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The Ultimate List of Reads from Book Expert Zibby Owens

If you don't know what to read right now, start here.
Zibby Owens
June 13, 2024

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Skimm Her Life is a series in our weekly newsletter, Skimm Shopping, where smart women share their favorite things.

Today we have the queen of books herself, Zibby Owens, here to Skimm Her Life. If you aren’t familiar with her (we’d be shocked if you’re not), she is a complete multihyphenate in the literary world. She’s an author, bookstore owner, podcast host, and founder of a media company and publishing imprint. Scroll on to see everything Zibby thinks we should all be reading, along with some of her corresponding podcast episodes with said authors.

Name three things you always kept on your desk when writing “Bookends” and “Blank.”

What inspired your abundant literary career (from authorship and book clubs to book stores and endless recommendations)?

My love of reading has inspired everything. I could seriously read all day and be perfectly content. Actually, that’s not true, because I also really love launching things — businesses, products, and books. From the time I was a little girl, I had penpal relationships with authors who I’ve always viewed as true rockstars. It made me want to write and once I started writing myself, I realized it was my true calling. Staying home with my four kids for 11 years and falling in love again and getting remarried inspired an idea for a book of essays called “Moms Don’t Have Time to Read Books,” which didn’t end up selling as a book, but did turn into my author-interview podcast, which then led me to everything else, one step at a time.

What advice can you give our readers who want to have some sort of career in the literary space?

Seven years ago, I wasn’t even on social media, let alone in the literary world. I was completely out of it with no platform. So if I could go from that to this, you can do anything! I started small with what I was really interested in: learning more about authors and reading great books. Start with your true interest as a jumping-off point. What wouldn’t feel like work? Then throw yourself into it.

What are you currently reading?

I’m reading “The Life Impossible” by Matt Haig, which comes out in the fall.

For our readers who are new to you and your podcast, which episodes should they start with?

What are three summer books our readers should have on their radar?

Do you have a favorite genre? If so, what are your all-time favorites within said genre?

My favorite genre is actually memoir, but I also love fiction.

Do you think the movie could ever be better than the book? What’s a book-to-movie adaptation you actually love?

Yes, in rare cases the movie can be better. I just saw “The Idea of You,” which was adapted from Robinne Lee’s novel. It’s steamy, fun, escapist, and inspiring. 

Name some of your favorite authors who you think deserve some extra love, along with must-reads by them.

The best book to read if you need a laugh?

“Did I Say That Out Loud?” by Kristin van Ogtrop

The best book to read if you want to get into reading and don’t know where to start?

“Blank” by me! No, seriously. It’s a quick read with short chapters and a fast-moving plot.

The best book to read if you can’t stop scrolling on your phone?

“I’ll Be Just Five More Minutes” by Emily Farris

What are your favorite book-related accessories?

Psst: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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