What was your motivation for creating a blog about the books you read?
Hi, friend! Thanks for being here with me as I share my love and appreciation for books and for story. Creating and building this platform has been long overdue, not to mention something I’ve personally tried to avoid over the past year.
Because over the last year I’ve been keeping a private digital journal via Instagram (@books.and.mischief) sharing the books that I’ve been reading with beautiful locations, primarily in the Carolinas, that reflect the story at hand. That experience has been therapeutic, allowing me to create art then place it into the universe without having to worry about “likes” or “follows”. There has been absolutely no pressure, which in turn has cultivated a welcoming community of well-read individuals.
I have stayed pretty consistent with that account regarding what I post. I’ve also tried for the most part to keep my face off of the account; however, the motivation behind creating this platform really is to enhance the conversation and discuss books that might not necessarily make the grams feed while also pushing me out of my comfort zones.
What are you most excited for about this new journey?
There are many things that excite me regarding the journey that I’m about to embark on with this blog. What I think excites me the most is the ability to talk story and inspire others to pick up a book. Any book really. I have found that reading has this innate ability to allow and encourage empathy and vulnerability.
Why do you love reading?
Recently I read Grady Hendrix’s book, “The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires” and there is a quote in there that I’d like to share here. “A reader lives many lives… The person who doesn’t read lives but one.” And it’s so true. Back in 2018, I was diagnosed with leukemia, which resulted in six months of intense chemotherapy, radiation, and ultimately a bone marrow transplant. Due to that and to Covid, I haven’t had the ability to travel. Especially travel like I did while filming Operation Adventure. However, reading has offered that escape for me. And yes, I realize it’s not the same as living life, but through reading I’ve been introduced to a wide range of perspectives while traveling the world. Over the past year I’ve been to places like Green Town, Illinois (wink), New York City, London, Paris, California, Japan, and Canada all because of reading.
What book or series got you into reading?
What really launched this adventure of reading for me was Hilary Burton Morgan’s book, “The Rural Diaries” and “Dandelion Wine” by Ray Bradbury. In May 2020 when Morgan’s book came out, I ordered a signed edition and even bought the audiobook so that I could read it on her publication date. Needless to say, the book was devoured in a two-day time frame. In the book she discusses her love for Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine. I actually had a copy on my bookshelf for many years; however, had never read it so decided to pick it up and give it a read. That then turned into a snowball and before I knew it, I was finishing the year with a total of 75 books read.
What challenges do you think starting a blog about books will be the hardest to overcome?
The one major challenge that intimidates me the most regarding the creation of the blog really resides in not being able to please everyone. It’s something I’m personally working on but it’s still there. It doesn’t matter how much work you put into any creative endeavor, someone is always going to have something to say and offer their advice and not to sound rude, I’m just not here for it.
When did you start reading?
I started reading at a young age. Granted… As a child I really struggled with reading. There was even a point in my middle school career when an advisor told my mom that I’d never graduate high school. Joke was on her, I graduated from the University of South Carolina with a 3.6 GPA but that’s another story. As I said, I was a young reader. I read the Harry Potter series and Goosebumps but really, I have to credit my leukemia battle and then the pandemic for my love of reading. After my bone marrow transplant, I needed something to challenge my brain and help rebuild my lexicon, so I turned to reading. Then the pandemic happened and it naturally became my escape from the craziness of the world. I mean come on, who wouldn’t want to hang with Harry, Ron, and Hermione on a regular basis?
What kind of books do you like to read?
If my reading habits have taught me anything it’s that I have a voracious appetite for reading a wide assortment of books. Even looking at my shelf I can’t necessarily pin-point a certain genre. I’m definitely a mood reader. Forcing myself to make a decision, the two types of books I love to read would have to either be thriller or books with basically no plot. Ha, talk about a juxtaposition!
What does your book collection look like?
As I stated above my book collection varies. Ray Bradbury, Sally Rooney, Donna Tartt, Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, George Orwell, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Taylor Jenkins Reid and J.D. Salinger are authors I absolutely love and have been accumulating small collections of their works. I also have a collection of Book of the Month (shout out) editions. And a small number of classics.
With the new year approaching what are your reading goals for 2022?
I haven’t set any specific reading goals for 2022. I’m not even sure what I will list on my Goodreads Challenge just yet. This past year I have stayed loyal to reading literary fiction. It’s my favorite genre; however, next year I really want to read more essays and works of nonfiction. One author I didn’t read this year but wanted to was, Joan Didion. I’ve had my eyes on “The White Album” and “Play It as It Lays.” So that maybe the only goal I set for myself. We’ll see.