Once upon a time, before we were the dazzling, sociable, and all-around communicative blog that we are today, we were... not. You remember the time - when you blogged for yourself and flailed in an ocean all by yourself and somewhere, you heard, there's a Titanic's worth of floating people, as well (too soon?), but you sure couldn't find them.

These were dark times, friends. But the one silver lining to interacting with absolutely no one and having no one to interact with you is - you can post whatever you please and the pressure is off. It's not as much a blog then as it is a diary.

So, naturally, we filled the blog up with anything and everything that came to our brilliant little heads at the time. News article about a rumor of a rumor of a rumor of a potential rumor of an adaptation that's surely never ever happening? Post it! A series of pictures of, like, every book on our shelves? WHAT A REVOLUTIONARY IDEA! 

Book hauls for the sake of book hauls? Aaaaaaall the time.

And while most of the aforementioned brilliance failed to withstand the public scrutiny once we discovered this community with standards, book hauls shall forever remain. Why?

Because book-feast-for-the-eyes. That's why. And so here we are today.

To whom it may concern, it was my birthday recently. Not that it will ever concern anyone around these parts. What's "celebrating my birthday on Halloween" to some is "freaking out and counting down to NaNoWriMo" to others. But celebrate I did, albeit on a small scale, and then worked myself up into a respectable NaNo panic attack afterwards. #multitaskingpro Such is the nature of all writerly Scorpios.

The up side, however, is that the bithday presents books start arriving in the mail at precisely that time NaNo has clobbered you over the head, shattered your self-respect, and danced around your prostrate form going neener-neener.

These are not just bookish presents is what I'm saying. They're life-savers.

Lifesaver #1: the single most gorgeous, epic, incredible edition of Lewis Carroll's Alice In Wonderland (& Other Stories), like no edition before it. (FIGHT ME!) ARE YOU SEEING THIS BEAUTY? The only hint my lifesaver friend Dennis (#matchingset) would give me is "It's pink!". And, um, let's just say that PINK is not a common occurrence in Lexieville. In my (clueless) defense, no one could ever expect anything this spectacular to arrive in the mail... until it does. It bears mentioning that in junior high I did this thing where Alice was my library staple. 
- Check Alice out. 
- Check another book out. 
- Check Alice out. 
- Check another book out. 
It also bears mentioning that my favorite Tom Waits song is Alice, I have no less than two different Alice animated movies (and actually prefer the Australian one... FIGHT ME AGAIN), most adaptations, that Cait helpfully steered me in Splintered's direction last year, and I really, really love tea sets and dream madness. ARE WE A PERFECT FIT OR WHAT?

Lifesaver #2: this utterly gorgeous, narcissistic, and wholly accurate travel mug from Society6. And I say narcissistic because it's mine. So here I am, calling my own creation gorgeous. But IT WAS A GIFT FROM THE AFOREMENTIONED LIFESAVER DENNIS, so I'm allowed. #foolproof Being 97.9% caffeine and 1947.93% books as I am, it also happens to be a bit of a self-portrait.

Lifesaver #3 requires very little explanation if you've ever been (a) on this blog, (b) on my Instagram, (c) on the receiving end of any of my many Illuminae worship-fests. But will I let this opportunity pass without another panegyric? HARDLY. (And you didn't really think so, if you're being honest with yourself.) SO HERE WE ARE. AIDAN is my superpowered anti-hero deity (just as he prefers), these characters are the sassiest, most corageous beasts in outer space, and this series is both an artist's and an author's dream. So to get a sequel from my amazing, generous co-blogger before I could start plotting nefarious ways to have one shipped over to Middle of Nowhere, Outer Space was the most incredible, welcome, lovely, YAAAS presents in the universe.

Lifesaver #4: this copy of Crooked Kingdom was brought to you (well, me) by Fjerda itself! #speshulsnowflake My best friend Stefan took a trip to Sweden last month - and not only did he return with Crooked Kingdom as a belated birthday present, he also returns with stories... stories of magical, sprawling fantasy/sci-fi bookstores the size of small castles which you never want to leave again, and of the many treasures you are not to touch (#unlessAladdin) therein. Fjerda, suffice it to say, is not mere ice, snow and a really sexy Matthias. It's also A Land of Magic Bookstores.

Lifesaver #5: Empire-Of-So-Many-Pages-We-Had-To-Switch-To-Thinner-Paper by Sarah J. Maas, and also gifted to me by my fellow booksister/co-blogger/Maaspreciator Natalie - because in my impatience (and my Middle Of Nowhere, Outer Space residence), I purchased an ebook instead - and this series is much too pretty not to complete in physical form, as well.

And November, needless to say, is not shaping up to be the best month. Not for civil rights, not for basic human decency, and not for any sort of tangible inspiration/creativity. November, basically, is to be weathered rather than enjoyed. So I could just shriek once again about how amazing book gifts are, or I could just remind everyone how essential books are in both our escapist efforts, and in our quest to understand how best to push back against oppression and survive those times when odds are decidedly not in our favor.

So what about you, pumpkins? How is your month going, what's the last book you've received/purchased, and which ones do you recommend in an event of a HUMANING SLUMP - when we're just too down to human at all?  Leave a comment below and let us know!