Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Memories

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is Bookish Memories — described by the meme host as share stories of your reading life as a child, events you’ve gone to, books that made an impression on you, noteworthy experiences with books, authors you’ve met, etc. Reminisce with me!

In no particular order, here are ten random bookish memories that have stayed with me:

1 Traveling to Phoenix, Arizona in 2014 to attend a book event with Diana Gabaldon for the release of Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, the 8th book in the Outlander series. I had consistently been unable to attend every one of her events in my own town, so I made the decision to travel for this one, and it was so worth it!

2. Reading with my kids! Highlights include cracking up while listening to my 3-year-old trying to recite along with Richard Scarry’s A-Z book of cars. Hilarious! Also, reading the entire Harry Potter series out loud with my son, and starting him off early (as an infant) by reading poems to him from A. A. Milne’s books.

3. My favorite childhood reading spot — I grew up in an observant Jewish household, which meant no TV or other forms of entertainment on Saturday afternoons. We had a big armchair in the living room, and I would spend hours on those afternoons curled up in it with a book.

(via Pinterest)

4. Meeting Amber Benson (Tara from Buffy!!) at a small book event at a local bookstore. She was doing a reading from a book she’d written (Death’s Daughter), and my daughter and I arrived early to browse… and met Amber while she was also browsing. We chatted, and she was so nice! (And clearly a book lover…)

5. Attending summer camp as a young teen and having copies of Our Bodies, Ourselves passed around the bunk. Between that and certain Judy Blume books, it was an eye-opening summer for a lot of us!

6. Going to a silent reading party — and enjoying silent reading in a room full of 60+ other booklovers.

7. Going to a midnight release party for Breaking Dawn and winning a trivia contest! Yes, I won a Twilight trivia contest, and I’m not (too) embarrassed about it.

8. Reading and sharing with my book group, who are just a fantastic group of readers (and are truly fantastic people in all ways).

9. Reading everywhere I go, including on some beautiful beaches and in gorgeous national parks.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

10. Sharing books, book ideas, and long, long visits to bookstores with my wonderful daughter, as a child and as an adult.

What bookish memories do you cherish?

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Shelf Control #295: The Wicked Deep by Shea Earnshaw

Shelves final

Welcome to Shelf Control — an original feature created and hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out my introductory post, here.

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. See the guidelines at the bottom of the post, and jump on board!

Title: The Wicked Deep
Author: Shea Earnshaw
Published: 2018
Length: 310 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…

Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town.

Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under.

Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into.

Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.

But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.

How and when I got it:

I bought the Kindle edition about two years ago.

Why I want to read it:

I picked up a copy of this book after reading the author’s 2019 novel, Winterwood. I loved the writing and the storytelling in that book, and was eager to read her earlier book.

As far as the plot of The Wicked Deep, I’m always up for a good witchy story, and this one sounds sinister and spooky and full of malice. Long-dead witches seeking revenge? I’m in! I really like the sound of the contemporary elements of the story, with a teen girl having to try to find a way to break the cycle. Reading the synopsis once more time as I write this post, I’m intrigued all over again!

I think this book is on my mind right now because I’m taking a look at my upcoming ARCs, and I’m planning to read the author’s next release, A History of Wild Places, in December. Here’s hoping The Wicked Deep and A History of Wild Places are both just as good as Winterwood!

What do you think? Would you read this book?

Please share your thoughts!


__________________________________

Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments or link back from your own post, so I can add you to the participant list.
  • Check out other posts, and…

Have fun!

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I’d Love An Update On

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is Characters I’d Love An Update On (Where are they now that the book is over?). I did a version of this topic ages ago (here), and I’m happy to come up with a fresh list of characters whose lives I’d want to check in on!

  1. Simon & Baz (Simon Snow trilogy by Rainbow Rowell): The trilogy just ended with the 3rd book’s release this past July, but these two characters are young adults with their whole lives ahead of them, and I’d love to know what happens next for them!
  2. Jude (Folk of the Air trilogy by Holly Black): Jude gets a happy ending, but surely being a queen of faerie as a mortal woman can’t be easy? I’d love to see how it’s going in another few years, just to make sure she’s happy.
  3. Lara Jean Covey (To All the Boys trilogy by Jenny Han): She gets a happy ending, but I want to know how she and Peter’s relationship really works during college and beyond.
  4. Rowan (Arc of a Scythe trilogy by Neal Shusterman): Such an unexpected turn of events in the final book! I’d love to know how it all worked out for the characters.
  5. Scarlett & Rhett (Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell): I know Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley was supposed to be the sequel, but I kind of hated it and pretend like it never happened… so I’d like to know how Scarlett and Rhett’s lives REALLY turned out. Did they go back to Tara? Did they get back together? Was tomorrow really another day?
  6. Elma and Nathaniel York (Lady Astronaut series by Mary Robinette Kowal): This is one where we will find out more, eventually. We left these characters newly arrived on Mars in the book that was released in 2018. Book #4 in the series is supposed to be released in 2022, and it should be picking back up with these two characters’ stories… can’t wait!
  7. Maia Drazhar (The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison): I love The Goblin Emperor so much, and would absolutely spend any amount of time reading about the years of Maia’s reign as Emperor. He’s such a fabulous character, and I want to follow the rest of his life and see how things turned out for him.
  8. Maggie Hoskie (The Sixth World books by Rebecca Roanhorse): I really liked the two books in this series and assumed there would be more… but I didn’t see anything specific online about when or if a next book would be forthcoming. In any case, I’d love to read more about Maggie, and hope we’ll get additional books eventually.
  9. Edward & Bella (Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer): Haha, I know… but I actually included these two on my previous version of this list, and the same questions hold true: How’s eternal life working out? How is it being married to someone you know you’ll be with FOREVER? How’s parenthood treating them?
  10. Elizabeth Bennet (Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen): Sure, there are tons of retellings and imagined sequels, but none by Jane Austen, so it’s not like they’re official! How did Elizabeth adjust to life at Pemberley? I’d love to know.

What characters would you most like to keep up with? Whose lives are you wondering about?

If you wrote a TTT this week, please share your links!

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Shelf Control #294: Curse Workers trilogy by Holly Black

Shelves final

Welcome to Shelf Control — an original feature created and hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out my introductory post, here.

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. See the guidelines at the bottom of the post, and jump on board!

Title: Curse Workers (trilogy)
Author: Holly Black
Published: 2010 – 2012
Length: White Cat – 310 pages; Red Glove – 325 pages; Black Heart – 297 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black comes the “dangerously, darkly gorgeous” (Cassandra Clare) Curse Workers trilogy

Cassel Sharpe comes from a family of curse workers, people who have the power to change emotions, memories, and luck with the slightest touch of their hands. And since curse work is illegal, they’re also all criminals. Many become mobsters and con artists, but not Cassel. He doesn’t have magic, so he’s an outsider, the straight kid in a crooked family—except for the small detail that he killed his best friend, Lila, three years ago.

Cassel has carefully built up a facade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his facade starts to crumble when he finds himself sleepwalking, propelled into the night by terrifying dreams about a white cat that wants to tell him something. He’s noticing other disturbing things, too, including the strange behavior of his two older brothers, who are keeping secrets from him. As Cassel begins to suspect he’s an unwitting pawn in a huge con game, he must unravel his past, and his memories. To find the truth, Cassel will have to out-con the conmen.

How and when I got it:

I bought the three paperbacks many years ago — and yes, the gorgeous covers had a lot to do with it!

Why I want to read it:

It’s Holly Black! Of course I want to read these books!

I actually bought these books several years before reading one of my all-time favorite series, The Folk of the Air — but especially after reading those amazing books, I’m willing and eager to read anything and everything by this author!

The overall plot of the trilogy sounds terrific. I love the idea of being able to change emotions with a touch — it sounds like such a dangerous power to possess.

In case you’re interested, the three books of the trilogy are being released this coming December as an all-in-one edition. 992 pages!! Somehow, it seems a lot more intimidating to think about reading it that way. (And I way prefer the covers of the editions I have!)

What do you think? Would you read this trilogy?

Please share your thoughts!


__________________________________

Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments or link back from your own post, so I can add you to the participant list.
  • Check out other posts, and…

Have fun!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books for Outlander fans

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is Books to Read If You Love/Loved X (X can be a genre, specific book, author, movie/TV show, etc.). I’m in the midst of an Outlander obsession at the moment, with the long-awaited book #9 coming out NEXT WEEK… so you’ll excuse me if this series is pretty much all that’s on my mind right now.

Here are 10 books I think Outlander fans should check out:

The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley

What’s the connection?

Set in Scotland, historical fiction, Jacobite uprising, time-slip romance (and really, can’t go wrong with any of this author’s books!)


Clanlands by Sam Heughan & Graham McTavish

What’s the connection?

Outlander stars (!!), fun facts about Scotland, lots of references to the creation and filming of the Outlander TV series


A Stitch in Time by Kelley Armstrong

What’s the connection?

A romance across time, time travel, lovers from different eras


A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

What’s the connection:

Strong female lead character, male lead who seems too good to be true, time travel (in book #2), epic romance


Finding Fraser by KC Dyer

What’s the connection?

You literally could not be more connected to Outlander! A romantic adventure in which the main character heads to Scotland to find her very own Jamie Fraser.


Poldark series by Winston Graham

What’s the connection?

Historical fiction, time period overlaps somewhat with Outlander, gorgeous settings, heroic male lead, epic romance


The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

What’s the connection?

Set in the Scottish Highlands (and just a really enjoyable read)


On the Occasion of My Last Afternoon by Kaye Gibbons

What’s the connection?

Historical fiction, wartime medicine, women in medicine


Kate Shugak series by Dana Stabenow

What’s the connection:

Ongoing series with a remarkable, memorable woman as the lead character. Also, recommended by Diana Gabaldon via her Methadone List.


In Falling Snow by Mary-Rose MacColl

What’s the connection?

Women in medicine, wartime medicine, World War (although this is WWI, not Claire’s WWII)


Have you read any of these? Are there other books you’d recommend for people who love Outlander?

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Shelf Control #293: The River by Peter Heller

Shelves final

Welcome to Shelf Control — an original feature created and hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out my introductory post, here.

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. See the guidelines at the bottom of the post, and jump on board!

Title: The River
Author: Peter Heller
Published: 2019
Length: 253 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

The story of two college friends on a wilderness canoe trip—of a friendship tested by fire, white water, and violence

Wynn and Jack have been best friends since freshman orientation, bonded by their shared love of mountains, books, and fishing. Wynn is a gentle giant, a Vermont kid never happier than when his feet are in the water. Jack is more rugged, raised on a ranch in Colorado where sleeping under the stars and cooking on a fire came as naturally to him as breathing.

When they decide to canoe the Maskwa River in northern Canada, they anticipate long days of leisurely paddling and picking blueberries, and nights of stargazing and reading paperback Westerns. But a wildfire making its way across the forest adds unexpected urgency to the journey.

When they hear a man and woman arguing on the fog-shrouded riverbank and decide to warn them about the fire, their search for the pair turns up nothing and no one. But: The next day a man appears on the river, paddling alone. Is this the man they heard? And, if he is, where is the woman?

How and when I got it:

As with so many of the books on my Kindle, I bought the e-book version a year or so ago when there was a one-day price break.

Why I want to read it:

Peter Heller’s 2012 novel The Dog Stars is one that has stayed with me — beautiful, powerful, and frightening. I’ve been wanting to read more of his works ever since.

I remember hearing about The River when it came out, and knew that I’d want to read it eventually. It has so many elements I love, especially wilderness exploration with a touch of danger. This book sounds like a great combination of a story of friendship, an outdoor adventure, and a thriller, all rolled into one.

A sequel, The Guide, was just released earlier this year, and it sounds terrific — in fact, hearing about this new book is what reminded me that I really do need to finally get to The River.

What do you think? Would you read this book?

Please share your thoughts!


__________________________________

Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments or link back from your own post, so I can add you to the participant list.
  • Check out other posts, and…

Have fun!

Top Ten Tuesday: Lines Worth Remembering — a selection of great passages from my recently read books

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is Memorable Things Characters Have Said (quotes from book characters that have stuck with you). I think I’ve done posts on characters’ quotes before, so this time around, I thought I’d share a random bunch of passages that I highlighted*, for one reason or another, in books that I’ve read recently. (In general, these will be lines that made me laugh, or at the very least, smirk).

*And don’t worry — I’m referring to using the highlight functions on my Kindle, not an actual neon yellow highlighter on an actual physical book! I would never!

What did one say when a gentleman confessed to a shortcoming? She couldn’t recall ever hearing one do so before, but surely, sometime in the course of history, some gentleman had. And someone would have had to make a reply.

On the Way to the Wedding (Bridgertons, #8) by Julia Quinn

If he were furniture, he’d be a really nice-looking shag carpet.

Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon

Taking his clothes off tonight would test his ability to open not just his pants but his heart for Clara.

The Roommate by Rosie Danan

“We didn’t see them until they got there! The foe has sneakily snucked a sneak attack behind our lines, like a sneaky sneak!”

Battle Ground (Dresden Files, #17) by Jim Butcher

“How did you get here, little girl?” she said, in a voice that suggested gingerbread cottages and the slamming of big stove doors.

Equal Rites (Discworld, #3) by Terry Pratchett

To speak frankly, I am not in favour of long engagements. They give people the opportunity of finding out each other’s character before marriage,

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

Another voice, dry as tinder, hissed, “You would do well to remember where you are.” It should be impossible to hiss a sentence with no sibilants in it, but the voice made a very good attempt.

The Light Fantastic (Discworld, #2) by Terry Pratchett

“Why didn’t you bring me a milkshake?” is not an inquiry befitting a Prince of Cats.

The Unkindest Tide (October Daye, #13) by Seanan McGuire

If I was forty years younger, of a different sexual orientation and my son wasn’t married to you, I’d be after you in a heartbeat.”

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

A werewolf was lower than a Californian, all things considered – rough rural hillbillies with too much hair. And open shirt collars. And no table manners.

How To Marry a Werewolf by Gail Carriger

I probably could have filled up my whole list with Bridgerton or Discworld quotes… but it’s fun to mix things up a bit.

If you wrote a TTT this week, please share your links!

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Shelf Control #292: Winter Rose by Patricia A. McKillip

Shelves final

Welcome to Shelf Control — an original feature created and hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out my introductory post, here.

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. See the guidelines at the bottom of the post, and jump on board!

Title: Winter Rose
Author: Patricia A. McKillip
Published: 1996
Length: 262 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

Sorrow and trouble and bitterness will bound you and yours and the children of yours…

Some said the dying words of Nial Lynn, murdered by his own son, were a wicked curse. To others, it was a winter’s tale spun by firelight on cold, dark nights. But when Corbet Lynn came to rebuild his family estate, memories of his grandfather’s curse were rekindled by young and old – and rumours filled the heavy air of summer.

In the woods that border Lynn Hall, free-spirited Rois Melior roams wild and barefooted in search of healing herbs. She is as hopelessly unbridled – and unsuited for marriage – as her betrothed sister Laurel is domestic. In Corbet’s pale green eyes, Rois senses a desperate longing. In her restless dreams, mixed with the heady warmth of harvest wine, she hears him beckon. And as autumn gold fades, Rois is consumed with Corbet Lynn, obsessed with his secret past – until, across the frozed countryside and in flight from her own imagination, truth and dreams become inseparable…

How and when I got it:

I bought the e-book version when I saw it listed as a price drop. It was many years ago, but I don’t know when!

Why I want to read it:

From what I’ve seen on Goodreads, this is a Tam Lin retelling, and that’s enough for me to be sold! I’m always up for a good retelling, and I love fairy tales in general… plus, the synopsis for this book sounds lovely and magical. And who can resist that gorgeous cover?

I haven’t read anything by this author before, but I’ve heard her name from a bunch of trusted sources, and I think I have an old paperback of hers somewhere on my shelves as well.

I’d love to know if you have recommendations for other Patricia McKillip books. And meanwhile, what do you think of my Shelf Control choice this week? Would you read this book?

Please share your thoughts!


__________________________________

Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments or link back from your own post, so I can add you to the participant list.
  • Check out other posts, and…

Have fun!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Would Hand to Someone Who Claims to Not Like Reading

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is Books I Would Hand to Someone Who Claims to Not Like Reading.

What a challenging topic! I do have people like this in my life (and yes, I tolerate them), but it would be hard to just make a blanket statement about what books to recommend without knowing anything about their overall interests. So, here is a somewhat scattered and arbitrary list of books I might give to non-readers — but realizing that this is a total crapshoot and none of these might work at all!

  1. Old Man’s War by John Scalzi: For someone who enjoys science fiction and humor, I can’t think of a better place to start! This book has it all, and is very accessible.
  2. The Martian by Andy Weir: More science fiction, but since I’m assuming most people have at least a passing familiarity with the movie version, it could be fun for someone who enjoyed the plot to read the original book.
  3. Emma by Jane Austen: For someone who says they can’t get into classics, I typically push Emma. It’s just so funny! The audiobook makes it even more “user-friendly”, and is a great entry for someone who doesn’t typically read non-contemporary books.
  4. The Salt Path by Raynor Wynn: If the person who doesn’t read says that they don’t like made-up stories, then I’d go with a memoir that feels compelling and presents an unusual life… and I just loved this one.
  5. The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal: And even more science fiction! This is one of my all-time favorites, and it really is superb for so many reasons — great science fiction, very human characters, strong feminist messaging, and an interesting look at at a historical period and what it could have been in different circumstances.
  6. Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling: This one needs no explanation, and again, most people have probably already seen the movies or think they know enough about Harry Potter… but experiencing the books for the first time is such a special experience, and I could easily see someone who doesn’t usually enjoy books really getting immersed in this series.
  7. Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery: Anne is such a sweet and optimistic character, and her world is so lovely. I challenge anyone to read this book and not be charmed!
  8. The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne: Another one that I found so immersive, in terms of historical setting and characters, that I can’t imagine anyone not being captivated.
  9. The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende: Such a beautifully written book, and great on so many levels! I’ve given this book to a lot of people over the years, both avid readers and people who don’t read a lot, and have always gotten a positive response.
  10. Good Talk by Mira Jacob: This book got passed around my entire extended family over the past year. A graphic memoir, it’s easy to read yet also provides some great food for thought and discussion.

What books would you recommend to people who say they don’t like reading?

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Shelf Control #291: Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters

Shelves final

Welcome to Shelf Control — an original feature created and hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out my introductory post, here.

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. See the guidelines at the bottom of the post, and jump on board!

Title: Crocodile on the Sandbank
Author: Elizabeth Peters
Published: 1975
Length: 290 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

Amelia Peabody is Elizabeth Peters’ most brilliant and best-loved creation, a thoroughly Victorian feminist who takes the stuffy world of archaeology by storm with her shocking men’s pants and no-nonsense attitude!

In this first adventure, our headstrong heroine decides to use her substantial inheritance to see the world. On her travels, she rescues a gentlewoman in distress – Evelyn Barton-Forbes – and the two become friends. The two companions continue to Egypt where they face mysteries, mummies and the redoubtable Radcliffe Emerson, an outspoken archaeologist, who doesn’t need women to help him solve mysteries — at least that’s what he thinks!

How and when I got it:

I bought a used paperback edition at least five years ago.

Why I want to read it:

I’m wracking my brain trying to remember how I first heard of this book. I feel pretty certain that it was recommended by an author I follow (Gail Carriger? Dana Stabenow?), enough to make me want to check it out.

The Goodreads reviews are really mixed, but I have a feeling that’s because the book was first published in 1975, so I’m sure the subject matter and style feel a bit dated by now. But, if you weed out the comparisons to more recent fiction, the reviews tend to be more upbeat, praising the writing, the setting, and the lead character.

I really like the sound of the plot, with mummies and Egyptologists and potential curses. While I don’t often gravitate toward mystery series (this is the 1st in a series of 20 books), this book does sound like a fun, engaging read.

What do you think? Would you read this book?

Please share your thoughts!

Literary Potpourri


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Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments or link back from your own post, so I can add you to the participant list.
  • Check out other posts, and…

Have fun!