Dani is a Book & Wine Pairing Blogger from the mountains of West Virginia. She loves to read anything she can get her hands on while sipping on a glass of wine and snuggling with her fur-babies.

Professional ReaderReviews Published
The Reason: The birth of a wine-loving bookaholic.

The Reason: The birth of a wine-loving bookaholic.

I love reading. I always have a book with me, no matter where I am. Even if I'm going to the grocery store there's one in my car. You know, just in case. This is something that was instilled in me from an early age by my brother, Oscar. He would wear cargo pants just so he'd have a pocket to carry his book, and still does to this day. Seeing him always off on some adventure, I began carrying a purse with me. Not for my lip gloss or my empty Lisa Simpson wallet, but for my book.

I began collecting books for my own personal library during my first year of marriage. Before this I would go to the public library. While my parents encouraged us to read, they didn't encourage us to spend our money on books when we could borrow them from the library for free. And knowing how hard they worked to go from growing up poor, to being able to raise their children in a middle-class family home, I understand that. I still go to the library on occasion, but I find that there is nothing better than to go to a bookstore to purchase my very own book (or two... or five).

During that first year of marriage I worked in a chain bookstore and I loved every minute of it! I never once complained about having to go to work. While there, I did nothing but talk about books, helped other's pick out their perfect book, and got to see the smiles on hundreds of children's faces as they left with their new book. When I wasn't helping customers, I was inadvertently doing some shopping myself. The job was AWESOME!

But I learned very quickly while working there that books are my own personal drug. The smell of them, the feel of them in my hands, and purchasing them gives me such a high that I would compare to a runner's high (which I've experienced. I can't compare it to cocaine or heroin because I've never done either.) Most paydays I would go home with very little of my paycheck left, if any. It got to the point that I was only working to support my addiction, and not my family. To this day I still can't leave a bookstore without at least five books. Even at the grocery store with their single aisle of books I have a hard time walking by without stopping and picking one up. I have a problem and I admit it. Hi. My name is Dani, and I'm a bookaholic.

I only worked at the bookstore for a year before my husband, Jack, was relocated with the military. I told myself when I left that position, while it was the best job that I probably could ever have, I would never allow myself to work in a bookstore again. I'm positive that if I did, my marriage wouldn't last because Jack would kill me for bringing home books rather than a paycheck. Not that Jack doesn't love books and reading, but he's not addicted to them like I am. Plus, he understand that we have bills.

It was also during this time that I discovered my love of wine. I always knew I had a liking for it, after all what little kid goes to church excited for communion? (My church had actual communion wine, none of that grape juice nonsense!) And because of that liking for communion wine I skipped over the stupidly sweet wines such as Moscato and any Arbor Mist, and went straight for the good stuff: Pinot Noirs and Cabernet Sauvigon. I worked in a couple different restaurants bar-tending over the next few years and became good friends with Malbec and Bordeaux, and eventually I found the grapes I love: the little-known grapes of Carmenere, Tempranillo and Sangiovese. While I drink mostly red wine, I will drink some whites, but I tend to stay away from the overly sweet whites, and go more for the fruity, dry wines, no matter their color.

While I am not and educated wine connoisseur, I do self-proclaim myself to be a wine sommelier. I at one time would have loved to have gone to school to become a wine connoisseur, but is there really any money to be made in that profession? Would I be able to support my family on that income? - Truly, please let me know and I will look into starting classes tomorrow! Also, while I don't have a glass at dinner every night like I once used to (after all Jack and I are trying to start a family... Yes friends and family, you can rejoice, we're finally trying!) I do still have a glass occasionally. I also have many friends who are self-proclaimed wine sommeliers, who are always happy to give me - and you - a good recommendation for a nice bottle.

But back to the book part of this endeavor!

My actual "Books" Pinterest Board 

As of September 16, 2017

While on Pinterest one day, I was pinning yet another list of books that I want to read when the thought occurred to me: I read all the time, why don't I write a blog about it? Friends are all the time coming to me asking for a book suggestion or asking to see if they can "check a book out" of my library. Obviously, I have something here that most others probably don't, why not do something with it? I knew I had recently pinned a few reading lists, ones where they don't tell you the book to read, but suggests a topic to base your next book from. I hunted those lists down and combined them into one large suggestion list. No need to go at this all willy-nilly, let's put some structure to the way I pick my books and then write about them and my experience.  People are always looking for a good review system like this, I know I was. I had just done it!

And so that thought gave birth to my Pinterest Reading Challenge. In the beginning, it was a list of 63 different suggestions, but while reading or going through my daily activities (like pinning) I've come up with other topics that I think would be cool to explore too. I've added those to this list and will continue to add them. "This is the way for me to go," I keep thinking to myself, because if I got to pick every book without a suggestion you  would be reading about nothing but Young Adult - YA - books (you'll still soon learn my weird obsession with them, I'm sure), and that would get boring after a while. I need something to help me get out of my comfort zone, and this is just the trick!

While working on my first couple of posts I kept thinking to myself, "What makes my reviews so special? What's going to make them stand out from the crowd?" And then it occurred to me one night while I was reading and sipping on a lovely glass of Ménage à Trois Cabernet Sauvigon: add alcohol. It is in my opinion that most people find that everything is better with alcohol, am I right?! This was the element I was missing. I confirmed it with a few friends. And they agreed: add a recommended drink to pair with the read and this will give me a different kind of edge, that most book-reviews don't have. While not all drink pairs will be alcoholic (as previously mentioned, Jack and I are trying to get pregnant) they will mesh with the book in some way: theme, author's favorite drink, what I was drinking while reading, etc. And while I love wine, I know not everyone does and so I'll try to get some recommendations for the beer and liquor lovers of the world too.

If you have a suggestion that you think should be explored during this adventure of mine, please comment below and I'll add it to the list. Or if you have a book or drink suggestion for one of the topics, please comment about that as well. I'm always looking for a new adventure to expand my horizons.

From one wine-loving bookaholic to another, I hope I’ve helped you find your next fix.
—Dani

Pinterest Reading Challenge: The List

Pinterest Reading Challenge: The List