Currently reading: Jonny Appleseed, by Joshua Whitehead.
Hello, world! It’s me, emmy. I’m a trans enby PhD student and indie bookseller in Toronto, Ontario. I read a tonne, and I’m beginning the arduous process of chipping away at writing a PhD dissertation, so I decided to start this blog to get back into the practice of writing, and keep up my reading pace. I’ve read a lot this past year, and I can’t wait to share some reviews and recommendations with you. I plan to post about twice a month, depending on my schedule. I love giving custom reading recommendations, so if that’s something you’re interested in, visit my contact page.
Although I won’t usually write about me, inspired by the bookish bloggers from Book Riot Insiders, I decided to begin with an introductory post that answers a few of their prompts.
Who/What got you into reading?
I have been an avid reader for as long as I can remember, and I think that I can credit my grandmother. I was an only child raised by three generations of women all in the same house: my mom, my grandmother, and my great grandmother. We lived in an isolated place, and I can hardly remember a day that my grandmother didn’t have her nose buried in a book. By the time I was four, I was reading on my own, and I just… never stopped. It’s always been a comfort and an escape for me, and I’m not sure who I would be without books.
What are your favourite genres?
I read fiction written for any age group, and adult non-fiction. I’ve read an inordinate amount of non-fiction about animals, because of my academic interests. I don’t read a lot of books written by cis men, and I tend to gravitate heavily toward writing by trans, non-binary, and queer authors. As a white settler living on colonized land, I intentionally focus on books written by Indigenous authors. I love anything spooky.
What are your least favourite genres?
I don’t tend to enjoy comedy, romance, or history books. I don’t read a lot of mystery, popular fiction, or bestseller titles. I prefer long form to short stories or anthologies, and I have to be in the right head space to dig into poetry. The thing I struggle with the most as a bookseller is recommending books that people typically think of as light and fun, “beach read” kind of books.
If you had to choose between bringing a mediocre book series or one great standalone book to a deserted island, which would you pick?
While I don’t typically reread a lot of books, I am a wildly anxious person, and suspense is not my favourite! I enjoy books that are resolved within one volume more than stories that span many books, and I am absolutely adverse to picking up a series that hasn’t been concluded yet. I’d have to say one great standalone book.
How do you organize your bookshelves? Do you even have any organizational system?
Right now, I split my time between two places. One is a 450 square foot apartment in Toronto, which I share with one of my partners and four pets. We are squeezed for space, and this is where the majority of my books live! I keep them in small stacks of picture books, TBR, and a small selection of favourite books that are my permanent collection. I keep it small, though, because I move a lot! My TBR is divided into four sections right now. These are books that I intentionally sought out, ARCs and damaged books that I got from work, spooky books, and academic books. I usually read at least 2-4 books at a time, so depending on my mood and deadlines, I’ll go to a different stack to choose what I’ll pick up next.
Have you ever gone to any book signings? Which was your favorite?
The shop where I work has a very busy event calendar. In 2018, my favourite book event was the launch of Sarah Henstra’s novel, The Red Word, published by ECW Press. I was assigned to sell books at this event, and everything about it was unknown to me. Not only did the book go on to win the Governor General’s Award for English-language fiction this year, but the event was an absolute delight. It was held at the Toronto Arts and Letters Club, which is the most elegant building I’ve encountered in Toronto, despite its unassuming facade. The author herself was charming, friendly, and stunning, and she was an engaging speaker and reader. Her signing was unique, as she’d had stamps made to use on each book to give them a personal touch. The excerpt she chose to read from the book intrigued me and made me laugh, and as icing on the cake, there were two enchanting folk musicians who played, and delicious snacks. It was an unexpectedly magical night.
Hardcovers or Paperbacks or eBooks or Audiobooks?
I read mostly physical books, with a preference for paperbacks for comfort reasons. However, I also make the 22 hour drive between Toronto and Denver on a regular basis, so since I began doing that, I’ve started using Libby to listen to audiobooks, and it has been a game changer for those long trips.
What makes you DNF a book?
A habit I developed during my high school IB program English class is this: if I read 100 pages of a book, and I am not enjoying it, it’s over. I rarely ever give a book more of a chance than that, and I’m fairly unapologetic about that. I am a firm believer that there are always more books in the world than one person will ever be able to read, and not every book is the right book for every reader.
Do you have a bookish pet?
I. Have. So. Many.
D and Boom are my retired racing greyhounds. They’re 10 years old, and I’ve had D since 2011, and Boom since 2013. I also have two formerly feral kittens, littermates, who are a year and a half old, named Whisper and Willow. In Denver, my partner has cats: Bailey, Odin, and Yuki; and an Australian shepherd mix named Kiba.
Do you enjoy readathons? If so, which ones can people find you participating in?
I have actually never done a readathon! Because so much of my reading life has been dominated by academic reading over the past 10 years or so, I’ve never taken on a readathon or a reading challenge. I do tend to make bookish new year’s resolutions… so maybe one day!
What is one part of bookish life you enjoy that isn’t reading?
One part of my job that I have an uncanny enjoyment for is sales pitch meetings from our publishers. I love getting a sneak peek at upcoming books, getting my hands on the ARCs they bring along, and getting excited about what’s to come for the book shop and for my own reading in the upcoming book season!