Monday, September 24, 2012

Book Company

Currently Reading: The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

Today is one of those days where I wish I had Jane with me. 

I'm sitting in a library on campus, trying to motivate myself to start my homework but actually feeling very small in all of my aloneness. This is the first time I have gone back to school since graduating from my smaller Minnesota university, and let me tell you, it is a world of difference. This campus is huge, for one thing. And there are so many people. Add to that the fact that I'm only in the city and on campus once a week, and it equals out to not many chances to get to know people. The others in my classes are very nice- and I've had some good conversation starters with some of them. I always appreciate a smile, a joke, a little aside about the project we just finished. But it feels different than socializing as an undergraduate, and it makes me miss my friends even more.

I never thought to pack some book company for school, figuring I am usually up to my head in homework readings. But today, I really crave a nice dip into familiar territory, to take the tang of "new" and "alone" out of my mouth. I am not lonely- or at least, I feel less so- when I have my nose in a book, socializing with beloved characters or meeting new faces.

I am not good with loneliness. Oh, I love being alone every once in awhile... a nice long car ride all to myself, to sort out my thoughts. Or the apartment to myself for a couple of hours, testing the quiet. But otherwise, it sorta sucks. I grew up with a little sister who was by my side constantly. I can't remember days without her up until I was 18. Don't even ask her how many times I begged her to sleep in my room because I just wanted company. It continued through college... I bravely forged my way at a university where I knew nobody, enjoying the anonymity but pretty quickly trying to make new connections. It happened fairly fast (I met most of my best friends within a month of school, and I met my future husband within two). From that time on, I always had someone there to rely on, if need be. I always knew that someone close by had my back and would be there in a heart's beat if I needed them. It is reassuring to have that. And of course, I still do, although we are now spread out across the Midwest (with two in Colorado). Nathan is there for me, every day, with encouragement and laughs. But when I'm flung into these moments, looking around, recognizing that no one in this city knows me, the world starts to close in a bit.

Which is why my favorite book would be such a welcome relief right now. At last, someone I recognize and who wishes me well! I wonder if I could find a copy of Jane Eyre somewhere on this campus. I'm sure I could.

Friday, September 21, 2012

What A Full Soul Looks Like

Currently Reading: The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

This is what Colorado/best friend reunion/beautiful wedding looks like:








To say it was perfect does not cover exactly how magical this weekend was. The pictures speak for themselves, I think. It was truly a feast for my soul, filling it with love and memories and purpose, giving me strength.

A link and a funny to end the night off well:

NPR Books is one of my favorite feeds to follow on Facebook; it always contains such interesting articles and interviews. This article highlighted such a neat way of experiencing a book.... and it made me a bit hungry. I love how each picture perfectly encapsulates the book itself, not just by the food, but by the table setting or the type of cutlery. The aura of the book sings from each photo.

And finally:

I had to laugh out loud at this one. This is me. Right here. My husband posted this on my Facebook wall... does he know me well, or what? Some of the fictional deaths I remember crying the most for was: Severus Snape, Marilla Cuthbert (sobbed so hard my mother had to come ask me what was wrong), Sorcha (from the Sevenwaters trilogy. I dare you to read her death scene without bawling), Beth March (who hasn't cried at this scene?), and Sidney Carton. I'm sure there have been more, but these were the first to pop into my head right away. My motto: if a book can heighten every emotion in your body, and make you cry, then that is a good book. I really think that's the only criteria. What do you think? How many of you can identify with the bereaved reader? :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

"Sometimes the Books Choose Me"

Currently Reading: Take This Bread by Sara Miles and homework!

Well folks, I can now officially say that I am a grad student. I always get a bit overwhelmed when I start something new, but I am looking forward to settling into my new schedule and routine, (ideally) perfectly balancing school with work with family.

Today will be a quick post since I have a lot of homework to finish before we go to Colorado for a few days. One of my best friends is getting married, which makes me happier than words could possibly express. I am honored to stand up with her as a bridesmaid, although I hope not to make a spectacle of myself, since I tend to get overly weepy at weddings. :)

 For those who don't know, I am studying Library and Information Studies, with a specialization in Archives and Records Management. It may be a mouthful but after my two classes yesterday, I couldn't stop grinning. It is a massive relief to feel in your soul, despite the overwhelming feelings or the worries about doing well, that you are in the right place. I am excited to follow this path and see where it leads me.

Speaking of readings for school, I absolutely had to share one for my Introductory class that focuses solely on reading: the act of reading, how readers read and why, and why this matters to libraries. The book is called Reading Matters: What the Research Reveals About Reading, Libraries, and Community by Catherine Sheldrick Ross and I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who is interested in the act, the purpose, and sometimes the pure magic of reading. We only had to read the first chapter for our assignment, which mostly focused on why the myth that "reading is dying" in our society is not true. It also explores libraries' role not only to provide learning materials, but also to provide entertainment, and reading for pleasure. That reading for pleasure should not be something shameful, but something embraced, because "people have a deep need not just for facts, but for story." That there are many ways of reading, whether aloud, on an e-reader, or with a group, and that all of these ways of reading are legitimate and important. Throughout the chapter, I kept finding myself mentally cheering or recognizing with a jolt a facet of my own reading experience articulated in ways I never would be able to. One of my favorite passages in the article is quoted from Sara Nelson's book So Many Books, So Little Time, "I don't always choose the books...Sometimes the books choose me." What a beautiful line.

The end of the chapter encourages us as readers and librarians to reflect on our own reading history and experiences. Nelson's quote resonated because it seems that my favorite books- the ones that touched an inner part of my soul in deep and profound ways, or spoke to me in a way that seemed to reflect my own mind- have been ones that I have stumbled onto, not sought out. I love the many ways books come into our lives, and I love that every reader is unique. I love that each book is different to each person who picks it up and I love how diverse the reading world is. I am privileged to be a part of the literary world, and to call myself a reader. It is part of my identity, part of what makes me who I am. I wouldn't want it any other way.

A couple shout-outs today: thank you to my Georgia friend, Jillian, who wrote such a beautiful review of my blog on her own wonderfully written blog, A Room of One's Own. Jillian is a kindred spirit, someone who understands me and my passions, because she shares them herself. I love following her reading journey; if there's anyone I want to spend hours with in a coffee shop someday, it's her. Also, Book Harbinger is hosting "Seven Days with Sevenwaters", in which guest bloggers write about their relationships with the Sevenwaters series. As many of you know, the Sevenwaters series is one of my favorite book series ever. They chose me when I was a lonely, insecure high school kid, and they remain precious to me today. I recommend checking both of these blogs out!

Have a great week! I probably won't be back on here until after our trip, but I'll write soon. Colorado, here we come!

Keep On Reading...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...