Finished reading: The Turn of the Screw by Henry James πŸ“š

Another Gothic. Governesses, am I right?

πŸ’¬πŸ“š Dropping this quote here so that next time I try to hung it down I’ll find it on my own site and not have to go to GoodReads:

“She strode the earth clad in the invisible armor of their virtual companionship.” Lev Grossman, The Magician King

Finished reading: “The Fall of the House of Usher” by Edgar Allan Poe πŸ“š

Making my pivot to Gothic now that it’s October. (I skipped my usual campus novels in September and stuck with romance.)

This one’s a classic, of course. But I like “The Cask of Amontillado” and “The Masque of the Red Death” better.

πŸ“šπŸ’¬ Roderick Usher has sensory integration issues:

“He suffered much from a morbid acuteness of the senses; the most insipid food was alone endurable; he could wear only garments of certain texture; the odors of all flowers were oppressive…” - Edgar Allan Poe, “The Fall of the House of Usher”

πŸ“š Books about Freelance Writing

Originally posted on LinkedIn:

One of the tools in my toolbox for carrying me through times between big projects is freelance writing. As I expect to ramp this piece of my work up when my current contract (which is full-time work) ends, I’ve been revisiting my resources to help me with this.

Here are 3 books I use for this:

πŸ“• The Freelance Academic by Katie Rose Guest Pryal
πŸ“— How to Get Started in Freelance Science Writing by Sheeva Azma
πŸ“˜ Win at Freelance Writing by Gertrude Nonterah, Ph.D.

What are your favorite resources?

Book covers of The Freelance Academic, How to Get Started in Freelance Science Writing, and Win at Freelance Writing

Finished reading: We Could Be So Good by Cat Sebastian πŸ“š

I loved it so much, finished it in under 48 hours. “Newsies for shippers” is an apt description. I love people being sweet on each other and making happiness when they feared it just wasn’t out there for them.

Today’s Literary Activism newsletter from Book Riot shares information about several student groups fighting book bans. πŸ“š

πŸ“š I’m reading Sandra Hughes-Hassell’s book, Collection Management for Youth: Equity, Inclusion, and Learning and planning to share my reading notes. I’m trying to decide whether it makes more sense to create a new post for each chapter or just do one for the whole book. Thoughts?

πŸ“šπŸ’¬ “She didn’t know much about buildings, but it was clear that this one needed an unbelievable amount of work.
But at the end of it? Something she built up, rather than cut down.” Travis Baldree, Legends & Lattes

Finished reading: An Island Princess Starts a Scandal by Adriana Herrera πŸ“š

So good! Manuela is going to marry a wealthy man, for the good of her family. But first, she’s going to spend six weeks in Paris, having Sapphic adventures.

As with all the best romances, this book is about two people who make each other grow as much as it’s about falling in love.

πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯ Hotter than steamy, very explicit.

Highly recommend.

There are few feelings as good as canceling a bunch of library holds because your family already owns all the books. πŸ“š

πŸ“š There are still spots available for online attendance at Public Librarianship in Contentious Times, a conference hosted by the University of Michigan School of Information and the Michigan Library Association. School librarians should find this relevant to their work as well and are welcome.

πŸ“šπŸ³ Started reading the introduction to Jules Sherred’s Crip Up the Kitchen: Tools, Tips and Recipes for the Disabled Cook and I might cry.

“The kitchen is the worst room in the house if you are disabled. I’m about to change that and make life easier for everyone.”

πŸ”–πŸ“š Read Shadow and Bone author Leigh Bardugo: β€˜People sneer at the things women and girls love’ by Sian Cain (The Guardian).

She really is my hero.

πŸ”–πŸ“š Read Falling in Love With the Avengers, America’s Most Toxic Work Force by Leigh Bardugo (New York Times, gift link)

I love Leigh Bardugo so much.

πŸ’¬πŸ“š “I hunker down with books when I need time to process what’s happening in my own life.
Books give me the space to breathe.”

  • Kelly J. Baker, Final Girl: And Other Essays on Grief, Trauma, and Mental Illness

Currently reading: Final Girl: And Other Essays on Grief, Trauma, and Mental Illness by Kelly Baker πŸ“š

Austin Kleon says to climb your creative family tree. Kelly is like an intellectual big sister, so I’m starting with her. (Katie Rose Guest Pryal is another.) πŸ“

Finished reading: From Bad to Cursed by Lana Harper πŸ“š

Loved it even more than Payback’s A Witch. Full review coming later this week.

πŸ“šπŸ’¬ “Disaster and hero, monster and martyr, beauty and beast . . . Choose your own dichotomy. Because it doesn’t matter. We were always built to be both.” Lana Harper, For Better or Cursed

πŸ“š Book Riot’s Literary Activism newsletter is always valuable. This week, Kelly Jensen takes a deep dive into the use of ChatGPT to decide whether books should be removed from libraries.

Finished reading: Payback’s a Witch by Lana Harper πŸ“š

It’s a witchy romance between two bi women and it has a punny title. What’s not to love? Moderately steamy.

πŸ“šπŸ’¬πŸ‘±β€β™€οΈ “When Pearl Dragon and cheap wine and even magic have all failed us… there will always be Buffy marathons.” Lana Harper, Payback’s A Witch

😭 I’m not crying, you’re crying.

Bookstore Romance Day Recommendations πŸ“šβ™₯️

We’re just a few days out from Bookstore Romance Day!

A couple things to know about romance novels:

First, they always end with the love interests having either a happily ever after or a happy for now.

Second, they range in smuttiness from super sweet with hardly any physical intimacy, to quite explicit. But the emotions are always the core of the story, not the smut.

Here are some of my favorite romance reads. Pick some up at your favorite indie bookstore!

Mr. and Mrs. Witch by Gwenda Bond. Like Mr. & Mrs. Smith but with a lady witch and her dude witch hunter fiance. World travel, intrigue, blisteringly hot.

The Widow of Rose House by Diana Biller. Gilded Age, haunted house, widow unfairly subjected to scandal, cute inventor man, fairly steamy.

Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin. Pride & Prejudice but everyone lives in Toronto, is Muslim, and is Indian or Indian-Canadian. Sweet, not even kisses until close to the end.

Hana Khan Carries On by Uzma Jalaluddin. You’ve Got Mail but with halal restaurants instead of bookstores. Everyone lives in Toronto, is Muslim, and is Indian or Indian-Canadian. Sweet, not even kisses until close to the end.

Red, White, & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston. Transatlantic shenanigans where the son of the president of the US hates and then loves the spare prince of England. Very hot, a little explicit but not much, super witty, unputdownable. Read if you watched the movie but wanted more. (Skip the movie if you read it and will be disappointed that they had to combine or change characters and drop a lot of detail to make it work for the screen.)

The Neighbor Favor by Kristina Forrest. A publishing assistant corresponds with her favorite author, who stopped writing fiction after his book about black elves didn’t sell much and his publisher closed. He ends up being her neighbor and they fall in love. Pretty steamy.

If you’re more of an audiobook person, see if you can support your local indie bookstore via

Finished reading: Chef’s Kiss by TJ Alexander πŸ“š

This book is super queer and super cute. Simone’s a chef. Ray’s a kitchen manager. They take a long time to get together but once they do, it’s πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯. Warning: Transphobia & a relatedly garbage workplace.