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It's Good to Have Goals

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Welcome to Dear Book Nerd, the podcast that answers your questions about life, love, and literature! This week my guest co-host is the great Kevin Smokler. We answer questions about different types of reading goals and cover topics such as: does reading an anthology count as one book, or several? Is it healthy to be competitive about reading? Will my cherished memories of a childhood favorite book be tarnished if I read it as an adult? And much more! (ALSO, we’ve been working hard to fix the audio problems that we had in the last show. Thank you for your patience!)

Kevin Smokler is the author of Practical Classics: 50 Reasons to Reread 50 Classics You Haven’t Touched Since High School and is working on a book about 80s movies that will be published next year. Thanks, Kevin!

This episode was sponsored by How to Tell Toledo From the Night Sky by Lydia Netzer (St. Martin’s Press).



Dear Book Nerd,

What counts towards your yearly reading goal? For those of us who are (slightly?) competitive about our book reading stats, the pressing question is, if you’re reading an anthology of the collected works of someone, does each individual work within stand as a completed book, or must the whole anthology be completed before you can count is as a read? I’m countering that each individual book within counts, argument being one could purchase and read all of these items individually, but have chosen to save money and simultaneously appreciate the awesomeness that is the collected anthology. Others disagree. Should I be punished for appreciating the beauty of “collected”?

Hoss Radar

Dear Book Nerd,

After (most likely) reaching my goal of reading 50 books this year, I am looking to make 2014 the year of the re-read. There are so many books I would like to go back and explore again. And some of the ones I was thinking to revisit are books I read as a child (such as Little Women, Little House on the Prairie, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.) I am 26 now, and wonder if doing this would be wise. Would the magic of these books and the love I hold for them be tainted by a re-read now that I have read so much and experienced so much?


Dear Book Nerd,

I am wondering what your thoughts are on re-reading books.
I purchase a lot of books. Digital and printed. And I read them all. But I never read them again. Occasionally, I will see a book on my shelf or in my Kindle library and think, “Gee, I should read that again!” but then 10 years go by and I still have not.

It’s not that I feel guilty about it. I just hear people talk about re-reading some of their favorite books multiple times and wonder, “Why don’t I do that?”




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