Quote for the Day: November 24th, 2021

Stop asking people for directions to places they’ve never been.

Glennon Doyle

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Poem for the Day: November 23rd, 2021

Self-Compassion by James Crews

My friend and I snickered the first time
we heard the meditation teacher, a grown man,
call himself honey, with a hand placed
over his heart to illustrate how we too
might become more gentle with ourselves
and our runaway minds. It’s been years
since we sat with legs twisted on cushions,
holding back our laughter, but today
I found myself crouched on the floor again,
not meditating exactly, just agreeing
to be still, saying honey to myself each time
I thought about my husband splayed
on the couch with aching joints and fever
from a tick bite—what if he never gets better?—
or considered the threat of more wildfires,
the possible collapse of the Gulf Stream,
then remembered that in a few more minutes,
I’d have to climb down to the cellar and empty
the bucket I placed beneath a leaky pipe
that can’t be fixed until next week. How long
do any of us really have before the body
begins to break down and empty its mysteries
into the air? Oh honey, I said—for once
without a trace of irony or blush of shame—
the touch of my own hand on my chest
like that of a stranger, oddly comforting
in spite of the facts.

© 2021 James Crews. “Self-Compassion” was originally published by the Academy of American Poets for their Poem-a-Day series on November 17th, 2021. Crews is the editor of the forthcoming collection The Path to Kindness: Poems of Connection and Joy, which is due to be released in April 2022 by Storey Publishing and is now available to preorder wherever books are sold.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Quote for the Day: November 14th, 2021

In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they’re still beautiful.

Alice Walker

You know how sometimes you come across a quote or a line in a book while you’re reading or even hear a lyric in a song on the radio while you’re on your way to work and it’s like the stars align? You feel like the universe sent you those words because it knew you’d need them at that precise moment.

You feel like the universe sent you those words because it knew you’d need them at that precise moment.

Well, that’s how I felt when I first came across today’s quote. Lately, I’ve been feeling like a failure because I can’t be normal despite my best efforts. My therapist and I can’t quite find the right configuration of meds to make me not be a basket case all the time. None of my clothes fit and I’m continuing to gain weight despite all my work to curb that. The only clothes I have that fit me at the moment (aside from underwear and socks) are like three pairs of pants and my branded company shirts I wear to work.

It does, however, make me want to cry and scream and curse every time I go into my closet to try to find something to wear and find that clothes which were loose on me just six months ago are now so tight I can’t breathe in them.

Now, don’t misread me. I do not have a problem, aesthetically speaking, with being a fat person. I don’t think I’m disgusting and I’m not ashamed of the shape of my body. It does, however, make me want to cry and scream and curse every time I go into my closet to try to find something to wear and find that clothes which were loose on me just six months ago are now so tight I can’t breathe in them.

Now, I’ve not made a huge Facebook announcement coming out as gay or anything, but pretty much everyone that’s important to me knows.

Also, and I didn’t think I was going to say this here, but I’ve been really struggling with feeling like I’m accepted by certain members of my family. Now, I’ve not made a huge Facebook announcement coming out as gay or anything, but pretty much everyone that’s important to me knows. I’m out to all of my employees and I’m blessed to work for a company that’s extremely queer-friendly. All of my friends know and it’s probably been more than five years since I first came out to my parents.

Life doesn’t always allow us to be the most authentic version of ourselves with all people at all times.

But as Taylor Swift once sang in “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things”, therein lies the issue. I never imagined being out in the first place so when I came out I wanted to be out out. Like drag show out. But here’s a hard truth: Life doesn’t always allow us to be the most authentic version of ourselves with all people at all times. So ever since I first came out to them I’ve been somewhat of a Hokey Pokey Homo: You put your right foot in (the closet), you put your right foot out (of the closet), you put your right foot (back) in (the closet, because you’re acting far too gay to be palatable to everyone), and you shake it all about (to “Just Dance” by Lady Gaga like the sad queer you are). I bought a purse a month or so ago that was super cute and it was on sale so why wouldn’t I buy it? and I thought my dad was going to have a stroke. To his credit, he didn’t say anything negative to me but I could still tell it made him uncomfortable.

That’s right, I’m contorted, bent in weird ways, and I’m still beautiful. And so are you. Make the world reckon with you on your terms.

So, if you’re still with me here: (A) depressed and anxious; (B) fat; and (C) super duper gay. And I’m going to add another one: (D) PERFECT. That’s right, I’m contorted, bent in weird ways, and I’m still beautiful. And so are you. Make the world reckon with you on your terms.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Quote for the Day: November 10th, 2021

Love yourself. Be clear on how you want to be treated. Know your worth. Always.

Maryam Hasnaa

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Quote for the Day: November 9th, 2021

Seek to be whole, not perfect.

Oprah Winfrey

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

All Aboard the ARC: I Love You, Call Me Back: Poems by Sabrina Benaim

I Love You, Call Me Back: Poems by Sabrina Benaim

***Note: I received a free digital review copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.***

Sabrina Benaim has gifted us with a collection that is both a blueprint for grief and a roadmap to help us find our way out of it.

With I Love You, Call Me Back, Sabrina Benaim has gifted us with a collection that is both a blueprint for grief and a roadmap to help us find our way out of it. It’s not an easy task to meld hope and despair together in the same poem without coming off as maudlin or worse, melodramatic, but Benaim manages to do so with the grace and panache of an assured stylist.

Her voice rings so clear and true that while reading her new collection I felt like I was having a conversation with an old friend, one with whom I could share my highest hopes and biggest fears. After the past nineteen months of dealing with the isolation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, finally someone is saying that everything is not okay, but it will be eventually. And in the meantime, we can hold space for small joys, of which I count this poetry collection as one of them.

I Love You, Call Me Back: Poems was released by Plume, a division of Penguin Random House, on October 19th, 2021 and is now available to purchase wherever books are sold.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Quote for the Day: November 7th, 2021

Choose, everyday to forgive yourself. You are human, flawed, and most of all worthy of love.

Alison Malee

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Poem for the Day: October 30th, 2021

go to the movies & see a rom-com by yourself. go to your favorite restaurant & request a table for one. go to a café & order a coffee & a pastry for yourself. lie in the grass & cloudgaze without holding someone else’s hand while you do it. we need to stop seeing these things as pathetic. you are the only person you have to be with every day, so why shouldn’t you find ways to appreciate you? 

keep falling in love with yourself.

Today’s poem is from shine your icy crown by amanda lovelace. She is the author of several bestselling poetry collections, among them the titles in the “women are some kind of magic” series, the “you are your own fairy tale” trilogy, and the “things that h(a)unt” duology. shine your icy crown was published in January 2021 by Andrews McMeel Publishing and is available to purchase wherever books are sold.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Quote for the Day: October 22nd, 2021

All is well. Everything is working out for my highest good. Out of this situation, only good will come. I am safe.

Louise Hay

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Manifesting My Goals

Please save your gatekeeping nonsense for someone who gives a fluck because I do not.

First off, my number one goal right now is to actually make my Goodreads Reading Challenge goal this year. I only missed it by two last year, and that ish hurt bad. Am I probably going to have to read a crap ton of short books to make it? Yes. Do they count? Absolutely. Please save your gatekeeping nonsense for someone who gives a fluck because I do not.

My bigger and longer-term goal is to become someone like Oprah. I want to be someone who lives their life authentically and is able to translate that into influence on other people. Honestly, nothing would make me happier than being able to post a list of my favorite things and have people try them out just because I said they were awesome.

I do not want to work until I die. I want to sit down. A lot. Preferably with a good book in one hand and a glass of wine in the other.

Finally, my last goal is to retire by the age of 40. I do not want to work until I die. I want to sit down. A lot. Preferably with a good book in one hand and a glass of wine in the other. I mean, I’ll probably need to exercise some too, but I’m still holding out hope that science will figure out a way for me to do nothing and be skinny. Let me qualify that. I do not have a problem, aesthetically, with being fat. I know I’m the sexiest motherflucker God ever did carve from clay. That’s not my issue. My issue is that the world we live in makes it incredibly difficult for people of my girth to shop off the rack, and this bish here doesn’t like to shop from a catalog. I want to roll up into my local department stores like Ariana Grande and see it, like it, want it, and got it.

I do not have a problem, aesthetically, with being fat. I know I’m the sexiest motherflucker God ever did carve from clay. That’s not my issue. My issue is that the world we live in makes it incredibly difficult for people of my girth to shop off the rack, and this bish here doesn’t like to shop from a catalog. I want to roll up into my local department stores like Ariana Grande and see it, like it, want it, and got it.

Now, are all of these goals super-specific? No. And right now I don’t want them to be. For most of my life, my anxiety disorder has forced me to exert a large amount of (read: perceived) control over every aspect of my life. And you miss out on a lot of life by trying to force your will on everything. So for me I feel like the best course is operate from a state of grace, to focus on day-to-day living and on taking the next right actions. I know that by doing this, wherever I end up will be the right place for me.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.