07 My Kind of New Years Resolution

In which our heroine discusses all the self-help and self-help adjacent books she's been meaning to read

It is too early to be awake; I’ve been having insomnia issues. I don’t want to say it’s straight up insomnia, but I have trouble falling asleep at bedtime and then I wake up hours before my alarm goes off and can’t fall back asleep. Lucky for you, if I had slept until my alarm I would not have had time to write this newsletter as tonight I’m getting on a plane and flying home to the east coast. (This trip home also means I may not have time for next week’s newsletter, just a heads up.)

So, I didn’t make any New Years Resolutions. I’m not counting the personal goals I always remind myself I want work towards—which are mostly just keeping up with habits I think are important, like eating fruit (yeah, I have to remind myself to eat fruit). But I do love the fresh and hopeful energy of a New Year. This agreement we humans have that everything could be different, we could all be better, we’re really going to start going to the gym. So it got me thinking about all the books I keep meaning to read in order to improve myself. Below is just a smattering of the self-help and self-help adjacent books I’ll probably never read.


Wish I Were Reading

Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties by Beth Kobliner

I started this book… years ago, before the new edition came out in 2017. See, my issue is I prefer to read books cover to cover, and there’s a bit in here I already know and a good deal (say, about buying a house) that is irrelevant to me. I mean, it will be relevant eventually so I want to read it, but right now I’m more worried about how I should have been contributing to my 401k and my dad telling me I should invest—but those chapters aren’t until, like, the second half of the book. Maybe now is a good time to learn how to read a book piecemeal.

Dining In by Alison Roman

I was going to write about Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat, but I’ve already admitted to myself that I’ll never read that book cover to cover, even though I want to because she promises by the end you’ll be the kind of chef who can whip something up sans recipe. Can you imagine? Maybe you can, but I’m useless at cooking if I don’t have instructions to follow. I like Dining In because the recipes are low key enough that they feel achievable, but interesting enough that they feel exciting. Also, I kind of have a crush on Alison Roman.

On the back cover she says:

I promise I will never ask you to make something in two skillets if it can be done in one. I will never ask you to buy an ingredient you’ve never heard of unless I can defend it within an inch of my life and tell you 20 other things to do with it. And I promise that you will learn at least one thing that will make you a better and more independent cook for the rest of your life.

How endearing is that?

Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn

I started this one too! My doctor recommended it when I told her I was trying to learn mindfulness. It’s basically the distillation of a mindfulness and stress-reduction course Kabat-Zinn runs. So I got the audiobook and was enjoying that so much I decided I needed a hard copy. There were a number of exercises that required, for me, re-referencing, and bits I wanted to underline. I bought a used copy and returned the audiobook. And, months later, the paperback is still sitting by my bedside. It’s just… much thicker in real life than it seemed on audio. It’s not the kind of tome you’d bring on vacation. Maybe I should just get the audiobook again…

The Age of Overwhelm by Laura van Dernoot Lipsky

It is easy for me to get overwhelmed; there’s so much I want to do and so many little things vying for my attention each day. It’s hard to remember, or frankly even decide, what my priorities are. And, with the internet, our twenty-four hour news cycle, the crazy person running our government, not to mention the threat of an apocalyptic event, I think it is only going to get worse, this feeling of overwhelm. Might as well read a book with tips for diminishing it. Plus it’s illustrated with New Yorker (or New Yorker-like) cartoons. I love a good one-panel cartoon. (But I couldn’t find an example of one on the internet so you’ll have to find the book and flip through it yourself.)

The Curated Closet by Anuschka Rees

Fashion and I have a fraught relationship. I’ve always wanted to be fashionable, but it feels like too much work. And for a while it felt superficial. But then I read Women in Clothes cover to cover (a very long book with hundreds of contributors and all articles/images/interviews focus, in some way, on fashion and style). This made me think of fashion differently: less as a superficial mask and more as a form of self-expression (I know, I was probably late to the game on that one). So when I started working at Elliott Bay I stumbled on Rees’s book, and it’s been on my to do list ever since. Basically, if you follow her plan—first document your outfit choices to figure out your personal style, next clean out your closet of things you never wear, then only buy clothes that you actually will wear)—your closet will be more put together and a better representation of your personal style. So one day I will have a closet that fits my ideal style, which is post-apocalyptic Audrey Hepburn/retired ballerina.


Currently Reading

Raising Demons by Shirley Jackson

Have I already talked to you about Jackson’s memoirs? They are my comfort reading. Whenever I’m in a book slump I borrow the audio from the library. I could listen to Life Among the Savages and Raising Demons over and over again. See, in between writing some of the creepiest books and stories ever, Jackson wrote essays about her life as a writer/mother/wife in the 40s for women’s magazines. These two memoirs are those essays collected, and they’re hilarious. I’m constantly trying to write about them and I never do them justice. She has such a wry humor and an eye for the strange. The books are, on the surface, light and full of quirky antics, but just beneath there is a kind of dark and incisive examination of being a writer during a time when women were expected to put their children and husbands above all else. Anyway, she’s brilliant and I love her and I am forever re-reading these books.


Other Ways to Find Me On the Internets

Once a month (or so) I host a podcast called Drunk Booksellers where my best friend and I interview a fellow bookseller while drinking. I sometimes tweet about books and politics. I sometimes post pictures of books I’m reading, or cats I’m hanging out with on Instagram.

Subscribe to this newsletter here.


NOTE: Most book links go to Indiebound so you can shop local via the Internet. Also, they are affiliate links so if you purchase something I get a tiny kickback (which goes towards my podcast because why have two affiliate accounts). Why shop local? Long answer: Here are a bunch of economic impact studies about the importance of shopping local. Short answer: bookstores are good/warm/lovely places that add so much value to the community, but they are also businesses, which cannot survive if you’re not shopping there.
Thanks to Lara Kaminoff for the cat mascot, Giles. Find more of her work here. Follow her on Instagram here.

06 Some Books I Actually Read in 2018

In which our heroine reflects on her year in reading

So, 2018 was kind of a weird year for reading. I mean, for me at least. Now that I think of it, 2018 was kind of a weird year in general. Or—after writing and deleting an entire paragraph explaining to you the particulars of my weird year—life itself is just kind of weird. There is moving and breaking and solidifying and climbing and plenty of other juicy action verbs. Really I’m just trying to think of a reasonable response to the question, “why did I read only half as many books in 2018 as I read in 2017?” Life, I guess.

And “why did I have so many more favorite books of 2017 than I do for 2018?” In 2017 I read, and loved, Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado, My Favorite Thing Is Monsters by Emil Ferris, All the Lives I Want by Alana Massey, andWhat It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah among quite a few other recent favorites.

I thought, for a change of pace, I would talk about books I have read, my top five of the year. But no single five stand out as the best of the best this year. I read some great books, I’m just not ready to stake numbers in them. So, I’ll talk about books I’ve read this year, but in no particular order or ranking. Some of my favorites I won’t mention, some books I’ll only mention because I can think of something, right now, to say about them. And, while I’m changing the rules, I’ll also say I’m taking a break next week as it’s literally Christmas. And possibly the week after that as it’s New Year’s Day. (But also I have a great list brewing of self improvement books I want to read but have not, and probably will not, read, and what better time than the first of the year to post that?)

Anyway, enough intro. On to a random assortment of books I read this year.


My Boyfriend Is a Bear by Pamela Ribon, illustrated by Cat Farris

I was extremely skeptical of this book before reading it; it just looked too twee. But bear with me here because I loved My Boyfriend Is a Bear. It’s a romcom comic about relationships and pursuing whomever you love—even if it’s a bear. A fantastical premise, to be sure, but it frames a very bearlievable relationship. (Ok, I’ll stop.) It is funny, a little ridiculous, and almost unbearably sweet. The characters are relatable and the illustrations will make you paws and just enjoy the scenery. (Sorry not sorry. Let’s be honest. I’m featuring this because I wanted to show off my embearassing puns.)

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

I kind of had to read this book (for the store’s quarterly newsletter). And I didn’t like it at first. Every other chapter focuses on one of two main characters: there is the timeline featuring Yale, a gay man living in 1980s Chicago, and the timeline featuring Fiona, a mother searching for her estranged daughter in 2015 Paris. And for a while these timelines were only vaguely connected and I didn’t understand their purpose. Then I got to the last few chapters, and I literally cried my way through to the end. Not small, delicate rivulets, but messy, noisy sobs. It is a rare book whose ending makes me love it all the more. This is one of those; it is poignant, surprising, tragic, and funny.

Betwixt-and-Between by Jenny Boully

This one took quite a while to read—about three months for fewer than 150 pages. It’s an essay collection ostensibly about writing but really about language and life in general. I picked it up because a coworker told me about an earlier book of hers, The Body, which is compiled of footnotes to a paper that doesn’t exist. This intrigued me, but not as much as a book about writing by the author of a book of footnotes. Since it took me so long to read, I thought I wasn’t really enjoying it, but I filled pages of my journal with quotes from it. So, I guess I liked it rather a lot. That journal is packed away now; you’ll just have to read it for yourself to see what I liked about it.

Drop the Ball by Tiffany Dufu

I not-so-secretly love self help-y business books—books that offer clear-cut steps and promise results. If you just do A, B, and C you will manage your time better and be more productive. Before listening to Drop the Ball I listened to a time management book that was not especially aware of its privilege (it was by a white lady who suggested getting a personal shopper to save time. . .). Dufu doesn’t have tricks or expensive “time savers.” Instead, she insists that the only way to be productive and stay sane is to let go of responsibility, to hand stuff off, to drop the ball and let it stay on the ground. For example, she once went months without opening a single piece of mail because she had handed off mail duties to her husband (who was working overseas at the time). She battled the anxiety of this massive mail pile by convincing herself it must not be hers, as she’d never let mail pile up like that. When her husband came home, the mail got taken care of. Dufu will remind you that no one is able to do all of the things all the time, and that’s ok.

Good and Mad by Rebecca Traister

Feminine rage is kind of in vogue right now, and I am skeptical of publishing trends. I worried that Traister’s book would be cathartic but ultimately empty. I worried it would focus only on white feminism. Fortunately, I was wrong on both accounts. Yes, it was cathartic. Yes, it is written by a white feminist. But Good and Mad is poignant, thoroughly researched, and aware of its privilege. It made me smarter; it made me angrier. It provided context for the current political situation, which I am constantly trying to understand. And it reminded me how much there is to learn about feminism, gender studies, and intersectionality. Also, it made me pick up the next book on my list.

Eloquent Rage by Brittney Cooper

More. Female. Rage. Brittney Cooper is such an incredible writer: intellectual and accessible. I started this as an audiobook, but there was too much I wanted to bracket so I had to go out and buy the book as well. And now I want to read Crunk Feminist Collection, which is a collection of essays written by the Crunk Feminist Collective, co-founded by Cooper. You know how some people are too smart for their own good? So smart that they’re socially awkward? Cooper is nothing like that; she’s obviously got a PhD and also she knows way more about hip hop than you. Eloquent Rage is a memoir and a manifesto. It shines a hard light on feminism, respectability politics, and life as a black woman in America. It’s not a voice we hear enough.


Currently Reading

Kid Gloves by Lucy Knisley

I love Lucy Knisley, with her clean lines and frank voice. I read her book Relish in about an hour, just ate it right up. I’m going a little slower with Kid Gloves. It’s all about Knisley’s pregnancy; so far the emotions of conceiving and early pregnancy are balanced by (sometimes extremely) discomfiting facts. Is it making me not want to have babies? Not quite, but there are a few drawings on the effects of pregnancy and… wow. Also, did you know one if four pregnancies ends in a miscarriage? I didn’t, but I feel like I should have. Anyway, Kid Gloves is fascinating and really scratching that baby book itch I seem to be experiencing lately (not mentioned above, but And Now We Have Everything by Meaghan O’Connell was another favorite of 2018).


Other Ways to Find Me On the Internets

Once a month (or so) I host a podcast called Drunk Booksellers where my best friend and I interview a fellow bookseller while drinking. I sometimes tweet about books and politics. I sometimes post pictures of books I’m reading, or cats I’m hanging out with on Instagram.

Subscribe to this newsletter here.


NOTE: Most book links go to Indiebound so you can shop local via the Internet. Also, they are affiliate links so if you purchase something I get a tiny kickback (which goes towards my podcast because why have two affiliate accounts). Why shop local? Long answer: Here are a bunch of economic impact studies about the importance of shopping local. Short answer: bookstores are good/warm/lovely places that add so much value to the community, but they are also businesses, which cannot survive if you’re not shopping there.
Thanks to Lara Kaminoff for the cat mascot, Giles. Find more of her work here. Follow her on Instagram here.

05 Mostly NYRB Books

In which our heroine focuses in on a single publisher (mostly)

Hello! So I plan for this to be a slightly shorter newsletter as I don’t have much time this evening, and also I’ve already written the equivalent of two of these since the last one you received. Which is to say, I pitched an article to The Seattle Review of Books featuring the ten best books of 2018 that I haven’t read yet, and they’re going to publish it! Hot damn. So, I just put the finishing touches on that, but I realized last week, after receiving several responses to issue #4, that I actually have readers and I didn’t want to skip a week.

And thanks to everyone who emailed me after the last issue. I have email anxiety and sometimes let my inbox fill up so I didn’t actually respond to anyone (that sounds counterintuitive since I’m writing you emails, but I suspect you’ll understand). Anyway, sorry. But it was truly delightful to receive responses to my newsletter; it made my day.


Wish I Were Reading

Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner

I can’t remember the first place I heard about this book; I think it was a witchy books listicle (a subgenre of book listicles that I am particularly fond of). It is, as far as I can tell, a book about an English woman who, at age twenty-eight, must move to London to live with her brother and his wife when their father dies. She is terrifyingly close to spinster territory, so the plan is to get her hitched once she’s acclimated to city life. Instead she becomes a witch. I don’t know if that’s the plot or if it’s just the beginning or if that’s even an accurate description of the book. But I picked it up when I was visiting Third Place Books and now I’m really wishing I’d just bought it because I’m very much in the mood for an old, feminist, witchy book.

Essayism: On Form, Feeling, and Nonfiction by Brian Dillon

This book arrived in the bookstore and immediately caught the eye of at least three booksellers, me included. I love the collage cover. I love the first line of the jacket copy:

Essayism is a book about essays and essayists, a study of melancholy and depression, a love letter to belle-lettrists, and an account of the indispensable lifelines of reading and writing.

I love the idea of a book of essays about essays, examining this form that is so broad and malleable. In some writer’s hands I imagine such an idea could be obnoxious, self-indulgent, but Maggie Nelson says the book is “surprising, probing, edifying, itinerant, and eventually quite moving” and I’m inclined to believe her.

Dime Store Alchemy: the Art of Joseph Cornell by Charles Simic

We had this in the bargain section at work, and I’m still mad at myself for not snagging a copy. In high school I was fascinated by Cornell’s shadow boxes. I love small things, I love seeing disparate objects juxtaposed, I love art that is odd and intricate. In college I read poetry by Charles Simic; I can’t remember if I liked him, but I also don’t remember disliking him. I’m not sure if this is poetry or what, to be honest. I’m just interested in reading one poet’s take on an artist I like. I don’t think about visual art as much as I did in school. My partner, Sam, and I went to the Frye this weekend and I was reminded that I enjoy just looking at things, reacting to them, discussing them. Maybe this book, when I get around to it, will pique my art interest again.

Walk Through Walls by Marina Abramović

Speaking of art, a reader suggested I pick this up! Like, an actual reader of this newsletter. It was funny because I’d been thinking about this book. I’d recently re-read a review my co-worker Lauren wrote for the store’s newsletter in 2016, which described the book as “just as brilliant and merciless as her art, but also sensitive, sensual, and morbidly hilarious.” And that description really intrigues me. So I’ll definitely hopefully be picking this one up sometime soon. Maybe as an audiobook.


Currently Reading

This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

I was obsessed with Sarah Dessen in high school; I just thought the way she wrote, her characters, their romances, were all so great. The other night—still in a book slump—for some reason I started talking about This Lullaby. And then I started flipping through it. And then Sam suggested I just start from the beginning. And now I’m more than halfway through. It is interesting to read a book I adored with twelve or so years remove. It makes me feel like I’m gaining some kind of insight on the reader I was then. Also, I just love romances and Sarah Dessen knows how to write. I can’t speak to her newer stuff but her old stuff holds up.


Other Ways to Find Me On the Internets

Once a month (or so) I host a podcast called Drunk Booksellers where my best friend and I interview a fellow bookseller while drinking. I sometimes tweet about books and politics. I sometimes post pictures of books I’m reading, or cats I’m hanging out with on Instagram.

Subscribe to this newsletter here.


NOTE: Most book links go to Indiebound so you can shop local via the Internet. Also, they are affiliate links so if you purchase something I get a tiny kickback (which goes towards my podcast because why have two affiliate accounts). Why shop local? Long answer: Here are a bunch of economic impact studies about the importance of shopping local. Short answer: bookstores are good/warm/lovely places that add so much value to the community, but they are also businesses, which cannot survive if you’re not shopping there.
Thanks to Lara Kaminoff for the cat mascot, Giles. Find more of her work here. Follow her on Instagram here.

04 Books I'm Surprised I Haven't Read

In which our heroine scans her shelves for books she really ought to have read by now

Let’s skip the intro because if we don’t I’ll just wax poetic about the two things I’ve been obsessing over lately: traveler’s notebooks and emergency room bills. What do these have in common? Well, uh, they’ve both convinced me to splurge in the last week. (I’m fine; America’s healthcare system is dumb, but soon I’ll have a new notebook to soothe my irritation.)

Moving on to books. This week, I decided to pull a few books off my shelves that, despite owning, I still have not read.


Should Have Been Reading

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

It seems crazy that I still haven’t read this. It’s a focal point of a recurring question on Drunk Booksellers (what’s your Station Eleven pick?). And yet. I started it a couple years ago, but apocalypse novels freak me out and I couldn’t get past the disease spreading. I think I stopped at chapter four. I was even told that the apocalypse part doesn’t last very long. Anyway, I almost feel the time for reading this has past. But I assume I’ll get to it one day. Two apocalypse books I do like: Woman World by Aminder Dhaliwal (a comic about a post-apocalyptic society in which men are extinct) and Severance by Ling Ma (an apocalypse novel where people turn in to sort of stagnant, repetitive zombies).

Geek Love by Katherine Dunn

Friends freak when I tell them I haven’t read this book. I’m sure I’ll love it; I’m not sure what’s stopping me from starting. I only recently bought it. And I guess I still don’t know what it’s about so I haven’t been in the mood to read it—or I have and just didn’t know that that particular mood was the perfect Geek Love mood. But also you know that feeling where you’re afraid a book will disappoint you? Or, worse, that you’ll disappoint the book? You’ll recognize that it’s good and you ought to love it but something is missing? I’m not saying that’s what’s going on here. Just making excuses for why I haven’t read this.

Palimpsest by Cat Valente

I bought this book from Elliott Bay during the inaugural Indie Bookstore Day in 2015—the first time I visited the bookstore I now work at. I didn’t actually remember purchasing it until I flipped the book over, recognized the label, and noticed the date on it is Feb 2015. I bought it because my first and favorite Cat Valente book, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In a Ship of Her Own Making was conceived of, I’m told, as a children’s book in the world of Palimpsest. Actually, this is another one I started but did not continue. I’ve read the entire Fairyland series and Radiance and Space Opera and The Refrigerator Monologues. But not this one. Not yet.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

I saved this one for last. It is the book I am most surprised I still have not read. Shirley Jackson is one of my favorite authors, this book is one of her most famous. I tell people I’m saving it for a day when I just need to read something I know I’ll love. It’s not like there will be no Jackson left after I’ve read this. The only other novel of hers I’ve read is The Haunting of Hill House. Her memoirs, Life Among the Savages and Raising Demons are two of my favorite audiobooks—they are my comfort food and I never get tired of them. And I can always re-read the Ruth Franklin biography. No, it’s not about being left without new and exciting Jackson. I guess it’s just one of those books I’m not quite ready for.


Currently Reading

I’m half reading too many books right now, and I don’t feel like gushing about any of them. Am I in a reading slump? I have suspected, but not admitted. I ripped through two novels very quickly and now I’m looking around, slack-jawed, wondering what to read next. One of the four books I just told you I haven’t read yet? Or maybe something slim. Or a short story collection. I’m open to suggestions. Did you know you can reply to these newsletters? Tell me what to read next.

Until next time, here is a picture of a cat and a book I just started:


Other Ways to Find Me On the Internets

Once a month (or so) I host a podcast called Drunk Booksellers where my best friend and I interview a fellow bookseller while drinking. I sometimes tweet about books and politics. I sometimes post pictures of books I’m reading, or cats I’m hanging out with on Instagram.

Subscribe to this newsletter here.


NOTE: Most book links go to Indiebound so you can shop local via the Internet. Also, they are affiliate links so if you purchase something I get a tiny kickback (which goes towards my podcast because why have two affiliate accounts). Why shop local? Long answer: Here are a bunch of economic impact studies about the importance of shopping local. Short answer: bookstores are good/warm/lovely places that add so much value to the community, but they are also businesses, which cannot survive if you’re not shopping there.
Thanks to Lara Kaminoff for the cat mascot, Giles. Find more of her work here. Follow her on Instagram here.

03 Wonder, Sex and Sea Urchins, Mathematics and Logical Puzzles

In which our heroine is swayed by an NY Times book review

Last week, I meant to write a newsletter about recommendations I’ve received from fellow booksellers and how I am thankful for the workfamily I’ve built in my five years of bookselling. Instead I finished re-reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire for the n-th time (aloud with Sam, who has never finished the series), ate some turkey and apple pie (the latter reluctantly because I’m not really a pie-person), and played a dice game based on milk production (it’s called Dairyman and I recommend it). I will write that newsletter one day, but first I’d like to let the booksellers I want to reference know that I am referencing them in a newsletter they’ve never heard of.

So instead this week I bring you a random assortment of books I wish I were reading, thematic inasmuch as my general tastes and inclinations are thematic.


Wish I Were Reading

The Condition of Secrecy by Inger Christensen

This essay collection was brought to my attention by a co-worker who’d reserved a copy (it comes out today, Nov 26th). He said he’d read about it in the Times. The review had me by the third paragraph, which begins:

Christensen was a wellspring of Scandinavian experimental writing, a magus of poetry and philosophy whose lines live on as graffiti, trailed across buildings in Copenhagen. Her work was full of cunning and wonder, sex and sea urchins, mathematics and logical puzzles. 

I love lists of seemingly disparate things. I love the idea of a writer being able to deftly move from sex to math to sea urchins and back again. I’d never heard of Christensen, but another co-worker had a galley and so I brought it home and maybe I really will read it.

The Electric Information Age Book by Jeffrey T Schnapp and Adam Michaels

I’m still not clear on the contents of this book. I picked it up off our bargain table and gleaned that it’s about mass market publishing during the 60s/70s. I flipped through it and saw, in neon baby blue text

…an inventory?

Yes, this book is an inventory.

(But of a distinctive kind.)

And I was like

Also, the layout seems really cool and I love learning about the history of the world I work in. (If you’re also interested in the history of publishing, with a bit about bookselling, I recommend Merchants of Culture by John B Thompson.) But mostly I know I’m going to buy it because I have to know why it claims to be an inventory.

Hannah Versus the Tree by Leland de la Durantaye

The cover of this one is mostly what grabbed me. Also it describes itself as a mythopoetic thriller. But yeah, I really like that cover.

The Model Thinker by Scott E Page

Ok, I think I’m finally writing about a book I probably really will never attempt to read. The subtitle “what you need to know to make data work for you” is what got me, but this books innards seem a lot more technical than my brain is prepared for. I love organizing data in my relatively small world of books, but this is about applying multiple models to organize data “leading to wiser choices, more accurate predictions, and more robust designs.” I’m not even sure I know one model of organizing data. I mean… I guess I must, but I couldn’t tell you what it is. Still, I have this idea that maybe one day I’ll take classes in data management and who am I kidding, I’m going to at least make an attempt to read this one. One day.

The Last Equation of Isaac Severy by Nova Jacobs

A fiction title that is neither a story collection nor fable-adjacent? I’m branching out! I don’t recall hearing about this book before unboxing it yesterday, but I guess it’s out in paperback now. It’s about a woman who has to track down a dangerous equation that her recently deceased adopted grandfather left behind. Also she owns a bookstore in Seattle. (Also she owns a bookstore in Seattle.) It seems kind of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore-esque. Like a fun mystery romp that is both mathematical and bookish. Like the kind of thing I could recommend to a customer who is looking for something light (the most difficult recommendation request we get). So, yeah, I’m definitely going to get this on audio as soon as I finish the book I’m currently listening to. Speaking of which…


Currently Reading

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

I was not sure I’d like Ottessa Moshfegh. Her characters are mostly unlikable, which I’m a fan of in theory, but every time a short story of hers was described to me I felt kind of depressed. But then my S&S rep recommended this audiobook, which I’d been meaning to read and yesterday I finally started and I’m already almost 20% through. It’s addictive. It is lethargic and luxurious, and it feels vapid—that’s not quite the right word—but the writing itself is so sharp and incisive. I’m not describing it well. Moshfegh’s ability to quickly and thoroughly build a character, to give you a first impression but immediately hit on a person’s core, is admirable. Really it took all my efforts to stop sitting around listening to this book and write this newsletter. I must get back to it.


Other Ways to Find Me On the Internets

Once a month (or so) I host a podcast called Drunk Booksellers where my best friend and I interview a fellow bookseller while drinking. I sometimes tweet about books and politics. I sometimes post pictures of books I’m reading, or cats I’m hanging out with on Instagram.

Subscribe to this newsletter here.


NOTE: Most book links go to Indiebound so you can shop local via the Internet. Also, they are affiliate links so if you purchase something I get a tiny kickback (which goes towards my podcast because why have two affiliate accounts). Why shop local? Long answer: Here are a bunch of economic impact studies about the importance of shopping local. Short answer: bookstores are good/warm/lovely places that add so much value to the community, but they are also businesses, which cannot survive if you’re not shopping there.
Thanks to Lara Kaminoff for the cat mascot, Giles. Find more of her work here. Follow her on Instagram here.

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