Everything’s Changed

So, I haven’t posted here in a long, long time. Like, over a year? Because my life has changed in a big way.
In September of 2018, my spouse and I bought a used bookstore in our town and I’m getting the hang of being a business owner. Honestly, I had to get reacquainted with going to a physical job every day and that was one of the hardest parts. I went from working 8 hours a week outside of the house to working 50+ hours outside the house. Whew. It’s been an adjustment, to say the very least.

Unsurprisingly, my reading life has completely changed as well. Before, I just read anything that sounded good to me. And I only read physical books. I was a, “I just can’t imagine not hoooolding a phyyyysical booook” snob. And I’d buy any ole book that appealed to me when I went to bookstores, reading it whenever I got around to it (almost never getting around to it because I’d always find another book I wanted). I loved being surrounded by stacks and stacks of books at home.

Now? Well, as far as books go–I no longer need to be surrounded by them at home. I’ve got 12,000+ books at work, where I spend most of my time. So, I really don’t buy a book for myself anymore unless it’s something that I will read right away or if it’s for a book club.

Now, I want to be up on books to recommend to my customers! I need to know my product. And let me tell you–this is so hard for me. Mostly because since we’re a used bookstore, we don’t have a back stock of every book I’ve ever loved. If I loved a book and then hand sell it–guess what? It’s gone. I can’t sell it again. So the next person who comes in and asks for a recommendation… uh, well? I just sold the last book in this store that I’ve read before. Haha! It’s a weird predicament!

So, now, I’ve always got three books going at once. I honestly thought people who could read more than one book at a time were super human–how do they keep it all straight?! But now it’s my usual! And I’ve got a system:

Audiobooks: Our store got hooked up with Libro.fm this year which means that you can listen to audiobooks AND still support our store, which is so cool (full disclosure, that link and the rest of the links re: audiobooks in this post will take you to our store’s Libro.fm page and any purchases made through it help support our shop). I’ve always got an audiobook going for when I’m doing chores around the house or driving. Here are a few titles that I’ve read and loved:
Over The Top by Jonathan Van Ness (Narrated by JVN which, thank goodness, because I just can’t imagine anyone else reading his words.)
The Dutch House by Ann Patchett (Narrated by Tom Hanks which was… ugh. Delightful.) You know how people say, “I could listen to them read the phone book.”? Yeah. It’s like that. Which is good because while The Dutch House is magnificent, it was a little bit slow-going for me at first but Tom pulled me though.
The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee (Narrated by Emily Woo Zeller) Once you really start listening to Audiobooks, you might get picky about your narrators. I definitely have my favorites and the way Emily Woo Zeller embodied these characters felt so effortless. This story was incredible! I loved it. It’s one of the few books I’ve read where I felt like The Suffragists were handled appropriately–not forgetting how brutally racist they were while they were fighting for their own rights.
That’s just a few of the audiobooks I’ve loved lately. There are so many others. I like to have an audiobook going so that I’ve always got one to recommend to a customer.

E-books: The books I read on my phone are mostly only for my own enjoyment. I pretty much only read them when I can’t sleep. The e-books that I read are all advanced reader copies that I get from Net Galley. I read them and write reviews about them, mostly on Goodreads, but I’m ready to get back into regular blogging and will be posting my reviews on my blog once these books start to be released. I’ve read some really, really good books that I want to get you excited about.

Physical Books: For some reason, reading physical books is the hardest for me in this phase of my life. I feel like my mind is always somewhere else and I am always moving and thinking ten steps ahead. There’s so much work to be done at the store and at home and it feels frivolous to be sitting down reading a book when there is so much to do. But also, being able to recommend books to people is a primary part of my job. And, as I mentioned before, I can’t recommend a book if I haven’t read it. So my rule on reading physical books is that I won’t read anything if it isn’t available in the store for me to sell. I’m also working to read outside of my usual genres. That means reading more mysteries and thrillers than I’m used to and dipping my toes into our science fiction and horror sections as well. I naturally gravitate towards literary fiction and memoir, so I’m trying to stretch my horizons. Also, I have to set aside time to read. I try to get all of my work done before the last hour of the day so that I can spend that time reading physical books in the store. Customers ask me all the time, “So do you just get to sit around and read all day???” I get where that question is coming from but it’s just not reality for a bookstore owner.  To be quite honest, I still struggle to set aside time to read but I’m working on it.
Physical books or authors I’ve read recently and loved:
Kindred by Octavia Butler (if there was one book I think everyone in my orbit should read it would be this)
Exit West by Moshin Hamid
Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner

Anyway, it feels good to be writing to you, again. I make no promises on how often I’ll be doing it or what I’ll be writing about–just whenever and whatever feels good, which is basically how I’m living my life these days.

Oh, and right now I’m reading:
The Grace Year by Kim Liggett (audiobook)
We Wish You Luck by Caroline Zancan (ebook: Will be released in January)
And I just finished by physical book so I’m searching our shelves for a new one currently.

Anyway, thanks for being here.
XOXO, Lib

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