Thursday, June 26, 2014

Featuring Sarah from Sarah's Book Shelves

sarah from sarah's book shelves
Today please welcome Sarah Dickinson, who blogs at Sarah's Book Shelves.


What's the meaning behind the name of your book blog?

I no longer have "book shelves" in the physical sense. Years ago, my husband decided my volume of books was overwhelming (especially since we lived in a small NYC apartment at the time) and presented me with a deal/threat: "you either buy a Kindle to stop this train or I'm giving away every single book you own".

Obviously, I chose to save my existing book collection by buying the Kindle and it worked because I haven't bought another hard copy book since. My blog is the virtual substitute for my book shelves and is now my "happy place".

How long have you been blogging?

Just over 2 years

Tell us a bit about your book blog. What makes it unique?

I'm coming at this solely as an avid reader. I've never worked in the book business and am not affiliated in any way with publishers, authors, publicists, etc.

My reviews are honest reflections of my opinion of the book and I'm not afraid to post critical reviews. I think differing opinions add to the breadth of the discussion, especially about heavily hyped books. I also think it's important for my blog readers to get a good sense of my taste in books and books I didn't like contribute to that.

I realize this is a controversial issue and the fact that I will post critical reviews does not mean I don't respect or value authors. I have tremendous respect for anyone who is able to publish a book and absolutely believe we, as bloggers/reviewers, have the much easier job. For these reasons, I try to be respectful and very clear about the reasons I didn't like a book. I also believe that reading is a matter of taste and there is room for a variety of opinions.

What genres do you write about most, and why?

I write about what I like to read...which is mostly contemporary fiction, with some general nonfiction, historical fiction, memoirs, sports books, and cooking/food books thrown in.

What was the first book you read over and over, or the book you've reread the most?

Growing up, I loved The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I remember reading it over and over and being enchanted by the secrets behind that tall gate.

Now that I have my blog, I rarely re-read books because there are so many great books out there that I feel like I'll never get a chance to read them all! But, the two "adult" books I've re-read are The Lords of Discipline by Pat Conroy (because I could read him writing about paint drying) and The Gold Coast by Nelson DeMille (because the main character, John Sutter, is salty and hilarious).

Writing in books: Yes or hell to the no?

Hell to the no! Back when I read actual books (rather than ebooks), I had strict rules for anyone borrowing a book from me: no dog earring, no breaking the spine, no dropping it in the sand (or water), and NO WRITING IN IT!

Now Amazon has thoughtfully allowed me to highlight and make notes without ruining paper books! So, thank you for that!

What's your favorite place to read?

Anywhere I can get a few free minutes! During my kids' nap times, while stretching at the gym, waiting in lines, on trains...but, given the choice, my favorite place to read is on the beach.

Do you have any reading accessories you can't do without?

My Kindle, hands down. I was anti-Kindle for awhile until my husband forced me to buy one to stop my alarmingly growing book collection in its tracks (see the story behind my blog's name). I've never looked back...

Finish the sentence: My bookshelves are...

in an alarming number of packing boxes in my basement. We're in a rental house and I'm waiting until we get somewhere permanent with lots of built-in bookshelves to unpack them. Despite my love for my Kindle, I do still love being surrounded by shelves full of books...and I love nosing around other people's bookshelves. It helps me determine if he/she is a kindred spirit!

My TBR pile is...

actually a spreadsheet, is hundreds (196 to be exact) of books long, and growing every day. I'll never make a dent in it...there are far too many great books out there!

One book you like that no one else seems to, or vice versa?

I didn't like The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty and it seems the rest of the world did! The main character (Cecilia) is one of those mothers that terrify me and it annoyed me to be in her head for 400 pages.

To DNF or not to DNF?

Depends on the book, but usually I finish. I will especially finish a book if it's popular, even if I don't like it. I want to be able to write about it and add a differing opinion to the discussion.

If you could go to any literary destination, where would you go?

Panem from The Hunger Games out of curiosity to experience the crazy world Suzanne Collins created. And, West Egg from The Great Gatsby for the luxury and mystique.

How about non-book related hobbies? What do you do when you don't feel like reading?

I spend most of my time taking care of my three year old son and one year old daughter, but when I have some free time I love running, playing tennis, going to the beach, cooking (and eating!), and the Summer Olympics.

What's your favorite book to movie adaptation?

I'm one of those people that thinks the book is always better than the movie.

But, the TV show adaptation of Friday Night Lights (based on the book by H.G. Bissinger and the subsequent movie adaptation) blew away the book and the movie. In my opinion, it's the best show that's ever been on television and the most realistic portrayal of high school and marriage I've ever seen. And, don't get me started on Tim Riggins (and, Coach Taylor, for that matter)!

Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose!

What are 3 of your must-read blogs?

What is your reading personality? (via quiz at

The All-Rounder

Thank you for joining us today, Sarah! Remember to check out Sarah's blog, Sarah's Book Shelves, and leave a comment or question.


  1. I completely agree about Friday Night Lights!!! One of my favorite shows ever!

  2. I remember reading The Secret Garden as a kid, and have been debating reading it to my kids one of these days. I don't remember much about the story and kind of want to revisit that one myself!

  3. Thanks for the shout-out, Sarah! I too have a kindle, and it was purchased for the exact same reason! Lately I've been getting more physical copies of books (from contests or the occasional ARC) and my husband is like "I thought we discussed this, grumble grumble." I don't even want to know how much space the books I've got on my kindle would take up if they were all physical books! :)

    1. You're welcome! And thank god I'm not the only one!! I included "e books only" in my review policy on my blog. More so because I have 2 young children at home and would never get any reading done if I had to read an actual book! With the Kindle, I'm able to read while appearing to do other things and read in small snippets whenever a few free minutes comes up!

  4. I don't buy nearly as many print books as I used to since getting an e-reader. I'm sure my husband appreciates it just as much as yours does. :-) Now I just have even more books, but some are hidden away. LOL

  5. Thanks for sharing your views Sarah. I enjoyed your comments. (I loved the Hunger Games.)


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