November 23, 2010

Embracing the nerd within

Do I love to read?

According to parental folklore, I taught myself to read when I was about three and a half with this collection of Beatrix Potter stories:

(There's an audiocassette somewhere of me reading to my parents, saying the "lippety, lippety" line from Peter Rabbit. Or "Pete-uhw Wabbit," as I apparently said back then. Aw.)

When I got to kindergarten, the teacher used to have me read to my classmates while she went to the restroom or made copies of...whatever you learn in kindergarten. Which I'm sure didn't isolate me from my classmates at ALL, and didn't have anything to do with the fact that I didn't have any friends in first grade. Thanks, Mrs. Mishler.

Aherm. Anyway.

I've loved books my entire life. My parents and grandparents gave me books (and then I started reading THEIR books), I bought them for a quarter at yard sales and flea markets, I raided the library and when I ran out? I re-read every book in our house. "Just let me finish this chapter" was something my parents (and, sometimes, my teachers) heard a lot growing up. To this day, I can't fall asleep until I've read for at least 15 minutes or so.

Reading settles me. It grounds me.

And while I still don't mind re-reading the books in my personal library, I'm always looking for new material.

My taste is pretty eclectic, but generally I love books about people -- with good dialogue, a plot that's at least not completely predictable, no 50-page descriptions of a forest of the side of a building, and relatable characters. If a book has these elements, it could be a murder mystery, chick-lit, whatever -- I'll read it.

Up until a year or so ago, whenever I heard about a book I wanted to read, I wrote it down in a little notebook I keep in my purse, like the nerd that was born all those years ago in kindergarten. (I embrace my nerdiness. Fighting it is useless.) Then I'd take it to the library or the bookstore and use it to make my selections.

It wasn't a bad little system. But it didn't help me remember what I thought of the book. My notebook didn't give me recommendations. And it lacked that 21st century flavor.


I can find, tag and rate every book I've ever read, and I can write reviews that other readers can see when they view the book. I can find and tag the books I want to read, see reviews from other people who've read the book and get recommendations for books I might like.

And I can organize my books into customizable bookshelves for easy perusing:

Inner nerd, smiling.

And, if you sign up? (It's free, by the way.) We can connect, and make recommendations for each other.

The "What I'm reading" section on this blog is connected directly to my "Currently Reading" shelf on

If you love books, check it out. And then connect to me! So we can, like, merge our nerdiness and create a nerdy dynasty. Or whatever.

8 backtalk:

Sarah said...

Sounds similar to LibraryThing, which is what I use...loosely. I try to keep a list, anyway!

Wendy said...

Ooooo! Fun! I, too, love to read. And right now, my kids are learning to read in kindergarten and it is the GREATEST THING EVER! EVER! It is so thrilling to see them putting the pieces together, sounding out the letters and getting SO EXCITED when they figure it out. And the bestest thing is that they do LOVE it! Reading is the bomb.

Iris Took said...

I feel like nerd has a negative connotation. Let's invent a new word that describes smart, innovative, creative beings such as you.


PS I bet I would have been your friend in 1st grade.

Summer said...

You taught yourself to read at 3?!?

That's not nerdy. . . that's gifted.
I would have loved you in first grade. . . just as I do now.

Happy reading my Friend!

Written Permission said...

Well..."taught myself" is probably more parental boasting than entirely accurate. From what they tell me, it sounds like I had a good ear for memorizing, memorized the stories and recited them, and eventually put the pieces together with the squiggly marks on the page. Something like that.

Iris, maybe you're right -- I shouldn't be calling myself a nerd. Lover of words and books, maybe. Bibliophile? I still kind of like "nerd," though. :)

CMH: I LOVE that your girls love to read!!

Trophy Life said...

i'm not doubtful that this is where your extensive smarts and extensive wit and extensive vocabulary all come from! although that good reads business is a bit too much for me at THIS moment, i'm hopeful that i'll join you in the future.

wrestling kitties said...

I joined that because my friend suggested it...and then I remembered I don't read.

:( I have always been envious of people who read and enjoy it. I have a problem staying focused while reading as I am always in my mind and thinking. Seriously, I pick up a book excited to start reading it and get a few pages in and notice I am either creating my own story or thinking about something else and cannot remember a damn thing I just read or don’t know what is real or what I made up in my head. Maybe it was from years of playing make believe alone but I just cannot focus and it makes me sad because I would love to enjoy reading as I have a very strong imagination. I have read the Harry Potter books, The Time Machine, and Bram Stoker’s Dracula for fun…but even then I think I am only focused 70% of the time. boooo

And nerds are COOL!

Iris Took said...

Bibliophile? That sounds like something you would get arrested for being. :)

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