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IMG_5527Dear readers,

I’m happy to announce that For the Love of Bookshops has moved to a self-hosted site. This move has been in the works for some time now, and I’m over the moon to see it finally get off the ground. My apologies if you’ve tried to find me these past couple of days and were redirected. While I’m still ironing out a few kinks (don’t worry, those pictures on old posts are coming back!), I couldn’t wait any longer to show you around the new site. All the old content you’re used to seeing is there, plus a few new features that I’m looking forward to sharing with you in future.

WordPress.com folks, while you will continue to see updates from my blog on your Reader, you will no longer receive emails when I publish a new post. :( If this makes you as sad as it makes me, you can Subscribe via email on the new site (the button is in the sidebar in the top-right corner). That way we can continue to hang out.

Email subscribers, you will continue to get updates same as ever.

Thank you for staying with me in this transition. More to come later today.

Cheers,

Erin

gone girl hardback IMG_5228I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be doing my first ever book giveaway for one lucky For the Love of Bookshop reader. And the book is … Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn! If you haven’t already been swept away with Flynnvy, let me just tell you: Gone Girl is a sneaky, page-turner of a psychological thriller that some are calling the book of 2012. Flynn immerses the reader instantly into an intriguing missing person plot — Amy Dunne vanishes from her home on the morning of her fifth wedding anniversary and all fingers are pointing to husband, Nick. The only problem? Nick is one of our narrator’s and he swears he’s innocent. Told in two different voices — Nick’s in the present and Amy’s from seven years of past journal entries (all disturbingly sentimental despite the years of marital hardship they describe) — we piece together a picture of a young couple whose relationship goes awry when both lose their journalism jobs in New York and are forced to move back to North Carthidge, Missouri to take care of Nick’s ailing parents. Neither narrator is particularly trustworthy, both being adapt storytellers and, you soon discover, expert liars. So whose version of the story is correct? And in any case, where’s Amy?

Flynn is the master of trickery, throwing in new twists and turns just when you think you’ve figured out what’s going on. With unpredictable characters, the reader’s task isn’t just to guess whodunnit; that’s the easy part. The real task is understanding how and why, and unraveling the complex psychological case studies that make up the Dunne family. It’s a ride, y’all, and perfect for a summer read.

If you’d like a chance to own my hardback, good-as-new copy that I’ve owned for exactly one week (because it’s that good!) please leave a comment below with an email address and the name of your favorite indie bookstore. Since this is my first giveaway and I want to include as many readers as possible, I’m making it open to anyone in the US, Canada or Europe. I hope to continue these book giveaways as a way to show my appreciation to you, my wonderful readers, and because, selfishly, I’d love to talk to you about the books I’m reading.

IMG_5232I will choose a winner on Friday, August 9. Until then, Gone Girl will sit on my shelf looking at you all with big puppy dog eyes (“Someone wants to take me home?”). Good luck and happy reading!

Spring cherry blossomsThe past two weeks of getting back into blogging have been so many things: eye-opening, humbling, surprising, reassuring. Thank you so much for your touching comments and support. It feels so good to be back.

And here are a few things I’ve enjoyed this week, in case you’re in a reading mood this weekend. Hope you have a great one!

These 19 Things to Stop Doing in Your 20s are scary accurate.

Luke and I are always teased for not having a proper marriage proposal story. This couple will never forget their (very wet) one.

A 30-second microwave espresso maker would be dangerous. Good thing I don’t own a microwave.

This may be TMI, but I have to share. At work a customer said her husband refers to her girly time of the month as “Shark Week.” I can’t get over how brilliant that is. And sexist.

Most adorable baby ever?

Spent two hours in the cafe yesterday totally absorbed in this book. I loved the genius of Cloud Atlas, but this one wears its heart on its sleeve. Some say Cloud Atlas never had one.

I’ve been obsessed with cooking everything from this blog and my energy level is so much higher. Here and here are a couple of my favorites. Also, chocolate mousse that’s actually good for you!

Piedmont Park AtlantaSo… usually folks announce they’re going on a sabbatical long before they actually go on it. I’m telling you now. After the fact. I needed some time to pursue other interests, y’all. Figure out how to incorporate some balance into my life. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if For the Love of Bookshops had a place there anymore. Some people may be able to do this kind of soul-searching while juggling all their commitments, but I am not one. Mainly, though, it was the realization that this blog takes a lot of energy out of me, and when I don’t have that kind of energy to give in the first place, it can be more deleterious than beneficial. Also, it shows in the content and that sucks for you guys. I consider the pursuit of a book-filled life to be a worthy goal, and I don’t ever want this blog to appear routine and soulless.

I could never leave you for good, though. I’ve missed this place and all your thoughtful comments too much. I’m sorry for leaving without saying goodbye. The good news is I’ve decided FtLoB does have a place in my life and, I hope, yours, too. What that will place look like, I can’t say, but I’m hoping it will incorporate a lot more of my interests which, I hope, will interest you too. I don’t have to tell you that a book-filled life constitutes a love of more than just the physical binding and paper that we know as the “book.” Obviously, right? Think of all the varied subjects covered in those books you love so much. Fiction, nonfiction, sure, but what about the cookbooks, the DIY books, the gardening books, the travel guides? These all reflect a keen interest in things happening, doing, buzzing outside the walls of a bookshop. Isn’t that one of the most exciting things about bookshops? After a blissful hour browsing in one, we leave feeling inspired to do and be something more. Create, investigate, explore… as well as read.

I used to think I was too flighty, that I had too many interests and I should just focus on becoming an expert in one or two. But the great revelation of my sabbatical was that we are all curious beings and we thrive on learning and exploring the new. I don’t know why I felt guilty about having too many interests. Seriously, y’all, I had this zen revelation: We are all our own bookstore. Like a well-designed bookstore, we are composed of shelves and shelves of varied thoughts, passions and interests, organized (or not) in dozens of genres. The great joy of being human is that we get to wake up each day, come into our bookstore and say, “Who will I be today? Where will I browse today? What part of me will I explore? What story will I unfold?”

Is that exciting or what? And, for this frustrated Jill-of-all-trade, what a relief!

Really, thank you for sticking with me. This week I’d love to share with you some of the things I’ve been up to (if that would interest you at all!). And yes, some of the books I’ve read…

Have a wonderful Tuesday!

I’m always surprised when we come across a brunch place that is not one of the four or five we regularly cycle through. I mean, we are brunch people. How can it be that there’s a cafe we haven’t tried? Radial Cafe especially should have been on our radar.

Luke has this amazing ability to pick the most healthy, granola-y sounding item on the menu and it ends up being the one we fight over. Like this cream cheese, avocado and sunflower sprouts bagel. 

I, on the other hand, see buttermilk biscuits and vegetarian gravy and will not be diverted. Do you know how hard it is to find vegetarian gravy? 

We were feeling extravagant so we also ordered a plate of cinnamon roll french toast. With the intention of taking it home. Yeah. That didn’t happen. Start the labor day weekend off right. Am I right?

This morning, we talked a lot about our hopes and dreams for the future. For Luke, that means a future without a PhD thesis looming over his head and one where he can be more creative, work a bit more with his hands. For me, it’s a future with a lot more writing. And maybe a bit more photography. There’s only so much you can do with a point and shoot, you know? Luke also kindly let me rant about where this blog is headed. Again, hopefully somewhere with more and better photography. Which brings me to my question for you, savvy readers. What DSLR camera would you recommend to a novice photographer just starting out? What do you use?

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