Bookstore Love

A home is where the heart is.

Well, my heart is wherever the books are, and that has always meant that I’ve counted bookstores and libraries among my homes. I grew up camped out in the cafe of Barnes and Nobles, and navigating through the shelves of my local library (weighed down by towering stacks of hardcovers). My friends have always known to keep a firm grip on me whenever I spot a bookstore, because if they loosen they’re hold, I’ll dart inside. And once I’m inside, I can’t stay for mere minutes. Impossible!


This weekend, I was up in Sag Harbor, Long Island with a few friends. We were passing to the grocery store for Smores ingredients (because we planned to tell scary stories that night, and you can’t tell scary stories without marshmallows roasting in the background) but when I passed by an adorable bookstore, Harbor Books, I carefully backed away from my friends and darted through the entrance, leaving them, mystified, on the streets. I had to!

And once inside, I couldn’t even feel guilty. This independent bookstore was small but charming. Two cats (pictured above) lolled around lazily, and my attention flitted from the two of them back to the books, back to the cats, back to the books…you get the point. Meanwhile, a large, blocky tollbooth represented the Phantom Tollbooth, and gave me such a rush of nostalgia that I was tempted to buy The Phantom Tollbooth right there, even though I have a copy back home.

Large plush chairs ensured that I would have stayed for hours if not for my impatient friends, already tracking me down.

Even though I didn’t stay long, this bookstore reminded me how much I love exploring independent bookstores, as well as B&N. Amazon may be cheap, but it’s nothing compared to actually browsing in a physical bookstore. Be still, my heart! Be still, and take my money! You deserve it.

That said, what’s your favorite bookstore?! Let me know the name, and why you love it! (Wouldn’t it be great to compile them altogether and take a massive road trip to all of them??!!!)



NaNoWriMo 2014

Happy, happy, happppyyyy National Novel Writing Month. In all the cool kids circles, it’s known as, of course, NaNoWriMo.

Unfortunately, in my case this year, it’s more like Na-No Write-Mo. Well, I am writing, actually. But my goal is definitely not 50,000 words in a one month time frame, and it’s the first time in three years that I’m not participating. Boo. I made my mind up that I wasn’t going to take the challenge a few days before November. I was seriously debating about it when I looked into the coming months and saw term papers, sports club, debate, theatre, the university newspaper, a family visit, and procrastinating on the internet all coming, and coming too fast, and wow, wait, you’re sure I have that much going on and ohMYGOSH I’M EVEN THINKING ABOUT ADDING 50,000 WORDS ONTO ALL OF THIS? AM I INSANE? So yeah, excuses excuses (you know me!) but I decided that I didn’t want to go completely insane just in time for Christmas, and declined to do NaNo this year.

And although I can’t say I exactly regret my decision, I can say that I do miss all the NaNo-ey things that would be peppering this month, if I had accepted. Late night writing sessions with soda and popcorn and candy. Fun writing sprints where the Word document stays up for at least an hour, no exceptions, no distractions. The sense of being a part of a community of awesome, fun loving, dedicated writers. Plus, I miss the challenge bit of it. I miss competing with myself. Miss that initial thrill as I watch the word count surge upwards. Miss the slum that comes in the middle, solely for the rush that comes from powering through the slum, and making it to the 50k…sometimes on the very last day possible. I just miss it, guys. And I know I’m rambling on and on, so I’ll stop with this train of thought here.

I will tell you one thing that NaNoWriMo has done for me, though. It’s made this month into a freaking time paradox. How is it already more than half-way through the month? How, I ask you. I seriously thought it was still sometime in the first week of the month before I looked down at my laptop’s dashboard and realized for the umpteenth time–Erin, you have a messed-up sense of time. Somehow, NaNoWriMo always slowed the month of November down for me. All that writing put a strain on me, and under the burden of so many words it seemed that each day merely crawled by. Not in a bad way, because the days were enjoyable. But yes, definitely slower. Now, though? December might just be tomorrow.

Okay, I’m going to have to refocus myself here, because I just remembered that this was not supposed to be a post talking about what I miss about NaNoWriMo or blah blah blah. It was just supposed to be a shout-out to anyone reading my blog who is doing NaNoWriMo. I wanted to say: Congratulations! You’re half-way through the month. (Don’t Panic.) That means only a couple of more weeks until you’re finished! Until you’re part of that well-deserved winner’s circle. Because I truly believe that you can do it. I don’t care how far you are right now. You have two weeks, and that’s enough to either keep the momentum going, or add 49,000 words to that 1k you dabbled around with. I trust you. You’re awesome. Keep being awesome. That is all. And if you do end up not making the mark? Well, I still trust you! You’ll get there next year! Or, you’ll end up like me, talking about NaNoWriMo next year, and really, really wishing that you had the guts to stop making excuses and just do it.

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? If so–no time for comments, get back to writing folks! (Just kidding. Leave me comments, and then go back to your writing. You know I love them. :D) 

See Ya’ Next Week


Going volunteering in Wales. Yay!

There’s no wi-fi, or connection where my volunteer group is staying. Boo!

So for the next couple of days I’m going to be ankles deep in the mud, doing manual labor, completely phone, computer, and iPad-less. I’ve stayed off the inter-webs that long before, of course, but something about being in an area where NOBODY an be on the internet should be an interesting, refreshing experience. Hopefully. Maybe I’m more attached than I think…

That said,

See you guys next week!

My Bookshelves

So, I’ve seen a couple of posts around the Blog-O-Sphere showcasing reader’s bookshelves, and since I really enjoy looking at other’s shelves, I thought I’d do a post showing my own.

I don’t know about anyone else, but reorganizing my bookshelves is a recurring phenomena. I can only go so long with the same book shelf layout. Over the years, I’ve organized my books by author, by title, by genre, and even by color. Usually, I end up reverting back to the last name of the author within the set genre. Since I have a fair amount of  books it can be a bit of a hassle getting them all lined up again, but it’s actually quite soothing to sit on the floor surrounded by hundreds of books, stacking them into pile upon pile. It takes me hours to organize them because I always get distracted by books that I haven’t read in a while, and the first page turns into the second which turns into the third–and you know how the story goes. (Haha, story. Get it…book…story? Sorry…that was lame.)

My Bookshelves

My Bookshelves: (From BL up, to TL, to TR then down to BR) 1. Literary Fiction, Horror 2. Fantasy Pt. 1 3. Action/Adventure/Misc. 4. YA Contemporary Fiction, Chick-Lit, Romance 5. Mythology and Fairy Tales 6. Humor, TBR, Books That Have No Other Home (So…like Hermes’ Cabin in the Percy Jackson Series) 7. Books written before 1950, children’s books 8. Favorite’s Shelf 9. Paranormal Romance/Dark Fantasy 10. Science Fiction 11. Books in Diary Form, Historical 12. Mystery, Fantasy Pt. 2 

These are my bookshelves from my latest organizational overhaul. (It’s funny…I’m a self-proclaimed and other people-proclaimed disorganized person in almost all aspects of my life. But my books are the one thing about me that I keep in tight running order. Even when my books are scattered on my floor, I still always know where they are.) Instead of an alphabetical variation which is what I normally do, I decided to just clump shelves by certain genres and organize in different stacks and sorts the books that belong to said genre. It’s the first time all my books aren’t just lined up spine-to-spine, and although I’m two months into liking it, I have a feeling I’ll switch it back to alphabetical and straight before long.

Favorite Books

Favorite Books

This is my favorite shelf of all my book shelves. Literally…it’s where I keep all my favorite books (only one book from each series). The newest addition on there is American Gods, which found its way there early this morning. I’m so glad somebody recommended it to me on one of my blog posts. I think that’s one of the great things about having a blog and interacting with other people–I’ve read so many awesome books that I might never have done if not for all of you. My favorite shelf is fairly constant, although some books find their way on after a second read through, and some books I eventually decide aren’t up to par compared with all the other books I love. But for the most part, they are my precioussssss, and I love them. Like, a lot. Like, my love is actually kind of destructive. I’m so sorry Jane Eyre. So sorry.

Anyways, those were my bookshelves! They’re no grand library, no magnificent, beautiful, soul-searching enclave of wonder…but they’re mine. I’ve travelled to different countries and brought back those books. I’ve visited countless Half Price Book Stores, Barnes and Nobles, and Books-A-Millions for them. I’ve read them by the pool, in my bed, lying on the floor, while on road trips, and when I’m feeling particularly fearless: in the bath (again, so sorry Jane Eyre!). They’ve been laughs at two in the morning, friends during my worst moments, and a source of inspiration, always. They’re home. And I’m so lucky to have them.

Do you have a favorite shelf on your bookcase? What kind of books are on it?

Do you have any cool ways of organizing your books? I could use an awesome new method! Let me know in the comments below!