In 2005, the independent bookstore I managed finally bowed to market forces and closed it’s doors. While this was a very sad thing, one silver lining was that I suddenly found I had the time to read. (Nobody works in a bookstore so they can sit and read all day.) And not just read, but read what I felt like reading. I no longer felt pressure to “keep up” on the newest, hottest titles my customers might be asking for. I was free to follow my own inclinations, no matter how eccentric, and free to let each book take me to the next, without regard for public opinion, market demand, or media attention.

The downside? Well aside from the loss of a paycheck (never a very large entity), I discovered that I had all this time to read, but no one to talk to about what I was reading. I missed my customers. I missed hearing about their favorite books, and I missed telling them about mine. I found myself writing long self-indulgent emails about books to friends who were patient, but probably not all that interested. I had long phone conversations with my mother (my first and best literary influence). I wrote book reviews just to talk about books. I haunted message boards and online communities like Readerville, Book Balloon, and Library Thing, just to have a reason to talk about books.

I became a bookseller because I loved to read, but also because I loved to talk to people about what I was reading, and hear what they were reading. An important part of my reading life happens after I close the book and start to think about what I’ve just read. Inevitably, I want to talk it out with someone.

Hence the creation of Will Read For Food–a title you may take as literally as you like. It is an exercise in shameless self-indulgence.

There are, at the moment, three categories of posts. I may add more as the mood takes me:

Reading Journal: a running commentary on what I happen to be reading

Rooms Full of Books: I’m fascinated by them, I love reading about them. I’ve developed a habit of keeping excerpts of descriptions of libraries, bookstores, and memorable rooms full of books.

Wanderings: Often I find that reading one book will lead me to another, to another–a kind of winding path through literature. This category is for writing about that experience. You can see examples, previously published here:

Literary Expeditions (Lawrence Durrell, CP Cavafy, Naguib Mahfouz & Salman Rushdie)

Wandering Among the Muses: Parts I & II (Tina Modotti & Frida Kahlo) and Part III (Lou Andreas-Salome)