November 24, 2017

I’m posting this a few days early because our work week closed up shop Wednesday afternoon! Whenever you’re reading this, I hope you’re feeling cozy, surrounded by people you love, or feeling connected to them in your heart and maybe your cell phone.

  1. “The Struggle is Real: Facilitating Information Literacy Learning by Being Leaders of Failure,” Liz McGlynn Bellamy, LOEX Quarterly. This is behind a paywall, but here’s my favorite quote: “If failure is normalized by myself (as the supposedly all-knowing instructor) and intentionally built into my pedagogy, that can give students the space and permission to experiment and persist in the face of research struggles.” I have been thinking a lot about how to ease student anxiety about research, and I think admitting it’s a difficult process and that even the “experts” sometimes run into dead-ends can be valuable.
  2. “Get Off Your Ass and Talk to People Face-to-Face,” MEL Magazine. Interesting to read that emotional intelligence is not a fixed personality trait, but a skill to learn. This last bit made me say “wow” aloud: “…Talk to people in person whenever possible…When digital communication was introduced to the U.S. military in the 1980s, “these old-timers who had been in Vietnam hated it,” Kolditz remembers. Kolditz asked the detractors to explain their position considering calling in an airstrike digitally was, ostensibly, more accurate than doing it over the phone.
    “They said, ‘Listen, sonny. When I was in Vietnam, we could figure out who needed the airstrike first because we could hear the panic and fear in their voice. When this digital communication comes in, how are you going to prioritize that?’”
  3. A Holiday Survival Guide for Sad People. This is a really valuable read. I have been a sad person at the holidays, and for friends and family who are going through it this year, I love you. Be gentle with yourself.
  4. How I Completely Changed My Morning Routine for a Week. I really like this idea, of trying out a few indulgent slow-down types of activities for the first hour in the morning. She found that she was able to take more time for herself than she felt in her busy routine. I’d like to try this for a week, with different activities, and see what results.
  5. Meet Doug Jones, One Of The Biggest Movie Stars You’ve Probably Never Seen, Buzzfeed. This was a really cool profile/interview. I haven’t seen half the movies he was in, but it’s fascinating to see the type of skill required in communicating emotion and timing while made up and wearing plastic appendages. I think my husband would find this unusual character actor interesting, given his abiding love of monsters.

Bonus features:


November 17, 2017

I’ve been sewing so much this week! For a long time I resented the ironing, tedious pinning, and other prep, because I just wanted to get to the best part – feeding fabric smoothly under the needle. I’ve come to appreciate all the steps in the process, but there’s still nothing like watching that steady march of stitches across your work. Here’s a few things I found online this week:

  1. A Brief for the Defense, Jack Gilbert. “We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure, / but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have / the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless / furnace of this world.”
  2. Light the Dark: Writers on Creativity, Inspiration, and the Artistic Process. I really enjoyed this collection of short essays, writers talking about lines in poetry and prose that inspired them. My favorites were the Sherman Alexie essay “The Reservation of My Mind,” and the Edwidge Danticat, “All Immigrants are Artists.” 
  3. 13 Weight Loss Myths You Should Stop Believing Yesterday, Buzzfeed. “I’ve known plenty of clients over the years who are perpetually ‘five pounds over their goal weight.’ Even as they get closer to their arbitrary ideal, the goal changes. It’s like weight loss purgatory — a state in which their body is a constant disappointment.” Oh boy. 
  4. Learning the Ropes: How Freshmen Conduct Course Research Once They Enter College, Alison J. Head. This was so helpful to read this month as I reflect on my students and how I relate to them, and what the library might do to both support the adaptive strategies they’ve developed to survive college (like Googling confusing terms), but also introducing them to habits that will over time reduce stress and produce better grades. 
  5. Weirdest Office Food Stories: Potluck Mishaps and Other Times Food at Work Went Wrong, Ask a Manager. The stories are all in the comments, and some are kinda gross, fair warning. A few made my jaw drop, a few made me laugh aloud, and of course there was a lot to relate to.

Have a good weekend!


November 10, 2017

When do you start listening to Christmas music? I’m not strict about waiting till after Thanksgiving, and it’s already beginning to creep into my house-cleaning soundtrack…

  1. Women Aren’t Ruining Food, Taste. “But the central critique of women-driven food trends is that women are getting food wrong. Things that are supposed to be complex, like wine, are vilified for being simple (never mind that the majority of wine drinkers are women), while foods like cupcakes and froyo pander to people who have no taste. And let’s not forget that women also needlessly complicate food that is “supposed” to be simple—why drink coffee when you can have a half-caf double caramel soy macchiato instead? Men can obsess over every aspect of procuring, drying, and grilling a steak, but women are the high-maintenance ones for arranging a beautiful smoothie bowl.” WOW
  2. Why Don’t Pants Go All the Way Down to the Floor Anymore? An Investigation, The Hairpin. “At some point between skinny jeans and now, it’s like we all had a middle-school growth spurt combined with our dad accidentally tumble-drying the jeans we expressly said must be line dried so that they would drape just so over our Adidas shell-toes, and now all of our inseams have shrunk and we look stupid. It’s just enough to look accidental. It almost looks right, but is definitely wrong. We’re in an uncanny valley of inseam lengths, and you have to wonder if you’re being short-changed on fabric for cost-cutting purposes.” tbh I’m kind of glad, because there’s always 4-6 inches of extra fabric on my pants so this saves me a tuck-n-roll or hemming.
  3. Modest Dressing, as a Virtue, NYT. “Modest fashion might come across as a humblebrag: You have to be a pretty stylish, pretty good-looking woman to claim ownership of such radical dowdiness.” This article comes at the idea of concealing our bodies in drab colors and shapeless garments from a few different angles, including conservatism, rejection of body-politics, and not dressing for anyone but yourself. I think of this article in conjunction with last week’s about not wearing a bra…and I ponder what level of commitment to this aesthetic of liberation I can handle at this time in my life.
  4. How to Read Nancy. This was so cool, a frame and even element-by-element look at why Nancy comics work. These authors are coming out with a book on the subject, which I think I’ll check out!
  5. A Secret to a Happy Marriage, Cup of Jo. “What I didn’t realize was that the longer you’re together, the more you have to talk about. You have more friends in common, more experiences. You have these stories about your lives, these stories about other people’s lives.”

November 3, 2017

Hello friends, it was a short week for me because I took a few days off to catch my breath, but I’m back at it now. Is it too early for me to get into the holiday spirit? Because the cold weather has got me feeling COZY

  1. Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore. I’m about a quarter of the way in; this book has been a bit of a slow start, and jarring since Cashore’s other series was more explicitly set in a fantasy world. The magic here creeps in slowly, but I trust this author to tell a good story. 
  2. The Joy of Not Wearing a Bra, New Yorker. “I like the way most clothes feel on my bare skin: silk camisoles and thick knit sweaters and the patterned blouses from my grandmother’s closet. I like the way my breasts sound against my ribcage when I run down the stairs, like someone clapping politely for a performance that they didn’t particularly enjoy. I like how unassuming they can be when they haven’t been hoisted to full mast and fixed there…As I move through the world, sometimes making only the slightest of gestures, there’s always a part of me that is dancing.” This is truly beautiful writing, and I appreciate it more coming from someone shaped like me.
  3. Dreamer’s Pool, Juliet Marillier. Okay, so this is like my 3rd time reading this book, but this time, I finally found it on audiobook! Blackthorn and Grim, an unlikely pairing of broken people struggling to heal, are bound up together in a small village after making a promise to a mysterious person. I can’t summarize this series in a way that will make you want to read it, but if you value myth and story and you like a tale of unlikely friends, you couldn’t do better than this medieval Irish fantasy series.
  4. When Men Treat Assault Stories Like Ghost Stories, The Cut. Some potentially upsetting material here, but nothing too specific – the excellent Jess Zimmerman talks about disbelief and personal experience. “It’s not that men (and also, to be fair, women who are committed to the status quo) think the women reporting these things are liars. It’s just that they think they know better. They believe that you think you experienced harassment, just like I believe that you think you saw a ghost. But just as I’m privately assuming it was probably sleep paralysis or just the house settling, men are privately — and sometimes publicly — positing that it must have been a misinterpreted compliment, or oversensitivity, or wishful thinking, or a tendency to take offense.”
  5. 50+ Design Fails, Bored Panda. Lighter fare. I actually laughed aloud at some of these typography/placement/bizarre design errors.

See you next week!