Tuesday, August 20, 2013

10 Things That Make My Life as A Reader Better

This week's topic from The Broke and The Bookish is to list the top 10 things that make my life as a reader easier/better. I have wanted to write about a number of these things, so I am happy to have the opportunity to put them all into one post (along with a couple of fun facts as well!).

10 Things That Make My Life as A Reader Better

1. The OverDrive APP

The day I discovered this APP I practically cried tears of joy. I was home sick, stuck in bed and miserable. I had already listened to all of the audiobooks I had bought on my iPhone and there is no TV in our bedroom. I decided to use my NYPL (New York Public Library) APP to see what audiobooks were available in my library branch to se if my husband could pick one or two up on the way home from work since this particular flare up seemed like it was going nowhere fast.

That's when I found it.

OverDrive is an APP that connects me to my library virtually and allows me to DOWNLOAD DIGITAL VERSIONS OF BOOKS (both audio and ebooks) DIRECTLY INTO MY IPHONE. It is so ridiculously awesome and I can't love anything more than this. It is a must have for readrs, particularly audiobook lovers like myself who simply cannot afford to keep up with th expensive habit of audiobook-ing without the support of their local library!


 The New York Public Library is a wonderland of goodies for any reader, but, honestly I rarely visit any branch other than my local branch in my neighborhood. It is something that I have often thought a sin, particularly since "my" library is not as beautiful as so many of the libraries in this city. However, through my mobile APP I now, at least have access to ALL of the branches right in my iPhone! Before even taking the trip to my library I can now
  • check the availability of a book, 
  • put it on hold, 
  • have a book sent from one branch to mine for pickup
  • scan a book's barcode to see if it is in my library,
  • write a review of the book(s) I read,
  • find out what's new in the library,
  • search out events and activities happening in ALL of the libraries, and
  • MY FAVORITE THING OF ALL: I can renew my book loan right in my phone!

3. Goodreads

What reader hasn't fallen in love with the Goodreads site? I used to keep reading journals all over the place just to keep track of books I read and what I thought of them, now I have goodreads. I can also see what my friends and favorite authors are reading, what they think of those books and what they're planning on reading next. Finally, if I wasn't already in love with the site, I found out about the coolness that is the Goodreads Challenge each year, which has just been tons of fun for me to push myself with each year!

4. The "Look Up" Option on eReaders

I know there are some readers than can come across a new or unknown word in a book and just drift on by hoping that the context clues will build up its meaning, or that the meaning of this one word within the masses will not be significant.

I am not this kind of reader.

I have always been a looker-upper. If I don't know the meaning, or I don't recognize the word, I have to go dig out my dictionary and find out what it means. You can imagine my joy when I discovered to built-in dictionaries on my iPad and in my nook. Finally, my lazy reading days could be left unburdened by the need to put one book down to flip through another! Everything was already ther at my fingertips!

5. Living Down The Block from Barnes & Noble
store #2021

According to Google Maps Barnes & Noble is exactly 0.4mi from my front door. It takes approximately 9 minutes to walk there. And I do. A LOT. It is sort of a running joke between friends and family that they know that's where they can find us. I honestly think if my husband and I did not have a dog, we might have spent this entire summer in that store! The barista in the cafe now know my name and the rest of th employees have also gotten used to seeing me there.

It was opened in the year 2000 and I felt like all of my wildest dreams had come true.  For years I stood on a bus stop across from the place where it was built and created stories in my head of all of the fantastic things that could happen in that bizarre lot. It was a gathering of trees amongst Staten Island commercialism. To me, it was always "the tiny woods of stories" because of all of the things I dreamt of happening on that lot. I imagined one day I would be brave enough to step into those trees and be swept away to a fantasy land. When the trees were first leveled and it was obvious something was going to be built on that spot, I felt as though my heart was ripped out. Until I found out what was coming - the stories... ALL of the stories. My tiny woods finally came to life! (It still gives me chills.)

6. BookExpo America Being In NYC

I know it won't last forever, but having discovered that BEA is in NYC has been monumental for me. Each year when it comes around I am able to walk up to the bus stop outside my Barnes & Noble, take one bus into Manhattan, get off the bus' first stop and walk two blocks to the biggest book party of the year! I am so incredibly grateful for this gift. I found out this year that the expo will be moving to Chicago in a couple more years, but for now I will just continue to appreciate what I have!

7. Booklights & Sleepmasks

I am nocturnal. I like to read at night. As a child this led to ridiculous acrobatics of leaning out of my bed at uncomfortable angles just to get the light of my nightlight to reach my pages. Then someone brilliant invented the book light. These things are amazing and I am forever indebted to the genius who created them. However, early on in our marriage it looked like the night time reading in bed thing might have to come to an end. THIS was something I could not conceive, but my husband couldn't sleep with my light on. The tension grew as I was being asked to change a lifelong habit and as my husband felt I was being incredibly inconsiderate. Then we tried out sleep masks! Viola! Now we both wear them! And my husband is grateful as, he too, has become a nighttime reader!


They can be fancy, store-bought bookmarks. They can be pens. They can be the receipt from the bookstore or library. They can even be digital (as in my "progress" listing in Goodreads) . I love them. I used to be a big-time dog-earer, but I've given up on the habit. I can't even tell you why. These days I just love throwing something in my book to hold my space and to show me how "deep" into the book I have gotten so far.

9. Husband as a High School English Teacher

This seriously rocks. My husband's job is pretty much all about creating new readers. When I read a great new YA book I tell him he needs to share it with his kids and with his department. We talk about books, reading and writing all of the time. We talk about what the schools are reading, what they should be reading and what we wish we read when we were younger. When the school gets a new book, or when he sees his students reading something different, he comes home and tells me - sometimes even bringing a copy home for me!

10. The Internet

I say this so often these days, but I can not IMAGINE what it must be like to be a young reader today. I get all kinds of giddy knowing that I can have some sort of contact with my favorite authors via the Internet - whether it is on FB, Twitter, WhoSay, their own blogs or vlogs. I can not imagine what that would have been like for me as a child. Getting to know authors in this way, seeing them go through the process of writing and then how they respond to how we respond is just plain magical to me.  Also, aside from those authors who I follow regularly (i.e. John Green and Neil Gaiman), there is also the ability to reach out and say "thank you" to those authors who have really touched you with their book(s).

It's your turn!
What are some things that make your life better as a reader?
Let us know in the comments below!


  1. Thank you so much for introducing me to the OverDrive app! It's going to be so helpful. :)

  2. Yes, but how is #5 on your wallet? ;)

  3. ENJOY IT! I keep trying to spread the word on it because it is so awesome!

  4. It's bad, but it could be worse. First of all, since we are so close, my husband and I have a lot of "in store reads" - these are books we read when we are there, put back on the shelf and return to the next day. Secondly, I discovered this awesome APP called Viggle where I get points for watching TV that I turn into BARNES & NOBLE GIFT CARDS!! Of course, that's never enough, so hopefully someday I will actually write a book that ends up on those shelves so Barnes & Noble can be a place where I GET money instead of SPEND money! ;)

    My post on Viggle: http://www.riverarunsthroughit.com/2013/03/app-review-viggle.html