Category Archives: Booking Through Thursday

Booking Through Thursday: Format

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All other things (like weight, cost, and so on) being equal, what’s your favorite format for a book? Hardcover? Paperback? Old? New? First edition? Digital? Audio?

“All other things being equal”? Weight makes a big difference! I remember going on long trips as a kid and agonizing over packing CDs. My CD wallet could only fit so many discs. Did I need the booklets? (I never actually needed them, but I always felt like I would if I didn’t pack them anyway.) Would I need extra batteries? These days, I just have to remember to add my Advent, Christmas, and Winter playlists to my phone (or remove them, per the season) and to charge the thing.

On the book front, weight still matters a lot. I’m not about to carry around the later Harry Potter books. Even those paperbacks are fat. If I’m nearing the end of any book, I don’t want to take it on a flight, because I might finish it mid-trip, and then what am I supposed to do? Packing two huge library copies is asking too much, and I prefer not to read e-books on planes because I want to save my battery power for my boarding pass, GPS, and texting.

So I don’t think this is a fair question, but I kind of like that. It’s unfair because we live in a world where audiobooks can be downloaded in minutes even though hardcovers don’t fit in purses. I like that world.


For more short queries about books and the reading life, visit Booking Through Thursday.

Booking Through Thursday: Required Reading

This is a blast from the past! BTT started up again recently, but the topics were pretty lackluster. This one, however, is quite interesting.

What books have you been required to read that you ended up loving?

Like many young women do, I adore Pride and Prejudice. I had never even seen an adaptation before it was assigned for our summer reading before senior year Brit Lit, so I checked out a copy from the library. Then I got hooked, so I went to the bookstore to buy my own paperback.

Let’s take a moment to mourn the process of going to the bookstore to purchase actual books. My book churn rate decreased dramatically when I started college, and then I was a reviewer for years, so I could probably list my last ten physical book purchases from memory.

P&P was a big deal. I even took notes in it! Yes, they were just brackets, written in pencil, but it took a while before I got comfortable writing in books. It also took a while before I started reading books that were complex enough to require extensive marginalia. (I’m looking at you, Orthodoxy.)

I’ve also greatly enjoyed:

And some nonfiction books I think should count because we were basically assigned the whole thing:

What assigned reading have you enjoyed?


For more short queries about books and the reading life, visit Booking Through Thursday.

Booking Through Thursday: Location, Location, Recommendation, and Life Lessons

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One more catch-up post is all I need to be back on track. I hope this becomes a regular feature again; I really like it.

In real estate, it’s all about location, location, location. But how about books? Does where a book is set affect your reading choices? Are you more or less likely to read books set in places you know or love?

I like to read fantasy, so those books tend to take places in imaginary worlds. I love world-building; it’s one of my favorite things about Harry Potter. I prefer books set in well-built worlds, even if that world is a fictionalized version of the ordinary United States, but I don’t think I’ve ever chosen a book specifically based on its setting. I tend to choose more general settings, like dystopian U.S. or high school (or dystopian high school, where applicable).

Do you read books from places you don’t know and haven’t been as a substitute for actually traveling there?

I’ve always thought of the idea that “a book can take you to another world” as just a beautiful metaphor. I’m not looking for anything literal. I do have a soft spot for books and movies that are set anywhere in Maryland that is not Baltimore, though. There’s more than just the one city!

Somebody walks up to you and says, “I need a really good book to read—any genre. What do you recommend?” What’s the first book off the top of your head?

I’ve been talking about 168 Hours consistently since I read it. I read plenty of productivity and time management things online and off, but nothing has made it seem quite so concrete and doable as that book (and GTD, of course). Laura Vanderkam is a good writer, and she practices what she preaches. I got my to-do list and budget under control a while ago, but I hadn’t done the same for my schedule. Her 168-hour principles are helping me with that.

What’s the best life lesson you learned from a book when you were a kid?

If only little Lindsay had been using Goodreads, I could answer this question much more easily! I am going to go with The View from Saturday. I had my (paperback, sadly) copy signed by the author many years ago. I’ve liked all of E.L. Konigsburg’s books I’ve read, but the takeaway I had from The View from Saturday was that you can find friends among the most eclectic of characters. I’m black, but I’ve never felt compelled to only befriend other black people. I gravitate towards people who think, talk, and act like me; absolutely. But race has never been a determining factor. You never know who someone really is underneath their skin.


For more short queries about books and the reading life, visit Booking Through Thursday.

Booking Through Thursday: Database, Mind-Blowing, and Writing

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I knew I hadn’t posted BTT in a while, and there were several weeks without prompts, but I didn’t realize that I’d gotten so far behind! Here’s a bit of catch-up.

Do you keep a database of your book collection anywhere? An online website? An Excel spreadsheet? A handwritten paper journal?

Yes. I have been using Goodreads since I moved to Austin in 2010. After I unpacked and shelved all my books, I took out my smartphone and scanned every book I owned using the Goodreads iOS app. It was the experience I had been waiting for since my school library put barcodes on all the books when I was a child. Since then, I’ve never looked back.

For my peace of mind, I export a copy of my books every month when I do my computer cleaning, and I keep my notes elsewhere. You never know when any service will disappear and take all your stuff with it!

What’s the most mind-blowing, world-changing book, article, or poem you’ve ever read?

I can’t pick just one. The key part of my conversion story centers around a blog post I read in high school. My conversion to chastity rocketed forward after I read If You Really Loved Me, by Jason Evert. I stayed up almost all night reading Draco Dormiens, Harry Potter fanfiction by the author currently known as Cassandra Clare. My first Bible study was the Gospel of Luke, and the first poem I ever fell in love with was “Jabberwocky,” by Lewis Carroll. Reading is the best!

Readers read, it’s true, but do they write? Do you?

You’re reading this on my blog, so you probably already know the answer to this question. The best writers read. The best readers don’t necessarily write, but it’s hard to resist! I have been blogging since 2002 and have no intention of stopping. I write articles on and off, which led to my ongoing work with ATX Catholic. I used to write fiction, but it has fallen by the wayside. It’s on my Someday/Maybe list now.

I’m not quite caught up on BTT prompts, but that’s enough for today.


For more short queries about books and the reading life, visit Booking Through Thursday.

Booking Through Thursday: “I Don’t Read”

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What is your response when somebody tells you “I don’t read”?

“I call shenanigans.” Everyone likes to read; the question is what someone likes to read. Not everyone is a Serious Literary Fiction kind of person. I respect that. But if you read blogs, you read. If you subscribe to email newsletters, you read. If you only read what Oprah recommends, you read. Even if you only skim articles your friends share on Facebook, you read!

As a book reviewer, I have to keep a certain pace and topic focus in my personal reading. As an English teacher (even if only at heart), I know the struggle of reading books you don’t like when you don’t want to, and I know it from both sides of the classroom. The key is that reading—reading anything—teaches us what it means to be human. It shares experiences, information, and imagination. It’s asynchronous, unlike conversation, and it can last for centuries. There is little that is more important to civilization than life transmitted by way of the written word.

And then I drop the mic.

John Krasinski drops the mic, then catches it, because dropping is bad for the mic.


For more short queries about books and the reading life, visit Booking Through Thursday.

Booking Through Thursday: Marginalia

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Do you write in your books? Highlight? In all books or just things like college textbooks?

Just under the wire on this one, but I like the topic a lot. I have very specific rules for writing in books. I don’t write in hardcover books. I don’t highlight books. I don’t write in pens. I didn’t even do any of that in college.

For books I own, especially theology, I sometimes write in them. I underline in pencil, I write short notes in the margins, and if I struggled to get through the page, I summarize that page at the bottom of it. I would never have made it through Orthodoxy or the confusingly-named Theology for Beginners without those bottom-of-page summaries.

In my ordinary, day-to-day reading, I make no marks. I’m not a heathen. That is what Goodreads status updates are for.


For more short queries about books and the reading life, visit Booking Through Thursday.

Booking Through Thursday: Where To?

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What do you do with books you weed out of your library? If you’re like me, you find this VERY hard to do, but you want your old books to have a good, happy life somewhere, so where do you send them? What do you do with them?

My most recent round of bookshelf culling was painful, but it helped that I didn’t have to actually give them away myself. My mom was the instigator, so she got cleanup duty, too.

If I had my way (except for the part about having to get rid of books at all), I would give them to people who I knew would take good care of them. I don’t know many other people who read the kinds of books I do, so I don’t do much lending, but I’ve always been disappointed to get a book back with obvious damage. Smudged covers, curved pages, or any sign that they weren’t properly loved is always heartbreaking. I would want my books to go to a good home.

I would also want the new owner to intend to read my old books at least once. It’s so sad when books go unread. I have plenty of unread books on my shelf, but part of the reason I stopped buying books is that I stopped reading so much!

I guess I don’t know where, exactly, I want my old books to go, but I know who I want to have them. Find me a place with that kind of people, and we’ll be all set.


For more short queries about books and the reading life, visit Booking Through Thursday.

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