WSIRN Ep 188: Books, plants, and literal bibliotherapy

In Episode 187, we met Hannah Christmas, a reader with a long-term dream of running a children’s bookshop. Today, we meet Michelle Moreno, who I hope will inspire Hannah, and anyone else out there who wants to make their bookstore dreams a reality.

What Should I Read Next #188:  Books, plants, and literal bibliotherapy with Michelle Moreno
One of the lush, cheerful tables at Michelle’s pop-up sale.

I got to talk to Michelle right after her very first pop-up shop (delightfully pictured above), while she was still on the high of her first time putting books directly into the hands of her community. We’re discussing the books she chose for her first foray into handselling, the connection she finds between reading and plant care (an obsession we share), and the moment she found her identity – on a bookshelf.

Let’s get to it.

What Should I Read Next #188:  Books, plants, and literal bibliotherapy with Michelle Moreno

You can browse Michelle Moreno’s book-and-plant shop on Instagram

Click here to read the full episode transcription (opens in a new tab).

Books mentioned in this episode:

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• Author Octavia Butler (try Parable of the Talents)
Caramelo, by Sandra Cisneros
• The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros
• Before We Visit the Goddess, by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
I’m Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, by Erika L. Sánchez
Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants, by Robin Wall Kimmerer
• The Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color, edited by Cherríe Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
 There Will Be No Miracles Here, by Casey Gerald
• Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More, by Janet Mock
• In the Time of the Butterflies, by Julia Alvarez
• How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, by Julia Alvarez
• Women With Big Eyes, by Angeles Mastretta
• Bird of Paradise: How I Became Latina, by Raquel Cepeda
• Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love, by Dani Shapiro
• The Poet X, by Elizabeth Acevedo
• With the Fire On High, by Elizabeth Acevedo

Also mentioned: 
• WSIRN’s guest submission form
• WSIRN Ep 186: Finding the book that feels like it was written just for you, w/Lamar Giles
• (listen to my other show One Great Book for exclusive deals!)

What do YOU think Michelle should read next?

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  1. Krista says:

    I have to recommend “Echo” by Pam Munoz Ryan for an audio pick! It is outstanding to listen to and includes musical pieces in the book. There is also a Mexican immigrant family in one part of the book.

    • Patricia says:

      “Echo” by Pam Munoz Ryan is an amazing audiobook. Great suggestion! Definitely one of my top audiobooks of all time and one of my favorite books that I read in 2018. I recommended it to my aunt, who is a voracious reader, and she used her smart speaker to listen to the referenced music pieces while she read.

  2. Amapola says:

    I would like to recommend “When I Was Puerto Rican”, by Esmeralda Santiago, since Michelle enjoys reading about identity and growing up in-between cultures. “Caramelo” is a wonderful book.

  3. Patricia says:

    Elizabeth Acevedo’s books are excellent! “The Poet X” is AMAZING – I use that very overused word bc it’s really true! “The Fire on High” is also wonderful.

  4. Michelle Wilson says:

    I strongly recommend Sabrina and Corina by Kali Fajardo-Anstine. This is a new book of short stories about Latina women of indigenous ancestry that mostly take place in Denver, CO. The writing is lush and evocative. Each story is like a finely polished jewel that needs to be savored. I heard the author on an interview and she said that she wanted to write about women like her and their lives. I am still reading it because I have to sit with each story and really try and distill it to its essence. I don’t think that you’ll be disappointed!

  5. Kate says:

    Braiding Sweetgrass is one of my all-time favorite books! I highly recommend the audio version…Robin Wall Kimmerer reads it and she brings such warmth and life to her already wonderful words. It’s a book I plan on re-enjoying regularly.

  6. Michelle, Though I have lived in Arizona for nearly 23 years, I haven’t read many books by Latina/Latino authors. That’s something I hope to change this year.

    From your discussion with Anne, I want to recommend Ursula K. Le Guin’s book *The Left Hand of Darkness.* It’s about an ambassador from a federation of planets who travels to a planet that the federation hopes to recruit into their alliance. The difficulties faced by the ambassador and the official from the planet who believes in, and protects him might be what it’s like to immigrate to a new country. Even though it’s not classified as a spiritual book, it was for me. I hope you will consider reading it. It’s the first Le Guin book I’ve read. I plan to read more.

  7. I just heard of a book on another podcast called the Murmur of Bees by Sofia Segovia that I immediately added to my TBR. It’s a mystery set in Mexico and really explores magical realism. I thought of this book while I was listening to Michelle. It might be worth looking into!

  8. Andrea says:

    I apologize as I have no book suggestions to offer. I would like to take a hard left venturesome turn, though, and suggest some movies that popped into my mind while listening to today’s podcast.

    Ms. Bogel’s description of With the Fire on High reminded me of three great food movies where food is infused with magic, The Ramen Girl (2008), Waitress (2007) and Chocolat (2000).

    And a look at the first generation Mexican American expectation stories, although both lighthearted, Tortilla Soup (2001) and From Prada to Nada (2011) which is Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility.

    Thank you for the great suggestions provided in today’s show.

  9. Tracey Mitchell says:

    For a non-fiction option, I wonder about Savage Dreams: A Journey into the Landscape Wars of the American West. It’s more about land than plants but still might be a fit!

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