I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life

I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life

I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life by Anne Bogel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’d Rather Be Reading is a light, sweet little ode to books and the joys they contain. Though the cover is lovely and the title immediately resonated with me, I might never have known it existed if not for the author’s podcast. For those who are unaware, Anne Bogel runs a popular blog by the name of Modern Mrs. Darcy, as well as my very favorite podcast appropriately named What Should I Read Next? On this podcast, she interviews book lovers from all walks of life and readerly tastes. After giving us a chance to get to know these readers a bit she asks them to tell her three books they love, one book they don’t, and what they’ve been reading lately. Using these answers, Anne gives each person a list of three books they might love in hopes they will choose to read at least one of these next.

“I can tell you why I inhale books like oyxgen: I am grateful for my one life, but I’d prefer to live a thousand—and my favorite books allow me to experience more on the page than I ever could in my actual life.”

I am in awe of how much and how widely Anne has read. I try to be well rounded in my reading, but she puts me to shame. Whether you love contemporary fiction or classics, middle grade or intellectual nonfiction, mysteries or science fiction, she has a wealth of recommendations for you. My TBR (to be read) stack has grown exponentially since I started listening, and that feels like the opposite of a problem to me.

“A good book, when we return to it, will always have something new to say. It’s not the same book, and we’re not the same reader.”

This little book is not Anne’s first published work, but it demanded my attention. (I also bought a second copy to send to a friend before I even read it, if that tells you anything about my excitement level.) The cover is a watercolor painting of her own home library. How amazing is that?! I also received my new favorite bookmark with my copy of the book, also featuring this lovely library print and the words “I’d Rather be Reading.” So, that was a fabulous bonus.

“When we share our favorite titles, we can’t help but share ourselves as well. Shakespeare said the eyes are the windows to the soul, but we readers know one’s bookshelves reveal just as much.”

Now, onto the actual writing. This little book is a collection of essays on the reading life, and I felt like my mind was being read and projected onto every page I read. Anne talks about bookstores and libraries and the trepidation involved in sharing your favorites with strangers. She writes about growing as a reader, and doing everything she could to foster that same love within her children. She shares the pleasures of stumbling upon a book twin, the dangers of pushing a book too hard when recommending it to friends, and the deep satisfaction found in reorganizing your bookshelves. In other words, she wrote about all the facets of book love, and it was sweetly relatable.

“We can’t know what a book will mean to us until we read it. And so we take a leap and choose.”

The only downside to this book for me was that it sometimes felt like it was only skimming the surface of its potential. She could have dug a little deeper into a few of these essays, but they were overall quaint and lovely and very engaging. I might have been bothered more if I wasn’t already so familiar with Anne’s voice, which was clear in her writing style. I absolutely enjoyed every page, and I highly recommend this to any bibliophile what yearns to have that love understood and shared in a way they can revisit as often as they choose.

You can purchase a copy of the book here, with free shipping worldwide!

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