Preferring People Over Books

Welcome to the Dear Book Nerd podcast, a bi-weekly show that answers your questions about life, love, and literature! My special guest co-host this week is the wonderful Jade Chang. Jade and I discuss topics such as preferring books over people, reading speed, where to find new sci-fi books, and much more. Don’t miss it!


Jade is the author of The Wangs Vs. The World, out now! You can find her on Twitter @thejadechang. Thank you, Jade!

This episode was sponsored by Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig and Nemesis by Anna Banks.



Dear Book Nerd,

I treasure my hour lunch break as a chance to escape into a book. I also often choose to stay home and read rather than go out with friends. I am an introvert who finds social situations very draining and books help me to recharge my social batteries. However I feel as though I am isolating myself by escaping into fantasy world rather than living in the real world. Am I missing out by preferring books over people and should I make more of an effort to socialize or am I okay to live in my preferred world of make believe?


Dear Book Nerd,

I am a bit slow. Slow reader, that is. My girlfriend on the other hand, reads a book every 2-3 days. Do you know how I can conquer my Goodreads “to read” list and get through books faster? Do you find that with more reading speed you lose certain pleasure of reading? Miss some of the finer details?

Her advice is simply to read more, and I have been. On the train to work (I work in a library too, by the way!) and in bed before lights out. I’ve also downloaded an app on my phone that breaks up the text of a book into fragments and throws them at you. Haven’t had time yet to really use it, but it seems intimidating. I am also starting a book club to foster my reading… but do you know if there is anything else I can do to increase my reading speed without losing the details? English is my second language, am I doomed to be a slow reader? Will it ever get better, and how long will it take before the clouds part?

Thank you book nerd.



Dear Book Nerd:

Love the podcast – I have been working through the archives at work for the last few weeks!

My question is how do you go about finding and keeping up with new releases. For me specifically, I want to keep up with science fiction. I’ve read so many of the classics – Asimov, Herbert, Heinlein, Clarke, etc. – so I’m confident in my reading base there. I’m much less well read in more modern science fiction and it’s starting to bother me, especially when I want to contribute to awards like the Hugos. I know to look up writers like Gaiman, Bacigalupi, Mieville, and Leckie, but I want more than just a few new authors to look forward to.

So I guess what I’m looking for is a source of new releases. Is it better to follow authors? Follow publishers? Is there one end-all-be-all source for new releases? How do I identify what authors/publishers/sources to follow to begin with? I’m at a loss.

Thanks in advance for your help!

Stuck in the Classics

Dear Book Nerd,

I’m looking to rediscover the brilliance of John Steinbeck, but am having a hard time making a selection. East of Eden is one of my absolute favorite books of all time, but I can honestly say I was completely underwhelmed when I read The Grapes of Wrath. Everyone tells me I am crazy to dislike one of the most beloved American novels, but it doesn’t change how I actually feel about it. What other Steinbeck novels am I likely to enjoy most given my past reading experience?




The Three Body Problem by Liu Cixin (Translated by Ken Liu)
Ken liu

Sci Fi Signal

Locus Mag



Listen to past episodes and read past columns of Dear Book Nerd here!

And you can subscribe to the podcast via RSS here, or via iTunes here.

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 Don’t be shy, ask away!

Oops! We could not locate your form.