A Bookshelf of Friends

There’s something truly special about looking at my bookshelf and seeing the names of friends smiling back at me from the bindings. Each book evokes memories of a time I’ve shared with the author. Late night existential conversations (or so we thought) in a high school dorm. Russian Literature class in the dead of winter watching the sun rise across the snowy campus. Weddings and salons and literary adventures. Long walks enjoying nature together. These books are storytellers beyond what’s on the pages.

And with that, suddenly authors are no longer elusive creatures who magically create bound books for us to enjoy. They’re humans who have an exquisite talent for crafting the written word and are generous enough to share it with us. Knowing a few of them is my glimpse behind the curtain — a reminder that for all the magic that is involved in crafting a book there’s a hell of a lot of hard work too. And that we’re all capable of great things if we’re willing to put in the time.

All too often we’re quiet fans from afar of the work our friends are doing. I’ve fallen prey to this. Some of these books have been sitting on my shelf for years waiting to be read despite my desire to devour them. We get caught up in our own lives and forget to share our enthusiasm and high fives with those whose work we value. The act of getting a book publish or launching a company or presenting an art installation is no small feat. Let’s cheer on the people who are creating incredible works in this world.

When’s the last time you high-fived a friend, figuratively or literally, for what she’s up to? For that matter, when’s the last time you reached out to anyone you admire to let her know you value her work? (I sent Zoë Comings a little love note this morning to tell her I wear her earrings almost daily and get a constant stream of compliments for them.) Sharing your enthusiasm with people feels fantastic!

Writer friends, my hats off to you for the talent encapsulated on my bookshelf. I’m using this summer to catch up on some overdue reading. Congrats on the fruition of your labors and thanks for sharing your incredible talents with us! I’m cheering you on whether you know it or not. Let the reading commence.

Bookshelf collection listed alphabetically by author —

  Lies You Never Told Me  by Jennifer Donaldson

Lies You Never Told Me by Jennifer Donaldson

 The Marginalized Majority: Claiming Our Power in a Post-Truth America by  Onnesha Roychoudhuri

The Marginalized Majority: Claiming Our Power in a Post-Truth America by Onnesha Roychoudhuri

Speaking of supporting people you know, here are a few of my favorite local bookstores where you can pick up these books — Brilliant Books [Traverse City, MI] or Powell’s Books [Portland, OR] or The Strand [NYC].