Monday, June 18, 2018

And the wind blows us along our way.

It is no surprise that I've abandoned this blog for so long. I like to think that it's what I do. If I posted on a regular basis, then the element of discovery would be lost...right? I logged back in today after reading the beautiful blog of a coworker and her husband-- you can find it at Dream of the Woods Productions. (Make sure to check out the whole site, not just the blog.) Anyway, it really spoke to me and made me want to check up on my little abandoned lot on the internet.
So many changes in three years. I realize that I can't catch up, and that whatever guilt I feel for not checking in on this blog and the other one I have with my sister is silly. The wind really does blow us along our way, sometimes on course and sometimes off. I feel that I'm on course now, but find myself not wanting to document it here as much as I once did. I am living my life, trying to go where the wind takes me and not overthink everything. That is easier said than done. I feel the need to know what will happen next and feel some sort of assurance. Nothing is assured.
I just had my birthday and it was very relaxing and, although there is one sneaky grey hair at the front of my hairline that is bugging me, I'm mostly okay with being thirty-five. I still have hopes and goals-- I always say this, but I really would like to get back to making things. However, I'm proud of what I've achieved insofar as I have a master's degree and (new!) job in my field, I am close with my family and my dog, and I'm on my way to a new place to live with a stopover with my folks in between. I have supportive friends and I'm just kind of content, which is a big deal for me since that feeling is rare. I guess the wind knows where we should go, and I'm going. To quote Friends, "I'm breezy!"
This feeling may be temporary, but right now, I'll take it.

Ex libris,


Friday, June 12, 2015

Reclaiming spinsterhood

I'm turning thirty-two in less than a week. I am single, I live with my dog, and I work full-time. When I was growing up, I didn't envision being unmarried at thirty-two. I figured I'd be married and have children, and I'd probably stay home with them (a different full-time job). I've reached a level of okay-ness with where I am-- I'm not actively scrambling to find a husband. I honestly don't feel the tick of my biological clock. But does this make me a SPINSTER?

Kate Bolick's Spinster: Making a Life of One's Own tackles the idea of spinsterhood through her personal reflections on a handful of literary women. She explores the history of spinsters, what it means to be one, and her own feelings toward her life. In short, I loved it. I identified with it. And hell yeah, I'm a spinster.

I'm not the only one-- over 100 million American women are unmarried. Bolick cites definitions of the term spinster, most of which refer to being older than the usual age for marriage, whatever that is. I've read that Americans are getting married at older ages now, so what is the "usual" age now? In the grand scheme of things, does it matter? And why should there be a negative term for women who are unmarried-- "spinster"-- when unmarried men are considered "bachelors," a positive term for a man who cannot be "tamed?"

The extraordinary women Bolick writes about: Neith Boyce, Maeve Brennan, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Edith Wharton, all were unconventional for their time periods and tried to carve out their own identities. In so doing, they inspired Bolick to live authentically, although not without a few bumps along the way.

It was refreshing to find myself in these pages and know that I'm in good company. Bolick states, "What bothered me was the assumption that because I was a woman in her early thirties, I must be 'desperate' for marriage." You know what I'm desperate for? Being near my friends and family, spending time doing what I love (art and reading), and working at a good job that I like (librarian). I have all those things. If I met someone, that would be awesome, but right now, I like being responsible only to myself and my pup. I am desperate not to worry what other people think of me, which is a work in progress, but it was helped by this book.

I'll end with a quote from Neith Boyce that Bolick includes on page 82:
"I never shall be an old maid, because I have elected to be a Girl Bachelor. And as to regretting this choice, you know the saying of the philosopher, 'Whether you marry or not, you will regret it.'"

My take away from this book is to be true to yourself, and don't feel weird about the path you've chosen. It's your path, after all.

Ex libris,


Friday, May 8, 2015

As Red As Blood

Since I love Scandinavian mysteries, I thought I would really like Salla Simukka's As Red As Blood. I thought, woo! Scandinavian mystery for teens! Unfortunately, it didn't live up to my expectations. It read more like a dry adult mystery than something that would appeal to teens. The main character, Lumikki, is a high school student who lives on her own. It is clear that she is very independent. She finds bloodstained euros in the school darkroom and is pulled into a mystery of who, what, and why...but it's also a mystery of who cares? Despite her independence, Lumikki gets drawn in by a group of kids who she finds inferior. She decides to help them, but for what reason? I wanted to finish (Finnish, lol) the story to see what happened, but I was disappointed. There is a sequel coming out where we learn more about Lumikki, I'm assuming. She is the real mystery. Maybe the tension and intrigue that I associate with Scandinavian noir was lost in the translation from Finnish to English. Whatever the reason, while I wanted to like this book, I was bored.

Speaking of Scandinavia, I am GOING TO ICELAND in October! I'm so very excited!!! I've wanted to go since reading Grettir's Saga in Medieval Literature, and starting off the winding path of Scandinavian noir with Henning Mankell's Sidetracked (which takes place in Sweden) in Global Detective Fiction in college. Hurrah!

Since As Red As Blood wasn't what I expected, here's a GREAT book that I really enjoyed: I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson. And since I'm not reviewing it here, check out this review written by one of my teen library patrons.

Ex libris,


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Where gaming meets the real world.

I just finished Steve Brezenoff's Guy in Real Life this weekend. I picked it up because I purchased it for the library, it got good reviews, and I love the cover. I can say I really liked the book. Not the best, but an enjoyable read.
Lesh Tungsten is trying to figure out where he fits in. After an evening of drinking and a concert, he collides with Svetlana Allegheny as she rides by on her bike. Lesh is grounded for his antics (he's a sophomore in high school) and his best friend, Greg, convinces him to try the MMORPG while he's incarcerated in his bedroom.
In the game, Lesh can be whoever he wants. He chooses an orc character to start, but then creates another, a beautiful elf priestess named Svvetlana. As he gets closer with the real Svetlana, lines blur between fantasy and reality. Svetlana, for her part, is creative and quirky, and also a Dungeon Master, responsible for planning elaborate campaigns for the high school's gaming club. Lesh and Svetlana are both separated from reality, but come together in real life. But what happens if Svetlana finds out about Lesh's alter ego online?
The book is told in alternating chapters so the reader can see both sides of the story. It's not clear if Lesh is confused about his gender or sexuality-- as I read it, he's not, he just wants to have a different persona online. I love Svetlana's character. She is always embroidering or drawing, avoiding awkward family outings and spending time with her friends in the gaming club. It is an engaging, realistic YA story.

Ex libris,


Friday, January 3, 2014

New year!

Happy 2014! Once again, I disappeared for awhile. Nothing bad happening, just very busy at work. I'm running programs, reading for book groups, and rearranging collections. I am a busy bee.
I try not to make resolutions because I usually don't fulfill them and then feel bad. That being said, I would like to read more books and watch less TV this year. There are so many good reads and I feel like I could do better with reader's advisory if I read more (obviously).
Every year I write down in a notebook the books I read. I don't count books I leaf through when they arrive in shipments, and I don't count books I read at story time. If I did, my total would be more robust, but there you are. In 2013, I read fifty books. That is thirty-three fewer than 2012. My commute is much shorter now, so I don't get through as many audiobooks as I did before. I was briefly on a Nutmeg Award Committee, so I plowed through the first selection of books, but I had to resign when I moved to Massachusetts. Not making excuses, just reflecting on my year of reading.
So what were my favorite books I read in 2013? Here is a list to add to your personal reading list:

1. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
2. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
3. Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety by Daniel Smith
4. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
5. Homeland by Cory Doctorow
6. If I Stay by Gayle Foreman
7. The Art Forger by B. A. Shapiro
8. That's Not A Feeling by Dan Josefson
9. The Great Influenza by John M. Barry
10. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
11. The Fire Witness by Lars Kepler
12. Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl (in progress)

Have a fabulous new year! Happy reading!

Ex libris,