2011-07-29 13.06.34A long while ago now, I had the crazy idea that I was going to ban myself from buying any new books. Instead, I planned to read the many books on my shelves I haven’t yet experienced. Writing a blog seemed like a good way to track my progress. At the same time, I was working somewhere unrelated to books and my life was feeling irrelevant. The blog idea was also to reinject bookishness into my days.

Steph’s Bookshelves didn’t sound right, so I used my middle name, Isabelle, or Bella, instead. I think the ban lasted all of one week, and soon after that HarperCollins found me and offered me books for review. That started a chain of emails from various publicists and authors, several of whom have since become friends. And now, as well as book reviews, I post about book news and issues and also literary tidbits I find interesting (the LitBits people seem to enjoy!).

I’m passionate about many things, like animals, tea, peace, good food, great writing, nature, classical, choral, and jazz music, but most significantly books. I’m a freelance copyeditor, proofreader, and writer (for over ten years now; clients include Thomas Allen, Ltd, House of Anansi Press, ECW Press, UBC Press, and UOP), and a book blogger, of course. And I’m a stalwart promoter of authors, publishers, indie bookshops, and Canadian literature in particular—I’m very proud to say I review for the Quill & Quire, a magazine I’ve loved for years. I grew up with a librarian mom, got in trouble by schoolteachers for reading too much, and studied English lit in university where I was actually encouraged to read more than I could handle. I continue to attend author readings and events, and have carried jobs in a publishing house, libraries, bookstores, and as a freelancer.

Although I’ve read thousands of books, I’ll probably never consider myself very well-read. There are countless stories I haven’t yet enjoyed, and to that end I want to commit more time to reading. Writing about what I read allows me to digest the content before moving on.

To my fellow bookworms and bibliophiles: I lift my cup of tea to you. May you be always inspired to read more, hone your reading skills, and build up your collections.


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