Writing has been hard this week. Thinking about writing has been tough. Making time to write has been tough. This week was busy for me for a lot of different reasons, and that's okay. I'm happy to be busy. It's also taken a little more out of me than I thought it would, and I have an even busier weekend ahead with loads of work.
I took a little break and didn't write on Wednesday, and considered not even writing this post. I'm never going to tell anyone they can't take a break. After writing about all the virtues of self-care, it would be pretty unfair for me to not take my own advice by not giving myself a break when I'm feeling worn out. So I’m taking it easy this week. I’m taking it easy on myself, because I have loads of work coming up. There’ll be another Liverpool post on Monday, but Fiction Friday is a little different this week, in that it doesn’t include fiction from me. Instead, I’m sharing something else!
I started a Bookshop!
Bookshop is an online bookstore that is aimed at supporting local, indie bookshops all over. Bookstores can use them to set up an online store, and Bookshop will handle all the shipping and handling, which frees them up to better manage their in-store patrons. If your local bookstore doesn’t have a Bookshop page, that’s okay! You can still order directly through Bookshop and a portion of that purchase will go into a support pool that is divided evenly to participating indie bookstores. It’s a great way to stop buying books from Amazon, if you’re able.
One of the best parts is that anyone can start a Bookshop page, and the benefits remain the same. Indie bookstores benefit, Amazon doesn’t get any money, it’s a win-win.
I’ve only listed a couple books at the moment but I’ll continue to update the page as I go through books (my library holds list is long right now) and figure out what I want to share. Right now the list includes two nonfiction that I love and two fiction that I love, two books I read a while ago but have become favorites, and two that I’ve listened to in audiobook form most recently. If you purchase through my Bookshop, I’ll receive a portion of the purchase, and a local indie bookstore will receive a portion through their support pool. It’s a small way to support the blog, a local bookstore, and add your To Be Read collection!
I am also making an effort to read more Black authors, both fiction and nonfiction, and obviously more about the relationships systemic racism have created in America. Those books will definitely be added to that list, and I encourage you to purchase those if you’re able.
Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory is the most recent one that I finished and if you’re looking for a lighthearted romance, this will definitely be the ticket. Vivian is a social worker at a hospital in Oakland, and travels to England with her daughter Maddie over the Christmas holidays when Maddie gets a job opportunity with the royal family. While there, Vivian meets Malcolm Hudson, the private secretary to the Queen. As with many romance novels, they’re both gorgeous people that start flirting immediately, but the delight that both characters feel at the unexpected connection is palpable throughout the novel. Set in the cold backdrop of England during the Winter holidays, it’s a great way to escape the creeping heat of Summer, too.
A Darker Shade Of Magic by V. E. Schwab has been one of my favorite books for a long time. I’ve recommended it to a lot of people, I’ve followed her other work and love her refreshing transparency on how difficult it is to be a professional author. She’s also fairly close to my age and although she’s had the good privilege of being able to write professionally for a long time, she’s a bit of an aspirational figure for me. If she can do it, I can do it. ADSOM, as she often refers to it as, explores a world where there are multiple universes and multiple versions of the same place — in this case, London. There are four Londons: Gray London, Red London, White London, and Black London. Black London has been closed off since a dangerous form of magic destroyed it, and that magic is inching towards White London. Kell is a magician from Red London, employed by their royal family to courier messages between the royal families of White and Gray London. During one of his travels to Gray London he runs into Delilah Bard, an orphan pickpocket with a penchant for danger and adventure. She gets tangled up with Kell and is brought along to Red London, the first common person in ages that is able to travel between the worlds. The universe that Schwab has created feels intricate and real, also tangible just like her magical system. It’s a book that reignited my love of fantasy, and the rest in the series are just as thorough as she continues to build out the universe.
The two nonfiction books on my list, So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo and Liverpool Captains by Ragnhild Lund Asnes, are similar in their presentations but are about very, very different things.
Ijeoma writes in So You Want To Talk About Race her experiences as a Black woman, living in Texas and Seattle, and frames the book with each chapter facing a question that a White person might ask about racial conversations. What are micro-aggressions? What does it mean to check your privilege? Talking is great, but what else can I do? We’re in a pretty remarkable movement right now, and this book has really helped me start to dig deeper into the conversations that I will likely need to have with White friends and family members. As she says in the book, it is not enough to believe that Black people are good, and kind, and wonderful people. It is about dismantling the systems that were built to keep them down, regardless of their goodness.
Liverpool Captains follows each living former Liverpool captain through a chapter dedicated to each one. Speaking with legends like Tommy Smith and Ron Yeats about their years playing under equally legendary managers, about their playing times but also about how Alzheimer’s have changed their lives. She speaks to recent players like Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher, about growing up in Liverpool and what that meant to them to captain the team in red, as well as players like Paul Ince, a controversial captain in and of himself, about growing up as an abandoned child and working his way to become the captain. It was one of the first Liverpool books that I read cover-to-cover and my first introduction to some of those older players from before my time as a fan (Ince included). If you are at all interested in some of the former players that have represented the Reds, this is a great place to start.
All of these books are listed in my Bookshop, and unfortunately Liverpool Captains is on backorder at the moment. I don’t know when it’ll be available, or if you’ll still be able to purchase it and then it’ll be shipped whenever it becomes available again, but you can always purchase it direct from the publisher here.
Now with more time on all of our hands, I hope you’re able to fill it with some good reading that makes you feel centered in this wild world. I hope these books find a good home on your nightstand and I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on any of them.
Disclosure: I am an affiliate of Bookshop.org and I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.