Burn Your English Textbooks: Read to Keep Your Heart Beating

It wasn’t until recently that I thought there might be something wrong with my impulse to read widely. Do you ever have one of those moments where you feel like you just woke up and everything you know is different? I had a chill come over me in the last month when I started paying more attention to what books I was buying and borrowing and realized you could say absolutely nothing concrete about the person who was reading them. I have a pretty elaborate system wherein I determine whether or not to read a book, and from there, to borrow it from the library vs. request a review copy vs. purchase new at a bookstore or used bookstore vs. buy from Amazon. And then there’s the second or two when I can’t remember if I’ve already purchased the books. Ultimately, however, it’s hard to say what kind of reader I really am. This revelation has made me rethink the supposed merits and drawbacks of reading widely and of reading narrowly, of having tightly constrained “canon” vs. a free for all, and what is best when using reader’s advisory to help readers find their next favorite reads.   To give...

Narration, Authorship, and Memorial in John Green’s “The Fault in Our Stars”

(This post contains spoilers for The Fault in Our Stars… also, I wrote this as part of my application for MFA programs in spring 2017—and it worked!) Upon a first read, John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars (2012) might seem to be chiefly concerned with death. Indeed, the gut-wrenching novel about star-crossed teens is filled with morbidity and mortality—it has to be, for it is about terminal cancer. Hazel Grace Lancaster, bright and practical, knows that sand is falling through the hourglass of her short life. There’s no question that she will die, it’s when she will, likely when the miracle drug trial she is on fails to work or loses funding or she contracts an illness that would fatally cripple her compromised immune system. When Hazel meets Augustus Waters, aka Gus, at a church-basement support group for kids with cancer, she is intrigued by his easygoing-yet-blunt attitude. Gus smashes the defense-mechanism cage where Hazel guards her love and trust captive. Earlier Grace confessed to her mother that, “I’m like. Like. I’m a grenade, Mom. I’m a grenade and at some point I’m going to blow up and I would like to minimize the casualties, okay?” (Green 99). Later, Gus...

Books about Fangirls, Fanboys, and Fandom | A Reading List

Here’s the scoop. I’m writing a fangirl sci-fi mystery thriller asexual romance series—hold on! let me catch my breath!—and it’s going to be great. I have always loved books about fangirls, fanboys, and fandom in general, and I wanted to capture that spirit in One True Crime, the first novel in the series. The novels each incorporate a different fandom: the first one is Professor Zero (a.k.a. Doctor Who), the second is Deduction Seduction (a.k.a. Sherlock), and the last one I have planned so far is Thorns for Crowns (a.k.a. Game of Thrones). I love playing with fandom and how it intersects with (in this fictional universe) crime, identity, deviance, love, and friendship. All the things. Anyway, I’ve definitely taken inspiration from several novels about fandom, fangirls, fanboys, and general relationships on the internet in general. Here are some of my favorite novels about fandom, fangirls, and fanboys. and by Rainbow Rowell Of course, any list of the best novels about fangirls and fandom has to start with  by Rainbow Rowell, an explosive hit YA/NA novel by Rainbow Rowell. In this wildly popular novel, Cather moves into her dorm at the University of Nebraska and rooms with a bold, spunky woman named Raven. Her friend—or boyfriend?—Levi keeps hanging around coming...

5 Quick and Foolproof Ways to Read More Books | How to Read More

This year I’ve seen my reading game upped a lot. Last week I finished five books alone, and this week I’m forecasting three. How did I do it? How did I go from someone who read 26 books a year, then 52, then 65? Here are my five dirty tricks on how to read more books. 1. Surround Yourself with Books This is kind of a no-brainer. I read once in preparation for the Dewey’s Readathon that one of the best ways to read more books was to surround yourself with books. I used to stress out about finding the right thing to read. What would I read next? What if I wasn’t sure what I was in the mood to read? Keeping book piles and book nests around the house eliminates that problem. Essentially, this means strategically placing more books around you, ideally a mix of short books, books that you are already halfway through or have started, and ones you have a deadline to read (like a library book or a book for review). This way you eliminate the debate over what to read next. If you get it in your mind to read, you reach your arm...

20 Best Books to Read in Your Twenties | Books for Twenty-somethings

Now that I am on the final leg of my twenties, I look back at the younger reading me and wonder what books I would have given her to guide her through her first full decade of adulthood. I admit I’m turning into an elder of sorts, giving reassurance and guidance to my younger friends as if I’ve got all the answers. I don’t, and every time I approach an advice-type situation, I fall back on books. So consider the following list a reader’s advisory for the twenties, handpicked novels, books, and comics that should help a reader navigate the rocky post-college years, entry-level job situation, student loans, career indecision, “adulting,” love, and, perhaps most of all, friendship. You can get by on very little when you’re in you’re twenties. You can forego buying a car, renting a swanky apartment, spending money on the new work wardrobe you really need, Hulu Plus, and coming up with ways to avoid that wedding. But I truly believe that without friends who are going through the same experiences, it’s not the same. Read on for a list of non-fiction, novels, comics, of all shapes and sizes reflecting diverse voices and disparate twenties experiences....

Greetings Fellow Reader!

Welcome to Broke By Books, a blog by Sarah S. Davis, where the guiding mission is to spread a contagious love for reading through helpful, thought provoking, and enjoyable writing about books. Please join me in growing an inspired, engaged, and fearless reading life.

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