Goodness have things been busy in Anna-land! I saw sick for a few days, recovered, then went to New Hampshire, and of course worked, too.
In this time, some fun things have been happening professionally. I got appointed to a YALSA committee: the Research Journal Advisory Board! Cool! This is what we do: “YALSA’s Research Journal Advisory Board oversees the peer reviewing process as outlined in the Refereeing Process Guidelines that were approved by the YALSA Board of Directors. The Board also serves in an advisory capacity to the Member Editor of the journal by assisting with the solicitation of contributors and articles as well as generating ideas for topical articles or themes, when requested from the Member Editor.”
I have not thought about peer review in a long time, so hopefully I will be up to the task. In other YALSA news, I’ve come to the end of my tenure writing for The Hub. It’s been really rewarding and fun for me. If you want to see all of the stuff that I wrote for them, check it out here.
I’ve also had some good luck with books lately. Sometimes I feel like I’m in a slump but the last few books I’ve buzzed through because they were so great! First was Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion. A lot of the “shocking” things in the book about the poor quality and horrible working conditions that go into making “fast fashion” I already knew about. But, it’s easy to ignore when you can get a shirt for a few dollars. It made me want to be conscientious about what I buy – and remind myself I really have a TON of clothes – and feel better about trying to make more of my clothes.
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender and Down from the Mountain, are two very different and yet engaging books. By quality of writing Ava Lavender steals the show with atmospheric and beautiful prose. It’s the story of a girl born with wings and the lives of her mother and grandmother before her. It’s definitely a book for older teens as there is some frank descriptions of sex and sexual violence, but I think older teens would get more from it anyway. You don’t really get to Ava’s birth until about 1/3 of the way through the book. It’s slow moving but fascinating, and will definitely make you want to eat French pastries and breads. Ava’s grandmother owns a bakery and the descriptions made me constantly hungry.
Down from the Mountain is one in a strange, mini-trend of teen books about cults. Between the handful of books that came out this year and Kimmy Schmidt, weird cults are having a moment. Yay? I picked it over other teen cult books because I liked the cover better and it was about a girl. Yup, I’m that person. Regardless, it was a fairly straightforward story of a girl in a religious cult in Colorado with a controlling, shaming ‘Prophet Ezekiel’ as a leader. With her mother pregnant with a high risk baby and not enough food, plus the threat of Ezekiel “marrying” 14-year old Eva, the book sort of catapults you along. Her “heathen” friend Trevor who she meets in town is a bit too obvious and pedantic as a student who studies religious cults and helps her process her life. But overall, it was interesting and I did want to find out what happens. The author is a therapist who has worked with people escaping cults, so that added an interesting angle.
I’m also currently listening to Kindred by Octavia Butler and reading Elizabeth Wein’s Black Dove, White Raven. Anyone read anything good lately?