Sunday, March 29, 2015

What I Read This Week: March 29, 2015

It's not often that I get to attack a ton of magazines in a week, but this was one of those weeks. Now if only I would read these while on the elliptical... oh well, maybe next time.

I also managed to take care of my taxes, even with all this reading. I should celebrate. By reading. Sounds like a plan to me.
  • Work
    • College and Research Libraries News, March 2015 - I nearly dumped this issue in the trash because I forgot it came with my ACRL membership. Luckily, I stopped myself just in time. No one article jumped out at me, but this issue had an overall theme of change in libraries... which seems to be the case with many things as of late.
  • Magazines
    • Washingtonian, March 2015 - Great. Now I need to do all the things. The cover story about the DC bucket list held a few items I would like to get around to. I also fell in love with the mini-pieces on brunch. I love brunch. Finally, there were two articles, one on the hip hop artist Logic and the other on the failure of DC's Serendipity, that are also well worth the read.
    • Real Simple, April 2015 - This is the 15th anniversary issue for the magazine. Most of the articles were collections of the best tips and products from the past years. I actually enjoyed reading about all the good information on beauty, food, health, etc. that they've discussed over the years. There was also a feature article I enjoyed about coming together as small communities in person (no more Bowling Alone). Specifically, I think I may need to talk to my friends about creating a "long-form article" club. We used to have a book club, but found it a bit hard to keep up with. This version might be a bit easier to manage.
    • HGTV Magazine, April 2015 - Well, this continues to be more of a catalog than a magazine, but I did enjoy how colorful this issue was. Aside from that, I did learn why there are weird, oil-like stains on one set of our linens. The dryer sheets are at fault!
    • Cooking Light, April 2015 - While I didn't pull any recipes from this issue, I love how fresh the felt. Spring issues are awesome in that regard. Other than my mouth watering a bit, I enjoyed the two separate stories on parties. This first was about healthy food swaps (several of which I might try) and the other was about different kinds of parties and how to host them. Now I feel the need to through together a shindig.
  • Books
    • I'm still reading Symbiont. This book is a lot longer than I thought it would be, but at least it's entertaining.It's got enough action that I even managed to read it in large chunks as opposed to ten minute snippets before falling asleep.
  • Other
    • The Washington Post online posted a brief but interesting article on the value of a particular cabernet. As a wine lover, I found it quite interesting.
    • Somehow I stumbled across an article on GIFs and academic study. Given my background in media studies, I thought it was an interesting case.

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Friday Find: Mobile

I wish it were acceptable for adults to randomly hang a mobile in their home. I saw this mobile on Etsy, and now I want it.

You can grab this beauty here.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Variations on a Theme: Feminism

I'm an outspoken feminist, so I love to read books by and about other feminisits. I think they are thought provoking and important. This Variations on a Theme might not be for everybody, but it's certainly for me. Here are a ton of books on Feminism.

How to Be a Woman
Caitlin Moran

Though they have the vote and the Pill and haven't been burned as witches since 1727, life isn't exactly a stroll down the catwalk for modern women. They are beset by uncertainties and questions: Why are they supposed to get Brazilians? Why do bras hurt? Why the incessant talk about babies? And do men secretly hate them? Caitlin Moran interweaves provocative observations on women's lives with laugh-out-loud funny scenes from her own, from the riot of adolescence to her development as a writer, wife, and mother. With rapier wit, Moran slices right to the truth—whether it's about the workplace, strip clubs, love, fat, abortion, popular entertainment, or children—to jump-start a new conversation about feminism. With humor, insight, and verve, How To Be a Woman lays bare the reasons why female rights and empowerment are essential issues not only for women today but also for society itself. [My review]

Roxanne Gay

This trenchant collection assembles previously published essays and new work by cultural critic and novelist Gay (An Untamed State). Even though she loves pink, feels nostalgic about the Sweet Valley High series, and lets degrading rap lyrics blast from her car stereo, Gay is passionately committed to feminist issues, such as equal opportunity and pay and reproductive freedom. Writing about race, politics, gender, feminism, privilege, and popular media, she highlights how deeply misogyny is embedded in our culture, the careless language used to discuss sexual violence (seen in news reports of sexual assault), Hollywood’s tokenistic treatment of race, the trivialization of literature written by women, and the many ways American society fails women and African-Americans. Gay bemoans that fact that role models like Bill Cosby and Don Lemon urge African-Americans to act like ideal citizens while glossing over institutional problems in the education, social welfare, and justice system that exacerbate racism and poverty. Although Gay is aware of her privilege as a middle-class Haitian-American, she doesn’t refrain from advising inner-city students to have higher expectations. Whatever her topic, Gay’s provocative essays stand out for their bravery, wit, and emotional honesty.

Jessica Valenti

Now in its updated second edition, Full Frontal Feminism is a book that continues to embody the forward-looking messages that author Jessica Valenti propagated as founder of the popular website, Full Frontal Feminism is a smart and relatable guide to the issues that matter to today’s young women. This edition includes a new foreword by Valenti, reflecting upon what’s happened in the seven years since Full Frontal Feminism was originally published. With new openers from Valenti in every chapter, the book covers a range of topics, including pop culture, health, reproductive rights, violence, education, relationships, and more.

Leora Tanenbaum

Young women today are encouraged to express themselves sexually. Yet when they do, they are derided as "sluts." Caught in a double bind of mixed sexual messages, they're confused. To fulfill the contradictory roles of being sexy but not slutty, they create an "experienced" identity on social media—even if they are not sexually active—while ironically referring to themselves and their friends as "sluts." But this strategy can become a weapon used against young women in the hands of peers who circulate rumors and innuendo—elevating age-old slut-shaming to deadly levels, with suicide among bullied teenage girls becoming increasingly common. Now, Leora Tanenbaum—senior writer and editor for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, author of the groundbreaking work Slut!, and the writer who coined the term slut-bashing—revisits her influential work on sexual stereotyping to offer fresh insight into the digital and face-to-face worlds contemporary young women inhabit. She shares her new research, involving the experiences of a wide range of teenage girls and young women from a variety of backgrounds as well as parents, educators, and academics. Tanenbaum analyzes the coping mechanisms young women currently use and points them in a new direction to eradicate slut-shaming for good.

Naomi Wolf

The bestselling classic that redefined our view od the relationship between beauty and female identity. In today's world, women have more power, legal recognition, and professional success than ever before. Alongside the evident progress of the women's movement, however, writer and journalist Naomi Wolf is troubled by a different kind of social control, which, she argues, may prove just as restrictive as the traditional image of homemaker and wife. It's the beauty myth, an obsession with physical perfection that traps the modern woman in an endless spiral of hope, self-consciousness, and self-hatred as she tries to fulfill society's impossible definition of "the flawless beauty." In this controversial national bestseller, feminist scholar Naomi Wolf argues that there is one hurdle in the struggle for equality that women have yet to clear--the myth of female beauty. She exposes today's unrealistic standards of female beauty as a destructive form of social control and a reaction against women's increasing status in business and politics. 

Rebecca Solnit

In her comic, scathing essay “Men Explain Things to Me,” Rebecca Solnit takes on what often goes wrong in conversations between men and women. She writes about men who wrongly assume they know things and wrongly assume women don’t, about why this arises, and how this aspect of the gender wars works, airing some of her own hilariously awful encounters. She ends on a serious note— because the ultimate problem is the silencing of women who have something to say, including those saying things like, “He’s trying to kill me!”
The updated edition of this national bestseller features two new essays, including Solnit's recent essay on the remarkable feminist conversation that arose in the wake of the 2014 Isla Vista killings.

Other Feminism Titles
The Birth of the Pill - Jonathan Eig
The Feminine Mystique - Betty Friedan
Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights - Katha Pollitt
The Purity Myth - Jessica Valenti
The Secret History of Wonder Woman - Jill Lepore
Uprising: A New Age is Dawning for Every Mother's Daughter - Sally Armstrong
Vagina - Naomi Wolf
Virgin: The Untouched History - Hanne Blank [My Review]
We Should All Be Feminists - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Yes Means Yes - Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti

Links and Stuff: March 26, 2015

Sunday, March 22, 2015

What I Read This Week: March 22, 2015

It snowed on Friday. What?!?! At least it was a one and done sort of deal.  I wish I had more to write here, but I do not. So I shant.
  • Magazines
    • The Atlantic, March 2015 - This was a very good and very current issue. I found the feature pieces on Hilary Clinton and ISIS to be exceedingly relevant and informative.  On top of that, the other articles on stress and unborn babies and the underground railroad were also good. Normally I skim an article or two from this magazine, but not this issue. They were all good.
  • Books
    • This probably shouldn't count... but my blog, my rules. I flipped through The New Yorker Book of Lawyer Cartoons. There were a few chuckles, but most of these cartoons went over my head - just like most of of The New Yorker cartoons tend to do. 
    • I'm still working in Symbiont. It's fairly predictable, but at least I'm enjoying the ride.
  • Other
    • The BBC posted a fascinating article on volcano myths and how they happen to be right.

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Friday Find: Mystery Nook

I originally found this image on Pinterest. I think it's a wonderful way to decorate a kids bedroom or playroom. Reading nooks are the best. Book themed reading nooks are the bestest.

You can find some of these pillows (and others like it) by searching "Nancy Drew Pillows" on Etsy.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Why I Love... Online Librarians

For a fun thing to post on our libraries social media, I put together a bracket based on the print holdings of each school's library. Uber nerdy? Of course! While I was able to get most of the information I needed from each library or school's website, I did have to e-mail a few schools to get their holdings. Every single one got back to me. I love it when librarians are online. Not only are they helpful, but now I have a paper trail in case anyone wants to track my research.

Who wins the bracket? Harvard... by quite a margin. This bracket will be the best bust ever.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

What I Read This Week: March 15, 2015

Spring! It's finally becoming spring! I can tell cause it's awesome weather followed by gray days of rain. The rain is not the best, but I will totally take the warm weather. I love taking walks at lunch, and now I can go back outside instead of doing laps in the stacks.
  • Work
    • American Libraries, March/April 2015 - This was a thicker issue than normal, and I think it was full of good stuff. Libraries are trying to figure out "what's next," and the feature piece on trends and future-casting was very well done. The feminist in my also loved the highlight articles on women managers.
  • Books
    • I finished The Martian. It was such an enjoyable and high-intensity read after The Dante Club that I just plowed through it. It's the first book in a while that has caused me to stay up past my bedtime. 
    • I picked up a second book this week. This time it's Mira Grant's Symbiont. The first book in this series was predictable but a good read. I think this shall be the same. Anything is better than The Dante Club at this point.

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Friday Find: Velveteen

Not only is this a stunning necklace, but I think it's a great tribute to a children's classic.

You can purchase this on Etsy.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Book 1: The Dante Club

TITLE: The Dante Club
AUTHOR: Matthew Pearl
STARTED: January 20, 2015
FINISHED: March 3, 2015
PAGES: 380
GENRE: Fiction

FIRST SENTENCE: John Kurtz, the chief of the Boston police, breathed in some of his heft for a better fit between the two chambermaids.

SUMMARY: [From] Boston, 1865. A series of murders, all of them inspired by scenes in Dante’s Inferno. Only an elite group of America’s first Dante scholars—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes, James Russell Lowell, and J. T. Fields—can solve the mystery. With the police baffled, more lives endangered, and Dante’s literary future at stake, the Dante Club must shed its sheltered literary existence and find the killer.

THOUGHTS: I should have loved this book. It has everything I like: historical setting, bookish theme, detailed writing, etc. But now, I loathed every minute of reading this book. From the very first pages, I knew this was going to be a struggle to read. There was just "too much" in this novel. Too many characters, too much back-story, too much description. I lost interest so fast that I'm surprised I managed to finish this thing at all. I just didn't give a hoot about the characters or the story in general. Every time something happened to advance the plot or a character, I mentally did this: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The only passage of this novel I enjoyed reading was the back story of the murder. That's it.

RATING: 2/10 [Awful]

Sunday, March 08, 2015

What I Read This Week: March 8, 2015

I had a snow day on Thursday. Woot!

I did laundry, baked cookies, and took a walk to take some pictures of the prettiness. What I love most about snow days is how quite the world seems to get. There's just a hush to everything when it snows - even when hear kids squealing as they play outside. Snow days are perfect for hibernating with reading, which is why this list is so lengthy.

  • Magazines

    • Real Simple, March 2015 - This was mainly a flip through issue for me. The cover story on anti-aging skin care was information, but nothing new to me. The article on how men and women handle illness differently was also interesting. Otherwise, everything else was just kinda, meh.
    • National Geographic, March 2015 - SCIENCE! I am all about articles that call out science denial. The cover story was a perfect read for me. I found the piece on bioluminescence fascinating (and the pictures were pretty). If I were just flipping through this issue for the pictures, I would definitely have stopped for a longer look at the Greenland ice sheet. Those images were just stunning. I want a few of them for my wall.
    • Food Network Magazine, March 2015 - All I can really say here is, "Yum!" I only pulled on recipe to try (dulce de leche cookie bars), but lots of stuff looked tasty. I enjoyed that the overall theme for this issue was food from around the world. That gave the recipes some extra oomph.
    • HGTV Magazine, March 2015 - I received this subscription as a gift from my Mom (who also got me the Food Network subscription). The pictures are really pretty and I always love looking at home decor, but this felt more like a catalog than a magazine. The editorial on curb appeal was nice.
  • Books
    • I finally finished The Dante Club. WOOHOO! The peasants rejoice. I'll have my review in the near future. Spoiler alert: I didn't enjoy it. 
    • After the travesty that was the above book, I started reading The Martian. The Husband loved it and I've heard nothing but great things. I'm 26% of the way in (thank you Kindle counter), and loving it.

Friday, March 06, 2015

The Friday Find: Flask

Oh, well this is just fun. You have a book hiding spot and a flask - how can you not win?

There are a whole series of these from Hollow Book Co on Etsy.

Please imbibe responsibly.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Why I Love... Finishing Bad Books

I can't not finish a book once I start it. I just can't. Don't ask me why - I have no logical answer to give you. That means I often slog through books that either stink outright or, more often, just aren't doing it for me at the moment. When I finish a bad book there is the immediate sense of relief followed by a few days of thinking "Why?" Why didn't I like this particular book? Was it the book? Was it me? Would someone else like this? Why them and not me?

I think all of these questions make me a better reader and a better librarian. I learn more about what I like, while also expanding my palette to make recommendations for others. There are so many books out there that I should not feel compelled to keep reading something that is not working for me. Even when the book is "the worst," however, I still think I grow by finishing it.

Life is about learning lessons, good and bad, from your experiences. I think the same goes for books.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Sunday, March 01, 2015

What I Read This Week: March 1, 2015

I am in the thick of the name change process right now. It's not a fun time. At least my trip to the DMV this week was painless. It's going to take me years to track down everything with my maiden name. Why can't I "Find and Replace" my life? That would make things so much easier.

In other news, we've received both our wedding and engagement albums. They're really purty and I like to flip through them at random moments. Kudos to our photographer, Erin Wheeler, for being utterly amazing.
  • Work
    • American Libraries, March/April 2015 e-supplement -  This was mainly a catalog of e-learning resources, but there was a nice introductory article on the life of libraries
  • Magazines
    • Real Simple, February 2015 - In this issue, I learned some interesting things about human metabolism and how to recover from a break-up. I read most of this issue in the car ride to our ski-trip, so the piece on "warming" soups seemed apropos. There was also a cute article on how a few couples met cute and lived happily ever after.
  • Books
    • I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! I'm 80% done with The Dante Club and the end cannot come soon enough. While the book is a touch more interesting of a read now than when I started, I'm really only in it to find out whodunit. Fingers crossed I finish it next week.