From Tweets to Novels, Here’s Everything PureWow’s Books Editor Reads in a Day

woman looking at her phone on the subway

I’m Sarah Stiefvater, the books editor at PureWow. That basically means that I write most of PureWow's books coverage, from monthly new-book roundups and reviews to quizzes and lists of books to read if you're obsessed with Game of Thrones. One of the first questions people ask me when I tell them I cover books for a living is, “You must read for, like, 12 hours a day, right?” And, to be honest, I’ve never tallied it up. So I spent 24 hours documenting every last page. Here’s everything I read on an average day, from tweets in bed to novels…also in bed.

8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.: Scroll Through Twitter in Bed
Yeah, the first thing I do when I wake up is look at my phone—sue me. Today, I read the New York Times' morning briefing, a fascinating story about sleep deprivation and a look inside Pete Buttigieg's likely presidential campaign. Then, as a palate cleanser, I read all of the responses to this tweet: "What was the pinnacle of wealth to you as a child?" (Personal faves: "People who had an island in their kitchen" and "Having an extra fridge in the garage just for drinks.") I also cracked up at this screenshot of a New York Times recipe for "Ham and Cheese Pasta with a Handful of Peas." It's the little things.

9 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.: Read Longform on the Subway
My favorite thing in the world to read is a longform article, and I’m completely obsessed with the Pocket app. On the subway into the office, I read an interview with Summer Brennan, the author of a forthcoming book about the sociopolitical history of high heels. As a self-proclaimed feminist who had just unboxed a pair of four-inch platforms the night before, I was fascinated to read her take on whether heels are empowering or a submission to patriarchal gender roles. Some of my favorite publications to mine for consistently fabulous longform journalism: California Sunday, Guernica, Mother Jones and Texas Monthly.

1 p.m. to 2 p.m.: Sift Through Blurbs at My Desk
I’m lucky to get piles of ARCs (advanced reading copies) from publishers. Today, I took home two books: A paperback copy of Amor Towles's A Gentleman in Moscow and Lara Williams's Supper Club, which will be published in July. I snagged the former on the recommendation of PureWow senior editor Dara Katz, who called it her favorite book of 2018, and the latter because it sounds whip-smart and super inventive (it's about a secret society of women who meet for elaborate feasts to reclaim their appetites and physical spaces).

4 p.m. to 4:20 p.m.: Skim More Articles at My Desk
The afternoon slump is setting in hard; it's time for a trip to the office kitchen for a peppermint tea and to read more articles on Pocket. Today, I'm giving my brain a break and reading Wired's profile of teen ASMR YouTubers. Twenty-one-year-old Taylor Darling's whispering videos make $1K a day, just in ad revenue. Mind blown.

9:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.: *Actual* Reading in Bed
The only time I really read books is before bed. This is typically whatever title I’m reviewing next—right now it’s Trust Exercise by Susan Choi. I'm about 100 pages in, and what I first thought was a straightforward high-school love story is quickly becoming something much darker—and totally compelling. It's a physical copy of the book—I don’t do e-readers. I know they're modern and portable, but for me, nothing beats holding a physical book in my hands and (yes, I admit it) dog-earring the pages.

Total Time Spent Reading: 3 hours, 50 minutes

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sarah stiefvater
Sarah Stiefvater

Wellness Director

Sarah Stiefvater is PureWow's Wellness Director. She's been at PureWow for ten years, and in that time has written and edited stories across all categories, but currently focuses...
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