Dear Book Nerd #23: No More Book Guilt

Welcome to the Dear Book Nerd podcast, a bi-weekly show that answers YOUR questions about life, love, and literature! My guest this week is the wonderful Saeed Jones. We talk about many bookish topics that deal with things such as how to read with an open mind, what place classics have in our reading lives, how to talk to people who don’t like reading, and much, much more.

Saeed Jones, a 2013 Pushcart Prize Winner, is the author of the poetry collection Prelude to Bruise, which came out in September from Coffee House Press. He is also the editor of BuzzFeed LGBT and you can find him on Twitter @TheFerocity. Thank you, Saeed!

This episode is sponsored by Kobo and The Name of the Blade by Zoe Marriott.

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QUESTIONS ASKED:

Dear Book Nerd,

I’ve been really into reading as of late, thanks to A Song Of Fire and Ice and the Hunger Games series, and I’m reading up on the classics: Mark Twain, George Orwell, Mary Shelley, Pearl Buck, Miguel Cervantes, Oscar Wilde. But whenever I hear about how great some of the newer releases are, I get an itch to stop reading classics, and I feel guilty for not giving them the respect and praise they deserve. Likewise, I feel left out of the conversations about contemporary books and, by not reading these books, I question whether I’m missing a valuable reading experience. At what point should I stop reading classics and start reading contemporary books? Should I just follow my instinct and read whatever I find interesting, regardless if it’s contemporary or classic?

Kenny

Dear Book Nerd,

I have always been obsessed with books. I don’t just read them–I consume them. But for the past few months, I have been noticing that I tend to pick up “easy reads” — crime fiction, psychological thrillers etc. Plot-driven books, mainly. Nothing wrong with that per se, but I want to go back to being the more balanced reader that I was, and read George Eliot along with S.J. Bolton. Even if I pick up a book, say The Odd Women by George Gissing, by the time I get back tired from work, all I want to do is curl up with a Miss Read. My mind is craving cosy books that set everything out on the page before me. How do I sort this out? Thanks!

Sharanya

Dear Book Nerd,

I’m a 30 year old lesbian with an avid appetite for books, literary fiction ,and controversial reads. Due to living in the conservative state of Texas (even if in Houston) I find it difficult to meet like-minded women. Unfortunately, none of my friends or family share my passion for clubs. Please help with suggestions on how to engage and meet others.

Anni

Dear Book Nerd,

How do you even interact with someone who doesn’t read? What do you talk about? (Sorry, MAJOR introvert here.) Even worse, how do you interact with someone who hates a book you love?

Meraki

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READER MAIL:


Dear Book Nerd,

“Awkward Girl” [in Episode #21 with Sam Sykes] wrote in about approaching her book nerd coworker and I wanted to help. Sometimes it’s just easier to be polite and awkward. Approach the girl politely saying excuse me, I don’t mean to interrupt your literary adventure but my book nerdy curiosity got the best of me and I just had to introduce myself in hopes of book nerding out a little. Then read her signs and go from there. Be brave. Hope this may help!

Love your show, Rita! Keep up the great work!

Thanks,

Beloved Book Nerd

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LINKS DISCUSSED:

Dear Book Nerd Episode #4 (Book Riot)

Short Classic Books (Goodreads)

Murder by the Book (Houston, TX)

Houston Great Books (Houston, TX)

Brazos Bookstore (Houston, TX)

Poison Girl (Houston, TX)

North Houston Lesbian Book Club and Social Group (Houston, TX)

How Men Fight For Their Lives (BuzzFeed)

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Listen to past episodes and read past columns of Dear Book Nerd here!
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The show can also be found on Stitcher here.

Do you have a bookish question about life, love, or literature for Dear Book Nerd? Fill out the form below or email DearBookNerd@bookriot.com. Don’t be shy, ask away!

Dear Book Nerd

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