Sunday, July 31, 2016

What I Read This Week: July 31, 2016

Why, DC? Why with the heat? I nearly melted commuting every day. Not cool. Literally.

Beyond that, it was a good week. We're piloting the digitization of our archival theses and, while we still have things to work out, it's fun to see the project starting to come together. The test results look pretty darn cool. I love it when a plan comes together!

On top of that, I spent a lot of this week editing the article I need to submit tomorrow. I freely admit it is not my best work. I've not written a paper like this since grad school. Thankfully, The Husband and Lady B are awesome editors. It's been whipped into shape and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it's approved for printing. I think I might need to start writing more, even if no one reads the work. I do not want my skills to go that stagnant again.
  • Work
    • American Libraries, July/August 2016 - The bulk of the issue was the annual conference wrap up. I skimmed all of that. I highly recommend reading the article excerpted from the books The Purposed Based Library. I think I may need to get my hand on that.
  • Magazines
    • Real Simple, August 2016 - This issue makes me want to paint all the things. (Not until we move, Meghan. Not until we move.) The paint article featured all sorts of help tips and tricks to painting better. As someone who has trouble with the "W" technique, this article might prove very useful. The brief article on how to stay cool when it's very hot was well time because DC survived a horrid heat wave this week. Finally, I loved the tips about how to go back to school. I don't have anyone to prep for, but I thought the organization comments were applicable to other areas of life. Also, I love school supplies. I was that kid who relished picked out pens, binders, folders, and notebooks.
  • Books
    • I finished The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. The story was cute, but I kept thinking about the Disney cartoon version.
    • Mid-week, I started Hyperbole and a Half. I love the web cartoon and the book is essentially that on paper.
  • Other
    • Article club met on Tuesday. We read two short pieces this session. The first was on how to find meaning in your work and the second was on gender and mass violence. They were very different pieces, but we had a nice discussion to go along with our wine.
    • Early in the week, I read a NY Times article the many perceptions of Marie Kondo's tidying up methods. As a "konvert" I found myself judging those who adamantly don't believe in her methods. I think, as with everything in life, some things work for some people and not for others.

Friday, July 29, 2016

The Friday Find: Cooking Joy

I love books. I love food. I love books about food. Ergo, I love this apron.

You can find this in the Book Riot Store.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Variations on a Theme: Journal

About two months ago, I discovered bullet journaling. I feel in love quickly. I feel in love hard. I've been using my bullet journal for about a month, and I think it's a fantastic addition to my life. I love how it keeps me organized, creative, and having fun. This month's Variations on a Theme is all about journals. Happy writing!

Wreck This Journal
Keri Smith

For anyone who's ever had trouble starting, keeping, or finishing a journal or sketchbook comes this expanded edition of Wreck This Journal, an illustrated book that features a subversive collection of prompts, asking readers to muster up their best mistake and mess-making abilities and to fill the pages of the book (or destroy them). Through a series of creatively and quirkily illustrated prompts, acclaimed artist Keri Smith encourages journalers to engage in "destructive" acts--poking holes through pages, adding photos and defacing them, painting pages with coffee, coloring outside the lines, and more--in order to experience the true creative process. With Smith's unique sensibility, readers are introduced to a new way of art and journal making, discovering novel ways to escape the fear of the blank page and fully engage in the creative process.

Rip It! Write It! Draw It!

Discover the newest addition to the Piccadilly family- an illustrated journal with witty prompts to help get you in the mood to write! Go ahead, explore the depths of your creativity and start living outside of your comfort zone. A participatory journal with 240 pages of fun and creative tasks to complete.. so you can Rip it! Write it! Draw it! anywhere you go!

Let It Out: A Journey Through Journaling
Katie Dalebout

You want change. Maybe your career isn’t what you thought it would be . . . or your relationships aren’t what you had hoped. Perhaps you have a grand vision for your life but not the smallest clue on the steps to get there. Whether you’ve read the entire self-help section of the bookstore in vain or feel completely stuck on where to begin, you wish you had someone to hold your hand and guide you. You do. And it’s only a blank page away.

Gratitude: A Journal
Catherine Price

Keep a daily record of life's little blessings with this keepsake gratitude journal filled with a years worth of insightful prompts, inspiring quotes, and ample room for reflecting on all the things that make life great.

Notebook Know-How: Strategies for the Writer's Notebook
Aimee Buckner

A writer's notebook is an essential springboard for the pieces that will later be crafted in writers' workshop. It is here that students brainstorm topics, play with leads and endings, tweak a new revision strategy, or test out a genre for the first time. In Notebook Know-How, Aimee Buckner provides the tools teachers need to make writers' notebooks an integral part of their writing programs.This compact guide is packed with lessons, tips, and samples of student writing to help teachers make the most of writers' notebooks, without sacrificing time needed for the rest of the literacy curriculum

The Complete Decorated Journal: A Compendium of Journaling Techniques
Gwen Diehn

Now two of the most successful books by Gwen Diehn, The Decorated Page and The Decorated Journal, are bound together into one comprehensive and inspiring volume. The combined contents offer readers an unmatched collection of great ideas and techniques, from the latest supplies (papers, adhesives, paints, pens) to innovative layouts (mandalas, diagonals, cutouts, grids). Sidebars highlight specific genres, such as pillow books, nature journals, and illuminated manuscripts. Plus, newly added content includes journaling artist profiles along with galleries of their work, new techniques, and a new project where readers learn to make a journal from a butter box.

Other Journal Titles

500 Writing Prompts - Picadilly
The Art of Vintage Journaling and Collage - Maryjo Kock and Sunny Koch
A Book Lover's Diary - Shelagh Wallace and Scott McKowen
Finish this Book - Keri Smith
The Happy Book - Rachael Kempster and Meg Leder
Instant Happy Journal - Karen Salmansohn
Journal Fodder 365 - Eric M. Scott and David R. Modler
My Bucket List Fill-In Journal - Axel and Ash
The Scribble Diary - Lisa Currie
Start Where You Are - Meera Lee Patel
This Is Not a Book - Keri Smith

Links and Stuff: July 28, 2016

From Pretty Books.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Book 21: Into Thin Air

TITLE: Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster
AUTHOR: Jon Krakauer
STARTED: July 6, 2016
FINISHED: July 13, 2016
PAGES: 293
GENRE: Non-Fiction / Memoir

FIRST SENTENCE: In March 1996, Outside magazine sent me to Nepal to participate in, and write about, a guided ascent of Mount Everest.

SUMMARY: [From BN] Into Thin Air is the definitive, personal account of the deadliest season in the history of Mount Everest -- told by acclaimed journalist, and bestselling author of Into the Wild and Eiger Dreams, Jon Krakauer. On assignment for Outside magazine, Krakauer, an accomplished climber, went to the Himalayas to report on the growing commercialization of the planet's highest mountain. When he reached the summit in the early afternoon of May 10, 1996, he hadn't slept in over 57 hours and was reeling from oxygen depletion. Twenty other climbers were pushing for the summit, and no one had noticed the clouds filling the sky. Six hours later, and 3,000 feet lower, Krakauer collapsed in his tent. The next morning he learned that six of the climbers hadn't made it back. Even though one climber in four dies attempting to reach the summit, business is booming as guides take the rich and the adventurous up the mountain for a fee of $65,000. Krakauer examines what it is about Everest that has compelled so many people -- including himself -- to throw caution to the wind and willingly subject themselves to so much danger, hardship, and expense. Written with emotional clarity, Krakauer's account of what happened on the roof of the world is a singular achievement.

THOUGHTS: After I saw the movie Everest, I just had to get my hands on this book. The movie was great and I was in the mood to learn more about this event. The book did not disappoint. Krakauer's reputation for recreating outdoor experiences is well deserved. When he talks about being unable to breath, you will deeply inhale and bless the air. When he details being cold to the bone, you will shiver. When he discusses the emotional pain of the journey, you will want to cry. This book was incredibly vivid and I was engrossed from the first page.

Krakauer's writing style is simple but effective. The book is more or less chronological, but he references moments before and after the expedition when relevant. The story flows smoothly and the book reads almost like a travel narrative. The writing is gorgeous because Krakauer adds just enough detail to set the scene without entering purple prose. When he is cold, he says he is cold, not that he felt encased in ice. There are no wasted words or sentences to clutter the page. Each word makes it's necessary point and then moves on. This simplicity means the starkness of the setting and the drama of the climb take center stage.

My main complaint about this book is that Krakauer pats himself on the back a lot. He discusses that he's better than most climbers and helped the sherpas more. This is all likely true, but something about the tone of those paragraphs comes across as snooty. It's a little off-putting. That said, Krakauer also notes when he was in the wrong. He double-guesses his decisions at the time, and admits that the thin air causes you to act differently. You can feel his anguish in the "what ifs" of the trip.

In some ways, this book might have been written too soon after the tragedy. Krakauer himself admits that. He was haunted by what happened on Everest and need to put words on the page. In many ways, you can feel him working through PTSD. I read the original edition of the book, so I don't know what the newest edition's afterword says, but I would not surprised if distance and time has altered his remembrance about the trip.

This book is haunting. I have a feeling that I will re-read it in the future to see if time changes my own perspective on it.

RATING: 9/10 [Excellent]

Sunday, July 24, 2016

What I Read This Week: July 24, 2016

It's a short list this week. I had the week off so I spent a lot of time checking items off my lengthy, at home to do list. There are so many completed Xs in my bullet journal that I think I earned a merit badge. At the very least I earned a cookie. (*runs to cabinet to grab an oreo*) I feel extra productive this week because I finished the first draft of my first (ever!) article I'm submitting to a journal. I have not written a paper like this since grad school. I was out of practice, but I think it turned out well.
  • Books
    • I finished reading Used and Rare. Once I got over how pretentious the authors sounded, I loved the book. It reminded me of days working in a used and rare bookstore. 
    • I started reading the classic book The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving. Since this book is over 100 years old, it's taking me a little longer to get through the prose. Irving's text is a bit different from the modern writing style I'm used to.
  • Other
    • Everyday The Chronicle of Higher Education sends me several emails with a selection of stories. This week, there was a great piece on millennials becoming managers in the academic work force. This is me. I nodded in agreement through the whole darn thing. (This article is under a premium lock, but if you have access, it's worth the read). 
    • A great piece by Michael Arnovitz on The Policy that basically explain the sexism that keeps Hillary's poll numbers down.... and also why people like her when she's working.

Friday, July 22, 2016

The Friday Find: Underfoot

You can decorate with books in so many ways I've lost track. This book rug is a new one for me.

You can find this (and other matching home decor items) on Society 6.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Why I Love... Bookish Chararacters

When I say I love bookish characters, I don't mean the bookworms you find in books. (Although they are awesome.) In this case, I am referring to the people you meet in bookstores and libraries. You know, the characters who haunt the aisles of used bookstore and grab seats in libraries. I love all the people who add life to what would otherwise be lonely bookcases.

Some bookish characters are quirky, some nerdy, some eccentric, and some appear utterly normal. The only thing all these bookish types have in common is a love of books and reading. There are bookish characters who want to read as many books as humanly possible, while others collect books as art pieces. Some bookish characters love paperbacks they can beat up while reading over and other again, and some characters only want leather-bound first editions to grace their shelves. Some bookish characters would never consider ebooks, while others love toting their entire library on a phone. Each bookish character has a "thing" or two that makes them stand out. I've seen characters who grab a random book from a shelf, plop down on the floor, and start reading the middle of a book. I have also seen characters who delicately turn each page of a book, as if it might fall apart in their hands. I've seen children carrying books that take two hands to hold onto. I see adults slipping incredibly slim tomes into their jacket pockets. These characters are young and old, rich and poor, and come from all walks of lives and have incredibly varied backgrounds. I love bookish characters because, for me, they represent the wonderful diversity that is life.

I count myself as one of these characters. I regularly visit bookstores and libraries. I obsess over titles; talking to anyone who might listen about my favorite authors or latest discovery. I stroke the spines of pretty books. I alphabetize bookstore shelves that are out of order. I have to buy or check-out books in groups of two or more because I don't want the titles to get lonely on the trip home. I have been known to stick my nose in a new (or used) book and deeply inhale to wrap myself in the delicious aroma that is the printed page.

I love bookish characters because were are all cast in the play that is reading. We all add something to the scene, enriching the script, and bring our own style the story.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

What I Read This Week: July 17, 2016

Birthday weekend! WOOO! My birthday is actually this upcoming Wednesday, but we celebrated this weekend because I decided I want a tropical drink with a little umbrella. Tiki Bars are a new(ish) trend in DC, so The Husband gathered many of friends to join us at a bar called Archipelago. It was a fantastic time. We're following up the fun of last night with a brunch today at Le Diplomate. A french style restaurant that is much in demand and has been on my list for awhile. Noms!

Now I have a week off. I would ponder about what to do with myself, but I have a long lists of tasks I want to accomplish and an article to write.
  • Work
  • Magazines
    • Cooking Light, August 2016 - The recipes in this issue
      were just "there" for me, but I loved the articles. Normally, I skim the editor's letter, but this month's was a cute story about the EIC's grandmother, her typwriter, and all the letters she wrote to family and friends. Following the grandma trend, there was a great piece on "Nonna's Sauce" about an Italian family and their homemade sauce making. Finally, there were two healthy pieces about eating for vitamins and nutrients and the benefits of eating raw foods for your health and digestion.
    • Good Housekeeping, August 2016 - I breezed through most of this issue, but the article on why you should get to know your neighbors is a good read. They could just end up saving your life. There was also a feature piece on how to prepare for disasters that was beneficially. Finally, some of the summer recipes looked mighty tasty.
  • Books
    • I motored through Into Thin Air this week and finished it much faster than expected. I was up much later a few nights in a row because I was so absorbed in the book. It was really, really good. Also, makes you appreciate the simple things. Like breathable air.
    • I was kind of at a loss of what to read for my next book. Into Thin Air is sticking with my, so it took me a while to find a book in my apartment that I wanted to read next. I ended up picking Used and Rare. It's a book about a couple and their "travels" in the book world.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Links and Stuff: July 14, 2016

Trinity College Old Library

Monday, July 11, 2016

Book 20: Doctor Dealer

TITLE: Doctor Dealer: The Rise and Fall of an All-American Boy and His Multimillion-Dollar Cocaine Empire
AUTHOR: Mark Bowden
STARTED: June 16, 2016
FINISHED: July 6, 2016
PAGES: 331
GENRE: Non-Fiction

FIRST SENTENCE: There was no reason to suspect anything unusual when Larry saw Pat O'Donnell on the dock in a business suit.

SUMMARY: [From BN] A most unlikely drug kingpin, Dr. Larry Lavin was a Philadelphia dentist at the time of his arrest and subsequent sentencing to a 42-year prison term. But Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Bowden has done an exceptional job of showing how family background and the yuppie culture of the '70s and '80s combined to produce one of the East Coast's biggest cocaine dealers. The son of a man who had once been well-to-do but continued to try to maintain an upper-class lifestyle on a lower-middle-class income, Lavin was a brilliant scholarship student at Phillips Exeter, but was expelled for drug use. Accepted to the University of Pennsylvania, he became the biggest marijuana dealer on campus, at a time when more than half the students, Bowden estimates, were using pot. Then came cocaine and profits ranging into the millions, with an organization that involved dozens of people. Eventually, however, Lavin's flamboyant spending led authorities to suspect him. A notable, in-depth look at a figure who, even after his apprehension, was able to rationalize his criminality on the grounds that he was only supplying a demand.

THOUGHTS: You can tell that this book was one of Mark Bowden's earliest works. His typical voice and style are there, but everything is a little bit looser and a little bit more information dumpy than his more recent works. This has been on my bookshelf for years, so I was glad that the mood to read non-fiction finally struck me.

This story was intriguing and left me flabbergasted that a college student could turn himself into a cocaine drug lord. My enjoyment of this story rested on the sheer audacity of it's characters. You go into the book knowing that everyone will get caught, this book chronicles the backstory and the daring attitudes of those in Lavin's world. I scoffed openly that some of the characters thought they were outside of the law's notice. It's almost impressive that the drug ring operated as openly as it did for so long. They were just begging to be caught. This book works because everyone is a character. Bowden spends enough time showcasing people's personalities that you're drawn into their stories and the roles they play.

The main downside to this book is that Bowden relies almost too strongly on wiretap transcripts and transcribed conversations. It's great that those conversations are true to life, but I think they could have been edited a touch more for length and clarity. Bowden did, however, set those pages up well in the overall narrative.

Also, since this book was written about 30 years ago, I found myself wrapped up enough in the people involved to Wikipedia where they are now. I think that means I enjoyed the book.

RATING: 7/10 [ Very Good]

Sunday, July 10, 2016

What I Read This Week: July 10, 2016

DC is going through it's first heat wave of the summer. While it stinks that commuting is a sweaty mess, the high temperatures meant I got to have fun with work's social media posts this week. I am a gif searching machine!

Now I miss having a pool. Phooey.
  • Work
    • College and Research Libraries News, July/August 2016 - I thought I would breeze through this article fairly quickly, but then I ran into the article called "That's not my job." It's got some great points that I hope to incorporate into an article I'm writing. The list of job burn out resources could also prove to be helpful one day.
  • Magazines
    • The Atlantic, July/August 2016 - When the stories from this issue showed up on the website, I got really excited to receive me issue. That must explain why it took two weeks longer than normal to arrive. That's what I get for anticipating things. The entire issue was great, but I most enjoyed the article on the Jesus's wife manuscript fragment. The author did a fabulous bit of detective work and I was completely wrapped up in the story. Additionally, the cover story on how American politics went nutso was very informative and an important read for any politico. I also liked the brief piece on Chelsea Clinton's place in the political realm.
  • Books
    • I finished reading Doctor Dealer mid-week. It was not Bowden's best book and I think that's because it was one of his earliest. I still very much enjoyed it overall... and now I need to track down what happened to everyone because Bowden wrote this almost 30 years ago.
    • I started Into Thin Air. Yippee! So far it's doing a great job feeding my mild obsession with Everest. I do find it odd that I'm reading about people in snow and cold weather gear while DC is going through it's first prolonged heat wave of the summer. 

Friday, July 08, 2016

The Friday Find: Ella Ella

Summer in DC always comes with a chance of rain or thunderstorms. I always keep an umbrella in my bag in case something pops up. My umbrella is navy with white polka dots and a pink handle. I think it's pretty cute. This umbrella is cuter.

You can buy this from Barnes and Noble.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Links and Stuff: July 7, 2016

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Why I Love... Mild Obsession

As soon as I finish my current read, I get to start a book I am very much anticipating - Into Thin Air. The Husband and I watched Everest a week or so again, and ever since I've been mildly obsessed with the topic of climbing My. Everest. I love it when I fall into a mild obsession because it means I get to dive into a new topic with a passion. I can research online, browse the library, and read and read and read to my heart's content.

Mild obsession is fantastic because it means I'm learning something new. Curiosity inspired me to dive headlong into research. In these cases, I'm driven by the pure need to simply know more about something I find inspiring, interesting, or fascinating. No one is going to grade my work, tell me to move faster or slower, look into another topic, or stop altogether. Mild obsession is driving me because I am curious and intrigued.

When I get to latch on to a new obsession, I go at it full-speed. I cycle through research and consumption until my need to explore and learn has been satisfied... and then I move onto the next obsession. 

Sunday, July 03, 2016

What I Read This Week: July 3, 2016

This week was lovely. I very rarely get to say that about DC weather at the end of June. I walked outside a ton... including to work on Wednesday. 4 miles! On Saturday, The Husband and I got together with a small group of friends for a picnic in Dupont Circle. Outdoors was a great place to be this week. I'm kind of bummed that the weather promises to be not that great for Independence Day.
  • Magazines
    • Washingtonian, July 2016 - The cover story was about all the things you can see, do, and eat in and around the Chesapeake Bay. I marked a few things for The Husband and I to possibly try in the future. Beyond that piece I enjoyed the very brief article on tiki bars in DC (which is how I plan on celebrating my birthday in a few weeks). I also LOVED the article on the local runner with cerebral palsy. It had me on the verge of happy tears. Finally, this issue was a touch thicker than usual but that was because it was packed with lawyer and realtor reviews. Blergh.
    • National Geographic, July 2016 - I feel like I read the cover story about CSI-like evidence in The Atlantic a month or so ago. This piece focused on a new type of DNA - one that helps to reconstruct what a criminal or victim might look like based on their DNA. It was a fine read, but I enjoyed the articles on great white sharks (shark week!) and the revival of Virunga, the African wildlife park, much more. 
  • Books
    • I finished off What If? It was a very entertaining book to read. I posted my review earlier this week.
    • I'm about halfway through Doctor Dealer the book is quite good, but I kind of want to finish it much faster than I am. Last weekend, The Husband and I watched Everest. I was so into the story that I decided to pick up Into Thin Air the next day. I want to finish Doctor Dealer so that I can get my hands on Krakauer's book.
  • Other
    • Article club met this week. We read a brief piece on self-compassion versus self-esteem. I very much liked what the article said, and I loved the conversation it spurred.

Friday, July 01, 2016

The Friday Find: Teepee

Do these come in adult sizes? I need one. For reasons.

You can find this in the WhiteVineDesign Etsy shop.