Please just distract me with your glorious pages.

by KJ in #AmReading

A serial book abandoner’s plea.

Rough week around the old couch-and-bedtable reading homestead. I started and dumped no fewer than 6 assorted books.

There’s only one thing to conclude at that point. I’ll spare you the meme, but…

It’s me. Hi. I’m the problem. It’s me.

I just wasn’t into them. In my defense, five of the six were advance copies, which I don’t pay for and am therefore far more likely to take a flier on. I could probably have guessed I wouldn’t like some of them. Two, maybe even three, I will go back to. (Island Time from Georgia Clark, which I bought; Pineapple Street by Jenny Jackson and You’re a Mean One, Matthew Prince (total prizewinner for for title), Timothy Janovsky.) (You know what I get to do here if I want? Parentheticals within parentheticals, friend. All the parenthesis are mine. (Also, parentheticals totally IS spelled right, spell check.))*

Mostly they just weren’t the right books for that moment. I needed, craved, distraction. And that meant, I think, that it had to be something I would never write, something I would never dissect to see how it was written, and something that didn’t ask a whole lot of me in terms of thinking about external issues, or raise personal demons. Or—something so entirely tasty that I wouldn’t care because I would be wildly flipping the pages.

Here’s what I DID read:

distracting reads of the week


Out of the Clear Blue Sky: just tasty, all the way through, satisfying revenge, lovely and long and just out in paper! Can’t find it? Replace with the unread Kristan Higgins of your choice for similar results.

Legends and Lattes: An indie sensation, picked up by trad pub and found on the front table of my bookstore. Ever wonder what the orcs, elves and etc of Dungeons and Dragons adventures do when they retire? They open coffee shops in cities that have never heard of coffee, and discover that they’re worth more than their ability scores.

A Lady’s Guide to Fortune Hunting: Adorable, joyful, Bridgerton’s The Duke & I (which is worth your time!) but far, far less steamy, fun for the non-regency romance readers as well a those who adore them. It has that Jane Austen fan fiction vibe, too. (Still in $$ hardback. Splurge for a plane ride or put it on your library list.)

Then there’s my #TBR. I’m pencils down on my revision at the moment, and my good intentions for writing short stories MOSTLY ended in cleaning my closet and reading. Plus, I have flight time ahead. So my #tbr is ambitious. (My photo collecting skills, not so much, but you get the idea.)


Building a Second Brain

A Very Merry Bromance

Novelist as a Vocation


I’ll let you know if I liked them in future missives. Or maintain a discreet silence….


A much-loved friend’s book FINALLY came out this week. I’ve talked about it before—but now you can actually buy it. If you loved Bomb Shelter or adore essays from other Gen X women who’ve gone from grateful to have a change to work in a “man’s world” to realizing those shouldn’t exist, I’m Wearing Tunics Now: On Growing Older, Better, and a Hell of a Lot Louder is for you. Or your sister, bff, mom…

This week’s non-book enthusiasm: ACTUAL CHOCOLATE. (I guess it often is?) This party-bar from Vosges checks a lot of boxes for me as a fun splurge for Thanksgiving dessert or a party gift. It’s dairy-free, which makes it vegan, allergy and post-meat-including dinner kosher friendly (in our family, at least, it could be there are dietary laws I’m not familiar with that make it not work for some). Woman-owned, nut free and a bunch of other small box labels I’m not familiar with. I can’t wait to smash it up after the turkey.

a big bar of fancy chocolate

LOTS to share this round! Also: perhaps you noticed that this email LOOKS different. And came from a different address. That’s because I’m changing it up and moving to Substack, because I’m finding the fun and community I miss from the old days of social media right here, in the comments and the chat. I’ll be recommending my favorite other Substacks right here and hanging out in the chat. Join me—OR just keep getting the email like you always have.


*Wondering what I dnf’d? I’m willing to spill, but only in conversation—because it’s not that the books aren’t good, it’s that they weren’t for me for various reasons that demand discussion. Nuanced, thoughtful discussion that won’t leap unexpectedly out of the internet and ambush some unsuspecting author and ruin their day. Come chat and we’ll put ALL our dnf’s out there.


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As always, you’ll also find me on  The #AmWriting Podcast


   The #AmWriting Podcast
Lit Mags, Grants and Residencies: a best-we-can how-to for an always changing but more approachable than we imagine world. Episode 339 with Patrice Gopo
Listen now (52 min) | Ever feel like some things are just outside your ken? I’m that way with literary magazines. And I’ve never found the right retreat or residency, or applied for a grant, and I know sometimes it’s just that I don’t think I belong in that world. But worlds don’t usually just reach out and drag you in. That’s a fave theme of ours around here—you can’t be pub…
Listen now

Thanks for reading Box of Chocolates! It’s free. And full of books and other enthusiasms. So maybe you’d like to forward it to a friend.

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