Confessions of a Curious Bookseller by Elizabeth Green

If you have received any book recommendations from me or ready any of my book reviews, you are aware of my affinity for quirky characters.  When I read the description of Confessions of a Curious Bookseller by Elizabeth Green, I thought it matched the quirky character trope – an odd used bookstore owner with family issues? Sign me up!

Fawn Birchill is a forty-something single woman who is partially estranged from her family. She owns a failing used bookstore in Philadelphia.  She believes that her store has been a cornerstone of her community for the past twenty years.  She is semi-happily single. She has a cat and also feeds the strays in her alley.  She believes her three loyal employees are happy working for her.  When a young, hip bookstore opens down the street, with comfy chairs, a coffee bar, knowledgeable employees and weekend evening entertainment, her world is turned upside down.  Now she must deal with her employees abandoning her, her cat dying (wait until you read THAT part), caring (?) for her elderly renter Jane, much needed repairs to the store, the strained relationship with her family, and the trials of online dating.  She also must figure out what to do about her pen pal, whom she has created a whole false identity for herself. Talk about getting caught up in a fantasy of your own making!!

I really wanted to like this book. I did finish it. The ending was kind of anticlimactic. I had a hard time liking Fern. I believe the character suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder. For me this book fell short of my expectations just as Fern’s employees fell short of hers. 2.5 stars.

Prepping for a NEW YEAR

I haven’t stayed up until midnight on New Years Eve in years. Since 2020 has been such a dumpster fire, I have decided to stay up until midnight to make sure that 2020 actually ends. I’m sort of worried that I’m going to wake up tomorrow and see that the date is December 32, 2020. That would be so 2020!

During the month of December I have been working on plans for 2021.

  1. Health – I’ve started what, so far, is a helpful way to lose weight. NOOM. Someone I know lost 100 pounds using this service so I thought I’d try. So far I am down 6 pounds! It is a very different approach towards weight loss. More info to come in the new year as I chronicle my journey. Mike and I are also starting to exercise more and plan to make it a habit in 2021.
  2. Career – Since work has changed so much this year, I have been feeling uninspired and unfulfilled. I have decided to work on taking my passion for crafting to the next level. I’ve been listening to the “Don’t Keep Your Day Job” podcast and have really been inspired to find how I can make the world a better place through my passion of crafting. Things currently in the works:
    • Craft videos on YouTube in the hopes of getting a good enough following to monetize my craft videos.
    • Creating a plan to sell my crafts on Etsy, Facebook Marketplace, craft shows, etc. I am making a list of what to make in preparation for upcoming holidays and celebrations.
    • Planning a way to start doing at-home craft parties once we all get Covid-19 under control.
    • Collaborating with two friends on a really cool videography project.
  3. Reading – Increase my reading and book review blog posts by creating a calendar to remind myself to post reviews to my blog twice a month.
  4. Brainstorming on a podcast idea I have.

So, those are my big plans to make 2021 the best year ever.

What are your plans for 2021? Do you plan to stay up until midnight? Do you have a craft you would like me to create a video for? Do you have any book recommendations for me? How about a healthy recipe or an exercise for me to add to our getting healthy plan? Please drop me a note below and I promise to send you a great big thank you!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!

The origin of my love of reading and a review of a heartwarming and funny book.

When you read advanced reader copies and post reviews, sometimes you get into a funk. Lately, even though I’ve been offered some good books to read, I have not been inspired by anything. Sometimes the best reads are recommended by your mom!

First, let me tell you about my mother. She is the one who shared her love of good books with me when I was a child. I have many happy memories of her reading to me and my three brothers when we were kids. A favorite of ours was the Poky Little Puppy. So many times my wonderful mother would fall asleep reading this book to us. All these years later, I still get sleepy and start to nod off when I see this cover.

So, my mom and I often talk about books we are reading, we want to read, or we have read. As we talk about them, our to be read piles grow exponentially. Some of the authors we have shared with each other – Preston & Child, Adriana Trigiani, Frederik Backman, Richard Adams – and so many more. The latest recommendation from my mom, Patricia, was The Tour by Jean Grainger. Mom told me how much she was enjoying the book and I immediately went onto Amazon and downloaded the e-book. I started reading on the evening of October 18, 2020 and finished in the wee hours of October 22, 2020. I devoured this book.

If you enjoyed all of Maeve Binchey’s books, you will love this story of a group of American tourist who are on a bus tour of Ireland. The characters in this story all seem so real. There is the easy-on-the-eyes and warm hearted tour bus driver, the snooty academic, the neglected housewife and her bombastic idiot of a husband, the mysterious Texan, two individuals who came to learn more about their Irish roots, the hot mess of a Mom who drags her antisocial musician son to Ireland to find a new sugar daddy, and the grieving, mousey widow trying to move on. This book is a masterclass in how to take a group of unrelated characters and have them change each others lives. I loved this book and can’t wait to read more in this series (YES!! There are more books in this series). I know I haven’t given many details about the book itself or what happens. I want you all to experience it yourself – no spoilers.

I think one of the reasons that this book resonated with me is the fact that I have been on a bus tour…with my mom. Yes, the same mom that recommended this book. Funny how that worked out, isn’t it?

In the 90s, Mom and I took a bus tour of South Dakota with the St. Joseph’s Indian School. This is a school that my grandmother started donating to when my mom was a child. We saw Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse monuments, which were amazing. Even more amazing, the Black Hills and Badlands National Park. It was an inspiring and fun trip. As the youngest one the bus, I was so inspired by one particular tour member. She was in her 80s and only had one lung…yet she kept up with all of us. I don’t think I could do that NOW!

So, in this Covid-19 world, my suggestion is to do your traveling through books. Pick up The Tour and go on a bus tour of Ireland!!

I hope you all have a safe and healthy Thanksgiving.

Review – In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

Dannie has a 5 year plan. In 5 years she will be a partner in her law firm and married to her fiancé. When she has a dream vision about her future, it is quite different from her 5 year plan.

Will Dannie marry her fiance? Or will the dream come true? To find out you will have to read the book. You will meet family, friends, and coworkers from Dannie’s life and see what actually happens In Five Years.

I really enjoyed the book. It touched on all the feels. The book releases on March 10, 2020, so keep an eye out at your local library, independent bookstore, or preorder at Amazon.

Thanks for reading.

August 1 – 10, 2019 – reading for pleasure

Because I do a lot of ARC (advanced reader copy) reading as well as book club reading, I don’t often get a chance to read for pleasure. In July my goal was to read children’s books. For the month of August, I’m going to read for pleasure only. Here is what I’ve read, so far.

Circe by Madeline Miller

I have always loved mythology: Greek, Norse, Native American, to name a few. When Circe came out it was so popular that I was reluctant to read it. I’m one of those people who reads to the beat of my own drum. I don’t normally read what is on the best sellers lists. For some reason, I decided to read it. I just finished it three days ago and I have to say – I LOVED IT! I plan on going back and reading ALL of Madeline Millers books. This telling of the story of Circe, the daughter of the sun god Helios. Part Clash of the Titans, part family saga, the author writes in such a way that you get sucked into the story and don’t want to put it down. Highly recommended.

Educated by Tara Westover

My most recent “back and forth to work” audiobook had me wanting my commute to last longer. Educated tells the story Tara Westover and how she went from her childhood in an “off the grid” survivalist family to a woman with a PhD. Tara’s parents did not believe in public schools, traditional medicine or any governmental agencies. According to their beliefs, public school education corrupts and the government is out to get them. The author’s tale of abuse and neglect is harrowing. While telling what happened to her and how she managed to not only educate herself, but go to Cambridge and Harvard, she manages to still express her love for her family. An awe inspiring book.

Next on my TBR for pleasure list: The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury.

My book review made the August 2019 edition of Library Reads

A while back I read an advanced readers copy of Ellie and the Harp Maker by Hazel Prior. I make not apologies about liking to read books about quirky characters and this book fits that description.

A few weeks ago I was contacted by Library Reads and asked if they can use my review. How thrilling!!! I said yes and approved their edited version of my review.

Here is the link to the August 2019 Library Reads list. Go check it out.

Thanks for reading!

Found by Salina Yoon

I’m back to my juvenile picture books!! YAY!!!

In Found by Salina Yoon, Bear finds a stuffed rabbit toy in the woods.  He know someone must be missing this bunny, so he makes FOUND flyers and puts them up everywhere.  No one comes to claim the bunny. Bear wishes that the bunny was his and decides to take him on a picnic and a bike ride.  While out riding, Moose sees him and yells “FLUFFY BUNNY”.  Turns out the bunny belonged to Moose when he was younger. Bear gave Moose the bunny and was sad. Moose decided that Fluffy Bunny needed to be in a new home and gave him to Bear.  Everyone was happy.

****Cute, short book.  Illustrations were adorable.

Thanks for reading!

The Public

Today I took a break from reading children’s books and, instead, watched The Public. I will read two books tomorrow. Today I need to address this fabulous and moving movie and MY experiences working in a library.

It took Emilio Esteves 10 years to get this movie made. It is the story of Stuart, a librarian at an urban Cincinnati library, and the homeless patrons who decide to occupy the library during a vicious cold spell that is leaving frozen homeless people all over the city. The film touches on the causes of homelessness, the opioid crisis, mental illness, sleazy politicians, and the importance of libraries and their staff. I don’t want to give away the whole movie, so I will just say that it is really worth watching.

In 2009, I lost my administrative assistant position during the economic downturn. Like thousands, I was laid off. An angel named Angie Patterson, swooped in and saved me. She was the Library Manager and I knew her through my administrative assistant job. She offered me a part-time Library Technician position and kept me employed. I owe her so much.

Everyone thinks that people who work in libraries sit around reading all day. This is FAR from the truth. Let me tell you about my experience.

First, it is a non-stop, physical job. After my first part-time shift at the library, I slept for two days and could barely walk. Between standing for hours on end, bending to pick things up, emptying book drops, and reaching to shelve materials, I didn’t stop the whole time.

Second, every day is different. You never know what each day will bring. From odd objects found in the book drop to backed up plumbing, every day is an adventure. Since I don’t work in a large urban library like Stuart, my experiences haven’t been quite as news worthy. Some of my experiences in the past 10 years:

  • During the recession spent many hours helping patrons, who have never used a computer, to file for unemployment or assistance which had gone totally online.
  • Provided first aid to a patron that overdosed in the library and then later in the same day had a patron drive her car into a wall at the library.
  • Cleaned up poop left strategically in the middle of the floor in the men’s room.
  • Taught patrons how to get eBooks, stream our movie services, learn languages, and listen to audiobooks, on their electronic devices.
  • Entertained patrons with craft and food programs.
  • Helped a library school student with her homework (keeping in mind that I did not go to library school).
  • Found some interesting things in the book drop (partially eaten food, disgusting porn magazines, a tree branch, empty drink cups, beer bottles).
  • Found interesting things when cleaning up the library at closing (box of melted ice pops in the shelf in the children’s room, underwear, marajuana leaves in books, toys, papers with personal information, cell phones, power cords, purses, bags of change, shoes, library cards, drivers licenses left in the copier).
  • Helped newly diagnosed patrons research their diseases.
  • Met some amazing authors and read many wonderful and not so wonderful books.
  • Provided comfort and shelter for patrons after Hurricane Irma left people without electricity.

This is just what I could remember after watching the movie. My point here is that working in a library is not what people think it is.

Watch The Public and next time you visit your local library, share your appreciation with the staff. It will mean the world to them.

Thanks for reading.