2019 Resolutions and Reading!

IMG_20181220_174159Happy New Year! I hope you all were able to celebrate in a way that made you feel happy and optimistic, and I hope you have your first book of 2019 all picked out! I don’t know about you, but I’m spending the day on the couch reading FOR SURE. I’m looking forward to 2019 for many reasons. First and most important, I’m getting married! But I’m also looking forward to a new year of reading and general self-improvement (ha).

For the past six months, and for the next six months going forward, I will be very focused on planning my wedding. It’s only going to get more intense, so with that in mind I am trying to be extra kind to myself. I’m not going to set any major goals or push myself too hard, unless it’s about getting this damn wedding planned and executed in a semi-successful manner. Of course I’m going to continue to work on taking better care of myself in all ways, increase my exercise, decrease my shitty food intake, get more sleep, etcetc, but I’m not going to beat myself up about it.

In reading, I’ve decided to have a year of “free reading”. I’ve set a Goodreads goal of ten books, which we all know is nonsense for me. I’ll be reading well over that, but I don’t want to worry about making my goal or stressing over how much time I have to read. I’ve had multiple friends talk to me about how frustrating they find the weird social media pressures that Goodreads can put on you as a reader, so I’ve also started using Bookriot’s Book Tracking Spreadsheet to keep stats on my reading in a way that is very nerdy and pleasing to my librarian heart and brain!

I read 80 books in 2018, the most I’ve ever read in a year! But I anticipate that my reading time will go down for a while as I try to work on wedding centerpieces and chasing guests down for RSVPs. But I don’t want to just NOT set a goal. I enjoy logging my books in Goodreads and seeing them listed together in the yearly reading challenge, so I figured I would just set a dummy goal.

Another thing I’ve done is retire from all book clubs but one. This will eliminate a good amount of scheduled reading that I always seem to have to push through. The biggest change I will need to make is NOT putting books on hold at my library unless I’m planning on reading them right away. Library books, while better than buying a ton of books that just pile up, tend to set another kind of reading schedule in my mind. I feel like I need to read all my library books in the order they’re due back, not the order I WANT to read them in, and that stresses me out. This is all nonsense, but it bugs me just the same.

I currently have 57-ish books checked out and like 13 holds. A bunch of those holds are not ready for me to pick up. They’re all hot buzzy books with long wait lists. How will I read them all before they’re due?? And any book I was hoping to read next is now immediately bumped because I NEED to read N.K. Jemisin’s How Long ’til Black Future Month RIGHT FRICKEN NOW because there is no way I’ll be able to renew. So that copy of Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi that I borrowed from my coworker months ago will still be sitting on my bedside table, untouched.

See how this creates an issue? So, no more library holds unless I intend to read it as soon as it gets in. And only one or two holds at a time. I need to keep my reading schedule loose and open so I can embrace more spontaneous reading!

I have so many beautiful, exciting, fun books on my shelves at home. I’m desperate to read them, but because I own them I always push them aside in favor of the library or book club books. In 2019, I’m really hoping that I will have more moments where I finish a book, set it down, and don’t have the next book picked out already. I’d love to finish a book and then browse my own bookshelves to find a book to read based on how I’m feeling in that moment, not what I wanted to read two weeks ago. Let’s see if I can accomplish this.

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Love @dasharezone too much.

And with all this in mind, my only true goal in 2019 (other than accomplishing the act of getting married) is to get to a point where I don’t order anything from Amazon anymore. I want to cut my dependence on the website and shop, instead, more locally. The ultimate goal is that next year’s Christmas gifts for my family will be 100% bought NOT on Amazon. I have the whole year to practice and get ready for the test haha. While I don’t really use Amazon for books all that much anymore, I’d like to make it a habit to visit a different local book store here in Pittsburgh once a month. It would be a nice opportunity to spend time and money in different parts of the city, see what cool stuff is out there, grab that buzzy new book I’ve been drooling over, and see some adorable book stores I haven’t been able to visit yet!

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Local book stores have the best sections. This is at The Big Idea in Bloomfield, Pittsburgh PA

Life has been really hard lately, and the anxiety and stress from the news and the outside world has had the same effect on me as probably most people: I’m extra tired, I’m extra grumpy, and I’m extra overwhelmed. While I try my best to do my part–contact my elected officials, support local and national groups, volunteer–I’m only one person. What all of this has really pushed me to do is take care of myself. I hadn’t been to a general practitioner in 13 years until 2018. I also just went to the dentist for the first time in 8 years. I saw a therapist for the first time in 8 years. And I treated myself to a full read/reread of Harry Potter! But, embarrassingly, this is just the beginning. I have many more medical appointments to make, little life upkeep things that need to be done. I desperately need my passport and a new prescription for my glasses. There’s just, shit to do. I’m really looking forward to 2019 as a year where I can maybe get a handle on it. As someone who has spent a lot of time putting my energy outward into activities and other people, this almost feels selfish. I feel bad spending my money and time on my health, which is weird. It’s something I’m working on, but it still gets to me. 2018 was a year of what felt like a lot of little steps backwards and away from things. For the first time in a while I didn’t feel like I actually accomplished anything. Here’s to 2019 being a building year!

What about you? What are your reading and life goals for the year to come? It’s cool if the answer is “nothing” because for some of us, that’s a goal in and of itself.

Exploring Unseen Libraries of Pittsburgh

IMG_1885As was expected, I’ve been dreadfully bad at this blog since school. Let’s be real, I was bad before. My graduation resolution will to not be bad. I’ve said that before, so let’s just accept that I’m terrible at blogging and move on.

Grad school and diving into all things library has been incredible. I’ve been enjoying my classes and the new things I’ve been learning, despite my being completely overwhelmed and overworked (my own fault, as is the norm). A very cool event that I was lucky to attend last month was a small tour of usually unseen library and special collection spaces in the Oakland area. We started off in my University of Pittsburgh’s School of Information Sciences building. We have an interesting media commons on the 3rd floor that includes collaborative work spaces with large flat screen TVs, hookups, and comfortable seating. The space also accommodates quiet study and large events such as speakers, classes, and colloquiums.After refreshments and some chatting, we migrated across the street to CMU’s Mellon Library. The Mellon Library has been featured in several films (remember, Pittsburgh is a pretty big film city), most notably The Mothman Prophecies and The Dark Knight Rises. Richard Gere discusses some paranormal happenings with an expert in the reading room. And while their paranormal collection isn’t really existent, CMU does have a very valuable industrial hygiene collection that dates back to the 1930s. Librarians didn’t realize what they had on her hands until pieces started going missing. Lawyers were stealing them to help with cases dealing with asbestos and the like. They now keep the collection under lock and key, and if a lawyer calls to request the materials they are redirected to CMU’s legal team.

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Researching precognition (or industrial hygiene)? This is the place to do it.

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Geek Girl Brunch: Pittsburgh

ggb_brunchette_badgeI don’t plan on posting about this regularly because I’ll be updating the group blog and group specific social media, but I’ve recently become an officer of the Pittsburgh chapter of Geek Girl Brunch. GGB is a volunteer organization that “hopes to create a safe environment where identifying geek girls can be themselves to give voice, network, create friendships, inspire each other and hang out!”

The main point is to promote friendship amongst like-minded women. Those who identify as non-binary and gender fluid are also welcome, as long as their cool with taking on the geeky girl identity. GGB also challenges its brunchettes to do better (#GGBDoBetter). Go out in your community and make a difference, volunteer, help others, start something, make the world better.

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The Shameful Book Club: July’s Crime is the Killing Floor by Lee Child

New format time! I’m revamping the Shameful Book Club starting this month to make it simpler and less time consuming in order for me to try to maintain it while in school. July’s genre is and will always be CRIME!! If you’ve seen Spike Lee’s masterpiece Do The Right Thing, you know the heat can bring out all the bad behavior and angry feelings even in the best of us. And if you haven’t seen Do The Right Thing you absolutely should, because it’s unfortunately very very relevant. And if you have seen it, rewatch it.

11170621_oriIn honor of my move to Pittsburgh and my deep love of the Jack Reacher movie starring Tom Cruise (to all Reacher fans’ dismay), I thought I would start in on the beloved series by Lee Child with Killing Floor. This is not the book the movie was based on (that was One Shot), and Reacher is not actually in Pittsburgh for this story, but I enjoy making loose connections!

I got this one on Audible so I could listen while I packed, and I will say that the reader Dick Hill was amazing! Props to you, guy! He had great voices for everyone and did a very good job at catching Reacher’s sly sense of humor.

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#OldBitchesattheBarre

About two years ago I decided I had to do something new. I was unhappy, feeling isolated, and fed up with what I had just accepted to be my reality. I was lazier, fatter, and sadder than I had ever been before, and I couldn’t help but wonder what the hell happened? This was a general wake-up call for me, and I began writing more, participated in NaNoWriMo, starting running regularly again, became more active in seeking out things I enjoy, and decided to pick something back up that I hadn’t had the guts to try in years: ballet.

IMG_0206 (1)I’ve always wished I continued with performance arts like acting, singing, comedy, or dance. Let me be clear, I was never good at any of these things. I’m a moderately decent musician, but that is the extend of my performance-oriented talent. Despite that, I really enjoy them. I was in drama club in high school, took voice lessons for a few years, and even gave stand-up a try in my early 20s. Ballet was something I started as a small kid and then dropped after a year or so because they suddenly wanted me to do more than twirl in my tutu. My aunt was my first ballet teacher as a kid. She herself was an incredible dancer with an impressive history, so I’m sure my yelling and screaming and refusal to do even half a barre really sat well with her.

A master of the art at a very young age

A master of the art at a very young age

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Time To Be a Librarian

As I mentioned in my last Shameful Book Club post, I will be starting the incredible MLIS program at the University of Pittsburgh next month, and I can’t wait. No really, I can’t wait. I already bought my text books and am getting a head start on the reading (yes, I’m a Rory Gilmore). I thought I would write a post about all of this because people have been asking and it’s going to cause a change in my blog, so might as well explain that!

PiTT-SM-1431459890572-18ec7b2ee897579a0647b45cbc48dc5da268f9fb-256wI’m pretty sure my taking this path makes sense to most people who know me. My mother is a librarian, I grew up in the stacks, I love books, and my professional skill set is very skewed toward program management and public interaction. Therefore, a librarianship doesn’t seem so out of place for me. There are multiple paths I could take as a library professional that would compliment my experience, interests, and skills: film archival to get that undergrad degree in play, music librarian because that is a bit of an obsession of mine, academic librarian because I love higher education and researching obscure topics, museum work for much of the same reasons, or public librarianship, which is what I’ve decided to focus on.

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