blogging · collabs · shanti · Shar

Books in June and the future of Virtually Read

We’ll be back in June, we said, confidently, in April. It is now July, and it has been far too long without a Virtually Read blogpost. It took about six weeks for me (Shanti) to feel like writing about books again. I had been in a bit of a book slump, but perhaps slower reading is my new normal. I saw Shar a few weeks ago, and we’ve realised that with what we’re committed to offline at the moment, posting at the same rate we used to is not possible. But we’re still reading, and we still care about reading, and we still want to write about reading. What will this mean for Virtually Read? We’ll break it down a bit here. 

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  • Fewer posts. We’re going to start with posting once a month, doing a sort of ‘reading round up’, and writing a mini back-and-forth discussion (on topics that commenters, assuming you’re still interested, will choose). When we feel inspired there’ll hopefully be other posts too, but no promises. Virtually Read needs to be sustainable in terms of time commitment. And can I just say, that stopping blogging has made me realise how much of my mental space it was taking up. People who work full time and blog are incredible. 
  • Less YA. This is has been happening for a while, and is definitely one of the reasons that we’ve detached from the YA blogging community, because we haven’t been reading the same books as our blogging friends (love you guys!). That said quite a few people are sort of transitioning their blogs too. AT the moment I’m reading about a 3rd novels, a third YA, and a third non fiction. And based on data from this year, Shar has read about 50% YA, with the rest an ecletic bunch of nonfiction, adult novels, and new adult fiction. 
  • Less commenting. We’re downscaling this whole operation, guys! I still want to comment around, maybe this means if you leave a post you’re particularly proud of in the comments and we’ll go find that? But I’m really in this for the engagement with other readers, so I hope we can make this a space where you are invited to write longer comments and engage deeply and share about the paths that books and friends having been leading you down lately. 
  • More uni! Shar and I are busy because we go to university (and also are involved in lots of other things). WE hope to bring what we learn in class and beyond to Virtually Read, whether that means me reviewing non-fiction as a sorta-kinda journalist, or Shar reading ecological fiction and offering her thoughts on that. We are whole people, not just readers, and Virtually Read needs to reflect that. 

 

We will aim to do the monthly post around the middle of the month, and it will include mini reviews and musings on what we’ve been reading and why (I for one am going to try to finish all the unread books I own by the end of the year….let’s see how that goes)

 

Shanti:

  • Calling a Wolf A Wolf
    • Such good poems! Also I have a signed copy which is exciting
  • Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows
    • I found this a bit ‘standard immigrant narrative’ which I may write a post about at some point. Despite the title, it was actually quite wholesome, about a young woman learning from her elder’s wisdom
  • Squire
    • I have read this book countless times and it still is just so good, Kel is far more sensible than I ever will be.
  • Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
    • Shar and I watched the movie which really made me want to read the book. It is very pretentious music, and not really relatable, but quite a good time nonetheless
  • You’d Be Mine
    • Country music! Good times! Confronting brokeness! Definitely felt pretty unsurprising and debut-y but I would read an Erin Hahn book again. 
  • Freakonomics
    • This is a classic for a reason. Basically, what happens when you apply economic principles to other aspects of life?
  • Commonwealth
    • I read this at my friend’s recommendation, and Ann Patchet is so good, and it was one of those family dramas which worked so well. 

Currently reading

  • The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Parable of the Sower, The Last Battle (all for uni)
  • The Establishment (although idk if I’m going to finish it)
  • Blue Like Jazz (ditto)

TBR:

  • Darius the Great is Not Okay
  • On the Come Up
  • The Spirit Level
  • Man Out of Time
  • Priory of the Orange Tree

Shar: 

In June I read You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone, which I liked as it was about twins and had lots of intersting themes, although the characters made some questionable decisions. Solomon seems to specialise in stories about Jewish people facing medical conundrums in Seattle if her two books are anything to go by.

I read Searching for Sunday, which I got lots out of and was a really sensitive and loving reflection on the nuances of church. I read You Asked For Perfect basically in one sitting on a long bus ride. It was something I think I would have really appreciated while I was in high school (the character stressed about grades a lot) and was quite cute but not amazing to be honest. And I read Freakonomics that was fascinating and played with data in a most pleasing and definitely controversial at times way. 

I also read parts of several books. I read sections of Wolf by Wolf, which I really enjoyed. I don’t think poetry has to be completed the way a novel usually is, and I really enjoyed savouring the poems slowly and rereading each one several times as I tried to understand it. I decided to DNF Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian as it was kind of dumb and I’d been trying to get into the audiobook for ages and just wasn’t feeling it. 

I’ve also been dabbling–I’ve been reading The Dressmaker for a while, and do *want* to finish, but there was a bit of a twist in the second part and it annoyed me so I stopped. I hope I manage to finish it though. 

As for the TBR, there’s a fair few– Educated by Tara Westover, which I won through a library reading challenge, Doughnut Economics, because I think it will make me more informed in my ideas about economics rather than having a lot of opinions and vague idea people have told me about. I also really have a hankering to reread Fangirl because I generally appreciate it a lot. And I’m partway through Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, which I’m enjoying comparing to the movie, which I watched with Shanti in our holidays.

How are you? How is your reading life? Any ideas for discussion topics you’d like to see us do? How is the rest of your life going?

5 thoughts on “Books in June and the future of Virtually Read

  1. Fun fact: Blue Like Jazz is set at the college I went to. They made a horrific movie of it which came out a year after I graduated. I was not a fan of either, really.

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  2. I’m so glad that this blog will continue and really happy that it is kinda changing because you are. I love reading your stuff. Looking forward to ecological novels reviews.
    I’m launching into the brothers Karamazov, called by done the greatest novel of all time. Maybe it’s the longest.
    Shar I agree. Poetry does not have to be complicated like Dostoyevsky. The best poetry is bone simple and infinitely c complex. Just re read Blake’s “sick rose”and found nuances I’d never seen. 200 year old words as complex as 200 year old wine. Fantastic.

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  3. It’s so good to read a blog post from you two again, I miss you tons! ❤ I'm happy to hear you still want to write semi regular updates and know that I'll always be there to read them ❤ I hope you'll find the right rhythm for you and most of it all, one that you like and doesn't feel too overwhelming, either 🙂
    Shanti : I also read You'd Be Mine and really, really enjoyed it, I can't wait to read more from the author! and so happy to see Darius on your TBR, I'm really eager to read this book sometime 🙂
    Shar: I'm glad you enjoyed you'll miss me when I'm gone! I loved the author's recent book, our year of maybe and can't wait to read her debut now 🙂
    happy reading and have a beautiful july! sending you love ❤

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    1. Thank you so very much Marie! You really do make me keep wanting to blog. It is such a great community and a great thing to do. Ahhh I miss your posts too ❤ ❤

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