New Year, New Books

A lot of people will make lists full of self help books around this time of year. And those books can be great, but at lot of times they aren’t really that life changing so instead of filling the little free library with books that might slightly changing someone’s point of view I decided to think of any book fiction or non-fiction that drastically changed how I go about things about life and the world around me. No need to count down from ten, because this short and sweet list won’t keep you long!

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

You know how titles are meant to encapsulate the whole book’s theme? Boil everything down to a moment or message? Nothing does that as well as More Happy Than Not. It’s a beautiful and sad book about identity and reminds me of a YA version of The Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind. But unlike the story, I actually repeat this title back to myself on rough days. I remind myself if I’m more happy than not, then my troubles are just troubles. There isn’t anything that needs fixing.

The Dictator’s Handbook

Did I give you whiplash with that sharp turn? This non-fiction book subtitled Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics is something I think back on a lot these days. Every time something weird and “un-presidented” happens I think about the stats laid out in this book and what it can mean for (us). If you can’t afford a copy right now, check out these two video summary of sorts: Rules for Rules and Death & Dynasties.  No matter what party you are, no matter what country you are from this book will change how you view political power and how those with it gain it and often keep it.

This chart stuck with me the most after reading the book. Maybe it was timing, maybe it was wishful thinking. Either way I find it such a simple and interesting stat collection. Other gems in the book is discussing how the Art of War shouldn’t be your reference for non-war things.

Merry Book-mas Eve!

If there is one thing that allows me to embrace the spirit of giving year round it’s my Little Free Library. For anyone who doesn’t know what those are, it’s a nonprofit organization that encourages people to set up outdoor community libraries in their yards. It’s a take book, leave a book set up that aims to help make books accessible to every household. There might even be some right around you! 

I personally use mine a few different ways. First, as an excuse to buy indie books I already have in hopes that I can share my love of them with new people. This month with Christmas in mind I went through my collection and picked out books that I felt deserved a more loving home. These books have been very well received, I just for whatever reason did I not get super into them so instead of hoarding them like a book-ish Grinch I decided to release them into the wild where they hopefully can find someone who truly cherishes them.

Before I get into the books a little more, I also picked up a new accessories for the library itself. The stuffed little elf decoration you see above. Who I believe was recused from the Island of Dollar Store Dog Toys. And a magnetic light with a flip switch since it gets dark so early these days I wanted to make sure if someone drove around at still early hour of five pm they could see see what was inside my Read Box without having to aim their headlights or pull out their cellphone and turn on their own flashlight. But hey, it also will come in handy year round for anyone burning the midnight oil in hopes of a new read.

The library’s collection now contains Daemon and Annihilation. Both are very big science fiction stories. The first doesn’t have a movie is likely among the most known in cyberpunk circles, the second I first heard when it was made into said movie. I don’t do scary movies or even really monster movies but watching Annihilation was like nothing really else so when I saw the book had such a nice binding I picked it up. I hear this series is even better than the movie (no surprise there, right?) but book almost falls open to scream, “Read me!”

The Iron Cast draws the eye. Its one of those that proves covers sells books. I’ll link you to goodreads here so you can see it better. The book is set in 1919 and design really helps you get there. Author Destiny Soria is also a great author who goes the distance to add much needed diversity and I’m always so excited to offer books like that to people who might not otherwise be able to afford them.

Speaking of good authors doing good things. Rick Riordan’s The Sword of Summer won a Stonewall Book award for children’s literature. Named for the historical trans-led history event that’s considered the “start” of the LGBTQ rights movement in America.

That brings us to Heart of Iron. I picked this one up originally because it was sold to me as Anastasia in space and while I hadn’t gotten far in it I definitely see why it was given such a killer comparison.

Plus, the first among the first Santa themed events I can remember was wanting the Anastasia toys as I kid. I think they came from Burger King and I most have had them all. The tiny bat, the bigger dog that you could squeeze and his ears would go up. An Anastasia doll with like hair that you could bring up or down with a wind up or down in her back. And of course, a themed but classic Christmas train. If that toy was big enough to set around my Christmas tree I’d rebuy it for the memories in a heart beat. (In my heart, that Polar Express train has nothing on Anastasia nostalgia.)

As an adult that same excitement over toys is gone, but I think as adults we are often able to recapture that feeling with books and I hope one of my books either personally written or donated to a stranger does that for someone.

No matter what you celebrate, I hope you have a great Holiday!

Dollar Store Finds

As an author, books ending up at the dollar store are strange and curious things. I know several ways it could have happened but there are no clues to tell me exactly. Was it too many copies? Never sold what was expected? Or many it’s such a best seller everyone and their cat already has one. We’ll never know for sure, but I can tell you about what I found on my last trip. I bought the following without much of a cool of what they were so let’s find out together.

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet

This book is like if at the end of the telephone game you were given a copy of the last story. A tale based on a youtube series that was based on a different book. I’ve never watched the youtube series but I always heard good things and to see them expand on what they did there in novel form felt like an idea more than worth the rock bottom price for it.

The Gap of Time

I also got this one not because of what it was, but what it looked right. Proving that covers really do sell books. The design looks like a classic science fiction story was updated and captures that vintage modern feel completely. Be sure to click the goodreads title link if you want to see what I mean further. Since it’s a retelling of a Shakespeare play, maybe it missed it the mark but I don’t think so. Anything that makes you want to pick a book up is working well.

The Natty Professor

This book is a case of not what you know, but who you know in a way. And I have a soft spot of Tim Gunn. You might know him from Project Runway or you might know for his activism work. Either way, he’s always a positive force. Part memoir, part self-help book, I’m certain there’s plenty of gems in here to help make it work.

The Ring and The Crown
Featuring such a classic YA color this book made me wonder if I has seen it somewhere before. If you pick it up the blurb tells you about princesses, mages, and identity swapping.

Exit

Normally, I’d be able to say that hardcovers are a rare find at the dollar store but Exit makes three. “From a renowned sociologist, the wisdom of saying goodbye” is the sort of tagline that makes you believe this book has a secret of life hidden within it.

The Mystics of Mile End

You know how some books have a more textured feel? This is one of them. You pick it up and just feel the thought that went into it. The book absolutely appears to be about the Jewish experience, which is absolutely a story worth telling and reading if you don’t know much about that.

Have you read any of these? Do you want to? Just jealous of my pumpkin caramel creme candle? Let me know!

Surprise, More Books!

Today readers, I have a story for you! So I joked how no one leaves books in my Little Free Library and how it’s no big deal because thanks to my Patreon it’s always covered and always an excuse to buy more books. So right after that, I go out to add some books and I see a BUNCH of new books.

So I take them inside to take a photo of them so I can tell you this happened and then I go right back outside to put them back. As I’m doing so my neighbor shouts over, “Hey! We got some cash and books for you.”

I pause. Remembering stories of parents telling you to not get into a van with a stranger offering free candy. I also don’t want to be like, Yes, hello stranger I love money. Where pray tell is it? So I go with a cautious, “Well, I like books.”

I stand up and we walk over to meet and he says, “We have people come over and they are always surprised and excited to see that.” He gestures behind me to the Read Box and I half glance towards the dog who is always in their yard standing on a tire before he goes on. “[Someone’s] mom is all into books and always donates them and she said ‘I’m just gonna give them to your neighbor instead!’ So we are gonna hook you up. We got like 4-5 boxes.”

We’ve lived in nearly three years and I’ve talked to the people at this house twice now. The first time was a weird when’s trash day after some family shake-up that really isn’t our business. So this makes the second time! I comment that it’s fairly full right now but he can leave the boxes at the door if he doesn’t want to sort them.

Be careful what you joke about, right? 😉

 

Little Free Library Finds

I really love going to the dollar store and Savers and finding what they have. Normally things that go into my Little Free Library are things I’ve read, but this time I just picked things I heard of and thought they looked good.

Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between
To be honest, I know nothing of this series or author. It’s simply a really good title. All of the authors work is titled in a way that grabs my attention so maybe it will grab other people’s interest too!

Looking for Alaska
This was the only one out of this month’s additions that I have read. I don’t remember it extremely well but I do remember liking it. And always enjoyed the way John Green talks which is also how he writes.

Life of Pi
I’ve only seen the movie which is scandalous I know. I’m not even sure how we ended up watching it, but it was really incredible so I assume the book has even more of that curious and wondrous tale.

The Book Thief
I’ve had so many chances to read this book, but someone told me it is really sad and will mess you up so I’ve simply always avoided it. But, I know the brave souls who have it seem to love it.

Artemis Fowl
I’m always been so very curious about this series, but it came out when I was, like what,  nineteen, so the adventures of a 12-year-old kid didn’t really appeal to me. Hopefully, some other kid can see what I missed!

May is Aces!

This month I decided to add some of my favorite writers to the collection!
A short collection of poems that touch on finding yourself while in the spaces between toxic people and emotionally abusive lovers.

 

A Word And A Bullet
Colt, Janie, and Damien were planning a weekend at Zed Games when the real apocalypse canceled their trip. Now the planet is trying to kill them. Evacuation by plane is less than successful. The Piper goes down. They survive, stranded somewhere up the East Coast with all the gear they could ask for but no idea where to go, and natural disasters erupting in every direction.

 

When Mab learns of a geologically stable place in Canada, she leaves Portland behind. Vet, the world’s dumbest remaining dog, goes with her, and while they try to navigate the wilderness, mountains become volcanoes. Strangers become bandits. Mab wasn’t prepared for this, but she writes the book on how to improvise in case of apocalypse.

 

Also featured this month is an aro ace moon phase inspired cross stitch from Sarah M. Carter! You can see more awesome works at Carter Threads!

 

Thank you to everyone who’s helped make The Little Free Library possible, and I updated the patreon’s goals with things I’d love to do in the future here.

March’s haul for the Little Free Library!

Striking a perfect balance between heartfelt emotions and spot-on humor, this debut features a pop-culture enthusiast protagonist with an unforgettable voice sure to resonate with readers.

This book has ace puns on the cover, and set in college which is great to see some complementary ace stories with older characters. If that and the beautiful cover was enough to convince me.

 

The Princess Diarist is Carrie Fisher’s New York Times bestselling intimate, hilarious and revealing recollection of what happened behind the scenes on one of the most famous film sets of all time, the first Star Wars movie.

This book isn’t very personal in regards to non-Star Wars things, but it does tell you a lot about her life on set and in the fandom. I think it’s a great book because it’s such a good reminder that there is a person beyond the icon.

 

A troubled girl confronts her personal demons in this time-travel thriller alternating between present day and 19th century Japan.
I originally picked this up because it was set in Japan, and featured a depressed bisexual character. I think this combination of representation in a character is both very common in reality, but far more rare in fiction.