August 31, 2018

It’s the first week of classes over here and I am BEAT. We have new departments located in the library this semester, and the increased traffic and questions about who is where have certainly bustled up the place. I did get to thinking about children’s book dogs and Clifford is one of my favorites (along with Henry and Mudge). Who are your favorite children’s book characters?

  1. Hyperbole and a Half, Allie Brosh. This is an old book and I break it out every now and then because it’s so funny and also relatable about mental illness, motivation, and simple-minded dogs. Highly recommend!
  2. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Netflix. Not a reading but I don’t care because this movie was CUTE. A high school rom-com lovingly shot and with excellent source material. I hope Netflix keeps adapting good books (Tamora Pierce fantasy miniseries pls).

  3. 100 Ways to Support People with a Chronic Illness, Broadly. “9. Just as a rule: Believe people with chronic illnesses! I can assure you that they are not exaggerating. And they are definitely not using their illness to get out of commitments or get attention. If anything, they are probably minimizing what they are going through, especially if they are a woman.”

    and “95. Avoid ableist language. Hearing words like “sick,” “crazy,” and “lame” used pejoratively can hurt people with longstanding symptoms.” I have incorporated two new words to replace crazy in my customer-service-living vocabulary: bananas (thanks to my first library boss Aimee), and buckwild. I feel like both words are more vivid anyway, along with being less alienating.

  4. The Distracted State of the Union. “The average computer user of good faith who seeks regularly to read the news online now has to exercise the type of critical acumen that scholars of literature have always reserved for the analysis of texts: an intense engagement that seeks out secret meanings, hidden biases, hidden agendas.” I developed a new presentation to talk to first year students about the “information landscape,” how the puzzle pieces of scholarship, popular magazines, hugely-popular blogs, and straight-up hoax sites all compete and come at you with the same air of reliability and reason. I’m only picking at the surface of this subject in my talk, but to me it feels like one of the most essential skills in our century. The instinct to say, when you’re reading something, “Who wrote this? What’s their goal in writing it – to convince me? To educate me? To scare me or make me mad? To sell me something?”, I feel this is a vital skill.

  5. What to Do When You Feel Overwhelmed By Your Workload, HBR. Love the suggestions for healthier self-talk regarding workload: “Even though I have many things to do, I can only focus on the one thing I’m doing right now. I’ll feel better if I do that. I would prefer to be able to get more done in a day, but I’m going to accept what I’m realistically able to do. (This phrase utilizes a common cognitive-behavioral therapy technique where it’s recommended people swap out their “shoulds” for “prefer” or “could” in order to relieve anxiety and feel more empowered).” Sometimes I think pieces like this are a little unfair because of how much responsibility they put on the individual to fix their situation, but there’s a lot of great stuff in here! The reality is you might not be able to get your boss to ease your workload, or get the extra support or resources you need at work, and things like this might help you re-frame your workload so that you can thrive.

Have a good weekend, friends!

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