This house is full of books.

Like, crazy cat lady levels of full, only with books instead of cats. Admittedly the books are easier to shelve (though at this point not MUCH easier, because we are running out of shelves).

Part (okay most) of the problem:

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Yeah, I know. I love books, okay? Also I don’t spend on much other “entertainment” stuff right now, and we next-to-never eat out, so this is where my entertainment budget has been going.

But between my urge to step back from reviewing new releases for a while, and my even greater urge to get through some of my TBR pile and clear some shelf space, I’ve reached a decision: I’m going to try to go six months WITHOUT buying books.*

This will also give me more time to work through my stack of Old School Romances, and maybe review a few of those for a change. (No one will show up on my doorstep for reviewing something ten or twenty years out of print, right? Right??)

*Except for the children’s Scholastic Book Club orders.

Well, UGH.

I don’t often update this blog, but this morning I have something I need to communicate, and it’s a bit of a policy statement. I apologize in advance for the sheer pomposity of that.

As you may already have read, the Guardian recently published a piece in which an author writes lightly and amusingly about stalking someone who gave her a bad review. No, really, that really happened. There’s a good list of links at Love in the Margins.

Obviously I don’t ever want to be stalked by creepy authors. I realize the likelihood of that happening is pretty slim: I’m not a well-known or prolific reviewer, and I can usually only find the energy to review books I enjoyed, not the ones I hated. But, you know…if the atmosphere surrounding book reviews has gotten so entitled and toxic that some authors think this was justified (and they do: there are people praising the stalker on Twitter), then I have no interest in participating.

No, honestly, I just don’t. Take your much-wanted stars and shove them somewhere in need of light, because I’ll no longer be providing them for any authors I don’t already know/trust/have reason to believe are sane. So the list of things I’ll be bothering to review just shrank considerably.

But the more important thing I wanted to say is this: I don’t Google myself, look for mentions of myself, or even read reviews of my stuff anymore. If you are reading anything I’ve written, you can talk about it (or not) however and wherever you want to: I promise not to whine, stalk, complain, or even look. You are allowed to have opinions of my work! Even negative ones!

So this is my one and only comment: Thank you for taking the time to read me. I’m delighted if you enjoyed the read, and sorry if you didn’t, but either way I’m not comfortable responding to reviews. I hope you understand, and that you know I’m making this decision with a lot of respect and affection for the world of readers.

I went on a spree.

A shopping spree, not a killing spree; I feel it’s important to make that distinction.

Don’t these look lovely? I swear I would frame books and hang them on my wall of I could figure out how. The covers are like little, irresistible jewels.

They have that new-book glow.

They have that new-book glow.

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Things I Own

Publication date: 1983.

Shown: sand, sun, palm trees.

Shown: sand, sun, palm trees.

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…camel, pyramids. SUBTLE.

Not pictured: the hero’s amazing clothes.

…Craig looked comfortable in white shorts and a blue terrycloth shirt. (p. 208)

Isn’t terrycloth the stuff bathrobes are made out of? You can get SHIRTS in that?

My “Keeper Shelf” Overfloweth

Back when I was first reading romance novels, my best friend and I had the simplest sorting system ever. Romances were either “keepers,” which we knew we wanted to hold onto and probably reread, or they weren’t. Books that weren’t keepers got handed on to other people or dumped on the library or sold at garage sales; there was no used bookstore in our town at that time.

Of course, back then our purchasing habits were pretty simple too: we bought ALL THE THINGS, by which I mean all the categories we could find and afford each month plus whatever shiny foil-stamped horse-and-castle single titles we could scope out at the drugstore.

Now I’m a real live grown-up, and my buying habits have gotten complex and weird. I buy things I want to read because they sound good, because they sound bad, because the cover is hilariously awful, because I’ve always heard of this author/title and I was on eBay or Abebooks and there it was….

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A random sample grabbed from the “to-read” pile and spread out on my kids’ wooden table.

The problem is I have gotten way less ruthless about my “keeper” shelf than twelve-year-old me. I am drowning in paperbacks, here. I hate getting rid of vintage ones because I always worry I won’t be able to find them again. But also, I tend to collect categories of category (so right now I have ALL THE SHEIKS for some reason). Also, single-title covers are gorgeous, which makes me hold onto them even when I know I’m never going to reread them.

A major purge is in order, I think. I just haven’t made up my mind where to start.