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People often ask me how I handle reading multiple books at once. The answer is two-fold. First, I’m a mood reader and both my mood and the atmosphere I’m reading in have weight in which book I choose to sit down with. Secondly, I’m a slow reader. For example, say I’ve been reading this great slower paced literary novel for a week or so, and I’m only halfway through. Then a friend asks if I want to go read in the park for the afternoon, but I know that I won’t be able to concentrate on my literary read with a ton of kids flying kites around me. So, instead, I’ll pick up something very different. For instance, I would take a humourous biography, or a collection of essays. I’m hardly ever reading multiple things that all feel the same. I wouldn’t dare read two literary novels at once, or two teen books. There is usually a large distinction in between the things I read at the same time.

While thinking about this, I started thinking about books that fit perfect atmospheres and moods. My next book will be chosen in this exact fashion. What does the upcoming week look like? What is my mood right now?

So I’ve decided to share some books that fit certain moods for me, and others that I’d love to read when that mood strikes next!

When I need to be cheered up:
Read: Nora Ephron’s I Remember Nothing. Simply put, Nora Ephron is my homegirl. Whenever I’m feeling down in the dumps, her books and her films just warm up my chilly mood. After a horrid week at work, I Remember Nothing took me from feeling like a sack of potatoes, to my usual daydreamy self. Her writing is restorative to me.
Want to read: Nora Ephron’s Crazy Salad & Scribble Scribble. No surprise here. I have a small stash of Nora on hand for whenever these moods strike and this bind-up of two of her essay collections is pure perfection.

When it’s rainy and I’m stuck indoors:
Read: Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin. This is one of my favourite books, but I do also believe that the fact that I read it in a hotel room during torrential downpour really helped set it up. I find rainy nights the perfect time to read scary books. The booming of thunder, the occasional flash of light, the whirling of the wind. What better to hunker down with than something that will stir your nerves.
Want to read: Coraline by Neil Gaiman. I’ve been holding onto this for the perfect rainy night. I love Gaiman and have heard amazing things about this book. I also just finished a book (and loved it) that my coworker said was very reminiscent of Coraline. Come oooooon, rain!

When I want to learn things:
Read: So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson. They say you learn something new every day and though I believe that, sometimes I wish I could learn more. I miss school, and being able to form opinions on subjects I may not have known about before. Shamed is a book all about the act of public shaming and the effects it has on both shamers and shamees. I could write an essay on all the things I learned from this book about human behaviour and the horrors that haunt the internet, and I loved that gaining of knowledge.
Want to read: Ghettoside by Jill Leovy. In this book, a journalist delves deep into the horrors of undocumented homocides in an area of Los Angeles. It exposes ignorance and corruption that causes many murders of black Americans to go uninvestigated. One Detective takes matters in his own hands and stands to make a difference. This is something I know absolutely nothing about, but I want to. One of my coworkers read this as soon as it released, and now my entire office is buzzing with praise. I can’t wait to finally read it myself.

I have a ton more moods and atmospheres to talk about, but I’ll save those for another post. Let me know what books you read when you are in these situations!

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4 thoughts on “Atmosphere & Mood Reading

  1. Great post! I loved it!!! I would also highly recommend The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks the next time you want to read something informative (unless you’ve read it already). My total concept of medicine was completely changed by that book!

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