Like many nerds, I often daydream about running an independent bookstore. Every time I travel, I look up the nearest shop. Each indie is unique, with books displayed on light and wide coffee tables or shelved in narrow, dusty halls. The personality of the owner comes through in the curation and aesthetic. Unlike Amazon’s algorithms or Barnes and Noble’s uniformity, indie bookstores feel personal. My favorites include Northshire Bookstore in Manchester Center, Vermont; the Center for Fiction in Brooklyn, NY; and Book Revue in Huntington, Long Island, which recently announced it is closing its doors for good due to a rent hike.
My love affair with books started young. In my conservative hometown, reading gave me a lifeline to a brighter world. Books introduced me to the existence of other queer people, and social justice, and some truly horny vampires. I saw my experiences reflected in the pages of Sarah Dessen’s newest YA novels, and activated my feminist conscience with Jessica Valenti’s The Purity Myth. I read my way through an awkward adolescence and saw a future for myself as an author. Books have always been the spine of my life.
I will probably never run my own brick and mortar bookstore. I do not know how to run an advanced business, and I’d rather read and write books than sell them. But I love to recommend books. I love to push a new title on a friend who I just know will connect with it, a note written by hand on the front page. I love when people ask me what they should read next, or how to dip their toe in a new genre. Recommending books is an easy way to support authors I admire. It’s also a way to connect with other readers, be they friends or strangers. It’s a way to say this one right here, this meant something to me. Maybe it will mean something to you.
That’s why I’m starting a digital bookstore, Bros & Prose Books. I want to share my favorite books with all of you, from unforgettable romances to the nonfiction titles that shape my progressive values. It’s a collection of fresh, feminist reads that I can’t stop thinking about — and that I want to gush about with my friends.
My little shop runs on Bookshop.org, which supports local booksellers around the United States. As a Bookshop.org affiliate I earn a 10% commission on each sale, and a matching 10% goes to independent bookstores. You can learn more about Bookshop.org and how they support the bookselling ecosystem here.
With that, I invite you to start browsing! Here are some of my curated collections to get you started:
Ella’s Romance Novel Starter Pack
Sexuality, Relationships & Queerness 101
13 Unforgettable Books about Feminism + Social Justice
If you buy a title from my shop, please tell me what you think of it. And if there’s a book you recommend that I read next, drop a comment below.