July 27, 2018
Hello ducklings! Are you out of the rain? It looks sunnier around here today, but I still woke up to a wet lawn. This week I presented for the first time at a professional conference and it went really well! I also talked to other librarians and felt like I made real connections at a professional event for the first time, which made the whole day feel really satisfying (though exhausting). Here’s some stuff I read this week!
- Women’s Media Is a Scam, New Republic. Let’s talk about this. I would say that all media, not just womens’ media, operates on advertising dollars. But I would agree that in womens’ media this is particularly sneaky and gross. “The difference between today’s women’s media scam and yesterday’s is that the advertising is now hiding in “native” content, and the scummy clickbait is packaged better.” Extending this thought process to the blog-sphere, I’ve been finding it so difficult to sort through what is honest, vulnerable communication on the web, and what is devious shilling and exploitation of a blogger’s personal life. At the end of a day reading things online, I just feel tired (and tired of being talked to like a breathing, walking debit card).
- How We Create Personal Myths (And Why They Matter). This article helped me untangle the fact that I’ve been telling myself I’m invisible for the last few years. Now the string is sitting in my lap and I’m not sure what to do with it. At least it’s in my hands now?
- Forbes Deleted an Op-Ed Arguing That Amazon Should Replace Libraries, Quartz. I saw the original op-ed circle library channels and I didn’t have the emotional bandwidth to engage in what was essentially an ignorant acquaintance belittling my profession at a party for his own entertainment. But I’m happy to see how quickly that article got wrecked, hahaha. On Twitter, Mourdoukoutas wrote, “Let me clarify something. Local libraries aren’t free. Home owners must pay a local library tax. My bill is $495/year.” Writer Kashana Cauley responded to Mourdoukoutas in a tweet with 14,000 likes at time of writing, “Let me clarify something. I don’t want poor and working class people to read books.”
- In Praise of Drunk Cleaning, Apartment Therapy. “By drunk I don’t mean drunk drunk of course, but rather that sweet, mildly hazy feeling you get after one drink or two. Which brings me to my favorite thing about drunk cleaning, which is the way that having one drink, or two, slows me down a little, stretches moments out and lets me sink deeply into them. In moments like these I’ve begun to see how cleaning is not a boring, thankless task imposed on us by an unfeeling and cruel universe, but instead, if you choose to see it this way, an opportunity to reconnect with the physical essence of life, to do work that is meaningful and immediately rewarding, and to create order and beauty from the chaos of your particular corner of the world.” I find this interesting, because sometimes I already enjoy cleaning at this level – but lately I’ve been in a motivation-rut where the only appealing things to do when I’m in my house are: cook, eat what I cooked, and read until way too late. It’s that summertime something that makes us all lazy and weird. So maybe I’ll get a little wine-tipsy and vacuum?
- The Changing Face of Romance Novels, NYT. I LOVED The Kiss Quotient. This article talks about how the progress for publishing more diverse romance authors (more authors of color, both authors and characters from different age groups, backgrounds, body types and abilities) has been slow in part because the majority of submissions still come from white authors, which is a testament to the “You can’t be what you can’t see” adage about representation. And as a white woman, a member of the romance novel majority, I think my world gets bigger and hopefully my writing gets better as I read and hear more voices at this table. We all benefit, and I recommend this book!
I copied my Goodreads review here: I’ve been dipping in and out of contemporary romance novels for the last year, and so many are forgettable. I finished this one with an IRL smile on my face – it’s a singular book with memorable characters and a lot of heart. I loved the look into an autistic woman’s inner world, and even with an unlikely premise, everything feels realistically motivated. It’s also steamy. Highly recommend it!”
July 13, 2018
I’ve had one of the best weeks in my personal life this week. You may have heard that my husband’s sister came up from Tennessee to spend the week with us, and that it was a total (and perfectly executed) surprise for my husband. That happy surprise energy has filled my heart up like a beach ball, and I’m floating on.
- 16 Salad Ideas with No Lettuce, Buzzfeed. I’m trying to incorporate more veggies into my life, and it’s too dang hot for vegetable soup. Some cute ideas here!
- Marisa Tomei Knows What She’s Worth, The Cut. I love Marisa Tomei!
- This Love Story Will Self Destruct, Leslie Cohen. This is a good, rom-commy melancholy story so far. It has Nora Ephron vibes but not quite as timeless.
- Can I shout out another cookbook?
The Weeknight Dinner Cookbook: Simple Family-Friendly Recipes for Everyday Home Cooking is full of yummy and very doable recipes. I feel like I’m learning the language of cookbooks and recipes, and while the words “easy” and “fast” typically mean “involves a lot of pre-prepared ingredients,” the word “weeknight” usually means “doesn’t take 3 hours of marinating, chopping, or slow-roasting.”
- Sorry Reflex – Barbie Vlog. Ok this is a video but it’s a really sweet and well-made video for women and girls. Can I speak my truth? Barbie animated content is excellent even though it doesn’t have to be.
Have a great weekend! Be outside a little if you can!
July 6, 2018
Good morning, grey skies and a little relief from the heat wave! What a strange week with a day off smack dab in the middle, but I kind of enjoyed the bouncy, momentum-less rhythm of this week – like summer days of childhood where there’s absolutely nothing that needs doing.
- The Bullshit-Job Boom, New Yorker. Interesting book review that doesn’t totally cosign the book. “Graeber thinks that a sense of uselessness gnaws at everything that makes them human. This observation leads him to define bullshit work as “a form of paid employment that is so completely pointless, unnecessary, or pernicious that even the employee cannot justify its existence even though, as part of the conditions of employment, the employee feels obliged to pretend that this is not the case.”
- Gossip is Good, The Atlantic. This is kinda wild, the positive social effects of gossip: “Despite gossip’s dodgy reputation, a surprisingly small share of it—as little as 3 to 4 percent—is actually malicious”
- The Way We Talk About Bodies, Lindy West for Self. “We’re supposed to be hot in all the old ways while appearing liberated in the new ones. We’re expected to devote ourselves to weight loss as much as our mothers and grandmothers did, while at the same time orchestrating an elaborate cover-up: this modern weight loss is always a coincidence, a byproduct of our “wellness practice,” an incidental surprise.“
Lindy West is one of my heroes. “You don’t have to do this perfectly. But I hope you will afford yourself the same generosity and unconditional love that you so effortlessly extend to your friends and siblings and children. If you need to maintain a certain body size in order to feel like yourself, do it with kindness and self-reflection. Fight to remember that you are living inside of a cruel, toxic system, and when you hate yourself for gaining five pounds it’s because a billion-dollar industry conditioned you to feel that way for profit. Do everything you can to break that cycle for the next generation. Work to make the world a warmer, safer, and more accommodating place for bodies more marginalized than yours. Believe that you will be okay even if you get fat. Remember that is not better to be thin than to be fat: not morally, not aesthetically. Think about that until you really believe it.” Be right back, just crying over here.
#1120: The Creepy Guy In The Friend Group, Revisited: Four More Geek Social Fallacies, Captain Awkward. Captain Awkward is always so good, but especially when she looks at how the dynamics in a group of friends can go awry, why no one wants to address it head on, and how you can start to fix it for yourself. “What if we could learn expensive and uncomfortable lessons much earlier, by saying “I believe you, let me see what I can do” to the victim of the bad behavior and “Hey, I like you a lot, can you knock off doing that gross thing so I can keep liking you”
to the perpetrator? If someone you like is behaving badly, you probably
couldn’t have prevented it, but could you at least not become their
flying monkey after the fact? Could we reverse the current of social pressure that teaches victims
not to speak up so that awkwardness flows toward perpetrators?”
- Letter of Recommendation: ‘Live Like a French Woman’ Books, NYT. “In recent years, the genre has grown to include hygge (how to be Danish) and lagom (how to be Swedish), and guides on being Greek and Italian too. The crazier things get here at home, it seems, the more certain readers long to escape into a culturally homogeneous fantasy Europe where everyone shares the same values, works a 30-hour week and is nourished by deep roots and routines that are also, somehow, supposed to be welcoming and inclusive — learnable by the likes of you and me. As a friend once pointed out, the implied subtitle of all these books is: If we only had a system!
June 22, 2018
I saw Oceans 8 this week and I really enjoyed it. I think I like a heist movie with gorgeous costuming and absolutely no violence (best paired with a cherry coke).
- Just Write 500 Words, The Cut. “Lots of writers like to pretend they write for eight hours a day, but they are lying. They are on Twitter with a blank Word document open in another tab. That doesn’t count as “writing.” This doesn’t have to be torture. Just write 500 words, and then stop. Until tomorrow.” Also, I watched the Netflix movie Set It Up over the weekend and there’s a line like “But if I want to actually be a writer, I have to stop making excuses not to write.” Everything is telling me to just do it and I’m doing it! 500 words a day is a very doable goal if you’re writing a novel and maybe other types of prose. I think figuring out the time of day that my writing is the closest to the surface really helped me, so I am incredibly indebted to Daniel H. Pink’s When. But reckoning with my phone and social media use in the past year has also really helped me see the ways I was dulling my brain and making myself feel bad. Is there something you feel like you’ve always wanted to do but never get around to it? Look around to see what’s getting in your way, then set a doable goal for each day. So far, so good.
- How Netflix Swallowed the TV Industry, Vulture. “It has replaced demographics with what it calls “taste clusters,” predicating programming decisions on immense amounts of data about true viewing habits, not estimated ones.” This is such a (long) interesting look at the mechanisms behind Netflix original content.
- Rihanna’s Perspective on Her Weight Changed How I Think. “Within a few months, I began to see my obsession with my weight as not only unhealthy and hurtful, but delusional. As I learned to speak to and treat myself better, I literally began to see myself differently.”
- Burnout Strategies for Librarians, Kevin Harwell (paywall). I read this in preparation for my presentation later this summer on mindfulness and workplace wellbeing. His definition breaks down the three components of burnout (which only takes place in work contexts): exhaustion, cycnicism/detachment, and a sense of ineffectiveness/lack of accomplishment. Here are a few parts that really struck me: “Certain job characteristics are known to be related to burnout. These include the following: high workload; time pressure; conflicting demands on the job; lack of adequate information to do the job well; lack of social support, especially from supervisors; and lack of feedback.”
And: “One way to consider contributing factors for burnout is in terms of job demands and job resources.” Job demands can burn you out, but job resources like performance feedback, rewards, job security, participation in decision making, and support from supervisors can help. “In case studies where job demands were high, but job resources were also high, employees did not experience high levels of burnout.” If we’re getting the support we need, we can handle the high workload. Is this shocking? No, but it’s nice to see the dots connected.
- “Home,” Warsan Shire. “who would choose to spend days /and nights in the stomach of a truck / unless the miles travelled / meant something more than journey.”
Be good to each other this week. Love you.