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Solving Bookish Problems

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 and talented Elizabeth McCracken. We discuss four listener-submitted questions and talk about issues such as what to do if you fall asleep while reading, how to not give up on longer books, and favorite bookish vacation sites. Don’t miss it!


Elizabeth McCracken is the author of five books: “Here’s Your Hat What’s Your Hurry: Stories,” the novels The Giant’s House and Niagara Falls All Over Again, the memoir An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination, and “Thunderstruck & Other Stories.” You can find her on Twitter @elizmccracken. Thank you, Elizabeth!

Sponsored by We’ll Never Be Apart by Emiko Jean and Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira.



Dear Book Nerd,

I really enjoy the show! I’m surprised I’ve enjoyed it so much because I don’t consider myself as book-nerdy as my fellow friends and bloggers that I follow. But my question may shed some light on why that could be.

I love to read and find it incredibly relaxing. I love to read in any environment and on various platforms. I’m not picky. But I’ve noticed that as soon as I settle into a book, I fall asleep. And even before I realize it, precious time has passed. I don’t know if it’s because I’m not reading challenging enough books or if I should read books that immediately pique my interest. Or maybe, it’s a condition I should have checked out? Do you know of any solutions? Is this common in the bookish community? I would love to get more reading in, but more often than not, I fall victim to counting zzz’s rather than pages. (sad face)

Slightly Embarrassed Bookworm

Dear Book Nerd,

I’ve just started library school and as a result, my brain has turned into complete mush. I seem to hate the world a little less when I read a fun book instead of reading pages and pages about the organization of information and knowledge and taxonomies and indexing and ugh. When should I set aside time for fun books? At night before bed? As a reward between assignments? And should I be pairing this fun book with tea or wine? Basically, I need you to assign me a fun book time. Apparently my brain only responds to assignments now.

Lost Library Student

Dear Book Nerd,

Sometimes I just hate reading books longer than 300 pages. Some of that comes from the fact that I just get overwhelmed with the amount of books I have on my reading list that I avoid starting a longer one for fear that it will take too long and I won’t get to other books.

Do you have any recommendations for shorter books that are worth the read? Or even some suggestions for how to get through a longer book without getting distracted by other books. (That happens a lot. Full disclosure: I usually have a least 5 books started at any given time…I hate it too.)


Dear Book Nerd,

My partner and I are getting married next May, and we’re trying to figure out where to go for our honeymoon. I’m a middle school reading teacher, she’s a university professor, and we’re both avid readers. I’ve seen the posts on Book Riot about literary vacations, but we’re not looking for something literary, we’re looking for something bookish. When we go on vacation one thing we really like to do is go to the indie and/or used bookstores in the area. Powell’s Bookstore aside, any suggestions for beautiful cities with awesome indie bookstores?




Giovanni’s Room – James Baldwin

The Passion – Jeanette Winterson

So Long, See You Tomorrow – William Maxwell

We Have Always Lived in the Castle – Shirley Jackson

Edward P. Jones

My Bookstore: Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places to Browse, Read, and Shop by Ronald Rice

Dear Book Nerd Episode #38: Can You Turn Your Friends Into Readers?

Please see this Twitter thread for additional bookstore recommendations.


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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!