Hi There. 👋 I’m Rachel, and I’m a book hoarder.
Actually, hold on. Let me back up a bit and explain how I got here…
My name is Rachel, and I have long loved and possessed many, many books. Before I could read, I would hold them up in front of my face and recite made-up tales, pretending they contained my own stories. Once I did learn to sound out syllables from written words, though, it quickly became impossible to get me to stop from doing so, and also from accruing all sorts of paperbacks and hardcovers. Family and friends contributed to the obsession, presenting me with wrapped up new titles on birthdays and holidays. Bookstore gift cards, too, rarely lived long when in my hands. I obsessively purchased until my shelves were stuffed…and my wallet was empty.
The stockpiling grew worse when I went to university and started hosting a radio talk show where I interviewed writers on WNYU-FM, The Write Stuff. Book publicists sent me titles for free (!), including pre-publication galleys. (Most people recycle these once they receive a finished copy of a book. I, by contrast, collect them like rare baseball cards.) When I started interning at literary agencies and publishing houses during graduate school, I became able to get my hands on free copies of hundreds of titles. I stacked them on the corner of my desk and carried them back to my apartment when the pile became so high it looked suspicious. It was a great workout, and it contributed to a hearty at-home collection that surrounded me in my cozy studio apartment. I love it very much.
Here I am, posing awkwardly with just a fragment of my unwieldy assortment.
But, here comes the problem… Between twenty years of school/three higher education degrees completed between two countries, fifteen jobs, and some semblance of a life, I have not had much time to actually read a lot of these books over the years. I’ve let them sit around me and gather dusty without cracking their spines. There are so many now that I could never list them for you. Many of them I cannot even remember.
However, that is going to change.
Rachel is Reading… is my way of digging through my stacks and reading each and every title. Some will be old, others will be newer. They might be terrific, or they might be big ol’ flops. Regardless, I will be reading them all, and I will be sharing my thoughts here.
After I finish a book, I will write about it. I will try my darndest to remember how I acquired it in the first place as well as give a review. For anyone who might be looking to read with me—or to start their own big book bunker—I will also be curating the titles in monthly lists on Bookshop.org, a digital book-buying outlet where a portion of the proceeds from each purchase benefits independent bookstores.
If you’re the person always asking for a reading recommendation, or the one unsure which books are worth you making some valuable space on your shelf, or maybe just someone who appreciates the occasional bad book joke, then this is a newsletter for you. Go ahead and click that subscribe button below. I promise that nothing more menacing than some emails will come of it.
Great! So now, I guess there’s only one thing left to do…