Scribbles: 13 August 2017

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Weather: 79 degrees and partly cloudy.

Location: At the library front desk. Don’t worry, I’m not slacking. This weekend I am working at a yearbook camp. My job is to watch the artwork in the library and be generally helpful. Since the camp is paying me and not the library, I’m not allowed to work on my library work.

Reading: I finished The Hate U Give last week and I’m trying to wrap my head around a review. I’m currently reading Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen and Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer.

Listening: Still crazy over Arcade Fire’s newest album, but now I’m listening to the track “All Your Money on Me” over and over.

Cooking: Meals planned for this week involve pumpkin pancakes, spicy Thai noodles with tofu, and corn and potato chowder.

Blogging: Oh I have great plans for blogging, but life is intervening in a big way. Maybe I’ll get to do another video one day?

Work: Jesus Christ I am so behind at work. I keep getting new stuff piled on and I’m a bit of a perfectionist. This equals anxiety times a million.

School: School starts tomorrow and in true Hermione Granger fashion I’ve already drawn up a study schedule.

Plans for the night: Laundry. Journaling. Something simple for dinner and then sleep.

Plans for this week: Last week was hell. I cannot share the details, but it is bad. It will get better, but this week it will take loads of coffee and fortitude to make it through the week.

Happier plans include lunch with a friend. Therapy. Study time. Maybe some reading.

Hope you all have an awesome week! 

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A Belated August TBR

I’m so late posting my TBR for August, but at least I’m finally posting.

I am working a long weekend this month for an outside (non-library) event at the library and my job is to watch the building and be generally helpful. I end up with long stretches of time on the front desk with nothing to do. Since this outside contractor pays me to stay in the building, I’m not allowed to work on my library related duties. This translates into hours on the desk with nothing to do but read. YAY! It is a good thing that I have this long weekend of reading. My new semester of graduate studies begins on August 14th. I have no idea how much time I’ll get to devote to reading, but I do love to imagine I’ll read all sorts of books. A girl can dream, right?

Hmmmm, I’m noticing that five of these books are re-reads for me. Can you guess which books are new to me?

Happy August reading, y’all. September 1st I go into full autumn mode (hot Georgia weather be damned). Get ready for it!

Hunger: a memoir of (my) body by Roxane Gay

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“This is a memoir of (my) body because, more often than not, stories of bodies like mine are ignored or dismissed or derided. People see bodies like mine and make their assumptions. They think they know the why of my body. They do not.”
― Roxane Gay, Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body

About a month ago I saw Roxane Gay speak in Athens, Georgia. I purchased her latest book, Hunger: a memoir of (my) body, at the reading and she signed it. I was starstruck by her tenacity, warmness, humor, and brilliance. I thought Hunger would be a book that I could zip through with ease in the space of a few hours. That was not the case.

The book has been everywhere in the media and to do a synopses is overly simplistic and difficult to phrase. In Hunger, Gay writes about weight, her family, trauma, sexism, racism, love, sexuality, success, struggle, and a myriad of other topics in short, stomach-punchingly beautiful vignettes.

Often I would read a few pages, put the books down, and weep. There is so much in this book that speaks to my own trauma and my own fraught relationship with my body. It felt like being recognized. That feelings I never articulated because they were too painful or left me feeling too vulnerable were eloquently and sharply written.

A review like this is difficult to write. I’m making more of an effort to keep my story private and in trying to review this book I keep thinking, “yes, and this too.”

I will say that this memoir is not just for those of us who are fat. I can see this feeling of wanting so badly to be accepted the way you are striking against the feeling of wanting to change or blend or not be so different speaking to all sorts of bodies, genders, and sexual orientations.

It was a difficult, yet empowering read and this brief review does not do it justice.

Scribbles: 30 July 2017

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Weather: 83 degrees and partly cloudy.

Location: Starbucks. Sipping on an iced coconut milk mocha macchiato.

Reading: I’m still digesting Roxane Gay’s Hunger (pun intended) and I haven’t been able to focus on any other books. I think I’ll be digging into The Hate U Give next.

Listening: The new Arcade Fire album Everything Now is my jam. I’m especially digging the track “Electric Blue.”

Cooking: I’ve pulled out all my cookbooks. I love cooking and I appreciate eating delicious and healthy meals. I have to figure out what to do when my schoolwork is back in session. I think I’m going to have to accept the need for weekly food prep.

Blogging: I made an editorial calendar for my blog in Trello. I’m hoping to blog regularly, but I always say that and then life happens. This week I plan on posting an August TBR and writing a review of Hunger.

Work: My new job title started on July 1st. I’m now the Resource Sharing and Library Communications Specialist. I’m working on several projects right to prep for the new academic year. Lots to do before faculty and students get back on campus in mid-August.

School: Wrapped up my summer semester and final grades should be issued August 1st. This summer I took a course on basic reference and another on rare book librarianship. Since I started graduate school in January, I’ve taken two classes a semester. Due to some personnel changes happening at my library next year, I’ve decided to move to taking three classes a semester to graduate by August 2018. Yikes. On 8/14 I’ll be taking Collection Development, History of Libraries and Literacy, and Library Marketing. Wish me luck!

Plans for the night: I’m making something simple for dinner and then I’m going to flip through more cookbooks for food inspiration. Maybe reading. Possibly writing that book review. Weekly face mask and vlog watching. #lazy

Plans for this week: Tomorrow morning I’m taking Hope back to school shopping. On Tuesday I’m taking the little kids back to school shopping. On Wednesday I’m back at work, Hope starts her senior year of high school, and Atticus begins first grade. Persy Jane starts PreK next week. I’m looking forward to Saturday when I get to see my good friend Catherine. Lots of good stuff happening.

Hope you all have an awesome week! 

 

A Whirlwind

Saturday night and I feel like this is the first chance I’ve had to catch my breath since I arrived home from book nerd summer camp on Sunday. It hasn’t even been a week since the end of book nerd camp, but it feels like it ended ages ago. I arrived home on Sunday and reconnected with my family. On Monday I took the day off work to catch up on the homework and projects I missed over the long weekend. Tuesday and Wednesday were very busy at work with no less than three meetings and piles of catch-up. Thursday I went to Oglethorpe University in Atlanta for a Georgia Library Association meeting and then met-up with Sam and the kids at Zoo Atlanta. We arrived home – hot and sweaty – to a home with no functioning air conditioning. Thursday night I did more homework and then tossed and turned all night. On Friday I traveled to UGA in Athens for a Research and Assessment interest group meeting and then back to the sweaty house. Today was grocery shopping, finally getting the air conditioner repaired, and then a solid four-hour chunk of coursework.

So, yeah, this is the first chance I’ve had to catch my breath and fill you all in on book nerd summer camp.

I did a very long book haul video on Fig and Thistle Books on Facebook, but I haven’t had a chance to write about the experience. In short, it was fan-fucking-tastic. I finished one and a half books. Not nearly as much as I had hoped, but I don’t even care. I slept like a log. I spent long stretches of time staring at nature. I drank gallons of great coffee. I bought books and ate delicious food. Wonderful things, but not the best part. The best part was the amazing conversations I had with my friends.

We talked about families, careers, goals, and silly things. Our last evening at the cabin we went around the room and shared the book that has most impacted our life. We talked about gender, feminism, sexuality, religion, and pop culture. What a deeply enriching and rewarding experience.

We’re doing it again next year. July 2018 we’ll be going to Asheville, NC. I’ve thought about making this event big and inviting more book bloggers and I’ve had several readers express interest. But, I’m hesitant to make this “a thing.” While I knew some people better than others at this book nerd summer camp, I still felt like I knew them all to some degree and the group was small. I hesitate to open the event up to something larger because I want to take those three or four days and talk to friends and read; I don’t want to manage a camp. I’m thinking next year I will send out invites to folks I know best and keep the group small (no more than 10 folks including myself). However, I will share what week we’ll be in Asheville in case some of you other book nerds would like to organize a trip with your bookish friends at the same time and we can all meet up for dinner or coffee.

Another perk of book nerd summer camp is it really revitalized my reading, writing, and blogging mojo. It may not look like that now – thank you last week of the semester – but I have plans for August and I’m trying to squeeze in some pockets of time to catch my breath, read, think, and write.

 

Book Nerd Summer Camp!

On Friday I did my first Fig and Thistle Books Facebook Live video (BTW, like my F&T Facebook page and be entered into a bookish prize drawing). I talked about my overly ambitious July TBR and I mentioned an exciting event happening this week. BOOK NERD SUMMER CAMP!!!

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This upcoming Thursday my good friend Shannon is picking me up and we are headed to Tennessee for a Book Nerd Summer Camp. Shannon isn’t a blogger – but is a total book nerd – but the other bookish pals meeting us up there are bloggers (AndiHeather, Carrie, and Katie). We have a cabin on the side of a mountain for several days. We have plans to read and write during the day and then in the evening we’ll explore the city for delicious food, coffee, and plenty of book shopping.

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I’m ridiculously excited. Work is INSANE and I’m trying to finish multiple projects before vacation starts. I’m also in the last two weeks of my summer semester and I have two monstrous projects to chip away at before I leave.

Tonight my brain is too pudding like to attempt school projects. I’m off to draft up my packing list and maybe make a book list of titles to find at all the shops we’ll be visiting.

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Ridiculously excited!

F&T Facebook Contest

Eons ago, when I was still “lifestyle” blogging and less focused on books, Fig and Thistle had a Facebook page. I could never figure out exactly what I wanted to do with the Facebook page. My personal page is filled with political rants and my personal life; stuff I’m trying to keep at least semi-private. So what in the hellfire do I put on Fig and Thistle? Do I just re-post bookishness? Do I need to develop a content schedule for that as well? What’s a busy mom/grad-student/library-lady nerd to do?

Whelp, I’ve hit on something. I’ve toyed with starting a vlog, but I know that if I start a vlog on YouTube I will want to do it the “right way” and that means tons of time, planning, and fooling with editing software (perfectionism sucks, btw). I’ve decided to restart the Fig and Thistle Books Facebook page to do weekly Facebook live videos. Think mini-reviews, TBR piles, hauls, and the like.

If you’d like to hear/see me awkwardly talk about books on a Facebook page then please like the Fig and Thistle Facebook page.

Let’s sweeten the deal. If I hit 250 likes by August 15th and I’ll do a drawing for a bookish prize box that will contain some of my top bookish picks. I’ll open this contest up internationally, but international winners will win a gift of comparable value from the Book Depository.

You can like my FB page over there >>>> in the side bar, or simply click here.