The voracious side of my addiction to the written word fills a recyclable book bag with stories borrowed from the mobile library that pulls into the center of my rural town for two hours every Saturday morning.

Sometimes the compulsive reader in me can’t wait in the queue until the title I desire is returned by another book lover. Before covid, local book stores satisfied this urge to own. The result displays on full shelves and piles of books on other flat surfaces around my home. For two years, I force fed this compulsion online and tracked delivery of boxes with the smile.

My appetite for reading increased with isolation. I read in and outside the romance, suspense and political thriller genres I write. So when I finally ventured, fully vaxxed and masked, into the mall the plastic I swiped credited the owner and employees of the book store.

Now here’s cover art and an author I recognized. “Pax Journey Home”. Everyone of any age should read this middle grade story, especially in this time of war – yeah, let’s call it what it is – in the Ukraine. Author Sara Pennypacker’s first “Pax” shifted the tragedy of human conflict from soldiers to the point of view of children, wildlife and the environment. I had to buy this book for more about Peter and the pet fox he lost, found and set free.

The demons of mental illness that preyed on Mary Todd Lincoln devoured her as a collateral damage victim of the divisive civil war that took her husband’s life. Author Jennifer Chiaverini’s novel “Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker” told the First Lady’s story from an intimate third party perspective. Here on sale display was “Mrs. Lincoln’s Sisters”, a follow-up worth every cent of six dollars.

Of all the incredible books I read last year, “The Henna Artist” stands out as the best. When I finished Lakshmi’s story of triumph over poverty in post-British rule India of the 1950s, I hoped author Aika Joshi would write another novel. She did! I didn’t bother to read the description of “The Secret Keeper of Jaipur”. I added the new release to my purchase pile.

I’d love to know what novels and authors inspire you to do as I did. To repeat buy without knowing what’s printed on the book’s pages. Sharing your thoughts and comments will help me to be that author for you.