In Appreciation of Tamora Pierce’s Alanna Books

As a lifelong reader, there are many books I read when I was young that have shaped me into the person I am today.  Harry Potter, Little House on the Prairie, Anne of Green Gables (which I didn’t actually read until high school… but it still shaped me), the list could go on.  I remember loving Julie Andrews’ The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles and tearing through every Boxcar Children book I could get my hands on.

Now that I’m an adult, I’ve returned to several of these books and have found them disappointing.  Whatever spark they ignited in me no longer connects with the person I am today.  They lose their savor and I can no longer remember why I returned to it again and again.

But that’s not always the case.  There are some books that, when I enter in with my grownup perspective, only get better–books that I can go years without and, upon opening the first page, feel the magic rise up in me once more.

Tamora Pierce is one of those writers for me.

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Thoughts on Blogging, Social Media, and Finding the Right Balance

I’ve been giving my social media habits a great deal of thought lately.

I won’t go into the messy details, but over the past few months my habits have changed a great deal.  In January, I made the decision to scale back my consumption and deleted Facebook from my phone.  This may not be a huge change, but it’s deeply impacted the way I experience the social media world.

For one thing, I have more time on my hands.  Instead of wiling away the hours scrolling through status updates and baby photos and engagement announcements, I spend my time doing things that I love.  I go for long walks.  I read more.  I hang out with family.

Another consequence is that I’ve shifted more time to Instagram.  With only photos and stories, Instagram is more curated and eats up far less time.  The more time I spend on Instagram, the more I fall in love with it.  I love putting together photos that I find beautiful and coming up with captions and quotes.  This summer, I started using the story feature and am able to share quirky, more casual bits of my life.

And then there’s my blog.  At the beginning of this year, I set out to be more of an official blogger… and quickly fizzled out.  I attempted to do a series of posts of literary places I’ve visited.  That lasted for two weeks.  Here and there, I’ve done several one-off posts that I’ve been pleased with.

I’ve been blogging for nearly ten years now on a variety of sites and, over the years, I’ve tried a number of different techniques.  (And, before you ask, no I will not share a link to my blog from high school.)

I think that part of my inconsistency is that I lack a central focus and vision.  While I adore my title, Keep Your Feet, and all that it implies, I definitely don’t have a theme.  Sometimes, I’m a book blogger.  Other times I write about travel and adventures.  Other times, I write about more personal things.  And, sometimes, I hardly post at all. Continue reading

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

Weekend Coffee Share: 1/14/17

If we were having coffee, I wouldn’t be that chatty at first.  Even though it’s 10 AM as I write this, I’m still in my early-morning haze.  Since it’s January, it’s been terribly cold and snowy in Minnesota, which is perfect sleeping weather.  I hate being parted from my warm blankets… even if it means getting coffee with you.

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve joined in the coffee share.  I’ve missed you all!

Life has been pretty slow over the past few weeks.  Aside from work, I haven’t had many places to go or things to do.  The holidays were so busy that I’ve been thankful for the lull.

At work, I’ve been making an effort to plan ahead.  Learning to be a librarian involves so much more than checking books in and out.  One of my goals is to start reaching out and creating community partnerships–starting with making a list of organizations and businesses to promote events at.  In addition, I’m working on being more organized and planning ahead.  The holidays snuck up on me and, aside from a few decorations, I really didn’t do anything special for my patrons.  I don’t want that to happen again!  I’ve already outlined activities and displays for next month and hope to continue the trend.

This weekend, I’m going to the cities to hang out with a friend from college.  We’re going to see La La Land (which I’ve already seen, but adored so much that I need a second round) and get dinner afterwards.  We’ve been tossing around going on a trip together this spring and will hopefully start making plans.

The rest of my weekend is likely to be spent indoors enjoying all the DVDs and graphic novels I’ve checked out from the library.  I also hope to do some writing for my blog.  I’ve got an idea for a new series that I hope to get going.  Stay tuned for more information on that in the future.

How has your week been?  Anything interesting going on in your life?  What would you share over coffee?

This post is part of the Weekend Coffee Share link up at Part Time Monster

 

Inbox // Outbox 1/9/16

Inbox:

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

I’m halfway through the audiobook version of this and am doing my best to withhold judgement until the end.  I really WANT to like this book.  I just don’t know if I can.  The historical aspects are really enjoyable, but a couple of the main characters get on my nerves.  Plus, the reader is annoying–his voice trails off at the end of sentences and is hard to hear.

Saving Hamlet by Molly Booth

This was a fluffy, fun YA read.  Theater kid, Emma, suddenly finds herself promoted to Stage Manager in what is on track to become the worst production of Hamlet ever to grace the high school stage.  One evening, she trips and falls through the auditorium stage’s trap door and finds herself enlisted as an assistant at the Globe Theater in London… in 1601.  There’s not a lot of depth here, but my not-so-inner literature nerd loved all the Shakespeare.

Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken

Bracken’s first book, Passenger, didn’t blow me away.  There have been quite a few YA novels about time-traveling pirates released lately and none of them have been as satisfying as I wanted them to be.  Still, I’m intrigued enough to keep going and hope to get to this in the next week or so.  (Probably when I finish the Hamlet book).

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Outbox:

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Tis the Season: Holiday Artwork by Rachel Finegan

Today’s post comes from my friend, Rachel, who is a fantastic artist.  While not a blogger, I asked if she would like to feature some of her Christmas-themed work and she generously agreed.  She also gave me a short statement about what the holiday season means to her, which I have included below.

If you’re interested in seeing more of Rachel’s art, you can follow her Facebook page or follow her Instagram account, illustrachel.


I was thinking about the post idea, ‘What does the holiday season mean to you?’

It’s cheesy but, to me, Christmas means the promise of light in the darkness, and hope when all seems lost. I like that we celebrate Christmas in one of the coldest, darkest, bitterest points in the year; because to me, we celebrate that light and life will come again, and the darkness will be just a memory.

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Inbox // Outbox 12/5/16

Inbox

Something in Between by Melissa de la Cruz

I’m really intrigued by this book because it’s about an extremely driven girl who, after winning a competitive national scholarship, finds out that she’s an illegal immigrant.  I’m a few pages in and, while I don’t find the protagonist’s voice super compelling at this point, am eager to keep reading.

This Day: New and Collected Sabbath Poems 1979 – 2012 by Wendell Berry

I just got this collection in the mail and can’t wait to sink my teeth in.  I’m currently working my way through the complete works of W.B. Yeats, reading a few poems every morning.  This is my next project.

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

I checked this one out of the library on a whim.  The reviews on Goodreads aren’t amazing, but several of my friends have given it high rankings… so I’ll see how it goes.

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Outbox:

The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

I listened to this one on audiobook during my commute.  I found the composition of the book jarring.  Moyes jumps between two time periods, linking two stories together.  While I liked the two stories, the linking felt forced.  Also, the trial at the end goes on for WAY too long.

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

I’ve been tearing through Matson’s novels over the past couple of months.  This one fits the genre of YA summer romance perfectly, but is no less enjoyable for it.

Humans of New York: Stories by Brandon Stanton

Stanton’s book is a collection of pictures and quotes from his Facebook page, Humans of New York.  I’ve been a fan of his work for quite a while.  What I loved about seeing the stories in book form was the way that so many of them linked together.  It captures the diversity of what it is to be human while tying us all together.  While we all are different, on a deep level, we are all the same.

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

I’ve heard good things about Sittenfeld’s modern day retelling of Pride & Prejudice.  I read the book in one sitting in the car and, while entertained, wasn’t blown away.  I liked some of the innovations, but a lot of the modern equivalents didn’t feel weighty enough.  Also, I didn’t actually LIKE any of the characters.

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My next Inbox // Outbox will be on December 19

For more of my bookish adventures, add me on Goodreads!

Calling Holiday Guest Bloggers!

It’s that time of year again!  Although the retail world has been celebrating Christmas for a month already, the arrival of December means that the holidays are just around the corner.

This year, I’m excited to announce the return of what is becoming one of my favorite holiday traditions: Tis the Season.

Every year on my blog, I do a week-long series in the days leading up to Christmas.  In it, I share family traditions, stories, favorite songs, and discuss what the holidays mean to me.  I did most of the writing in year one and, last year, I was joined by some wonderful guest bloggers.

This will be year three of Tis the Season and I am really looking forward to what the series has in store.

I would like to invite you, reader, to join me!  This time of year is all about togetherness, so what better way to celebrate than by bringing in guest bloggers?

Tis the Season this year will go from December 19-25.  My vision for the series is to have a post for each day.  Ideally, I will write one post and guests (yes, you!) will write the others.  If interest is high, I am all for making the series longer or putting up mulitple posts in one day.

It’s really easy to get involved!  All you have to do is send me an email or leave a comment on this post.  Then, it’s up to you to write your guest post.  Possibilities are limitless, but keep it holiday-themed.  I’ve got a list of prompts/ideas at the end of this post to help get your brain churning.

 

Please email me your post with a link to your blog by December 15.  This leaves me plenty of time to organize and format everything.  If you want any photos included, send those along as well.  Send emails to keepyourfeetblog@gmail.com.  I’ll include a link to your blog and any other social media in the final post, so if you’re looking to get your site out there, this is a great opportunity!

Post Ideas:

  • What holiday do you celebrate?
  • What does the holiday season mean to you?
  • What are some of your favorite holiday memories?
  • What are your favorite holiday traditions?
  • What are your favorite holiday songs, movies, etc.?
  • What is the best gift you’ve ever given/received?

I’m so excited to see what you all come up with and share the holiday season with you!

TTT: L’Abri Film Night

I’m celebrating this week’s movie freebie by reminiscing about my time at L’Abri, a Christian hospitality ministry.  I was at their location in England for three months earlier this year.  Every week, on Wednesday evening, our study room was transformed into a theater.  One of the staff members would pick a film and we would watch it while eating cinnamon-sugar popcorn.  When the movie ended, we’d spend half an hour or so discussing it.

The movies that were chosen were usually the kind that make you think.  I got to see several fantastic titles (some of which I’ve included in my list) and lots of foreign films.  I love watching movies that engage you on a deeper level than mere entertainment.

So, I’ve chosen a list of movies that I would show at L’Abri if I had the chance.

  1. Midnight in Paris (2011): One of my all-time favorites, this movie has a lot to say about nostalgia and the dangers of Golden-Age thinking.
  2. The Imitation Game (2014): I watched this one on an airplane and had to stop it multiple times just to think about what was going on.  In addition to being a great historical piece, the messages about homosexuality is an important one.
  3. Les Miserables (2012): Although I prefer the stage version, the musical adaptation of Victor Hugo’s masterpiece raises great questions about grace, forgiveness, and redemption.
  4. Inside Out (2015): I watched this one while at L’Abri.  Pixar movies do such a great job at creating movies that are both entertaining and enlightening.  Inside Out is no exception with messages about the complexity of emotions.  It can also be seen as a critique of American uber-positivity.
  5. Lars and the Real Girl (2007): Here’s another one I was introduced to at L’Abri.  The premise is odd and uncomfortable at times, but it’s really a beautiful message about community.
  6. About Time (2013): Again, one of my favorite movies and one of the few to make me cry.  You think it’s going to be a happy romantic comedy, but then it turns out to be a beautiful story about family and what makes life worthwhile.
  7. Her (2013): This movie is super weird and uncomfortable at points.  I include it on my list because, when we watched it at L’Abri, it raised so many question and thoughts that we were still talking about it for a week and a half later.
  8. The Truman Show (1998): This movie raises so many ethical questions, especially since it predates the rise of reality television, and I’d love to have a discussion about it.

What movies make you think?  What ones would you like to have an intellectual group discussion about?

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly link-up hosted at The Broke and the Bookish

For more of my bookish adventures, add me on Goodreads!

Top Ten Tuesday: TBR List Additions

I’ve been exploring lots of bookish sites lately and have added many titles to my To-Be-Read list… here are a few.

  1. The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan
  2. Shrill: Notes From a Loud Woman by Lindy West
  3. The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery
  4. Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown
  5. Mosquitoland by David Arnold
  6. Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley
  7. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  8. Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
  9. Upstream by Mary Oliver
  10. The Princess Saves Herself in this One by Amanda Lovelace

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly link-up hosted at The Broke and the Bookish

For more of my bookish adventures, add me on Goodreads!