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. I’m working as a landscaper now, which leaves me ample time in the winter for wrangling a novel-in-progress, taking long meandering walks with my dog, reading, and baking all the cookies. In addition to books, I love the ocean in all weather, winter, spreadsheets, fall vegetables, puzzles, wool sweaters, and the amazing community of people I am lucky enough to call home.
I’m also a contributor over at Book Riot, which is a pretty awesome place to hang out, especially if you want your TBR to explode exponentially every day. I’m not kidding.
You can get in touch with me here.
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 capture and illuminate all of the messy experience of what it feels like to be a human being on this planet. Books are full of courage that inspires me and the sort of deep and abiding love that leaves me breathless with gratitude. 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 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.
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 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?