Weekend Coffee Share 8/20/2016

Weekend Coffee Share Header

This week has been, well, a lot. If we were having coffee, I’d have to tell you all about it.

The biggest event is that I had a job interview! YAY! It’s for an adult services librarian position open in a small-to-midsized town about a half-an-hour drive from my hometown. Because of the size, they aren’t requiring a masters even though it is a full librarian position. Honestly, I couldn’t have dreamed up a better job opening. I would even be able to work full-time and get my masters online part-time.

As you can imagine, I was beyond excited to have an interview, but nervous as well. All-in-all, I think the interview went okay. I wish I had had better answers to the questions, but I don’t think I did poorly. It was just so hard to read the people interviewing me. I should know by the end of this week if I’ll be called back for a second interview. I really want it, but I also know I’m really inexperienced and have a lot to learn. We’ll see I guess.

After the interview, I found myself slipping into a brief depressive state. Even though it went fairly well, I started doubting myself a lot. Basically, I don’t feel qualified enough for this job. Since I want it so badly, it got me down. I also haven’t gotten a new therapist yet since moving back home. I really need to do that, but I keep putting it off for some reason. I’m feeling better now, but I don’t want my mental health to start sliding now that I’m home, something my previous therapist was worried about due to my history with my hometown and my parents.

I’m also having a ton of trouble with my ex-landlords. They haven’t sent me my security deposit yet and now also want to charge me hundreds of dollars for floor repairs. What’s wrong with the floors at my old apartment? I have no idea. They did jackhammer it up while I was living there without telling me. I didn’t have water for a week thanks to that, and they refuse to respond to my request for decreased rent. The whole situation is really getting out of hand and I know I’m being screwed over. I was a great tenant but now they seem to just want to squeeze every penny out of me. I guess I’ll have to get some legal counsel, but it’s all so stressful and overwhelming. I can’t just ignore it either. The money isn’t just mine, it’s also my roommates’. Unfortunately I’m the account holder, so I have to put in a lot of the work to figure this out.

My family is also worried that our dog is sick. She has been acting lethargic and bleeding quite often. We’re really concerned because we know she has a tumor that we’re watching. Plus we just had to put our other dog down a few months ago.

On the bright side, I get to see my baby nephews next weekend, and that’s always great. They’ve gotten so big, and I can’t wait to see them in person.

Anyways, if we were having coffee, I’d apologize for all my ranting and ask you how you’ve been.

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Everyone’s Read That But Me

Even though I read a lot and studied English in college, there are some books that I truly feel as if everyone around me has read that I just haven’t. This list is just a snapshot of the holes in my personal reading history and is by no means exhaustive.

The Chronicles of Narnia

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So many people grew up with a parent reading The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe to them or picking it up when they got a bit older. It’s a classic children’s series. I, on the other hand, was obsessed with the Boxcar Children as a kiddo and never picked this series up.

Frankenstein

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Ah, the famous doctor and his monster. I know the story of Frankenstein and have been meaning to read it for ages, but for some reason I keep putting it off. Most of my English-major peers read this book in high school, but I never did. I’ll get to you someday Mary Shelley. I promise.

Dracula

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Even though I definitely fell prey to the vampire craze that was going on during the Twilight era, I never went back to the O.G. vampire novel. I’ve read some fascinating literary criticisms about it, so I really need to pick it up and interpret it myself.

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

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As a lover of fantasy, it is a true crime that I’ve never read Tolkien’s trilogy. I read The Hobbit a year or two ago, but I still have yet to pick up the trilogy. I blame the fact that my older sister was obsessed with it. I must have subconsciously avoided it as a way to create an identity outside of her shadow. I’m thinking I’ll get the audiobooks once I finish listening to Harry Potter.

Please tell me I’m not the only one who feels like they have critical holes in their reading history. Surely no one can keep up with all the books they should have read, right?

Also, I’d love to know what would be on your list! Tell me in the comments or make a post of your own.

American Gods

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Imagine, if you will, that every god, goddess, or legend that has ever existed in the mind of mankind not only exists, but has a physical form and walked among us mere mortals. The belief in these deities is what brings them into being and sustains them. As a result, every immigrant or visitor to a place would bring  those that they worshiped with them and plant them like a seed in the land they walked upon.  New gods are born as people begin to worship new objects or ideas. Not only are new gods created, old ones can die as faith decreases. It is this ploy for man’s veneration that creates tension between the gods of old and the newly risen. That tension is the foundation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. Continue reading

Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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The topic of my most recent read, Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik, is easy to pick up from the title. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is not only a powerful and influential Supreme Court Justice, but a feminist icon meme-ified by the internet. This biography covers much of RBG’s life; from her early-life, her struggles as one of the few women to study law, the courtship and devoted relationship between she and her late-husband Marty, her rise to political power, her unique strategy for bringing about gender equality and civil rights, and so on and so forth.

The physical book itself is a beautify. As someone who has lightly studied book history and wants to explore book arts and preservation in the future, I love me a finely-constructed tome. I’m a big fan of the red and black color pallet that flows through the book and the shiny gold crown and wording on the cover. The chapters are named after rap lyrics from Notorious B.I.G., who was the inspiration Ginsburg’s nickname. They physical stature of the two couldn’t be any more oppositional, but the power of RBG’s words, particularly when she dissents, is just as impactful as the rapper can appear (or so I read, I actually don’t know anything about him).

The pages are interspersed with all sorts of images–from photos from Ginsburg’s life, internet memes of RBG, court drawings, and fanart of liberal and progressive Americans’ favorite justice–adding increased visual interest to the interesting tale held within this book. The narrative will also take occasional breaks to include annotated segments of RBG’s court-writings to emphasize the power of her words and the impact she has had on our legal landscape.

I won’t rehash RBG’s life story myself, you’ll have to read the biography for that, but I will say it is a joy to read. I must confess though that I read the majority of Notorious in January as my sister gave it to me as an unexpected Christmas gift, but  then my life got uber hectic and I had to put it down until recently. As such, some of the beginning is a bit foggier than I would like while writing a review. Regardless, the life of RBG is motivational for anyone who wants to make a change in the world. You don’t even have to be a legal buff or an intense fan of politics to enjoy this read.

everyone’s a aliebn when ur a aliebn too: a book

Apparently I live under a  rock when it comes to twitter, because I didn’t know about Jomny Sun until he was a guest on the podcast Another Round.  Before we even get to his book, I want to recommend following him on twitter (It will add some heart to your feed) and listening to his episode on Another Round (it gives some fascinating background on the author and how the twitter account came to be).

Now on to the book itself. This book is a bit different from what I usually read and review. everyone’s an aliebn is a graphic novel–basically a picture book for adults.  It begins with Jomny, an aliebn (alien) being dropped off on earth to study and learn about humabns (humans). His own kind thinks he’s a little weird, so they don’t mind leaving him all alone on this strange planet. They do come and check up on him from time-to-time, but tends to look down on him when they do.

You’ll notice quickly in this book that there are many misspellings and grammatical mistakes. Rather than distract from the story, it adds an extra level of innocence to jomny, our adorable alien protagonist, as it gives him a child-like quality.

As jomny explores earth, he encounters many types of “humans” in the form of trees, bees, snails, birds, eggs, frogs, butterflies, etc. Even Nothing is personified. It’s a little preposterous as all of these “humans,” even the plants can talk, but delightfully silly way.

That being said, jomny’s observations of earth quickly go from simple introductions to his new earthling friends to an exploration of more existential questions. Why are humans always more concerned with what they will become than what they are now? Can you ever be truly happy if you can’t share your happiness with anyone? Is constant work fulfilling? Is darkness eternal?

I would almost say this book is hopefully nihilistic, which is pretty close to my personal life philosophy. I mean, look at this page:

look, life is bad. everyone’s sad. we’re all gona die. but I already bought this inflatable bouncy castle so are u gona take ur shoes off or wat

Everything can be terrible, but you can’t let that stop you from experiencing the small joys in life. Go ahead and enjoy that bouncy house or that cup of coffee or whatever it is that helps you get through the trash-fire that is life.

The story is also incredibly encouraging.  For example:

the truth is we all achieve greatness. the only difference is the size of our audiences.

It is easy to feel like a failure when comparing yourself to others; but everyone, including you, does amazing things all the time. Many of those great achievements simply go unnoticed by most of the population. In fact, I would even say that the great achievements of some wouldn’t even be considered achievements by others. For example, when you struggle with mental illness, small things like showering or leaving the house can be big achievements, but others see stuff like that as a small daily chore. Your audience may be as small as just yourself, but that does not detract from the greatness your achievement holds.

To put it plainly, this book is full of basic yet adorable drawings accompanied by simple yet profound observations about the world. It’s a quick read, but one you’ll want to flip through again after you’ve finished. I particularly think this book is one to pick up when you feel lonely or down; it will cheer you up in an instant. It did for me. So what are you waiting for? Go find this book. Or at least follow Sun’s twitter account.

A Book Abandoned: North and South

It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes I just cannot make myself finish the book I’m reading.  By all  of my calculations, I should have adored my lastest abandoned book: North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell. I have a soft-spot in my heart for historical dramas and once even read a review of North and South that described it as a “socialist Pride and Prejudice.” How could I not have loved it? Continue reading