Chris Wolak - Stay Curious Blog Logo

Welcome to my corner of the internet! I’m Chris Wolak and Stay Curious is a blog about books, libraries, and history. It’s a place for me to practice and celebrate my core value of life-long learning. I’ve been blogging about the books I read, the libraries I visit, and other bookish topics since January 2010.

I started this blog shortly after stepping down as a manager at Borders Books & Music after over ten years in a variety of positions (district marketing manager, community relations, and operations to name a few). Although I continued to work as a part-time bookseller for another two years until the company’s demise, I missed the daily interaction with books and book people. This blog helped fill that void.

Through the years I’ve made some wonderful friends through blogging. In both real life and online, my tribe has always been book people.

About me

I’ve spent most of my adult life working with or around books. In addition to my time at Borders, I’ve worked as a college English instructor and in both academic and public libraries. I’ve also held jobs in factories, hospitals, and served in the Marine Corps. I’ve lived in a handful of states around the U.S. and now call Connecticut home. My non-bookish interests include kayaking, exploring nature, and hanging out with my wife and our two dogs.

I’m currently pursuing a masters in library and information science with a focus on archives at Simmons University. I have an MA in Literature from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a BA in English from Loyola University Chicago.

Willa Cather is one of my favorite writers. I’ve been on a mission to read everything she’s written. In 2012 I created the Willa Cather Novel Reading Challenge around the last Cather novel on my list. I invited others to join me in reading all 12 of her novels that year. I’m currently reading one Cather short story a month and invited others to join me in the Willa Cather Short Story Project.

Book Cougars Podcast

In December 2016, my friend Emily Fine and I decided to start a book podcast after we’d driven eight hours, round-trip, to attend an author event. (It was Ruth Franklin talking about her new biography of Shirley Jackson at Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, Vermont.) We talked about books the entire time, there and back. Days later, the Book Cougars: Two Middle-Aged Women on the Hunt for a Good Read was born. You can stream episodes directly from our website or wherever you get your podcasts.

Other places to find me:

Thanks for visiting, and Stay Curious!



  1. Hello. We have a small group on Litsy reading through Cather’s short story collection. We have already gone through all her novels, except Alexander’s Bridge. Anyway I wanted to comment here that one in our group found your Cather posts and they have become a major source for us. Thanks for this blog and all you and your group add to these stories. If you go on Litsy you can find us at #catherbuddyread (my handle is graywacke )

    • Hi Dan, thanks so much for taking the time to write and let me know you and your group are finding my posts helpful! It means a lot to me. Most of all, I’m excited to connect with more Cather enthusiasts. I have a Litsy account that I’ve let languish and will head over to connect with you.

  2. Hi Chris,
    I came across your blog while I was searching for Willa Cather related information. I’m a writer that lives in the south suburbs of your old stomping grounds, Chicago. I subscribed to your blog thinking that it might be a way to contact you directly, but I’m not sure if it works that way so I’m trying this post as well. I have a piece of Willa Cather memorabelia that I’d like to see go to someone who’d appreciate it. Feel free to contact me at my email address if you’re interested.

    • Hi Patrick! I miss Chicago. Due to the pandemic, it’s been over two years since I’ve been back. I’m intrigued by what memorabilia you have. I only see the email addresses of people who follow the blog and not names, so I couldn’t find your info. My email is chriswolak.blog@gmail.com if you’d like to email me. Thanks for following my blog and for reaching out.

  3. Thank you for commenting on my Larry McMurtry post! I was interested to see you’re going through library school, as I did that in the mid-90s and would be interested to see how things have changed (I learned how to make a web page in html and a relational database and also how to lay out a double-sided concertina-fold leaflet so was on the cusp between the traditional and the new!).

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