Tag Archives: womenwriteaboutcomics

2016: The Good Stuff

2016-year-in-review

It’s time for the 2016 year in review. As I mentioned in my best books of the year post, a lot of 2016 was shit. But we know that; I’d rather talk about some of the good stuff that happened this year. The good stuff is what is going to sustain me going forward. Yeah some really scary, sad, and frustrating things happened in 2016. Nothing can change that, but remembering the good things that happened will give me hope to keep going.

Professional life:

Nominated to the 2019 Printz ballot – voting in March/April 2017. I’m very nervous about this but deeply thankful to be nominated. I really hope that I get on the committee but if I don’t, I can always try again.

Went to PLA in Denver which was such a great experience. I got to hear about innovative programming, make new librarian friends and connect with old ones, and even meet a WWAC friend in real life.

Got a new coworker – the amazing Renata! Listen to her podcast, The Worst Bestsellers, she’s super cool and a great librarian.

Read some great books: 30% were by people of color, 51% were by women. That improves slightly upon my authors of color numbers from last year, but I also read less books by women. Interesting! (2015 I read 28% authors of color, and 53% women.)

Continued Girls Who Code at MHL – a wonderful program that I’m so happy to be able to present.

Dungeons & Dragons is still going strong. It’s a riot! If you ever would like to feel more control of your life, host a D&D game for 8 – 10 middle school teens. Your life will seem calm and controlled in comparison.

Kept writing for Women Write About Comics. I’m especially proud of these posts this year: The Fear of a Cage: Re-reading Eowyn; In Defense of the [YA] Love Triangle; Why I Game: Trying to Try; and Super Sad Depressing YA Books: How They Help Me to Feel.

Personal life:

I got to travel a lot in 2016: Punta Cana, DR; Scotland; Montreal; New Hampshire; Connecticut, Chicago; Denver! What a year! 

punta-cana

My trip to the Dominican Republic was an amazing trip with my best lady friends for the year most of us turned 30. It’s something we’ve been talking about for 10 years or more! It was absolutely perfect. We sat in the sun, drank cocktails, read, and swam in the blue-green ocean. Probably the most relaxed I’ve ever been. 

scotland

Scotland was a trip with my mom, sister, cousin, and two aunts. We drove around, ate the best food, talked to the most wonderful people, and enjoyed the beautiful Scottish countryside. We saw castles and sheep, laughed and joked, and had just most wonderful time. I can’t wait to go back! 

Doug and I went to Montreal in July. (No good pictures – it was too sweaty!) It was hot but we ate some really good poutine and pastries. We had to drive over a huge bridge and neither of us spoke French so it was a bit hilarious.

wedding-party
Also, duh, we got married, which was amazing! I have the best family and friends who did incredible amounts of work. Family did everything from sewing a wedding dress is basically a weekend, making a million paper flowers, giving us money to pay for the wedding we wanted, took amazing photographs, and came out to celebrate with us. Our incredible friends picked up ice cream, coordinated the entire event the day of, threw us parties, officiated the freaking wedding ceremony (!) wrangled tablecloths and more. As is every year, the best part of it was family and friends.

I also love being married to Doug. He’s the sweetest, kindest, most hilarious person I know. I’m very lucky. </schmoop>

Last year my goals were to: “Read more, sew more, bake more, write more, run more (and get better!), game more, librarian more, and well . . . more. Just more of all of it, really!”

And I can say I did most of that. I read a lot of great things and I even had time to sew some new clothes. I made macarons the other day and am working my way through Mary Berry’s Baking Bible. I wrote a lot for WWAC but not really for anyone else. I need to work on my blogging, clearly.

I’ve been running and am hoping to ease back into races – like 5k distance – in the spring. We joined the YMCA in town and I’m also looking forward to trying out some yoga classes.

I’ve gamed a lot. Doug loves games and I’ve really come to love them as well. Some favorites I’ve played this year include: Eldritch Horror; Mission: Red Planet; Inis; Jaipur; Castles of Mad King Ludwig; Survive: Escape from Atlantis, and Betrayal at House on the Hill.Oh and Dungeons & Dragons. I love it so much. 🙂

As far as next year? Here are some goals:

-Read more books by authors of color and other writers whose lives differ from my own.
-Generally, listen to other peoples’ stories.
-Become more politically active and fight/campaign for the things I believe in: women’s rights, the #BlackLivesMatter movement, LGBTQ rights, accessible health care, slowing climate change, and supporting immigrants and refugees.
-Write more critically.
-Sewing goals: learn to install a zipper and experiment with different fabrics.
-Food goals: improve my macaron; make miso soup; figure out that food processor recall….
-Exercise because it makes me feel good; keep running.
-Be kind.
-Go on adventures!

 

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Books you should read: Summer 2015 edition

Friends! I am on vacation next week so I’m going to get this out to you as soon as possible. I assume you want book recommendations because who doesn’t? So I’m going to give them to you quick and dirty (hehe).

Books I read this summer that you should read if you . . .

redqueen. . . liked The Hunger Games and feel like you want another YA dystopian series that you can’t put down: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. Ok, only the first book is out but I ended up liking this one a lot more than I thought I would. While it seems pretty derivative at first, Aveyard takes the Roman gladiatorial combat of The Hunger Games to interesting places. There’s a love triangle so watch out if that’s not your thing. But seriously, A+ for plotting. This runs away like a little dynamo if you let it. I’ll probably read the next three books as they come out. Not as well written as The Hunger Games but better written than Brandon Sanderson, so there’s your literary evaluation.

. . . like your fantasy standalone, different, and dark: Uprooted by Naomi Novik. This book was so good! I thought the combo of a twisted fairy tale, evil forest, and mysterious sorcerer worked really well. It take a bit to get going but it sticks with you. Great if you like the grown up fairytale like feel of Neil Gaiman’s Stardust but want it slightly more serious.

. . . like polar adventure and survival stories: In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Voyage of the USS Jeannette. I LOVE polar adventure and survival stories. Stories about Shackleton or others from the Heroic Age of Polar Exploration? Yes please. Stories about sailing and shipwrecks? Give me more, bonus points if they’re about whaling. Stories with gruesome facts about the effects of sub freezing weather on people’s health? Yes, gimme those frostbitten feet tales! This book about a pretty early, and ill-conceived attempt to reach the North Pole by sea has it all.

crazyrichasians. . . like to name drop designers and love a beachy read that needs a Tolstoy-esque cast of characters at the beginning: Crazy Rich Asians and China Rich Girlfriend. There are a million people and they are all related. It’s hilarious, scandalous, witty, and will make you want to go to Singapore for the food alone.

. . . love Jane Eyre but think that maybe Jane is too good for Rochester: Re Jane, a re-telling of Jane Eyre set in Queens with a Korean American Jane, an struggling English professor Rochester, and a hippie to the max Bertha.

. . . want a comic with nods to famous characters, is set in a mysterious boarding school, and is just utterly charming: Gotham Academy. I’m not that much a DC girl but damn is this series great! The characters are intriguing and delightful – in the case of Maps! – and the art is top notch.

Those are some of my favorites from this summer. I’m currently reading The Bees by Laline Paull and An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. These both started out slow but I’m really enjoying them now!

Finally, don’t forget there is still time to donate to the Women Write About Comics Indiegogo campaign. We’re hoping to pay writers, prints zines, and do lots of cool stuff! Any amount is great but $10 will get you a handwritten thank you note. Probably from Canada which is pretty cool….

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Do all the things!

This has been my summer so far:

screen-shot-2013-12-31-at-9-15-30-pm

Allie Brosh, bless you for this illustration and the inspiration for all these memes.

There have been so many big things that seem to be taking over my (mostly professional) life this summer. First there is summer reading, though that was less stressful than last year. Last year we set up our Volunteen program in a very strange, very time consuming way with three different sections meeting every week. Sure we had a lot of kids but it was so taxing on us and I’m not even sure that the Volunteens had all that great of a time. So this year it was simple: three days of two hours each to make a Superhero Training Camp for elementary aged kids. This worked out so much better and everyone had a great time. Be sure to check out of the pics on the MHL Teen Room Instagram!

I mentioned a bit ago that I applied to be the YALSA Hub blog manager and I . . . did not get that! But that’s ok. Really, at this particular moment having that would just be another stress mountain that would come and sit on my shoulderblades and turn into a stress knot. (Don’t worry, I’m getting a massage on Friday.) Plus, I am not the most organized so it may not ever be a good job for me. I’m relieved. Instead, a fellow Hub Blogger, Molly Wetta, who runs the awesome blog Wrapped up in Books got the job and she’s seriously great. She’s going to do such a wonderful job!

But instead of being the Hub Manager I was appointed to the Hub Advisory Board with YALSA, so that’s pretty great. I’m excited to still be involved with the Hub even though I am content to not be writing for them anymore. Add that to my membership on the Research Journal Advisory Board and I’m excited about the work that I’m doing with YALSA. They provide really great resources for teen librarians and others who work with teens and literature. Not to be too weird, but consider joining YALSA! It can be really hard to be in ALA because it’s not especially cheap but I think YALSA really makes it worth while.

This summer I was also working with the director and some library furniture vendors to do some renovation work in the teen room. Friends, I am SO excited about this. I think it’s going to really improve the teen room’s seating, shelving, and general atmosphere.

IMG_0760The picture above is already step two in the process. There used to be eight computers on three large tables in this space where these tall cafe tables are. Four more computers were in the glassed in room on the right (with the bright green tiles above) and those cafe tables were in there. When we did some redesigning in the reference area, we got the old reference carrels. They work really well to have all 12 teen computers in the glassed in room. I’m not particularly enamored with the cafe tables so with help from the director I worked on a new plan for some regular square and rectangle tables, some comfy chairs, and new shelving. We desperately need more shelving in the teen room. Right now if a book doesn’t circulate in a year, we have to weed it. We have an amazing budget given to us by the town and from the director of the library and with our current space, we’d either have to cut our budget or continue to weed heavily. Heavy weeding doesn’t allow us to have a robust collection. Right now we have a lot, but it’s lacking in depth. We need a deep and wide collection, just like the old church camp song. So new shelving will help.

It’s going to be more exciting too! We’re getting orange laminate topped tables, bright purple vinyl squishy chairs, green plastic chairs, and green stools. It’s going to be borderline obnoxious in there. I will love it. I think teens will too.

The last professional thing that is about to get really crazy is that we are hiring a new teen librarian! My lovely co-teen librarian Clare has moved to a cataloging and reference job. She even moved offices which is pretty sad; the teen office is kind of lonely! But I’m excited for Clare to have a new position and I’m excited to get a new person, so if you know a teen librarian or are a teen librarian who would like to come work with me in Andover, please apply! We have lots of fun and I have big plans for the fall!

This will us after we become work friends!

This will us after we become work friends! Bonus points if you know what episode they were filming!

Women Write About Comics has also been taking over my life a bit, too, but I don’t mind. It’s been nice to write about different topics. Well, not THAT different I’m still writing about books . . . and I reviewed a library app . . . and maybe I’ll have a library column? But it’s DIFFERENT. It’s at least at a different address, so that’s something. I got to write about Jesuits in Space for a wider audience so that makes me happy. Anything to spread the message of Jesuits in Space.

Well fellow library and book friends, that’s all for me. I hope to post a few times a month, so pester me if you don’t see me here!

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Summer reads and new projects

Last year's summer reading.

Last year’s summer reading with last summer’s haircut.

Generally, I support people making their own summer reading decisions. I’m fairly against prescribed summer reading lists but these are books that I think you should read because you would like them. Plus, you are all adults and I can’t actually tell you what to do. But if you do want recommendations here are some I’ve been thinking about lately:

Girl at War by Sara Novic – I’m not finished with this yet, but it’s pretty great so far. It follows young girl, Ana Juric, from her life in Croatia during the Croatian Civil War in 1991 and then in the U.S. right after the September 11 attacks. It is as sad as expected but the writing is great.

Lumberjanes and Wicked + Divine comics – These are pretty different from each other but they are both going to be adapted so you should read the source material first. Or not – you do you. I’m trying to be less judgmental about that.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche – This is just really good and I can highly recommend the audiobook. The narrator has a beautiful voice. So read it.

The Port Chicago 50 by Steve Sheinkin – You should read this because it’s a sort of unknown, but important story about black sailors in WWII who were tried and convicted of mutiny for refusing to load ammunition – a job pretty much only given to black sailors – without any ammunition training. Did I mention their white superior officers made best on which units could load bombs the fastest? And they only refused to load ammunition after an accident at their base that killed about 300 people? It’s a fascinating, infuriating, and important story.

You should also probably re-read a childhood book that you loved or an adult book you loved. I haven’t read The Time Traveler’s Wife in a few years and I’m probably overdue for a day of gross sobbing. Read a classic; read a book by an author you’ve never read; read a book by someone who is completely different than you; read a book that makes you say, “This is my life.” Read, read, read. Let me know what I should be reading, too.

In other news, I’m excited to start my stint as a member of the YALSA Research Journal Advisory Board starting this summer. I’m not totally clear on what we will be working on but I’m excited to start committee work. I’d love to translate my experience on this committee to other YALSA committees someday like a book selection committee. Maybe someday I’ll be on the Printz committee and you can get super mad at all of our choices. FUN.

I have started writing for Women Write About Comics. I had a tiny news post up the other day and longer articles and essays will be up this month. You can follow that link to see the article and read my obnoxious bio at the bottom. I’m so excited about it and all the women who write for the site are smart, articulate, and amazing. I’ll probably be linking there a lot from now on, so get used to that.

With the YALSA board, WWAC, and my YALSA Hub blog manager application still floating around out there it’s shaping up to be a really busy next couple of years. But busy is good! And these are all personal and professional things that I really care about. I will try to still post on a weekly basis, but if you haven’t heard from me send me a note!

 

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Hello friends! Summer has unofficially started, are your summer reading plans set? We are good to go at MHL and are doing the collaborative theme of superheroes this year. I’m excited because superheroes can be great and there are lots of fun crafts and activities to do. One of the most exciting things we have planned for the year is our VolunTeen program which will be putting together a “Superhero Training Day/Academy” for little kids. A few libraries like the Plaistow Library in NH have done similar events with a superhero photobooth, obstacle courses, and more. It should be fun, even if Clare and I don’t have it totally fleshed out yet!

Other than that I’ve been hanging out with my mom:

We could look better but who cares.

We could look better but who cares.

I mentioned that I applied to write for Women Write About Comics and it’s happening! I’ll have two posts in June. I’ll let you know when they will be up so you can read them. In the meantime, here are two of my favorite most current posts:

Fail Better: How Nerd Insecurity Becomes Abuse by Jo Fu

Literal Dehumanization: Erasure of the Black Face in Hollywood by Jamie Kingston

It’s really a great website and if you’re interested in any part of geek/nerd culture (comics, movies, books, TV, games) you should definitely check it out. There is so much great talent writing there and I’m really happy to join the team.

Mini book review before you go:

Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A.S. King – Can A.S. King write anything that’s bad? I don’t think so. This is one of my new favorite dystopias. Some might describe it as a Handmaid’s Tale for YAs. In the sense that through a hilarious and odd event – the drinking of petrified bat dust* mixed into a beer – Glory sees a future that is openly hostile to women, I can see the comparison. Glory sees a number of states pass laws that forbid women from working outside the home at all ushering in a second Civil War, kidnappings, breeding camps, laws that don’t allow single mothers to collect child support from fathers, and generally a hellish future for women and girls. Sadly, as I was reading this I kept thinking how NOT far-fetched this one. Like dystopias about future (or current) water wars, it hits pretty close to home. Along with the visions of the future, there is Glory learning to deal with the suicide of her mother and deciding whether or not a bad friend is worth having if it’s your only one. Really, really great.

And a travel suggestion before you go, too: If you’re in the Northshore area, check out the Stickwork installation by Patrick Dougherty and PEM in Salem. It’s really cool. It’s neat to stand in the twig houses and see them as the best club headquarters any child could wish for.

One of the four or five big twig houses with rando for scale.

One of the four or five big twig houses with random guy for scale.

Until next time, sweet friends.

*Yes, petrified bat dust. It makes sense in the book…

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