Our Reading Lives

It’s My Anniversary! Five Things I Learned From Book Riot

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Alison Peters

Staff Writer

Alison Peters surrounds herself with books, green things, animals and love. A Creative Writing M.F.A. holder with a day job that shall not be named, Alison is also working on a Masters in Library and Information Science. Currently cohabitating with her partner in the Northernmost outpost of San Francisco’s East Bay, she spends her spare time exercising her big dog so he won’t get annoyed with her, reading everything she can get her hands on, and then writing about it all. If you’re ever interested in discussing Harry Potter, Alison re-reads the series at least once a year, so drop her a line.

A little over one year ago, between book reviewing gigs, desperate for like-minded book people to talk to and read, write and rehash with, I found Book Riot. I was researching sites open to accepting work from library students like me, and when I queried, sent some writing samples & was welcomed into the aged-paper-smelling folds, virtually, I seriously thought it was too good to be true. And then quickly fell quite deeply in love with the site, all the people who write for and read it, and the books-my god the books!

Since my first post, on How Sandman Slim Saved My Relationship, things have just gotten better. I’m married now (my wedding nod to books came in the form of our bookish invite), using skills honed here to internship for a group called Librarians Without Borders (more on that to come), and enjoy this community more than I ever imagined. So to honor my year-ish anniversary, I’d like to share the five best things I’ve learned while Book Rioting.

1. Don’t lend books to anyone.

I’m very sorry to report that my original statement stands firm. Unless I start my own Little Free Library-which I do want to try, at work-I’m done with lending favorites. Because gone forever is my entire Her Royal Spyness series, and beloved Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone-ripped in two like a Horocrux even! Which brings me to item #2:

2. We’ll always talk Potter.
Do you know how delirious this makes me? That at any given time a whole bunch of us will click & absorb new thoughts on 15-year-old YA books whose movie stars are well into their ‘must get away from this role’ traumas? I can re-read, and talk, Harry absolutely any time. This summer I finally went back to Book 7, cried again, celebrated again, cried some more. And then imagined the grey haired characters along with the rest of you during the Quidditch World Cup, & talked about J.K. in intimately familiar terms, fondly musing ‘what’s she playing at?’ But mostly, I was just overjoyed that the story continues.

3. YA still rules.
And publishers, critics, and readers everywhere know it. Which means more conversation, more crazy characters to live through, more diversity (a work in progress), more YA teen angst fantastical every day goodness. And perhaps more YA-as-adult classics, like Penguin’s recent move with Charlie & the Chocolate Factory. Just please-no more creepy covers.

4. Book Fetish can stand in as a wish list-better than Amazon.
I now own a ‘read’ necklace and floating bookshelves, and have my eye on a literary embosser, to brand my name on any books I’m foolish enough to lend out. Who knew there were so many non-book book items to fetishize over! And they keep on coming. Book Fetish is now my one-stop wishlist, and gift-buying guide for my discriminating book lover friends.

5. A good book is a good book, period.

I’ve been known to stick to classics and personal favorites (YA, fiction, memoir), and nothing could convince me to deter from that path. But I’ve welcomed the reviews and passionate posts about a whole variety of books, from comics to mystery to romance and self help. And since I trust the writers and readers on this site, I have not been led astray. Which sucks for my to-be-read list, but is in my own personal best interest.

The best part was my Book Riot Anniversary present, courtesy of the fantastic Richard Kadry: Sandman Slim series #6, The Getaway God.  (!!!) I had seriously been haunting my mailbox for days, checking back on Kadry’s website, and praying to the book gods that I’d get a new installment soon. And then it arrived-and it’s so good. All the old gang back in Los Angeles/Hell; demons and Lurkers vs the LAPD and Feds; good, old-fashioned fights galore; and a bit of a love story that, honestly, I could do without, but I understand a character must grow and learn, I guess. I spent my Labor Day frantically reading, and, in grand Kadry tradition, passed the new novel solemnly on to my wife. And the circle is complete.

Thanks for reading.