Weekend Coffee Share 2/18/17

If we were having coffee, we’d be lounging in the sunshine with our drinks of choice.  I’d be in a light flannel and we’d be watching the crusty piles of snow turn slowly to puddles.  We’re in a remarkably warm stretch of weather–unusual for Minnesota this time of year.

Good weather like this reminds me of a scene in the film Lars and the Real Girl.  After going bowling, Lars and Margo linger outside chatting about the weather like good Midwesterners.  Lars comments that it’s been warm lately and spring is on the way.  Margo replies, “It’s just a thaw.  Spring doesn’t come until Easter.”

So, while the sunshine and warmth is amazing, I’m not getting my hopes up.  It’s just a thaw.  We’ll probably have a new foot of snow by next week. Continue reading

Everyday Resistance: Saying NO in the Little Ways

The past few weeks have been hard to bear.  With each each move the new presidential administration makes, my heart sinks deeper.  I long to join the resistance, to blazingly declare NO, to do more than wring my hands and scroll through social media feeds.

 

At times like these, I am confronted with my own smallness.  I am just one person with just one voice.  I live far enough from the cities to make attending protests logistically challenging.  My workplace is an hour from where I live, so it’s hard to get involved with local resistance efforts because I’m always in the car.

Where does that leave me?  What can I possibly do to make a difference?  Who am I to even complain?  I live a life of incredible privilege.  I’m not going to be deported or separated from my family.  I’m not going to face discrimination for my skin color, sexuality, or religion.  Yet, even though I will likely get through the next four years unscathed, my heart hurts for those who won’t.  This spurs my longing to resist.

I’ve been thinking about these things a great deal over the past weeks and have come to the conclusion that, while I may not to make grand efforts, there are many small ways in which I can take a stand.   Continue reading

Literary Pilgrimage: Outlander & the Highlands of Scotland

My mom and I have been watching the second season of Outlander lately and Scotland has been on my mind.  I am fortunate enough to have ventured to this beautiful country twice and fell more in love with every visit.

My first visit to Scotland was in November, 2013.  I spent a long weekend with my study abroad group in Edinburgh and we did a day trip to the Highlands.  My second visit was in April 2016.  This time, I was alone.  I did a three-day bus tour of the Highlands and Isle of Skye, followed by a few days revisiting Edinburgh.

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The Quiraing on the Isle of Skye.  It was a clear day, so you can see the mountains of mainland Scotland in the distance.

Now… Outlander.  Diana Gabaldon’s books aren’t exactly high-brow literature, but that doesn’t mean they’re not good.  I came to the series a few years ago–about a year after my first visit to Scotland.  The television show was just about to premiere and an extended relative recommended the books to my mom, who then passed the word to me.  Intrigued by the premise–a World War II combat nurse goes back in time 200 years–I ordered secondhand copies of the entire series from Amazon. Continue reading

Inbox // Outbox 2/6/17

Inbox:

Strong Female Protagonist by Brennan Lee Mulligan and Molly Ostertag 

Continuing with my newfound obsession with comic books, I’m delving into this large volume that tells the story of an ex-superhero during her attempt to live a normal life.  I’m not super thrilled with the art, but hope the story will make up for that.

Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott

I fell in love with Anne Lamott a year ago while at English L’Abri.  I devoured three of her books and haven’t touched any of her work since.  I’m looking forward to her sauciness and blunt honesty.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

This book caught my eye while shelving at work this week and I brought it home.  I’m not sure if or when I will actually get to it, but dystopian classics are on the front of everyone’s mind these days with the political climate.  It’s been a while since I’ve read anything serious, so hopefully this will be one I actually get to reading.  Plus, the new Hulu show is coming out, and it would be nice to be familiar with the source material before watching it.

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Weekend Coffee Share: 2/5/17

If we were having coffee, I would start out by sharing my big news:

 I GOT INTO GRAD SCHOOL!!!

My acceptance letter came via email on Tuesday.  This means that, next fall, I’ll be pursuing my Masters of Library and Information Science at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee.  Thankfully, I opted for the online option and I can continue working as a small-town librarian.  If all goes according to plan, the program will take two years to complete.

I’m really looking forward to getting my next degree.  It feels weird getting a Masters for a job that I already have… but I know that it will equip me in so many ways for my career ahead.  I have never taken online classes before, but I’m a self-motivated learner, so don’t anticipate it being too much of a problem.  The thing I dread most is that I won’t have time to read for fun anymore! Continue reading

Black, White, and Shades of Grey: Morality in Fantasy Literature

Who wouldn’t want to hear their favorite authors speak together on the same stage?

Recently, I was inspired by staff at Eventbrite about putting together a dream panel of authors I’d like to see at a conference.  Eventbrite is an organization that helps people create and share events that bring communities together.  For more information about their conference management tool, check out their website.

I love attending conferences, but have sadly never been to one that is book-related.  (That is likely to change now that I’m working as a librarian.)  Still, I assume that most events follow similar structures and that there is a great deal of freedom in what goes on in a panel.  That being said, I spent some time brainstorming what group I should bring together.  There are so many genres that I love and so many topics that would be interesting to explore.  I ended up settling on…

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Continue reading

Weekend Coffee Share 1/28/17

If we were having coffee, we’d be meeting in an actual coffee shop for once.  Between meeting friends and getting out of the house to write, I’ve been spending a lot of time in coffee shops.  I’d be sipping a mocha–what would you be having?

Things in Amelia-land have been going well.  Over the past month, I’ve been reconnecting with friends that I haven’t seen in a long time, which has been wonderful.

I submitted my application for graduate school a couple of weeks ago!  Tracking down transcripts was a huge headache and I’m thankful to be done.  I’m not sure when I find out if I get accepted, but am just happy to have it off my mind for now. Continue reading

Literary Pilgrimage: Jane Austen House, Chawton, UK

Jane Austen has a bit of a cult following.  While I may not be as rabid as popular culture depicts some of her fans (see 2013 film, Austenland, for an example), she’s one of my favorite writers.

My relationship with Austen’s work began when I was thirteen.  Having skipped after school basketball practice to go see the 2005 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice in theaters with my mom, I loved the story so much I went straight to the school library the next day to check out the book.  I loved the book so much that I read it three times in a row.

My fondness for Austen has only grown over the years.  I had read all six of her novels by the time I graduated high school and have revisited all of them since.  I had the pleasure of getting to study Sense and Sensibility in college.  As I’ve aged, I’ve come to understand her characters on a deeper level.  When I was younger, I identified with the playful and witty Elizabeth Bennett.  These days, I connect most with the sensible Elinor Dashwood and have developed a soft spot for Anne Elliot.

In 2016, I had the privilege of spending three months living in the English countryside.  When I arrived, I learned that my new residence was only a fifteen minute car ride from Chawton, the village where Austen lived from 1809-1817.  Naturally, I had to go.

My visit to the Jane Austen House Museum took place on a Sunday afternoon.  I went with a few friends, whose love of Austen ranged from casual movie-watcher to rabid book snob.  We were a diverse group, hailing from the United States, Canada, and South Africa.  Isn’t it wonderful that people from all over the world can come together through a love of literature? Continue reading

Inbox // Outbox 1/23/16

Inbox

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

I’ve been on the list for this at the library for quite a while.  I’ve never read anything by Fisher before and, in honor of her passing, am looking forward to exploring what she has to say.  In addition, I’ve been engaging with Star Wars a great deal lately and this fits right in.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

This memoir has been on my library list for a while… I’m not really sure what to expect, but am going to give it a chance.

Darth Vader, Vol 1-4 by Kieron Gillen

This graphic novel series takes my current obsession with graphic novels and combines it with my Star Wars kick.  Vader isn’t my favorite character, but my brother told me these were good, so I’ll see how this goes.

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Literary Pilgrimages

I am a pilgrim, a wayfarer, an adventurer.  I am a sojourner, making my way through lands real and imagined.  I travel by multiple mediums.  My feet carry me across continents familiar and strange.  My imagination soars through the minds and hearts of people who have gone before, ferried by the pages of a book.

 

I am a reader.  I am an explorer.  Sometimes, the two combine and I become a pilgrim.

Merriam Webster dictionary defines a pilgrim as “one who journeys in foreign lands”.  Traditionally, pilgrims journey towards a sacred, often religious place.  One of the most famous pilgrimages in literature is Chaucer’s band of characters telling tales on the road to the cathedral in Canterbury.

I am a lover of pilgrimages.  My journeys, however, are literary in nature.  In them, I travel to a place that holds bookish significance–the house or grave of a writer, the location of a beloved text, the place that inspired a famous text. Continue reading