Dear Readers,

Happy New Year and welcome to 2022. We've given up on predictions and plans and with that comes a strange sense of freedom. Knowing you can't control the future is an evergreen concept that feels especially relevant right now. So before we dive into all the exciting upcoming events and new goodness on the shelf, here's a beautiful reflection on a bookish life well-lived.

If you'll allow me a brief trip down memory lane: many years ago, I worked at a nonprofit called the Robin Hood Foundation. Back then we were housed in a fairly small office above The Strand. To get to our decidedly un-fancy offices one took a very small elevator that also serviced several floors of the storied bookstore, thus ensuring your lift companion was, more often than not, a bookseller. I don't remember many conversations but I do remember gazing at the employees with wonder, thinking it must be an extraordinary thing for ones life work to be the business of books. One particularly distinctive bookseller I often shared a ride with wore a tin funnel on his head. Day in and day out he wore that makeshift cap and a contented almost smile that suggested he was exactly where he was supposed to be, no matter any questioning glances thrown his way. Fast forward to New Years Eve 2021 when I stumbled across an obituary about the longest-tenured bookseller at The Strand. As I read about this treasured bookseller, Ben McFall, memories of those days lost in the stacks after work and elevator rides with eclectic booksellers came flooding back.
All of this is to say: just like Ben McFall, who "never had an official position [...] Ben's title was 'Ben'" my hope for 2022 is that while we navigate uncertain waters we may all engage in pursuits that exemplify who we are through and through, no title or explanation needed.

Now, for what's below: with some of us spending a few extra days at home due to 2022's gift that keeps on giving (we're looking at you big Oh-no-MICRON), this week's Friday Five is all about domestic pursuits. New events abound and some fine new releases as well. As always, we'd love to see you on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Be well, be YOU —