About the Blog
Books are how I understand the world. I read books purely for pleasure, of course: because the act of reading fills me with joy, transports me, comforts me, thrills me. But I also use books to make sense of being a human in a world that is as broken and cold and terrifying as it is beautiful. Reading challenges me. It forces me to think about things in new ways. Books teach me everything: small beautiful things, like how to bake perfect macarons, and enormous shattering things, like how the legacy of colonization and slavery shapes so much of our world today. Books capture and illuminate all of the messy experience of what it feels like to be a human being on this planet. Books are funny and hopeful and searing. Sometimes they are heartbreaking; sometimes they are almost too painful to read. Books are full of courage that inspires me and the sort of deep and abiding love that leaves me breathless with gratitude that I am a person, and not a tree or a fox. Sometimes there is so much joy between the pages of a book that it feels, absolutely and completely, mine: in my bones, my breath, my bloodstream.
Most of all, books open me. This is the truest verb I can come up with to describe what happens when I read. It is a feeling of opening and expansion. I will never know what it’s like to be someone who isn’t me: a white, queer, cisgender woman from a wealthy background, a writer, a reader, a lover of mountains and ocean, a devout New Englander, an atheist. I see and understand and react to the world with my own specific brain, marked by my unique identity and experience. I don’t presume to think that reading books will allow me to truly understand what it is like to be someone who is not me. But books open me. Stories—fictional and true—are as close as any of us come to inhabiting each other’s skin. Everything I read becomes a part of who I am, lodges somewhere in my brain, shifts my perspective, alters my identity. There is only so far we can ever reach outside of ourselves. Books are what draw me into the world and toward other humans. The more I read—and especially the more different kinds of stories I read—the harder my brain works and shifts and changes.
I read because I love to read. I read books written by people and about people who are different from me, about experiences I have never had and places I have never been, about events and cultures and ideas of which I know nothing. I read books that are as familiar to me as my own skin. Books open me. Books allow me to see—and begin to understand—truths that are mine, truths that are not mine. Books affect my actions. Books teach me how to be a thoughtful, compassionate, courageous human.
As I gobble up all the books I can get my hands on, I want to think critically about what I’m reading. How do I choose the books I read? What books do I have access to? What makes me love or hate a book? How do books affect my life? How do they stay with me? How does my identity shape what I read? How do I use what I learn from books? How do I use reading as a part of my activism, to fight for racial justice, queer and trans rights, immigrant rights? How do books shape the world we live in, the times we live, the fabric of our culture?
This blog is my attempt to wrestle with those questions. It is a way for me to share my unconditional love of books with the rest of the world. This blog is a love letter to books and and also a call to action, not only for myself, but for all of us: how can we, as readers, make sense of and respond to the horrors and injustices that are perpetrated daily in this world?
I’ll be writing about reading spreadsheets and life-changing novels and the intersection of books and politics, about the pure escapist joy of comfort novels, about reading for pleasure and without guilt, about reading as a form of resistance. I’ll be writing about serious books and fluffy books and everything in between. But whatever the topic, I’ll be writing as a feminist and an activist, as a flawed and messy human being trying to find her way toward living a life that refutes oppression in all its forms.
About Me (Laura Olive Sackton)
I grew up in the suburbs of Boston, but I’ve always been happiest high in the mountains, near the ocean, or working in farm fields. I have loved books for as long as I can remember. I started writing a fantasy novel in elementary school and I started keeping a list of every book I read when I was 15. I’ve devoted my adult life to farming: for the past fourteen years, I’ve grown vegetables on farms of all sizes in Massachusetts and Vermont. After seven years of owning and operating my own farm business, I decided it was time for a new adventure. I sold the farm and moved to the tiny island of Nantucket, where I spend my days wrangling a novel-in-progress, going on meandering walks with my dog, reading, and baking. In addition to books, I love the ocean in all weather, winter, spreadsheets, fall vegetables, puzzles, wool sweaters, the miracles that arise from flour and butter, and the amazing community of people I am lucky enough to call home.
You can get in touch with me here.