A New Record

I’m proud to announce that I read 577 pages in 24 hours.

American Wife was so good that I felt like it was glued to my face! I tried to take breaks, really, but every time my eyes wandered back.

Reading is a dangerous hobby, for sure. Once you get sucked in, there’s no escape. Immediately upon finishing, I threw the book down on the bed with a howl of victory, then leapt up and ran three blocks to the library to check out Curtis Sittenfeld’s other novel, Prep.

I’m a sick kid. Really.

But here’s the real question of the morning, something I struggle with as a devoted reader, English major, writer, author?

Do you consider yourself “wasting time” by (gasp!) reading for pleasure?

I certainly do not because books are my livelihood, however, does the thought ever creep into your mind that you maybe should be doing something more productive with your time?

I pondered this yesterday as I read and read and read…and read. I read for like six hours. I just couldn’t stop! At one point I called my mom and asked her the above question but, she having the same obsession with books as I do, answered quite simply “of course not—what kind of life is there without books?”.

I decided I would just consider my book habit “work” since as a writer, I must read as much as possible to continue to become inspired. There was a time when I considered graduate school for this exact purpose. How can you possibly be a good writer if you don’t read?


I digress.

Kindles make me all hot and bothered.

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  • Abbey
    April 29, 2010 at 10:31 am


  • Kelly
    April 29, 2010 at 10:37 am

    I don’t feel like my time is wasted when I sit down and read IF all my “chores” are done. Sometimes I use laundry time as reading time. You get a good 45 minutes before the buzzer goes off. AND there’s nothing better than sitting on my patio soaking up the sun with a great book.

    Not sure if the Kindle making you hot and bothered is the good kind or the bad kind. I’m this close to buying the BN reader. I’ve almost rationalized the purchase. πŸ˜‰

  • Nora@LiveLifeEatRight
    April 29, 2010 at 10:40 am

    I’m so jealous, I can’t wait until finals are over so I can read for fun again! I have every intention on reading until my eyes hurt. I have a great book called Lunch in Paris: A Love Story With Recipes by Elizabeth Band. SO EXCITED!

  • Jessica @ How Sweet
    April 29, 2010 at 10:42 am

    I never feel like my time is wasted by reading. That is like saying your time is wasted by learning or educating yourself. Never!

    I liked Prep!

  • rebecca
    April 29, 2010 at 10:43 am

    Good luck – I read Prep nonstop and finished it in about 2 days. Actually, same with American Wife.

    You read for pleasure in the same way people do other hobbies like knitting, gardening, etc! It makes you happy! It’s not bad at all! Plus it expands your mind and your experiences beyond your own life. I love books.

  • Diana
    April 29, 2010 at 10:44 am

    Reading is definitely NOT a waste of time. It’s one of the best things in the world. And I love BOOKS. Real books. πŸ™‚

  • Katherine
    April 29, 2010 at 10:44 am

    Prep is AWESOME and so addicting. You’re going to loooove it!!

  • Mary @ What's Cookin' with Mary
    April 29, 2010 at 10:46 am

    I think reading is never ever a waste of time!

  • Freya @ Brit Chick Runs
    April 29, 2010 at 10:46 am

    Oh my GOSH that is a lot of reading! It took me 3months to read my last book – and it was only about 300 pages long! You impress me πŸ˜›

  • liane
    April 29, 2010 at 10:46 am

    I go through phases where I will read large stacks of books, and then other times when I won’t read a book at all for a couple of months.
    I actually find that I have an easier time at work when I need to write proposals, reports etc when I’m reading for pleasure then when I’m not. Words and thoughts come easier to me (?!) even if the books I’m reading have absolutely nothing to do with my profession.

  • Heather (Heather's Dish)
    April 29, 2010 at 10:48 am

    i couldn’t handle a kindle…glad to see you can’t either!

    reading is almost a long-lost art form in my opinion! my father is an english professor, i majored and minored in english, and there’s just something about reading a BOOK all the way through that gives you a sense of pride. LOVE it!

  • AshleyP
    April 29, 2010 at 10:49 am

    You are so lucky that you have the time to read like that!

    I have definitely spent more than one weekend holed up with books- I read the sixth and seventh Harry Potter books in two days- an accomplishment I’m pretty proud of. (Who needs to sleep?) The Help was the last book I couldn’t stand to put down, unfortunately I started it mid-week and had to break it up more than I would have liked!

  • Becky
    April 29, 2010 at 10:50 am

    Prep is a great book. It will totally suck you in!

  • emily
    April 29, 2010 at 10:50 am

    uh oh I have a Kindle! I must admit that I love it though and am kind of offended that you hate it so much. It saves me tons of money and is very convenient. I do have to say I still have to get a “real” book fix every once in a while! hehe πŸ™‚

  • Jenny
    April 29, 2010 at 10:50 am

    Gh- kindles take the magic of books away!

  • eatmovelove
    April 29, 2010 at 10:51 am

    This is something I needed to hear. I always feel I am wasting my time by reading or trying…t-r-y-ing – or even thinking – about writing…and perhaps that why I’m afraid to pursue it…the dissapointment…

  • Stephanie
    April 29, 2010 at 10:51 am

    I LOVED Prep…and now I’m going to have to check into American Wife immediately.

    If reading for fun is wrong, I don’t wanna be right!

  • Erin (Travel, Eat, Repeat)
    April 29, 2010 at 10:51 am

    People “waste” time doing so many things–watching TV, aimlessly playing on the Internet, sleeping… πŸ˜‰ It’s all what has meaning to YOU. I’d much rather spend time reading a good book and expanding my mind than watching some crappy reality show.

  • Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg
    April 29, 2010 at 10:51 am

    Ahhh, grad school– the only time in my life when I felt completely justified laying in bed all day, reading book after book of poetry. Seriously, it was wonderful. I try to convince myself that I’m still reading for “work purposes,” but it just doesn’t feel the same when you’re not in school. Man I miss my MFA program! lol.

    I try to explain the importance of reading in my creative writing classes– it always amazes me how many of my students don’t see the connection!

  • megan
    April 29, 2010 at 10:52 am

    I am totally like you when it comes to reading. Once I get into a good book, I just can’t put it down! Definitely not a waste of time. look at all the things it gave you to blog about! And it makes you relatable to be able to talk to other people about books πŸ™‚ plus it’s fun and relaxing, and how is that a waste of time?

  • Corinne
    April 29, 2010 at 10:52 am

    no no no NOT a waste of time. i mean hello, when was the last time you read for six.hours.straight?! right?? its not like you are doing this and forgoing ALL of your responsibilities! (or are you jenna? haha) anyways, that book must have been damnnn good. i think i need to pay a visit to the library! anywho, ALL in moderation, ya know!?

  • Corinne
    April 29, 2010 at 10:53 am

    what is a kindle?? googling

  • Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin
    April 29, 2010 at 10:55 am

    I love to read for pleasure too. There’s nothing like getting sucked into a good book and hours passing with you having no idea because you’re so into the book. Sometimes I do feel like I’m wasting time though if there’s other stuff that I need to do. I always do work first, then play, and consider reading play. πŸ™‚

  • margaret
    April 29, 2010 at 10:56 am

    Hate to tell you, I know you would love the Kindle. I didn’t want to love it..I’m a book nut, but I was spending so much $$ on books (my library has too long of a line for the good ones) and w little kids it is hard to get to the bookstore/library sometimes. I read more than I ever have now, and I feel like it is also good for the environment, and no clutter. (I don’t have the room for the number of books I go through. Just keep it in mind. I wanted to hate it too. πŸ˜‰

  • Thealogian
    April 29, 2010 at 10:56 am

    As an avid reader, writer and English teacher (as well as Women & Gender Studies starting this summer–so excited), reading for pleasure is never a “waste of time.” We are so damn goal oriented in this country–I blame Calvin. Pleasure reading, by the way, is a social good. I have multiple jobs, but one of them is working on behalf of State Agency Children–those in state’s custody who can’t be in foster care and generally live in group homes/etc. Anyway, they are typically 4 grade levels behind, but the #1 means by which to get children (especially abused children) up to grade level is by encouraging and facilitating pleasure reading. Not only does it give them refuge and help them to imagine different ways to interacting with people, but it helps them close the achievement gap.

    Through literature, reading and writing, we connect across ages, cultures, genders, classes, lifeways and temporal confines. Though it may seem we read alone, we are in fact part of a greater conversation.


  • Sarah
    April 29, 2010 at 10:57 am

    I do not consider reading for pleasure to be a waste of time. There is a lot of room in a full, quality life for beautiful things like reading, tea, yoga, and staring out at the ocean. Lots of us “relax” by zoning out in front of a tv; you do it be working your brain with a good story.
    Seems okay in my book:-).

  • Caitlin in MD
    April 29, 2010 at 10:58 am

    Totally with you. BOOOOOO to Kindles! They are the WORST.

  • lindsey
    April 29, 2010 at 10:59 am

    haha I definitely have this problem sometimes… I feel like the house needs to be tidy, chores need to be done, and I”m in the middle of looking for jobs sooo it’s hard but I manage to read in spurts… I picked up the American Wife after reading your post!! I can’t wait to start it πŸ˜€

    PLEASE tell me you have read “Freddy and Frederika” by Mark Helprin. HILARIOUS and witty!!! you should definitely check it out.

  • jen trinque @ recipes for creativity
    April 29, 2010 at 10:59 am

    I am taking a break from reading right now! To read blogs. Which is still reading. No, I would much rather get sucked into a book than a TV show, reading is so wonderful. And 577 pages in a day is…amazing.

  • Logan
    April 29, 2010 at 11:00 am

    Thank you, Margaret! I was thinking the exact same thing about the Kindle. I bought one for my husband two years ago at Christmas and he said it is the best thing ever for him because he doesn’t have to wait, he can get instant satisfaction and have it handy whenever he has a few minutes to read. Of course he does read a “real” book periodically because not all titles are available on the Kindle.
    And I’m with a lot of you. Reading is not a waste of time! I am guilty of letting it take over if I get in the middle of something so good, though. All in moderation, I guess.

  • Dynamics
    April 29, 2010 at 11:00 am

    Kindles are great for those who do an extreme amount of traveling ONLY!! There is nothing like a house with a bookcase filled with books. My dream…to have a floor to ceiling book shelve with a ladder! Whoooo…. Reading is a must!

  • Julie
    April 29, 2010 at 11:00 am

    I really don’t think reading is a waste of time. The only time I sometimes try to put down the book is maybe on a family vacation or something – i loooovvvee to read on vacation (part of the reason I like vacations so much) but sometimes you are in a once in a lifetime place or with someone you dont see very often and this is when I make an effort to put down my book and tune in to real life (i am thinking of like sitting on the beach with your grandmother or something). If that makes any sense. Haha.

    But generally, I dont think its a waste of time at all and is much better than becoming glued to the TV! If I am reading a good book I will sneak in reading at every possible moment!

  • Therese
    April 29, 2010 at 11:03 am

    I figure as long as everything else STILL gets done, what I do with what little free time I have is MINE, ALL MINE. And if I want to spend 24 hours reading, I’ll read.

    I tend to exhaust authors as well. Going from one book to the next until they’re all done and then getting sad that I have no more of their books to read for a while. πŸ™

  • Mindy
    April 29, 2010 at 11:03 am

    What’s wrong with the Kindle? πŸ™ I love mine! It saves me time and yes, money (although not as much money as say just borrowing them from the library.. but again that requires time lol). Before really looking into it, my friend said she’d rather have an actual book in her hand instead of a kindle.. after researching, she realized she really wanted one HAHA.
    I don’t think reading for pleasure is a waste of time. When I’m not reading I’m watching TV or surfing the web mindlessly. There are worse things than reading for pleasure! πŸ™‚

  • Kim
    April 29, 2010 at 11:06 am

    Prep is way better than American Wife.
    Have you ever used a Kindle. I love mine. Wherever I am (be it at work, at home, on a boat, on a beach) I am able to download and read whatever book, magazine, blog I want.

  • Scargosun
    April 29, 2010 at 11:06 am

    Reading, any type or reading, is food for the mind in the best possible way. No ifs, ands or buts. You learn something new every time you read something new. It is amazing.

  • Katie
    April 29, 2010 at 11:07 am

    now that i’ve reserved american wife and the man in my dreams on hold at my local library (i own prep and will start that soon), i can breathe easily again. you got me so excited about the books!

    i too am a book nerd, and no it’s definitely not wasting time. i wish i had 6 hours a day to read that weren’t cutting into my sleeping time, but oh well. totally worth it when the book is that good!

    do you find this happening with most books, or do you have a hard time getting into some books? i consider myself a total bookworm but have had a harder time lately with a few books. maybe i’m trying to expand my reading horizons too far?

  • Sarah for Real
    April 29, 2010 at 11:09 am

    That depends on what kind of books you’re reading… I have a “friend” who reads a lot of cheezy romance novels. I would call that a waste of time.

    I, of course, only read books of established literary merit πŸ˜‰

  • Stacy
    April 29, 2010 at 11:10 am

    I’m curious to see your review of Prep. I’ve been wanting to pick up American Wife because of all the raves on your site, but I read Prep and didn’t love it. It was okay, but the character was just very unrelatable to me and I just didn’t like her (and not in a love to hate kind of way). Just curious, because maybe she just isn’t my style of writer. I do love most of your favorites, so it will be interesting to see your opinion.

  • Katy ( The Balanced Foodie)
    April 29, 2010 at 11:14 am

    I don’t know much about kindles, although it would be great for traveling or if you have to pack up your entire library of books for a month while moving into your I digress. I feel like it’s the healthiest addiction though! It’s so good your mind to read and much better then vegging in front of the T.V. although I have not done any scientific research into this. πŸ˜‰ There’s nothing more beautiful, basic and just plain comfy as cozying up to a good book, turning off the technology and relaxing in silence.

  • MelissaNibbles
    April 29, 2010 at 11:14 am

    I think the Kindle is great because it’s the only way my grandmother can read books now. The print in most books is too small for her bad eyesight and with the Kindle she can read anything, anytime she wants. She was very sad about not being able to read her books anymore and was so excited when we got her one and she could read them again. I love Kindle!!

  • Jil
    April 29, 2010 at 11:15 am

    Neverrrr. I get more out a good book than I could doing something else. I have the same feelings toward kindles…I enjoy the sound and feeling of turning the pages.

  • Ashley
    April 29, 2010 at 11:15 am

    Totally agree with you on the Kindle. I’m an aspiring author and book nerd as well and I can go off into quite the rant when someone mentions the word Kindle Haha

  • Callina
    April 29, 2010 at 11:17 am

    If I had a job where I traveled all the time, I would totally get a Kindle. I hate loading up my bag on long trips with four or five books–they take up so much space! The screen is lit so well that it doesn’t feel like reading a typical computer screen, so it’s easy on the eyes. But also, the battery runs out, you can’t share your books easily, and you can’t feel the paper or turn the page. For me, I’ll stick with real books.

  • Tara
    April 29, 2010 at 11:17 am

    Oh man! I totally guilt myself for my reading habits… if I feel like reading a new fun novel, I will guilt myself to finish reading that nonfiction I had started a while ago and never got through… how crazy is that?? I have also been known to start several books and not finish them, and that makes me feel like a bad reader!

  • Whit
    April 29, 2010 at 11:18 am

    hahahahaha! Kindles make me uber hot ‘n bothered! There is just something about flipping pages…and the smell of books. Don’t books have the most lovely smell?

  • Rachel
    April 29, 2010 at 11:19 am

    Reading books is not time wasting nor should you feel guilty for doing so. It is making you a better person, more intelligent, more worldly, more in tune with the universe, etc.

    Watching trasy-celebrity-gossip-reality tv, however, is another story.

    And I engage in that on a lot more of a regular basis than reading.

    I desperately need to tip the scales the other way. I have two books arriving to my doorstep today (thanks Amazon!). So I can get back on track.

  • elaine!
    April 29, 2010 at 11:19 am

    Why on earth are you letting yourself feel guilty for reading??? πŸ™‚ Reading for hours is better than watching TV. It’s engaging, good for your mind, it makes you a more interesting person, it introduces you to new ideas and it’s relaxing.

    And don’t hate on ereaders! I’ve read more since I got my Kindle last year than I did in all the years since I graduated with my English lit degree. Actually, I’ve probably read more than I did while earning my English degree. πŸ˜‰ That’s certainly not a bad thing!

  • Allie
    April 29, 2010 at 11:20 am

    Prep is one of my favorite novels EVER. American Wife is excellent, but I preferred Prep- I think you’ll really enjoy it.

    I’m a current college student, and I rarely pleasure read now. I used to do it all the time, but I just don’t have the time any more. I can’t consider it work, because I usually do have books I have to read for “work”. I sorely miss it though…

  • Heather (Sugar & Spice Blog)
    April 29, 2010 at 11:20 am

    I love reading, and I never – ever consider it a waste of time. I love that you were so into the book – it made me really excited to read it! I’m just finishing up Prep now, I have 30 pages left. I have American Wife on hold at the Library and can’t wait to start it. I hope you like Prep! And just remember, you’re never wasting your time by reading for pleasure – it is one of the pure joys of life!

  • Kristin (Cook, Bake and Nibble)
    April 29, 2010 at 11:20 am

    577 pages? Awesome! I love reading til my face feels like it’s gunna fall off πŸ˜‰

    Yeah, Kindle is NOT on my list of things to buy. There is nothing like flipping through REAL pages of a REAL book!!


  • Ashley
    April 29, 2010 at 11:21 am

    I’ve read so many more books with my kindle. Reading so much fun and perfect for “me” time.

  • Angela (ohsheglows)
    April 29, 2010 at 11:24 am

    Life is short, do what you LOVE!

  • Elizabeth
    April 29, 2010 at 11:25 am

    I am surprised you liked American Wife. I thought it was just one big cliche, and the language felt very forced and rushed. However, I loved Prep! The Prep characters were not simply stock characters but where developed in a very sophisticated way. As such, I found Prep to be more psychologically complex, and I am sure you will enjoy it. I still can’t believe Prep was Sittenfeld’s first novel. It was so good! A modern Catcher in the Rye!

  • marie @
    April 29, 2010 at 11:26 am

    I love how books smell!

  • Michelle @ NewLeafEats
    April 29, 2010 at 11:26 am

    I do frequently feel that I’m wasting time, or should be doing other things, whenever I’m reading. It’s pretty much why I don’t read often, even though I’d like to…

    I have a hard time doing things for sheer pleasure. Or buying things for luxury (also why I rarely buy clothes, even though nothing fits!). It’s probably how I went from photography (being one with an art degree), to becoming nuts about cooking. Food is necessary, so I sort of turned something I have to do everyday anyway into a venue for creativity.

  • Shawna @ Balancing Me
    April 29, 2010 at 11:26 am

    I don’t feel like my time is wasted when I read, either. Why would it be a waste of time? It’s like exercise for your mind and soul πŸ™‚

    And I knew you’d feel that way about the Kindle. I despise the whole idea of it. Turning the actual pages is part of the enjoyment of reading.

  • Carrie @ I See Monsters
    April 29, 2010 at 11:27 am

    I loved Prep! I actually read Prep first, which made me want to read American Wife. I liked both, but I think Prep was by far the better novel.

    Reading for pleasure is a must. You have to do something for pleasure, right? At least you’re doing something that nourishes your mind and soul.

  • Samantha (Food Edu)
    April 29, 2010 at 11:28 am

    I do not feel like reading wastes time. I love to read and I feel that is entertaining, relaxing and enhances my quality of life. I read Prep a few years ago, it was very good–I want to read it again now. I haven’t even heard of American Wife, I’ll have to check it out.

  • Jess @ MTL Veggie
    April 29, 2010 at 11:28 am

    I’ve never thought of spending time reading as wasting time. To be honest, the thought never crossed my mind until you mentioned it. Reading is my personal escape, so rather than thinking of it as wasting time, I think of it as mental recovery. I’d rather be mentally recovering by reading an enlightening and enjoyable story (fiction or non), than be informed of the lives of “celebrities” such as Heidi Montag or the Kardashian clan through online gossip sites.

  • molly m
    April 29, 2010 at 11:28 am

    I’ve read BOTH American wife AND Prep! Great books! I read everything I get my hands on- it makes you more knowledgeable about everything: society, culture, politics, religion, relationships, etc. etc. I should buy us matching friend stickers that say, “readers do everything better”. Ha ha ha : )

  • Kelley
    April 29, 2010 at 11:29 am

    Oohhh “Prep” is sooo good. you won’t be able to put that one down either. πŸ™‚

  • Coco
    April 29, 2010 at 11:29 am

    reading is absolutely NOT a waste of time! REAL books (not e-books or kindles) are amazing! there is nothing like curling up with a great book and losing yourself–and sometimes even finding yourself–in it! I highly recommend Ann Packer’s 2 novels “The Dive from Clausen’s Pier” and “Songs Without Words”–you will not be able to put them down!

  • heather
    April 29, 2010 at 11:31 am

    Loved that book. Love Curtis Sittenfelds books. American Wife is very similar to the George W era & I think she even alludes to that in some interviews.

  • Carrie
    April 29, 2010 at 11:32 am

    Think how many people “veg out” in front of the TV for countless hours (admittedly, me, for one) – at least you are engaging your mind while reading so, I think it’s healthy down-time.

  • Kelley
    April 29, 2010 at 11:34 am

    I just put a hold on “American Wife” at the library and I’m headed over there now to pick it up! I love this blogger book club. ha!

  • Kelly
    April 29, 2010 at 11:35 am

    I guess I don’t think of any downtime, whether it be reading or something else, a waste. There was a time when I felt like every moment of my day needed to be filled with something “productive” and used to overschedule myself with activities. However, the older I get the more I value relaxation and recognize that it absolutely, 100% has value.

  • grace b
    April 29, 2010 at 11:36 am

    I love love reading and have been known to procrastinate just about anything by reading. Long car rides are the best. Currently been on a major magazine kick as I love to read magazines cover to cover (which takes me a minimum of thirty minutes). Hoping to build a relationship with the library near where I’ll be staying this summer as I have a huge list of books on my “to be read” list.

    Gotta warn you, Prep is okay until her senior year…then it just gets dumb. I dunno I didn’t like how emotional is was. :/

  • Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman
    April 29, 2010 at 11:36 am

    The idea of reading being a waste of time is sad to me. Of course it’s not! And especially not for writers. Now TV and often the Internet…a different story.

  • Katharine
    April 29, 2010 at 11:36 am

    I am a book lover through and through! I definitely don’t consider it a waste of time – especially, like you said, for writers. Reading helps improve our craft. And if it makes you happy (and is a healthy guilty pleasure) then what’s so wrong with that? As for the Kindle, I’m strongly opposed. (In fact, the bf and I are in an ongoing debate about it because he wants to get one and I don’t want it in my house. I’m sure I’ll breakdown, but only if he agrees to buy me some actual books!) Nothing can replace the smell of a freshly cracked spine, or the sight of a bookshelf full of everyting you’ve read and are waiting to read. πŸ™‚ Sorry to all Kindle lovers!

  • Maggie
    April 29, 2010 at 11:39 am

    Long time reader/lurker and must weigh in. I love reading–I actually work in publishing–and think y’all are being too hard on the Kindle! I love printed books too but the real joy of books is in the stories they tell πŸ™‚

    And, printed books have an absolutely HUGE environmental impact. They are printed, stored, shipped–and then more than 40% of them are returned to the publisher and pulped (yes, that means destroyed). Some of the pulp is recycled into other products, but much of it becomes waste. Given that millions of books are printed each year this stuff adds up. Just something to keep in mind!

  • Kellie@obsessivelyhealthy
    April 29, 2010 at 11:40 am

    I used to read all the time, but now I feel guilty. Like I should be cleaning, doing laundry, etc. I need to get out of that mindset. Books make life so much better.

  • Kelly
    April 29, 2010 at 11:40 am

    I know how you feel because I feel that way sometimes but I think it’s important to have hobbies and things that bring you happiness, right? It’s kind of like exercise, but for the mind πŸ™‚

    I just checked American Wife out of the library yesterday and I’m hoping to finish my other book today or tomorrow so I can start it this weekend- it will probably take me a month to finish though haha. I did read Prep when I was in college and I liked it so I hope you will too!

  • Anna
    April 29, 2010 at 11:41 am

    I can’t WAIT until this semester is over until I can read for FUN again! All I have been reading for months are academic and scientific journal articles. Endless. I guess that’s what you get for going to grad school for something other than English/FA!!

    The other night I had a dream I poached an egg.

  • Cass
    April 29, 2010 at 11:41 am

    TOTALLY agree wtih you on the Kindle.

  • Betsy
    April 29, 2010 at 11:42 am

    Reading is never a waster of time… when I was younger I would stuff my backpack full of books to the brim, and when the last Harry Potter came out I didn’t leave my room for six hours until I finished it. I read Prep a few years ago and loved it, and read American Wife this summer and enjoyed it as well! It’s so hard to read during undergrad, I live for the summers…

  • Kate
    April 29, 2010 at 11:43 am

    What about an iPad? =P

  • Jessica
    April 29, 2010 at 11:44 am

    Hi! I’ve been following you for awhile now but never commented. You’re one of my favorites! I would totally be you if I hadn’t created these little people that keep hassling me πŸ˜‰

    Anyway, I’ve had you linked on my blog for awhile too because I don’t know how to subscribe you lol. Today I tried your oats topped with pb&j… one of the best things I’ve eaten! Just wanted to say thanks!!

  • kaity
    April 29, 2010 at 11:44 am

    Kindles take away the beauty of getting lost exploring among the shelves of a library or a book store…down with the kindle!

    I think ive read Prep 50 joke..its starting to fall apart..its SO SO good..enjoy!

  • MaryLisa
    April 29, 2010 at 11:44 am

    People who don’t like Kindles just haven’t tried Kindles.

    I mean it.

    I didn’t want one. I got one as a gift. Took me a loooong time to download and read my first book. And now I do not know how I lived without it.

    Doesn’t mean I won’t sometimes buy a hardback, first edition. But man, oh man, is it convenient.

  • Jessica
    April 29, 2010 at 11:45 am

    oh yeah, and I bought the book off of Amazon yesterday! I’m excited! I’m totally jealous of your day yesterday!

  • Nicole
    April 29, 2010 at 11:46 am

    As another reader said…I’m kind of sad that you hate the Kindle! Its INSTANT access to almost any book for a really cheap price. I still buy some books but how can you be a fan of the library and not a Kindle? Its a faster, modern library! I guess we will have to agree to disagree, I love my Kindle and I love my books!

  • Angharad
    April 29, 2010 at 11:47 am

    My job is also centered around reading. I work for a program that’s trying to encourage Americans to read literature again. Not literacy…reading literature.
    I know what you mean about thinking it’s a “waste” of time or what not. I certainly sometimes feel a twinge of guilt for choosing reading over something that I think I “should” be doing, but then I remember that reading feeds my soul. I wouldn’t skip a meal so why would I skip a chapter? Weird analogy, but you know what I mean…

  • beerab
    April 29, 2010 at 11:48 am

    I love to read- and it’s funny you mention the Kindle. I also thought how lame is that? I want the physical book!

    But then my hubby totally surprised me and bought a Nook (B&A version of the Kindle)- then he loaded with with 10 books for me- books he knew I wanted to read (I keep a list in my computer)- and now I actually think it’s a great device. Specially cuz I travel now and then- so it makes things so simple! That sneaky hubby of mine.

  • Amanda
    April 29, 2010 at 11:50 am

    Amen, Jenna’s Momma! What kind of life is there without books INDEED!?

    I completely agree. I sometimes feel like there is definitely not enough time in any day to fit in all of the stuff I *have* to do (work, of course, being the first and foremost thing, since I must pay bills) and then have leftover time for books. Thus, part of my reading time takes place as I walk to and from ANYwhere. Work, the grocery store, the park, whatever. And no, I don’t trip, I have great peripheral vision. πŸ˜€

  • Betherann
    April 29, 2010 at 11:52 am

    I also write for a living so, for me, reading is not time wasted. I also do not like the Kindle. It’s an interesting concept, and I think it would be handy to take my magazines to read at the gym, but give me a plain bound book any day. With a Kindle I think that readers are deprived of important experiences when they are not allowed to turn yellowed pages, smell the oldness/newness of the pages, see the imperfections of the ink, and clasp a finished book close with a sigh.

  • LadyLara
    April 29, 2010 at 11:52 am

    I try to choose heavier reads, so to pick up something fluffier I think yes would be somewhat wasting my time. I’m kind of a book snob!

  • Katie
    April 29, 2010 at 11:53 am

    I have had a theory since I was a kid that while watching TV is a waste of time, reading NEVER is. You are expanding your mind and learning every time. Never feel guilty for reading.

    By the way, Kindles are BLASPHEMY!

  • Katie
    April 29, 2010 at 11:54 am

    peeps, stop hating the on the kindle! it’s cool if you don’t want to own one, but leave it at that. i have shelves overflowing with books AND a kindle. i love both. if you haven’t tried it, don’t knock it. now if you want to have an intelligent debate on what ebooks are doing to the publishing industry, that’s a different story. but to knock technology because it’s not the same as the traditional…that i don’t get.

    oh, and for those looking to own hard copies but wanting to save money, i highly recommend it is a revelation! send a book, get a book. it’s green :).

    reading is never a waste of time. i consider it an investment in my soul ;). same as travel.

  • kristin
    April 29, 2010 at 11:57 am

    prep is SO GOOD!!! I am going to try American Wife next πŸ™‚

  • Allie
    April 29, 2010 at 11:58 am

    i could never do a kindle; they seem so sterile. i love to feel and smell a book, and go back to the ones i love, where the pages fall open at my very favorite parts.

  • Jaime
    April 29, 2010 at 11:58 am

    Nope, I ADORE reading… always have. I do have the Kindle app on my iTouch, and I really appreciate it. I know it doesn’t have the same feel as an actual book, but I read super fast, and when I travel I always had to pack a stack of books… which was a pain. The Kindle app has made it much easier to travel. πŸ˜‰

    I do buy actual books, especially ones that are my favorites, but the Kindle app comes in handy!

  • below14th
    April 29, 2010 at 11:59 am

    I have a Kindle – I just spent 3 weeks traveling through Thailand and Laos and was happy not to lug 10 books around with me or worry that I would finish all my reading material. Also, in the past when I’ve done long international trips I end up leaving books behind to make room for souvenirs and lighten my luggage – stranding books also made me feel sad and guilty. I’m heading to Barcelona in a month and Japan/Korea in the fall and happy to have my Kindle – it’s great for travel.

    But at home I prefer holding an actual book….

  • Kristin @ Iowa Girl Eats
    April 29, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    omg this sounds RIGHT up my alley! I just ordered it for $1.25 in “very good” condition on Amazon. Damn you, 1-click shopping!! πŸ˜‰

  • Caroline
    April 29, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    Oh I so love you and agree, death to the Kindle! Don’t get me started either….

    Hope you enjoy Prep πŸ™‚

  • Alina
    April 29, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    Reading is never a waste of time, whether or not you are a writer! You’ve inspired me to read American Wife – I was looking for a novel.

  • Sunny
    April 29, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    Reading is certainly not a waste of time. If someone were to dismiss my reading habits as unproductive, I would remind said person that reading serves as exercise for the brain. To that end, reading has augmented my vocabulary and, subsequently, enhanced my use of language.

  • Caroline
    April 29, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    In the last few weeks I’ve found myself reading for pleasure instead of reading for that biology final I have next week. That might be a bit of a waste of time… but it makes me such a happier person that it can’t really be, right?

  • Kristin
    April 29, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    Heck no, it’s not a waste of tim! Reading feeds my soul. I disagree with you about Kindles though (I think– I’m not sure what your issues are with them). They aren’t for everyone and they aren’t for every book but no one can convince me that a device that grants me an extra 25 minutes of reading during my daily commute is a bad thing. Even paperbacks are too much space and weight to add to an bag (or bags) already stuffed with work files, gym clothes, and a packed, healthy lunch. Kindle to the rescue! It’s a different reading experience but the sheer joy that results from reading a great story is the same regardless of its medium. So I say, embrace the Kindle for promoting reading wherever it does. (And don’t get paranoid about the disappearance of “real” books).

  • Blaine
    April 29, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    I am trying really hard to finish up my undergrad and feel twinges of guilt for taking a reading break. And THAT is ridiculous – I’ve resolved to not feel “reader’s guilt”.
    And NOT ON A KINDLE πŸ™‚

  • Kelly @ Healthy Living With Kelly
    April 29, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    I love to read and I don’t own a kindle! I love the smell (yes the smell) of a book! I also love to see the pages worn on the books I have read countless time! I also like to write in my books and underline things that made me laugh, smile or cry! I guess I am a dork at heart but I don’t think I am going to be in any hurry to jump on the ebook bandwagon!

  • Rachel
    April 29, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    Oh, no, reading books for pleasure is never wasting time! It’s time very well spent. Reading on the internet, on the other hand, I often feel is wasted time and guilt-inducing, especially if it’s just randomness (and not my regular blogs).

  • Ann
    April 29, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    What’s wrong with a Kindle? I read all the time and own thousands of books. I have a Kindle and love it. I still buy regular paper books and use the library regularly. But the Kindle is a lifesaver when traveling, walking and reading, and when you want the book NOW. If the book is especially good after reading it on the Kindle I will often order the paper version as well. I didnt think I would like the Kindle because I love books so much. Love the way they feel in my hands. The way the smell. But I do love my Kindle.

  • Katie
    April 29, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    Not sure if you saw my tweet, but I picked up American Wife at a library book sale last weekend. It came recommended by a friend who was with me so your kudos made me want to read it even more.

    I love to read. I believe that reading makes you a better person. Sometimes I do feel a teensy bit guilty for reading, even if I’m caught up on all of my “must-do” tasks. It’s also tough to make myself do household chores once I’m sucked into a good book.

  • Kristin
    April 29, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    Prep is really good too! You will love it!

  • Carolyn @ lovinlosing
    April 29, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    I love reading and there’s no one who can convince me I should be doing something else with my time. I have learned SO much from reading!

  • Meagan
    April 29, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    Reading is essential for the soul. I don’t care what a person reads–“trashy” romance to suspense to “literature”–it still serves to transport, enlighten and entertain. Have you read Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’? Possibly the best memoir/writing guide for readers and writers. His attitude about book snobbery is awesome. Read what you love; write what you love.

    And I’m not so much against the technology of the Kindle (though I definitely prefer bound books) as I am wary of Amazon and their acquisition/pricing practices.

  • Amy
    April 29, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    Do not knock the Kindle without having tried it! I am an avid reader as well and I love the feeling of holding a book in my hand and turning the pages. There’s something so comforting about diving into a book–the smell, the feel of the pages…I know you what I mean! I still buy books, go to the library, and all that jazz, but…I am also a proud Kindle owner. I do not say this lightly–it has changed my life! I used to bring 20 books with me on vacation and now I can pack one Kindle but still read all week long. I take it with me to the gym and it sits perfectly on the machines as I bike, run, and stair climb away. In a word, it’s awesome. That doesn’t mean I’ve given up the tactile experience of books, though! You should try one, you might love it!

  • Camille
    April 29, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    When I saw you were reading American Wife I was actually going to recommend Prep to you.
    I have read it twice, so so so good!
    Hope you enjoy!

  • chrissy
    April 29, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    As a writer it’s important to read for inspiration, but also to LEARN how to be a better writer! And yet I do tend to feel guilty for reading – like I should be cleaning the kitchen, or walking the dog, or working out. It’s a habit I’m trying to break – reading and writing should come first!

  • allison @ livingoneday
    April 29, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    reading is never a waste of time. sure, there are definitely things more “important” that might need to be done, but when you’re old and grey, are you going to be happy that you always had clean towels? no…you’re going to be bummed that you didnt spend more time reading. and no to kindles – there is just something about curling one side of the book under with one hand, and using the other hand to shield the sun or block the wind from curling your pages.

  • Joie
    April 29, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    I hate Kindles too! But I LOVE reading, and do it ever spare second. I have even trained myself to read with tons of background noise, like on the subway, when someone is watching TV etc. That is probably a bad habit, but anyways. Reading is the best!

  • Liz
    April 29, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    Reading just makes you a well-rounded individual! Regardless of your profession, only good things can come from readings. Especially if you are reading quality authors. Guilty pleasure books not so much….although I do love my Charlaine Harris, haha.

    And “Prep” is good. Not as good as “American Wife” but it is still good. I hope you like it!

  • SallyH @
    April 29, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    As a fellow book lover who can still, at 38, stay up ALL NIGHT reading a book in order to finish it in one day (I don’t recommend this with small child and job, but sometimes you just have to READ!), a fellow English major x2, author and maker of a living off books and writing…yes, sometimes I feel a little guilty. And right now, I haven’t read a book in months as I’ve been wrongly attached to my lap top. Thank you for these posts–they inspire me to pick up those books on my bedside table (yes, books, not a Kindle, which bugs me too.)

  • Claire
    April 29, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    me too…kindles = the end of print media to me. so sad…esp as a writing, lit, and publishing major when I was in college.

  • Christie
    April 29, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    Why would someone “hate” a kindle? That’s bizare. It’s a reading device, how is that bad? And, it is a “green” way to read.

  • Karen
    April 29, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    answer to your question is NOOOOOOOOO, reading strictly for pleasure is never a waste of time. I can always tell people who are well read, their vocabulary is more diverse than others, and just that more intelligent. When my kids were small I didn’t care if they read comic books as long as they were reading, in time they both grew to love to read, my daughter finds it relaxing and a way to unwind and get carried away to a different place. There is nothing better than a really good book that grabs your attention. We just walked the beach, I was amazed at all the people sitting in their chair engrossed in their books. Happy Reading…Save all your books for your kids one day, they will love to read the books that their Mom had read. πŸ™‚

  • Liz
    April 29, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    sorry, i skipped down and not sure if someone mentioned it, but there is another curtis sittenfeld book called “the man of my dreams” and it is pretty good too.

  • Sara @
    April 29, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    I always put pleasure reading on the back burner when school is in session, and I HATE that. Hopefully I’ll be better about that next year. Thankfully I have English classes that keep me reading, but I’d love to keep up with the poor, dusty, unread books on my shelf.

    Either way, it’s summer now, therefore I will be a reading FIEND!!

  • Jill Will Run
    April 29, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    I don’t own a Kindle. I worked in a library throughout high school. I love books… yet I’ve always been intrigued by the Kindle. And after reading a blog post reviewing it, I’m even more convinced that it sounds awesome. I can understand people getting up in arms about books vs. technology, but I think this is an excellent post that kind of outlines the varying thoughts related to it:

  • Lisa
    April 29, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    Thanks for the tip on the book! I am always in search of new awesome authors to get obsessed about. πŸ™‚

  • Tina
    April 29, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    I recently talked about Kindle in a post. I love real books too much, but I can definitely see the benefits of it also. I think the most pages I ever read in a day was about 400 & that was recently. I love finishing a book in a day, but I am also kind of sad for it to end!

  • Julie B.
    April 29, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    I have been told by my therapist that relaxing and doing thing to relax or for pleasure is doing something. It’s not a waste of time because it serves a purpose in your emotional and mental health.

  • Jenny-Lee
    April 29, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    can’t wait to go check out american wife – i really loved prep!!

  • Stacey
    April 29, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    I love books and how they take you away from everything and enhance your imagination. I just have trouble finding the time to stop relax and read.

  • Jennie {in Wonderland}
    April 29, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    I couldn’t ever get a Kindle so I hope you hate them too! They are soulless. I need to hold a book, smell it, feel it under my hands. It’s raw – honest. SO much better than a crappy little piece of plastic!! Besides, don’t we stare at screens enough??

    I read American Wife in about a day or two, I think, too. It was absolutely riveting!

    April 29, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    holy S&%# ur a crazy fast reader. super brain jenna. woot <3

  • Lizz (Leading the Good Life)
    April 29, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    I think we should not feel guilty to do things for pleasure. I have a huge problem with guilt, and realized it was ruining things I once loved! I started running a couple of years ago because I liked it. Then I decided to start training for a marathon so I made this big, long training schedule. I realized the guilt of not following my plan was what was motivating me – not the enjoyment I got out of running. That bums me out. I’m trying to learn how to enjoy running (and other things) again without the guilt – by living in the moment! (it’s hard!)

  • Following Julie
    April 29, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    Yes, Kindles are AWESOME. When you travel a lot the last thing you want weighing down your carryon is a bunch of fat novels, which you can all fit on one slim kindle. Embrace technology.

  • C
    April 29, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    I’ve never commented before, but just had to tell you that I LOVE PREP! I read it when it first came out, when I was in grade 10, and just fell in love with it – I’ve read it since being out of high school, and still enjoyed it. The characters are very real and many of Lee’s experiences rang true for me. On that note, I am DESPERATE to read American Wife, but it’s always out at the library! Grrr….
    However, I REALLY hated The Man of My Dreams. Hate.

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing
    April 29, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    Reading is simply necessary. What is life without a good book?!

  • Katelyn
    April 29, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    i love prep! i’m guessing i would love american wife even more… i should probably get myself a library card!

  • emily
    April 29, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    wait.. why are kindles not real???!!!! your still ‘reading’.. your still being ‘inspired’.. what about saving trees bc your not printing paper books?? (not that im a tree hugger, but its a valid point)
    your saving tons of money too. i also think its all a personal opinion. like anything else.

  • B
    April 29, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    Reading for pleasure is most definitely not wasting time. It exercise for your brain! And no one considers exercise for their body a waste of time.

    I haven’t gotten on the Kindle bandwagon yet either. I love the feel of a great book in my hands and I hate reading on screens.

  • Lynna
    April 29, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    I have read voraciously since I was 4 (I am the oldest of 4 girls and my youngest sister was born when I was 4-1/2…I had to learn young!) I am one of those who can read for hours, days, weeks at a time…when my kids were newborns, I used to read 10 books a week just to get through the day. It was kind of a sickness, as I used it to avoid such things as housework, but I have never really regretted it. Now I listen to audiobooks every day (I have a 1 hour plus daily commute) and save my binge reading for vacations in Maine or with SillyTaterTot and Nighthops in Orlando.

  • Laura
    April 29, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    Yeah, you’ll pry my Kindle out of my cold, dead hands! Really, I felt the same way as many other commenters, thinking I could never quit paper books. And I haven’t, I love both. The great thing about Kindle is that there are so many great FREE books available for it, from books in the public domain to self-published, to the ones that publishers make available every month (you Kindlers can find a list at I’ve read and enjoyed so many books I would never even think to peek at. And I still spend hours in the book store every week. When I find a title that’s interesting, I write it down and find out if I can download it, usually cheaper than it is at the store.

    I know it’s not for everyone, but it’s been great for me. Oh, and I still enjoy a good story no matter whether it’s on paper or on Kindle.

  • Lisa (bakebikeblog)
    April 29, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    haha I read an entire book on the plane ride home yesterday!!!

  • Veronica - Navy Wife on a Diet
    April 29, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    Reading is most definitely NOT a waste of time. The reason is because our one life is simply not long enough to do everything we want to do. Even the most passionate of people cannot achieve or experience EVERYTHING they want in life. (But thats no reason not to try!)

    So, we have books. Books that can take us to the places and experiences that we cannot get to on our own. God knows we love a good tear jerker, but we’d never want to actually experience that sorrow in our own lives. Reading about it allows us to experience the emotions at an arm’s distance. This is why I love memoirs. I’d never want to live another person’s life…but I love to read about them!

    No, books are only a waste if they are the ONLY way you experience life. If you’re not out there living your life at least 90% of the time, then yes – books are probably wasting your time. You have to have balance. Books should never be a substitute for living life. But they are a wonderful tool for escaping from it for a little while!

  • Brittney
    April 29, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    I actually went to Prep school in New England and have been meaning to read Prep for a while! I hope you’ll let us know what you think when you are done reading it πŸ™‚ I also don’t think reading is a waste of time, but don’t have a lot of time to read these days. I go through spurts of reading a lot and then not.

  • Cynthia (It All Changes)
    April 29, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    I have this internal debate with myself all the time. I always have something I can be doing but I would love to be reading. It would help if I didn’t have TV to distract me…or a DVR to just record the stuff I want to watch and ignore the other stuff.

  • Cyndi
    April 29, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    Wow, Veronica – Navy Wife … you are one wise woman!

  • Rebecca @ How the Cookies Crumble
    April 29, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    Reading for 6 hours is much better than watching TV for 6 hours like the average American does! People often ask me how I live without TV, I wonder how they can live with it! Who has time for all these shows!

  • Melanie
    April 29, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    Prep is my favorite book of all time! It’s been hailed as the modern day Catcher in the Rye, although I think that might be a bit of a stretch. In my opinion, it’s even better than American Wife. I’m so excited for you to read it and I can’t wait to hear what you have to say about it. I just hope they don’t ruin the book if they make a movie out of it some day because the plot is very marketable. Have fun reading!

  • eatmovelove
    April 29, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    So I am a complet Noob…and have NO idea – WHAT IS A KINDLE???

  • abbey
    April 29, 2010 at 5:22 pm

    Jenna, I am glad you liked American Wife. I know the author and she is an absolutely delightful person. Met her while managing a Pilates studio back in the day. Didn’t like Prep as much, but still a good read πŸ™‚

    p.s. I love your blog, I’m a newbie thanks to HEAB.

  • Lauren
    April 29, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    Hmmmm, I can’t say I agree with you.
    I love to write and I passionately pursue this hobby every single day. I majored in English and Writing in College and obtained by BA in English with a minor in creative writing.
    As much as I love to write, I never felt the same about reading. I adore good literature, poetry, and journals; however, I never really fell in love with the actual “reading” part (if that makes sense). I still consider myself a writer, without having the love of reading to support that.

    I guess it’s all in the eye of the beholder! πŸ˜‰

  • Allen Rufus Boyde
    April 29, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    Not sure if anyone has mentioned this yet… (sorry that I haven’t read through all of the comments) but what about some of the advantages that the Kindle, Ipad, and other digital book readers have over traditional media? Can books increase the font size for those visually impaired, read audio books or text out loud, provide a built-in dictionary, etc? I know that the Kindle isn’t perfect in terms of truly meeting accessibility requirements yet, but it seems that many of these digital readers are headed in the right direction. The market/technology just needs time to grow. As for shopping, in the time that it takes me to drive to the bookstore or library and find what I need (if it is available) I could easily start browsing, purchase/download and read a few chapters. Don’t get me wrong, I love my shelves of books (especially when moving across the country or to a 3rd floor apartment)… but it sure is nice to have instant access to that same entire library while I am relaxing in a hammock. I know e-books have their flaws… They don’t present text near as comfortably as a normal book yet*, they need better hyphenation techniques, smarter margins and less distractions. That said, since these devices are intimately connected to the Web, wouldn’t it be neat for these readers and digital books to allow the community of readers to collaborate as a whole? Say that I am reading a copy of the American Wife on my digital e-book reader, what if I want to know what other people have highlighted, notes they have have shared, how far into the book my friends have gotten, etc. These are all aspects that extend the text of the book to me, and aspects that would be invisible while reading a normal book. It is similar to why we leave comments on a blog. Thoughts/rants/praises?

    Sorry for the rambling, now back to my coffee and digital newspaper. – Rufus

  • Katherine
    April 29, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    let’s reduce that question:

    do you feel bad taking time —(to do what you want)— for pleasure?

    how dare you do something to relax! our society doesn’t know anything about balancing and about living outside of work-driven life.


  • Jin
    April 29, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    I share your love of reading and I also feel that reading is NEVER a waste of time! A good writer must read a lot. You are such a great role model! Thank you Jenna!

  • Alex
    April 29, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    I read Prep a few years ago and liked it. I thought it was weird, but I could really get engaged in a conversation about the main character (which to me is a sign of great writing). I decided to read The Man of My Dreams when it came out, but was really disappointed. The main character was just too out there and I couldn’t get into the story line. Let us know if you think that the writing style/character development between American Wife and Prep is similar. I think I’d be willing to give Sittenfeld another try…

  • lucy sea.
    April 29, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    you will love prep! it’s so, so good.

  • Andrea
    April 29, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    577 pages in one day?! wow you’re a fast reader! i wish i could read that quickly

  • Whitney @ Whitinspired
    April 29, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    I hate kindles too. I don’t get them. Why do you want to hold another electronic device in your hand to read? Like aren’t your eyes strained enough from looking at a computer, tv, cell phone screen all day? I love picking up an actual book and turning pages. It’s probably just the reading geek in me though. And I never feel like I’m wasting time reading. Watching tv? Yes. But reading? Never.

  • Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down)
    April 29, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    I have similair thoughts…is reading a waste of time? I love what Navy Wife said. About how it’s not a waste of time unless reading becomes a substitute for living life. But it’s such a beautiful chance to experience an adventure or a different life.

    I love reading for all the different emotions and inspiration it shares. πŸ˜€

  • Kathleen
    April 29, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    As an English Lit major and bibliophile…there is no such thing as wasting time when it comes to reading. I am seriously addicted to books…I read on all my breaks at work, I walk around the house bumping into things because I am reading and walking…and folding clothes, and brushing me teeth and eating (gasp I know it’s bad) and just reveling in WORDS.

    and I, too, race to bookstores/libraries when I find an author I like and get the other things they have written πŸ™‚

  • Taylor
    April 29, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    I am so so so so glad that you hate kindles too. There is just something irreplaceable about holding a book in my own two hands! I would never trade it for a stupid electronic screen. What about the joy of turning a page or finishing the entire thing and slapping the two covers closed?? The smell, the sound, I love everything about books! You can rest assured-you are not the only one who gets all hot and bothered by kindles!

  • Miranda
    April 29, 2010 at 7:05 pm

    I felt the same way about Kindles until I ran out of space, and the purchase of one became a necessity. It will never replace my love of holding an actual book, but it’s great for books I want to read but don’t necessarily want to read over and over again. (I’d use the library, but unfortunately our library system leaves something to be desired.)

  • Jaimers
    April 29, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    I LOVE my Kindle. But I love to read. It certainly isn’t the same experience as reading a book, but having an entire library at my fingertips is quite powerful.

  • Katie@ Two Lives, One Lifestyle
    April 29, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    I know I read Prep but it was awhile ago… I can’t wait for summer and time and reading! I haven’t seen a Kindle in person so it’s hard to say. But there is something about curling up with a bent up book that a computer screen couldn’t replace. Curling up at my family’s cabin in a hammock with a screen just sounds wrong.

  • Melissa
    April 29, 2010 at 8:09 pm

    Hey Jenna!
    I came across your blog randomly about a week ago. I must admit I check for updates a couple times a day and it’s a nice little break from work getting to read your blog. I love your post about your visit to Savannah! My brother has recently been moved/stationed near Savannah and I get the pleasure to go visit him this July when he is home from Afghanistan. Just wondered if you could give me any ideas for fun things to do or restaurants to check out in the area! Anyway, I love your blog!

  • Sarah
    April 29, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    I also just started reading your blog which is ridiculously entertaining. Everything you write about Sonoma County is SO exciting to me because my parents live in Santa Rosa I haven’t been since last summer and now I can’t wait to spend a few weeks there in June. Can’t wait to plow through some books poolside while enjoying a bunch of your restaurant/recipe recs.

  • Cyndi
    April 29, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    Reading is like nothing else … don’t even try.

  • Suzanne de Cornelia
    April 29, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    Reading is ongoing research & growth for a writer, a rich store of understanding and knowledge that improves and expands life on so many dimensions. Civilizations are Golden to the degree they honor their arts–so you are one in an army holding up the things that make us great.

    A 12/1999 Gallup Poll asked ‘What public person do you most admire?’ This is the one question that Gallup asked annually from its inception in 1933. They tabulated all of those years to come up with a list of the 18 most admired people in the 20th Century. Jackie Kennedy was #12 on the list!! I think not just because of her personal qualities–but because she was a lifelong avid voice and promoter of the arts–and also a Doubleday editor for the last 20+ years of her life. Truman Capote said she sucked back books like an addict.

    I discovered the Gallup Poll factoid while writing a post on my recommended book for Mother’s Day. The entire list of 18 most admired of 20th century is here:

  • Kelly
    April 29, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    Time spent reading is never wasted!! As a fellow book lover and English major….I completely agree. Literature is enthralling, inspiring…..the thought that words strung into sentences can create such vivid images is so fantastic. I love literature!!

  • Kelly (Local Foodie's Fight)
    April 29, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    holy moley! thats a lot of pages!

  • Kelly (Local Foodie's Fight)
    April 29, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    And! About reading for pleasure. I spent a couple hours reading on my rooftop Eating Animals today, for pleasure. Classes are almost over so I have time. And it just feels so nice to read something you dont have to read for a class.

  • Hillary [Nutrition Nut on the Run]
    April 29, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    Hi Jenna,
    Wow! I don’t think I’ve read 577 pages this year! …unless you count blog reading ; ) I really would like to read more (I’m working on it), but it isn’t a passion of mine. Funny thing is, is that writing has always been a strong area for me despite my lack of love for reading. I do bet that reading would only make my writing that much better though.

    Go read, ya book worm! ; )

  • jeannie
    April 29, 2010 at 9:01 pm

    I’m a big, big, big fan of reading! I can’t really read during the school year (I’m a teacher) because I will literally do nothing but read into the night. Luckily my summer is spent reading, reading, reading! I used to read while I ate, read in the shower, read everywhere when I was younger. I love a good book that I think about and CANNOT wait to get back to! Outside of my major classes, I took mostly English classes in undergrad. I definitely think that reading can be considered “research” for writing! πŸ™‚

  • Heather
    April 29, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    OMG, THANK YOU for also hating the Kindle. I want to touch real books and flip page after page, not scroll down a screen! I also like seeing what other people are reading on public transit, and I certainly can’t read the screen the same way I can the spine of a book!

    And no way, Jose, reading is never a waste of time…unless it’s US Weekly. Then we might want to revisit the question.

  • Kathryn
    April 30, 2010 at 12:37 am

    YAY! Thanks for recommending American Wife – I just picked it up from the library yesterday and cannot wait to get started. I loved Prep so I’m sure I will love this one too, especially with your recommendation!

    And don’t even get me started on Kindles either…BOOOOOO!

  • Bridget
    April 30, 2010 at 1:36 am

    I didn’t really even understand the point of the Kindle until someone said here that it’s best for travelers. I guess I can see that, though not for me. There is no source of comfort like a good book and the time to curl up and read it (and reread it later). It’s been a long time since I’ve read any novels in English, though-mostly spend my time reading Japanese ones these days.

  • Debbie
    April 30, 2010 at 4:52 am

    Just remember this, if you think it is a waste of time: πŸ™‚
    Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted. ~John Lennon

  • Chandra H
    April 30, 2010 at 5:29 am

    I can’t wait to hear what you think of Prep!!!! it’s my favorite book of all time. πŸ˜€

  • eatavegan
    April 30, 2010 at 5:35 am

    Gotta speak up on behalf of the Kindle — it definitely doesn’t replace real books for people like us, who have grown up being able to touch the pages and who get great joy from that. It does, however, give one access to tons of books in a convenient way. When I was writing my MA thesis, I got obscure and out-of-print books I needed for research for sometimes 1/10 of the price — and 80 bucks a book makes a huge difference when you are a poor grad student.
    Also, as a teacher, I have to put this out there: kids today process information differently because their brains are used to digital media. E-books, internet news sources, and (ahem) blogs are easier for many of them to read, and this is a HUGE deal for kids who have learning disabilities like dyslexia. For kids like that, Kindles could give them a chance to become lifelong readers like you. πŸ™‚

  • maura
    April 30, 2010 at 5:38 am

    Ahh Debbie beat me to it! I was going to quote John Lennon too!! I had a love/hate relationship with Prep. It was an interesting story but as someone who went to boarding school, I wasn’t sure how much I related to the main character. It was still a fun read though! I’ll have to try the book you just reviewed!

  • Lauren @ Running Examiner
    April 30, 2010 at 6:10 am

    I could nevvvvvvver consider reading to be a waste of time. (This may be due to the fact I’m a creative writer, but still!) If there is one thing I hate, it’s when people look down on reading, treating it as if it’s some luxury or frivolity. Not at all! Reading introduces you to new people and opinions, new environments, cultures, and worldviews. I think it’s essential in keeping you a healthy, well-rounded, inquisitive person. My mom instilled in me a love of books, and I can’t imagine not reading everyday.

  • evan
    April 30, 2010 at 6:17 am

    it’s nice to see that someone out of college hates the Kindle like i do! my beef with it is that the books available on it are only available because their publishers/advertisers PAID for the space there. the Kindle doesn’t privilege young writers and poets – the Kevin Youngs etc; it privileges the Dan Browns of the world and aids in the disappearance of small, independent bookstores and publishing companies!! i work for a family-run publishing company in CT and businesses like theirs are a dying breed because of ad revenue-fueled institutions like Amazon and its associated Kindle.

  • Jean
    April 30, 2010 at 8:48 am

    If it’s a ‘waste of time’ to read for pleasure, I can think of lots of things that are a worse ‘waste of time’ – which is why I’m cutting off the cable tv! I think reading makes you better at spelling and writing, and even speaking/conversing. I think if you would look at most of the successful people in this world, they are probably voracious readers.
    As for the Kindle, I don’t think that I would like one very well. My aunt is moving to Germany & had trouble getting English books the last time that she was there for an extended stay, so in her case I can see where the Kindle would be a good thing – since she’s one of those that ‘wastes’ her time reading for pleasure… πŸ˜‰

  • Fitzalan
    April 30, 2010 at 9:41 am

    You will ADORE Prep. Not nearly as political, obviously as American Wife, but it is a good “lazy” read. As a boarding school kid myself, I think Curtis Sittenfeld’s representation of boarding school life and culture in Prep is one of the most accurate around.

    And as much as I LOVE to read…I definitely think that there are more productive things I could be doing with my time, other than when I am reading in bed before sleep.

    happiness awaits

  • kim
    April 30, 2010 at 9:54 am

    I love reading and wish I had more time for it. I make up for what time I don’t have due to work by reading tons when on travel.

    And I find your kindle comment hilarious. I was very anti e-reader for a long time. But I finally broke down and bought one because I travel (fly) a lot for work and I got tired of packing mountains of books and lugging them through airports. It’s much easier with an e-reader. I still buy and love books to read, but now it’s about half e-reader half paper books.

  • Allie
    April 30, 2010 at 11:27 am

    This was so refreshing to read. My boyfriend can happily spend hours with a book and feel like he’s been productive – I have alot of difficulty doing that. Its not that I don’t like reading – it just takes alot for me to relax and sit with a book for awhile, without getting distracted by chores/errands that need to get done. I love reading though, and for someone like me – it makes my stress melt away – I need to make it more of a priority. Great post.

  • Mackenzie @ The College Authentic
    April 30, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    Oh GOODNESS, totally feel you on the kindle/ipad/nook thing! Everytime I see an advertisement for one of them I just get the shivers and say “Whattup, reading Antichrist?!?!”

  • Kenzi
    May 1, 2010 at 11:59 am

    haha, yes!! yes, yes, yes, yes, yes about the kindles. And hot and bothered in a bad way. A bad, bad way. I wrote this a little while ago for my lit mag’s blog:

  • Terin
    May 3, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    Why the Kindle hating? I am an avid reader and am in love with mine…it tucks so conveniently into my purse so that my reading is always right there with me in case I have a free moment. But my favorite part? being able quickly refer to my favorite parts from all the books I’ve read…that way I never forget! The My Clippings file is the best and being able to check your blog on it certainly doesn’t hurt πŸ™‚

  • Jazmyn
    May 4, 2010 at 7:59 am

    I feel like that all the time!

    I’d love to hear your thoughts on the kindle! Everyone makes fun of me because I just want my paper! haah

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