, yet I hadn’t read a book in a while. It’s important to look back and acknowledge that you are busy and it’s okay not to read all the time.

Being a worker, student, or parent may come first to reading, but don’t worry! A great book is always waiting for you to pick up.

 

Come see Sara while she is home on Spring Break!  We are so glad she will be back to work with us this summer!

 

When reading books is in your job description - March 18, 2019  Submitted by Debbie

A big question I get at the store is “Do you read all these books?”  The answer is no, but I do read a lot. 

I try to limit myself to one ARC (advanced reader copy), one current release and one older book at a time. Booksellers have an embarrassment of riches situation; the amount of books at our disposal is crazy.  Choices are tough and many times I’m coming home with a new stack of books and I can see my husband internally cringing (as you can see by the picture - my bedside “table” continues to grow). I am not a re-reader of books, except for the occasion when I have to refresh my memory of details for book club or a book chat.  I also have to make sure I am diversifying my selections.  I tend to gravitate to historical fiction and narrative history so I only allow myself to read 1 of either of these genres weekly.  I am a fast reader, though I wouldn’t say I speed read. On an average week I read 5 books.  Many people ask how is that possible.  Well, I watch very little TV, I no longer have small children at home, and reading is my relaxation.  Just as someone who can sit and watch hours of TV or play a computer game for hours, those hours are my reading time.

When choosing books I miss some bestsellers. The newest and greatest big release, more times than not, are the books everyone is going to know about and everyone will read. They are probably very good.  But I like to find that new book/author that we will want to tell everyone about, a book that may not have the big publishing money behind it, maybe it is a debut author, maybe a midlist author but these are the books that need me.  If they are good, these are the books we want to talk about.  These books need us.  These books are the INDIE NEXT picks.  These books are the true gems we want to savor.

I am also extremely guilty of judging a book by its cover.  Though I tell others not to do that, I do have a hard time picking up a book with a cover I don’t like.  It really makes no sense.  Covers do not reveal the quality of the book, nor does it tell us the book will be great.  It is something I really am working on, I promise!

Reading a series:   I cannot think of a series I have ever finished, though I came close with Harry Potter, but alas never made it through 6 or even started 7. Even as a child, my love of Little House on the Prairie couldn’t  even get me to finish all 9 books.  I’m not sure how many I actually did read.  I am sure of the first 3 books, but they are probably the only ones I read. Generally I try to, at least, read the first book of a series so I know who or what the series is about.  Maybe it is my focus, maybe it is formulary writing but I find myself getting bored with series.  I don’t mind continuing characters at all, but I want a conclusion with every book and if the character shows up in another book, I really don’t want it all to be about that character again.  Give me something new.

And for the question – “Do I finish every book?”   Absolutely not.   I will read about 1/3 of a book before I give up.  I return to the thought of my stack of books that make up my bedside table – and no truer statement than Too Many Books, Too Little Time.  

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Breathe New Life into your Book Club - Feb 25, 2019 Submitted by Debbie

I truly believe book clubs provide a vital sense of community, and I love helping clubs get started and stay active with fun, interesting reads.

Often we hear from book clubs who say they’ve run out of steam and ask how they can get back on track. Their talks are no longer centered around the books they read. From time to time, that stale feeling creeps in for most longstanding clubs. If your book club has gotten into a rut — or if you’re simply looking to reboot your club in 2019 with a fresh sense of enthusiasm — consider a few tips we’ve found helpful:

1. Does your group usually read fiction? It seems most do! Perhaps you could make this the year you explore other genres like memoir, history, essays, and even cookbooks.

2. Try to read your way around the world.  Every month read a book either with a different country setting, a translation book, or a book with characters that travel to different countries.

3. Follow along with a celebrity book club - here are a few to consider:

  • Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine - Contemporary fiction by women — often historical romance and mysteries. These tend to be good beach reads.
  • Andrew Luck Book Club - Andrew favors philosophical works and good nonfiction, usually with a historical bent.
  • Oprah’s Book Club – Expect serious reads, often very heavy, but excellent discussion topics.
  • Emma Watson’s Our Shared Shelf - Feminist book club, well-written usually on important and timely issues 
  • Emma Robert's Bellerist - Thought provoking, literary fiction.  Picks come from Independent booksellers.

2. When life gets busy, it’s easy to fall into a skimming habit. Commit to reading more thoughtfully and mindfully this year. Take notes, underline, or highlight as you read, and you’ll be amazed at how having these passages handy during a book club meeting improves discussion.

3. Assign someone the task of doing some research each month before each meeting — or have everyone get online and dig up a little background material on the book. Book reviews and online book club discussion guides can also prompt great conversation. (LitChartsBookBrowse, and Reading Group Choices are just a few of my personal favorite sites for this purpose.)

4. Change your format this year! For example…

  • Create a designated pre-meeting (or post-meeting) social hour for chit-chat. If your club’s discussions have wandered away from books and onto jobs, families, and the news, breaking the evening into book-talk and non-book-talk may help get things back on track.
  • End each book club meeting with everyone sharing a recent read that is not a book club pick.
  •  Try bringing a snack or drink that goes along with the book you are reading. Discuss what other aspects of the book you could highlight.

5. Try a session designated to this very topic — fresh starts. Ask each member to bring one suggestion for a change she thinks might improve the club. Nothing, just objective, positive ideas that could be fun to try or produce long-lasting improvements.

If you need some book club book ideas check out the Indiebound Reading Group Guides https://www.sykesvillebooks.com/book/9781640091030 or just ask one of us at the store, we’d love to help you pick your next book club choice.

Join us here in the store for our book club discussions. Anyone is welcome, and reservations are not required. All you have to do is show up! You can check out our current reads on our website under BOOK CLUBS.