Our friend and former contributor Brittany Viklund can do it all. Whether she’s sharing her secret recipe for the world’s best vegan chili or spilling former beauty queen secrets, Brittany has her plate full. As a mom of three little ones, a talented illustrator, and entrepreneur, she has her hand in a lot of pots. Most recently, she has been spending her time sharing her love of literacy with Brittany’s Book Club, an online space dedicated to books for babies, kids, and parents. Brittany is someone we can always count on to nerd out about books with us, so naturally, we had to bring her back to Glitter Guide for a Book Lover feature!
You can follow along with Brittany’s bibliophile world at @brittanysbookclub.
If you had to write the author bio for your imaginary book jacket, what would it say?
“Brittany Viklund could live off chips and salsa, still has all her wisdom teeth and loathes overhead lighting. Once upon a time she was a “beauty queen,” but life has never been sweeter than it is right now. She lives in Burlington, VT, with her husband, three sons and small zoo.”
What’s your earliest memory of falling in love with a book?
While I vividly remember requesting that my parents read me Freddie’s Spaghetti repeatedly and studying all the other Berenstain Bears titles featured on each book’s back cover; I think I really fell in love with books when I could read them myself, specifically when I began reading The Baby-Sitters Club and Goosebumps books.
What types of books are you drawn to?
I’m drawn to books that will captivate my attention and transport me to the character’s world; I pay keen attention to the details and settings of a book I am reading. I’m also drawn to books that will teach me something new or help me consider a new perspective or approach to life. And of course, books with beautiful covers.
What are three books you think Glitter Guide readers should read and why?
We Are the Weather by Jonathan Safran Foer. This is a quick but powerful read about the climate crisis that rattles us in the way we desperately need in order to embrace critical changes in our actions.
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. Having had the privilege of learning about Stevenson many years ago and spending time at the Equal Justice Initiative, his work and words completely transformed me and Just Mercy offers the same level of impact. I align with Bryan in the belief that how we view and treat the condemned defines our heart and progress as a society.
The Book of Delights by Ross Gay. Ross is such an incredible writer and this collection of essays is a true, well, DELIGHT, which we can never have too much of, especially these days.
What was the last book you read?
Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala, and I completely devoured it. It’s a cozy mystery (which was a new genre to me but I’m very eager for more now) featuring a Filipino lead character and her family saturated in a delicious foodie setting, all in the pursuit of solving a murder case. Highly recommend!
If you were to write your own memoir, what would the title be?
My Life in Time Zones. With the exception of the current time zone I now live in (we moved to Burligton, VT, in October 2020), I’ve spent about a decade living in each continental U.S. time zone and each location (California, New Mexico and Oklahoma) encapsulates defining chapters of my life.
How do you like to organize your books?
Genre, color and location. I have a section for fiction, non-fiction, coffee table/illustrated/photography, cookbooks and various TBR piles scattered in different locations. Then children’s books all.over.the.place with our full stash lining the walls of our basement.
Paperback, hardcover, digital or audio?
While I love the fresh energy of a hardcover, paperback is where it’s at for me — tangibly they feel so satisfying in my hands and are easier to tote around with me everywhere or hold one-handed while I’m nursing the baby.
What literary character has stuck with you long after you finished the book?
Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables. I read Anne of Green Gables for the first time ever as an adult, last spring right as COVID and quarantine began and her zest for life was a much-needed balm to my soul.
Do you have any favorite local bookstores?
YES! I still love keeping up with my three favorite bookstores back in Oklahoma — Commonplace Books has a unique curation of titles and Full Circle is a little cliché of heaven with multiple fireplaces, sliding ladders and a whimsical children’s space in Oklahoma City and Fulton Street Books & Coffee in Tulsa, Black female-owned by a former teacher I worked with and wide selection of anti-racist titles. Now that I’m in Burlington, I have Phoenix Books and Crow Bookshop to explore, too.
Do you have a preferred setting or any rituals when you read?
As a mom to three children all under the age of 5, I have to squeeze every opportunity out of my day to read, so reading happens just about any time, any place I get a chance. I laugh because my work-from-home husband watches me tote my book around all day and while I may never read a word, I assume it looks as if I’m just leisurely reading all the livelong day. I do have to read, if even just a paragraph, before I go to sleep at night.
Which three authors would you like to have a drink with?
Michelle Obama, Ross Gay, Stephen King.
What is currently on your TBR pile?
My TBR pile is ever-evolving, but at this moment on my shortlist, I’ve got:
- The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri
- Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby
- The second and third books in the To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before series by Jenny Han (so I can finally watch the movies!)
- Know My Name by Chanel Miller
- Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert
- The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells
- Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman