Exciting news! I’ve decided to reorganize my bookshelves in a whole new way.
Okay, it’s not that exciting. But let me explain. Right now, tmy books are split up into fiction and non-fiction shelves and arranged alphabetically. It’s kind of boring, and I’m not inspired enough to go there and pick up my next great read. Instead, I shop online, support indie bookstores, and download titles on Audible.
And here’s the problem. I have no self control when buying books. This month alone, I bought ten new titles. Ten titles!
Ugh! Why…why do I keep buying more and more books? It isn’t that I’m lacking in things to read. I have some fantastic books sitting on my shelves at this very moment that are collecting dust. I know I bought them for a reason; I wanted them. And I spent my hard-earned, good money on them. They are deserving of my attention, and quite frankly I think they are starting to get a little jealous.
Sometimes when I’m sitting at my desk, I hear my books whisper, “pick me next.” It’s about time I heed their call.
Okay, maybe that isn’t true, but today I’m declaring a new book buying ban on myself for a few months. I vow to familiarize myself with my ever-growing TBR pile. And maybe I’ll do a little reshelving and redecorating to my shelves to make those books more appealing.
I admit that I’m pretty excited about this endeavor. And just think, my next five-star read could be a book I already own. It could be the new and shiny object I pick up — instead of my credit card.
Anyway, here is how else my reading life has shaped up this month.
What I Read
The Tobacco Wives by Adele Myers
I love history, and I love to read, so it makes sense that one of my go-to genres is historical fiction. There is rarely a novel in this category that I don’t enjoy. I love diving into a book with strong female characters set in a time period that I’ve never explored. The Tobacco Wives is that kind of a book. Set in North Carolina, Maddie Sykes is a young seamstress tasked with sewing exquisite dresses and ballgowns for the wives of cigarette company executives. Maddie must make an important decision when she accidentally learns about the health risks of smoking and the cover-up to keep people – particularly women – in the dark. She can either keep her head down, stay quiet, and do her job or share what she knows, take a stand against corporate greed, risk her livelihood, and more.
In addition to this book being a five-star read, the author has a fascinating background that she brings to the story. She is a public relations professional who grew up in this part of the country. Her focus on how cigarettes were marketed to women by trusted doctors and false advertising play a huge role in how this all shakes out. The author’s note was just as enjoyable to read as the book itself, so don’t skip it.
Everyone Has What It Takes: A Writer’s Guide to the End of Self Doubt by William Kenower
I’ve been writing since I was nine years old, and I’ve suffered from imposter syndrome ever since. Questions like – who will care what I think or write about have plagued me for years.
Today, I can say that I am in recovery from this line of thinking, but I don’t attribute that to this book. It has taken many years of learning about my craft, participating in writers’ workshops and conferences, and talking to and learning from some brilliant writers that have snapped me out of it. There was also something about turning 50 last year that made me realize how much time I’ve wasted wallowing in my anxieties. Life is too short.
Reading books also has a funny way of introducing a new perspective to whatever ails you. It was Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird that was instrumental in breaking my patterns of self-doubt. However, this book served as a good reminder and will remain in my writer’s toolbox. The author focuses on the business of writing and the parade of rejections that are bound to happen when finding an agent, getting published, and selling your work. If you are a writer experiencing self-doubt and frustration about this process, I’d recommend this guide to you.
Paperback Crush: The Totally Radical History 80s and 90s Teen Fiction – Gabrielle Moss
If you asked me what I read as a kid, I’d tell you that my strongest memories were from the Sweet Valley High books. I couldn’t get enough of the adventures of Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield – identical twin sisters in appearance with yin and yang personalities. I can still remember the adrenaline rush I felt when the next book in the series appeared in the bookstores. I had to have them. I’d spend my allowance or beg my parents to buy them.
If you asked me what else I read as a kid, my memory would be fuzzy, but after reading this book – The Paperback Crush – I saw the photos of the book covers and smiled. I remembered definitely hiding copies of “Forever” and “Sooner or Later” under my pillow. There were also so many pre-teen and squeaky-clean romance novels from companies like Wildfire and Sweet Dreams. And my sister read every Christopher Pike book she could get her hands on.
This book was a fun trip down memory lane that digs into the early days of my reading life – and if you are my age – you will enjoy it too.
What I’m Reading Now
Here is what I’m reading now and will review next month.
- Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson
- Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love by Dani Shapiro
That’s it for me. Let me know what you have been reading lately. And if you have any good ideas for helping me redecorate my bookshelves, I’m all ears!