my bookshelves--the living room collection

I've been busy writing guest posts for other blogs this week, so I'm giving you a little something different today.

Here are pictures of my bookshelves. These don't include the about twenty or so fiction and nonfiction books scattered about my house (my husband swears there are more and that they're breeding under the bed--and they say that I have the imagination). I also maintain bathroom and bedroom collections, but these are not for public viewing--you should really thank me for that.

The shelving units below are arranged in no particular order; that is the summer project that I intend to undertake along with getting rid of that striped wallpaper and repainting my stairwell.

The first unit is often referred to as: that great bunch of books by the stairs. These shelves contain fiction and nonfiction, including a four volume set of The Taoist Classics, a three volume set of The Art of War, a four volume set of The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, and Montague Summers' work Werewolf.

Note the expensive cat toys beneath the sofa but no cat. That's because he is off in another part of the house, busily playing with a piece of paper.

Here is a close-up of the top shelf:

I call the next shelving unit my Santa Muerte shelf for obvious reasons (the Saint Death on the top shelf/left side is a DVD, not a book). Here we have works on paganism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, in addition to some of my favorite books for research: Satan's Rhetoric, The Apocalyptic Imagination, Demons and the Devil, and The Devil.

I found the cross at a flea market and purchased it for displays. As you can tell, my cats also love their scratching post, which they always use ... good kitties.

So what's on your bookshelves?

ebook only formats?

I've hesitated writing about this subject, primarily because I don't have hard numbers on how many people in my area own computers. However, I cringe when I hear some authors advocate ebooks to the exclusion of print (the fabled "death of print"), and a few publishers who are toying with the idea of moving toward an ebook only format for some of their titles.

Personally, I think this is a short-sighted approach that panders to a niche market. In the long run, an entire demographic of potential readers are shut away from books.

For the record: I work in a community college library. I also live in a very rural area. Our population is roughly 93,643 for the entire county (this number comes from the 2010 census). Compare this with neighboring Guilford County which has a population of roughly 488,406 people.

Out of this population, Rockingham County has approximately 14,396 people living below the poverty level. These 14,396 people, in all probability, are not going to own an ereader or a computer. So if you choose to publish exclusively in ebooks, you are going to miss approximately 14,396 potential readers.

Let's look at neighboring Guilford County with its much higher population of 488,406, and of that number, 73,375 people are living under the poverty level. Are we excluding these 73,375 people from the opportunity to read for pleasure?

Should we gravitate toward exclusively using the ebook format for certain titles, we can add 14,396 to 73,375 and get a total of 87,771 people who will have missed an opportunity to read those titles.

When publishers and authors talk about ebooks, I don't think about cool gadgets and the wonderous cabilities of ebooks. I think about people who live under the poverty level. Having been there myself, I can attest as to where my money went: food, rent, insurance, etc. I didn't have extra money to spend on ereaders and computers. I didn't subscribe to cable because of the cost, and though cell phones weren't prevalent at that time, I can tell you now that those, as well, would have been a superfluous cost that would have been eliminated. I used the library to borrow books and when the library had a booksale, I purchased books from them. Second-hand bookstores were my favorite places to shop.

I look at studies that show how reading-comprehension can lead people out of poverty and I wonder what are we doing to ourselves when we limit certain titles exclusively to ebooks? Are we saying that the only people who get the opportunity to read are those wealthy enough to own ereaders and computers? Has the online community become so disconnected from reality that we believe that everyone, everywhere has electricty and computers?

Really?

Ebooks are wonderful for those who can afford both the equipment and the means by which to keep that equipment up-to-date; however, I think we also need to remember the people who rely on print as their only connection with reading. Otherwise, we limit them to a cycle of poverty, not just of money, but of the mind.

But!--some wit will surely propose--the people living under the poverty level are buying used books.

Yes, but those readers often remain loyal to the genres and authors they discover through second-hand books. When their circumstances change--and sometimes they do--they don't forget what it was like to have the opportunity to read books that other people discarded.

I never have.

where can I find a copy of Miserere?

Where can I find a copy of your book? That is probably the sweetest question you can ask any author.

Over the last few weeks, more and more people have been asking me where can they buy Miserere.

As much as I love supporting bookstores, I've had to direct people to online resources. There is no bookstore in the county in which I live, the closest ones are in Greensboro, which is approximately twenty-four miles away. None of the Barnes and Nobles nor the Books-A-Million stores carry my novel in stock. The same is true of the independent bookstores in Durham, Chapel Hill, and Winston-Salem, three cities that are farther afield than Greensboro, but still reasonably close to my area.

So if you're looking for a copy of Miserere, here is where your instant gratification needs can be met. Just click on the link for the format of your choice.

Amazon -- Trade paperback or ebook

Barnes and Noble -- Trade paperback or ebook

Baen -- Ebook

This doesn't mean that I'm backing off my stance for support of local bookstores. I encourage everyone to use their local bookstore first. I have several reasons:

  • local bookstores provide jobs and taxes
  • they host events that enable authors to cultivate a deeper relationship with their readers
  • they have knowledgeable staff who can help you find exactly what you're looking for

Those are just the first three that come to the top of my head. I'm sure if I thought about it a little more, I could come up with about twenty more reasons.

I can't describe what a warm and wonderful experience I've had at every local bookstore that I've had the opportunity to visit.

I can tell you about the cultural void that is left when you no longer have a local bookstore to enjoy.

So if you live near a bookstore, please, please support them.

However, if you want a copy of Miserere, to the best of my knowledge, you can only get it online.

If you see that rare creature Miserere in the wild, send me a photo and I'll post it on the blog.

Women in SF&F at Fantasy Cafe

I have a guest post up today over at the book blog Fantasy Cafe. Kristen has made the entire month of April Women in SF&F month and today is my turn. I talk about honoring your demons and why dark sides are important.

Check out Women in SF&F Month at Fantasy Cafe.

There are Tootsie Rolls ...