Tag Archives: feminism

A bit shit but also wonderful: the 2017 story

OK, OK, 2017 was A LOT shit in many ways. The government is constantly trying to take away/destroy things I care about – like human rights, the environment, libraries, health care, being able to live and pay my bills in general – and every day there seems to be another mass shooting. Add onto that the occasional threat of nuclear war over what seems me to like some really stupid dick measuring contest, the fact that people are accepting Nazis (WTF white people?!), and like probably 18,000 other upsetting, stressful, and legitimately scary things this year and there were some days that it was hard to get things done.

Anxiety medication helps. I realized I probably should have started taking this a while ago. But I guess took me years to realize that situations like having a coworker point out typo in a work document in a lovely, nonjudgmental way so you can change it, probably shouldn’t send you into an hours-long spiral of shame, near tears, and inability to do anything else. Yay! So yeah. Thank goodness for SSRIs.

I also really struggled with running because of recurring hip problems and some other very lame health problems so I’m ending up 2017 a bit chubbier than I was in years past. I’m remembering it’s a lot easier to be all body positive when you feel like you’ve been able to take care of yourself and when you like the way you look. But, it’s a work in progress. Also, maybe I’ll figure out what’s going on with all my potential food allergies/digestive issues this year. Or not. Thanks a lot, Body, I thought you’d wait til at least 40 to start to just go to hell but 30 is fine, too.

Hey, also being married is hard?! Like, I know people say that all the time and this is not news to me but guess what? Everyone is right. Of course, I don’t want to do this hard work with anyone other than Doug but it’s a serious adjustment.

Doug, Bev, and myself by the amazing Clare Vacha

I promise there were good parts to 2017…..

I went to the Women’s March in Boston and while it wasn’t without it’s problems – centering cis women over trans women, white women over women of color and Native women, being some of them – it was important for me to go. I wouldn’t say that I’m an activist, but I’m trying to learn to be more engaged with politics and supporting the causes I care about.

I also got to spend a lot of time with friends and family this year. Especially important are times at my BFFL Hannah’s cabin where I don’t really get cell service and so I’m forced to read books and talk to people. It’s incredible and Hannah is the perfect mix of hospitable and “do it yourself since we’re very old friends.” Some of my favorite weekends are those spent with there.

Doug and I also visited Minnesota which we loved and picture of me that I ACTUALLY LIKE is photobombed by a couple of doofuses.

I also made this dress and definitely improved a lot of sewing skills this year.

And despite marriage being hard, it’s also amazing. Doug and I spent our first anniversary in Maine where we read, ate, slept, and played games. It was so perfect. I’m in love with him and with how completely unhinged I look in the picture below.

LOL

Work was a challenge at times. I didn’t always agree with the way some issues got handled, and I share this pseudo-management role that I don’t feel good at or prepared for at all. But other times, we had a Ghostbusters lock-in with 30 teens and it was the best kind of crazy. Finally, my coworker Renata is the best and incredible and I would definitely cry if I didn’t get to work with her.

We ordered a DOZEN pizzas for the lock-in.

Renata bought my these “Kirk and Spock but if they were cats” pins and I love them.

What else was good? There is more, but throughout the year there are constant themes: my family, Doug, Hannah, Renata, Bev (that’s right, my cat) and all my friends who reminded me that I’m loved and cared about. With everything else being a bit shit, it’s the people who you care about that matter. Thanks to all who made an effort for me this year, it means more than you know.

What’s next?

Well, resolutions aren’t my thing but as Doug and I were talking today in 2018 we want to:

  • Take down Trump and the rest of the government who wants to ruin everything
  • Fight for what is right (the environment, health care, LGBTQ rights, people of color, fair wages, etc)
  • Play more games
  • Hang out with our friends
  • Hang out with our cat

I also want to:

  • Sew more clothes
  • Find a different exercise routine if I can’t figure out how to run without pain
  • Write more here
  • Be a good Printz Committee member
  • Pierce my septum
  • Get a new tattoo
  • Eat more veggies
  • Bake more
  • More more more of everything that I love and that matters
  • Get a porg
  • Maybe wear less vests? (4 out of 5 of the pictures I posted I’m wearing a vest. I have a problem?)

That’s it for 2017. Hug your family and friends when you can. See you on the other side.

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My Best Books of 2015

Best Books
Hello! Yes, yes, I’m a terrible poster. I know that I’ve truly failed because my friend Jenny had a BABY and has posted way more than me. I don’t even have a baby to show for it. I have . . . been working on my winter weight? I don’t know. (I am posting at WWAC if you’re desperate for my brilliant thoughts.)

But today I’m going to present to you the best 25 books I read this year. I’m hoping to get to 100 books before the end of the year and if any of the ones I’m reading are amazing then I will update you. Ok, well I’m currently listening to the Fellowship of the Ring on audio because I’ve never listened to it before and it is delightful. Definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year  . . . and every year that I read it. I had a bit trouble with an “unabridged” copy of the radio play from Hoopla. The record doesn’t make it clear that it’s a radio play and while yes the play is unabridged, it’s not the full text of the book. You tricked me Hoopla; I may write you a strongly worded letter!

Ok, so here’s my top 25 books that I read this year in alphabetical order.

Americanah – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – Everyone should read this book about the immigrant experience and  a “Non American Black” perspective on race. If you like audiobooks, the narrator is really great, too!
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli – A cute and funny coming out story that’s about more than just coming out.
Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad – M.T. Anderson – This book is incredible for anyone interested in music, the Russian front of WWII, or the complicated situation of artists during Stalin’s regime.
The Darkest Part of the Forest – Holly Black – A dark fairy tale about a prince in a glass coffin, a lady knight, and the violence of childhood.
Through the Woods – Emily Carroll – Graphic (like with pictures but also with blood) short horror tales. Do NOT read at night if you are a ‘fraidy cat like me.
Make your Home Among Strangers – Jeninne Cap Crucet – The story of a Cuban American and her first year at an ivy league school, set against the backdrop of an Elian Gonzalez like story in Miami.
Hausfrau – Jill Alexander Essbaum – Is the main character unlikeable and make bad decisions? Yes, but that’s ok. A disaffected housewife and American expat struggles to find herself.
An Untamed State – Roxane Gay – A difficult story to read; there are graphic descriptions of rape and sexual violence so be forewarned. But the writing is beautiful and the story will stick with you.
Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future – A.S. King – Visions of a feminist’s nightmare where women are not allowed to work and more? The gendered horror of A Handmaid’s Tale for the YA set.
The Bluest Eye – Toni Morrison – I had never read any Toni Morrison and this was heartbreaking and beautiful at the same time.
Everything I never told you – Celeste Ng – Betty Crocker’s Cookbook – and even the part where “Betty” tells you to make sure you know how to make your husband eggs a part I remember reading and cringing over as a child – plays a big role in this coming of age story.
Girl at War – Sara Novic – Escaping from Croatia in the 1990s and then returning to reckon with it. This is the author’s first book and it’s really spectacular.
Uprooted – Naomi Novik – A perfect, grownup fairy tale complete with evil trees, magic, and the influence of Eastern European folklore.
The Scared Lies of Minnow Bly – Stephanie Oaks – Apparently a retelling of the Grimm fairytale The Handless Maiden with a cult setting. 2015 was the year of the cult for YA books!
Shadowshaper – Daniel Jose Older – Urban fantasy set in Brooklyn with an interesting premise and cultural commentary on everything from street harassment to gentrification.
Re Jane – Patricia Park – A Jane Eyre retelling set in Queens with a Korean American Jane and a literature professor Rochester.
The Bees – Laline Paull – A special bee – Flora 717 – defies all the rules of the hive to save it. At the beginning of the book, you think you won’t care so much about a little bee but you really will. Flora 717 might be one of my favorite characters from this year’s books.
Gabi, a girl in pieces – Isabel Quintero – A sweet coming of age stuck in between a parent’s expectations and the realities of life.
Carry On – Rainbow Rowell – The fantasy Harry Potter-esque book from Rowell’s Fangirl come to life! I unashamedly squealed and fist pumped in my car while listening to this book. When you get there you’ll know. Also, I love Rowell’s magic system and the way that she subverts HP plots and tropes.
Bone Gap – Laura Ruby – It took me two tries to read this. I couldn’t get into the print version but the audio was great. A tale of magic realism reminiscent of the story of Orpheus and Eurydice. Bees are also important, so if you read Paull’s The Bees and need more bee stories, get this one next.
The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights – Steve Sheinkin – An important and infuriating case of racial discrimination from WWII that I had no idea about.
In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette – Hampton Sides – Polar exploration before the Heroic Age of Polar Exploration. If you know me, you know I love polar exploration and sailing stories. This book was basically written just for me.
Nimona – Noelle Stevenson – A shape shifting teen joins a supervillain for fun and serious thoughts violence, morality, and roles people are expected to play.
This One Summer – Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki – Beautiful art and story about a girl’s summer between childhood and teendom and all the growing pains therein.
The Martian – Andy Weir – Pure potato porn. Poor Mark Watney! But seriously an exciting, and surprisingly funny book.
Some recurring themes I’m noticing from my list: bees, retellings of fairy tales or myths, immigrant stories, feminism, debut authors, an effort to read more diversely (aka not white authors).
Here’s some other books in best categories that I’m making up right now:
Best book that I didn’t want to like because it’s basically the output of a Teen Dystopia Generator, but ended up liking anyway dang it: Red Queen – Victoria Aveyard
Best book that’s like the show Supernatural with a teen girl protagonist: The Awesome – Eva Darrows
Best Comics series you should be reading  – Squirrel Girl, Lumberjanes, Rat Queens, Saga, Ms. Marvel, The Wicked + the Divine, Alex & Ada, Princeless, Paper Girls, Gotham Academy
Best books for vacation reading and making you hungryCrazy Rich Asians and China Rich Girlfriend – Kevin Kwan
Best bestseller that I thought I would hate so waited two years to read and actually kind of liked: Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
What about you? Do you have a favorite book or books from this year? Anything that I missed that I should definitely read in 2016? Let me know!
I should also tell you that one of my resolutions for 2016 other than to do the dishes in a more timely manner and learn to install a zipper, is to update more often. I will try!

 

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Lady lists

Hey all! It’s been a while since my last post because it’s been busy in the teen room. My schedule has changed for the last few weeks since we were trying to find a new – aide for the teen room. Well, we did interviews and found one! Hopefully now the teen room can get back to normal. She will be starting in a couple of weeks and we are very excited about her. She reads comics, likes Doctor Who, reads a lot of YA, and wants to be a librarian. So . . . perfect! In the meantime I’ve been working on a couple of feminist reading lists for the blog. It’s just above – take a look. feministreadinglist I also wrote a mini version of that list for YALSA’s The Hub for International Women’s Day on March 8. That’s it for now. Stay tuned for some upcoming book reviews, an update on how I’m trying to do Free Comic Book Day at the library, and summer reading preparations.

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