blogging about books

Caiti Borruso
PO Box 34582
San Diego, CA

electronic mail:
@ gmail . com
On blogging
August 4, 2021

I have had a slew of blogs. I remember my dad showing me how to use Google Sites; I had one that used a slogan from an Abercrombie t-shirt I couldn’t afford. The shirt was green and the lettering was big and white and blocky. And then I had Flickr, which I essentially used as a blog, and then a Tumblr, and for the year of 2011 I wrote a page on a typewriter every day, only one sheet, using up all the paper in the house, including my mom’s good resume paper. Then it was a blog called Daily where I wrote and posted images daily, for maybe a year, and then it was whenever I felt like it. And when my bank account and web hosting were breached the same weekend in 2015, I switched to a Tinyletter, which has essentially still just been a blog about me, and my feelings. I like it enough, I like my feelings. But it’s been maybe twelve or thirteen years of writing about them, of writing publicly in my tiny corners of the internet, and I want to write about something else now. In 2020 I learned how much I wanted privacy, how much I wanted to grieve without feeling the need to publicize it. The year 2009 is a beacon for me, a year of serious personal trauma, and it has taken me the eleven years to reckon wholly with it; it will take even longer to reckon with what happened last year, personally and on the worldwide scale.

Regardless. I want to write about books. I love books, and they have felt so dear to me this past year; I moved across the country, and the books followed a month later in a FedEx shipment. They wouldn’t all fit in the Expedition we took across the country, and so the built-in bookshelf in our first apartment sat empty, waiting. Before we arrived in San Diego, I had a library card number and was making holds; it was the first place in San Diego I learned to drive to without using the map. Before the pandemic, I worked in a photography bookstore as both consignment and shipping manager. It was my job to wrap each book in a thin layer of bubble wrap, pad the corners of the box, and make sure that it arrived safely, wherever it went. Books came across my desk that I had never seen before; web orders sent me down an inventory rabbit hole, picking up and putting down piles and piles of books. The basement was dusty and full of rat shit and cockroaches, and there were no windows, but I had my own corner of Manhattan, where there were pictures tacked up and everything was laid out the way I liked it. It had been my dream for a long time to work in a bookstore, a dream that never made its way out of my mouth, and I happened into the job by accident. It was also my job at the bookstore to sort through the submissions that came to us; there was constantly mail, addressed to me or to submissions, which was also me.

But now I live across the country with my books and my partner, and I have filled up two bookshelves and two wall shelves lined with zines. I can’t keep piles of books on the floor anymore because I will spill water on them. Living across the country from everyone you know feels freeing and empty: I realized, or let myself say aloud, that I was queer within the first two weeks; I cut my hair off in October, short enough that it didn’t touch my shoulders. It was the first haircut of my life that my mother didn’t perform on me; a stranger did it in their garage with the door open and two dogs running about, and afterward I shook my head and felt it bounce and ordered hair clips.

I miss talking about books every day - I won’t be able to sustain writing about them every day, I’m hoping for once a week - but I want to talk about them. I want to talk to other people about them. I counted my books by hand a month ago and there were over two hundred; I’d like to make it through all of them, or almost all of them, and the zines too. I’ve missed books and I’ve missed blogging, in whatever form, so here we are.