Hello! Wednesday was my last day as a librarian at Hood College. Next week, I’m starting a new chapter at Carroll Community College, doing familiar work with new populations. Right now, I feel nervously optimistic, gently grieving, and way too in my own head about how far I’ve come and where I am headed. I’ve always seen February as a self-love month, and I invite you can join me in taking our time with things and having compassion for ourselves this season! Also some of my favorite people have birthdays in February and YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE. My reads this week:
- Illustrating Howl’s Moving Castle in pictures, the Guardian. I love this book so much, and these illustrations are gorgeous and fun to look at! There’s a little quote from the book to give you an idea of what’s happening in each illustration, but you can also just enjoy the soft fantasy illustrations. Mmm.
- Telling Students Not to Speak Chinese, Inside Higher Ed. I recently read a short story called “The Paper Menagerie” by Ken Liu, which is partly about a Chinese woman living in the United States. There’s a part where she is telling her son about the loneliness and disorientation of living without a community or even family that speaks her language. “No one understood me, and I understood nothing,” she writes. I had that short story in mind when I read this news story about a professor criticizing first-year graduate students for having a conversation in Chinese in an academic building. Her email suggested that it is “impolite to have a conversation that not everyone on the floor could understand,” and told students that this would hinder their professional opportunities (because employers/faculty would interpret their use of their native language as a sign that they “are not taking this opportunity seriously.”) It’s really sad to think that students finding community with each other, conversing in the language they know best, would be used against them like that. I found grad school lonely enough, and I wasn’t an international student — I can only imagine how receiving that email must have felt. It’s also weird that the professor characterized their using Chinese in a group conversation as “impolite.” I’m not sure I’m doing a great job explaining this, but I think that’s a case of assuming something is about you when it has nothing to do with you. Those students weren’t speaking Chinese to each other at the non-Chinese-speaking people in the building. And also, you’re not entitled to every conversation in every public space you enter! This article has bugged me ever since I read it. It makes me want to be even more welcoming to the international students that I serve. Welcoming with a VENGEANCE.
- 21 Truly Upsetting Vintage Recipes, Buzzfeed. Okay, what was the love of gelatin in the 50s? Is this representative of the real food eaten or just the “product-recommended recipes” that no one would even consider making? I love that there are some fancy elements (curlycues of carrot, radish roses, bed of endives) and then just, SPAM.
- Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, Sarah MacLean. Alright y’all, you know I read the romances. David has been making fun of this title since he saw it on the counter but I promise you it is surprisingly sweet, the right ratio of sexy to melancholy, and frequently funny. Happy Valentines Day, read a historical romance if that’s your thing!
- Taking photos of Instagrammable, private homes, Curbed. “But since Instagram exploded into the world in 2010, photography—travel photography in particular—has evolved faster than the law can accommodate. Where the law falls short, we have ethics—moral principles that guide our conduct in business and life. And in the application of our ethics, we have etiquette—a societal code that shows us how to be polite.” This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while — even though we’ve had the internet for a while now, and social media for a good bit too (Thanks Facebook, for reminding me of something I posted fully ten years ago), it doesn’t feel like there’s a widely embraced set of etiquette norms. I am going to check out that etiquette podcast! This is another thought-provoking quote from this piece: “Now, a lot of people travel because they want to take the same Instagram picture…They don’t travel with a traveler’s mind. They don’t care about the culture, they don’t care about the people, and they don’t care about the environment, so they don’t protect it.”