Well, the New Year is upon us and with it comes every possible promise of personal betterment. I’e never been particularly keen on New Year’s resolutions, perhaps because I fear both commitment and failure, but that’s neither here nor there. The point is: the kind of resolutions I can get enthusiastic about are, unsurprisingly, reading-related.

I was 9 books shy of my 100-book goal for 2014, so I’m shooting for it once again in 2015. Additionally, I want to further diversify my reading. I read a good amount of women writers and writers of color as it is, but I want to make a more conscious effort to do so. I also want to read more in translation, as that is an area in which I am lacking.

For a very brief moment I entertained the idea of echoing my friend Elizabeth’s resolution to not buy any books. Yes. Any. With the idea that it forces one to read the tons of books already in one’s possession. But I’m all about attainable goals and, besides, it runs somewhat counter to my other goals for 2015, so instead I’m just going to try to read more of the books I already own. That’s a compromise, right?

I’m also going to continue tracking my reading and I hope to better organize my bookshelves. Those might not be reading goals, but they’re book related and reading-adjacent, so I’m including them.

So these are my 2015 resolutions. They are resolutions I believe I could keep, and that’s the beauty of it.

Do you have reading resolutions? Regular resolutions? Tell me all about ’em!

 

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Poindextrix in Philadelphia

January 15, 2014

So here I am in Philadelphia.

I realized over the summer That those extra classes I was taking would enable me to graduate from my library science program a semester ahead of schedule. Since my lease was ending and i didn’t want to incur a semester’s worth of unnecessary student loan debt, it seemed like the right thing to do.

I picked Philly for a number of reasons. There are some that I’m not quite ready to share here, but I’ll let you in on the others: Philly has tons of cultural heritage institutions where I could potentially find work and there are fewer library schools in the area with graduates all vying for positions. Philly is also a bit closer to home, so I can see family and friends in the DC area more often. And finally, I think New York and I just needed a break for a while. Living there by myself was certainly an experience, but New York is intense and I think I need to dial it down a bit. Also, with no job and no student loans, I couldn’t really afford to live there, now could I?

But Philly! Philly is great. It’s a city, but it isn’t quite as crazy as New York (or maybe it is, just in a different way). I’m still getting used to things (I’m using tokens for the train/bus, guys. Tokens.), but my apartment is cute and I’ve gotten my library card, so I’m settling in.

I don’t think much will change here. It’ll be the same old Poindextrix ramblings, just from my new locale.

Words of Wisdom and a Cat

November 10, 2012

Hello again. Today I’m going to share with you a piece of hard-earned wisdom: Do not attempt to move during a hurricane. Furthermore, always check the weather before booking anything that involves transporting all your worldly possessions from one point to another. Even if those points are only a few blocks away from each other.

In case any of you were wondering how I fared during Sandy, I came out physically unscathed. Emotionally… well, that’s another thing entirely.

I live in Harlem, which is kind of on a hill, so did not experience any of the dreadful flooding. Power lines in New York are underground, (which is generally a good idea except in cases of sever flooding as water and electricity tend to not get along) and so my power remained intact as well. I was supposed to move into my new apartment the day before Sandy made landfall. Clearly, that did not happen. The leasing office was closed so I couldn’t pick up my keys and even if I could have, the movers might not have been able to get to my place to help move everything over. Once the storm had passed, the movers had to reschedule everyone and could no longer fit me in before the day I had to be out of my new apartment, so we were on to Plan B (or C… we’d lost track at that point) — rent a UHaul and hire movers without a truck to help us lug the boxes and take apart my shoddily constructed Ikea bed. It worked. I moved. Huzzah. But I spent the entire hurricane in a whirlwind of anxiety trying to make sure I would be able to move.

Obviously my tale of anxiety is nothing compared to the huge number of people who lost their homes, possessions, and loved ones as a direct result of the hurricane. I was incredibly lucky that I was merely inconvenienced by this storm and lost a week of school in the deal, but two weeks after the fact there are still people who are suffering and homeless. A woman’s two young sons were out of her arms in the flood waters and no one would stop to help her look for them for hours. In times like this we should be coming together to reconcile our differences. It’s not about politics. It’s about humanity.

In that week-long gap where everything seemed to be in limbo — lower-Manhattan looked like a post-apocalyptic world — and school was still closed due to lack of power, I got a cat.

The plan has always been move to New York, go to library school, get a cat. Well, that’s the simplified plan. So far, things are falling nicely into place. Yes, I realize I am a stereotype. At this point, I’m kind of OK with it.

I know I owe you reviews. Right now I’m going to pull the “hurricane” and “I had no internet in my new apartment until today” cards. It’ll happen eventually. Or I’ll distract you with cute cat photos until you forget I’m supposed to be writing book reviews. Either way…

O lovely readers, I promise I have not forsaken thee! I’ve just been easing (read: sinking) into my graduate studies. I know it hasn’t been that long, but I’m still working on re-learning how to be a student again… weird.

I’m in an Information Technologies class, and while my professor is beyond amazing, our most recent assignment involved designing a (albeit incredibly simple) webpage using HTML and CSS. In case you cannot accurately call to mind my fear of all things Technology, I will direct you back to this post.

And now I must dive back into my reading. Here’s a tidbit: antelopes are documents. But only some of them (the antelopes), and only in certain situations. Gotta love information theorists.

I do have things to review, but for now I leave you with an old one recycled from my now-defunct previous blog. Enjoy?

The Night Circus

     Most of the people I’ve spoken to about this book have very strong feelings about it. Love it or hate it, there are no feelings in the middle. I can kind of understand how it inspires those feelings, yet I am irrevocably indecisive, so I still find myself mostly in the middle of the road.
     I enjoyed reading the book. It held my interest and I didn’t really feel that the story lagged or the plot fell apart. That being said, I do take issue with some aspects of the book.
     Most of the story is supposed to be set in the late 1800s/early 1900s. Other than women wearing gowns instead of dresses and the characters speaking with fewer contractions there is really no sense of this whatsoever. I understand that this is a different side of that era and Morgenstern is trying to show us a bit of the fantastic, but if you’re going to go through the trouble to set that sort of scene, there needs to be more follow-through.
     The challenge concept was a good idea, but there wasn’t really the right balance of conflict throughout. At times there was so much focus on the challenge that there was a complete halt to the rest of the story, at others, the challenge seemed entirely forgotten. There was just a bit of a balance issue.
     I also wanted to know more about Poppet, Widget, and Bailey and more about Marco’s charms. These were the most interesting parts for me and I wish they had been developed more. It just felt like Poppet, Widget, and Bailey should have been played much bigger parts in the story. They were interesting and I wanted to know more. I wanted to know what it was like for Poppet and Widget growing up in the circus. And the magic: Celia’s is innate, but Marco’s is learned. I understood this to be at least partially the basis of the challenge, so I wanted to know more about Marco’s magic. I also wanted to learn more about the magic that held the circus together: what magic belonged to whom?
     All in all, Morgenstern has a flair for description, I’ll give her that, but at times I wondered at the things she chose to describe. It almost seems like everything I wanted might have been in there at some point, and then someone told her to edit for length and she took out all the wrong parts.

My first week back at school was uneventful in the way that every first week back at school always is: introductions to syllabi, professors insisting that we go around the room and introduce ourselves, trying to figure out what the professor prefers to be called, etc. It was also entirely different because it’s grad school. Not only is this grad school, this is library school. Everyone in that classroom wants to be a librarian. Sure, there are different specialties and concentrations, but at the center of it all is information. Every person in that room wants to learn how to take that information and make it more accessible.

Classes have technically started, but now that this first week of introductions is over, I’m excited for classes to really begin. I’m also still kind of terrified.

Book People

August 26, 2012

I am incredibly jittery right now. Classes officially start tomorrow, but I won’t officially have my first grad school class until Wednesday evening. Even so, it’s right around the corner. I’m excited and ridiculously nervous. What if I’ve forgotten how to be a student? What will my professors be like? Will I make friends in my classes? What should I wear?

While I’m thinking about all this, it’s interesting to go back and look at something I wrote soon after I was accepted into the program. I call it Book People:

Dream program? Check. Dream city? Check. Now I just need to figure out how to make them a reality. I’m confident that I can make it work though. I’ve decided that I’m willing to put myself into a certain amount of debt to pursue my passion for books. I’m already in debt for college, what’s a bit more to get me to a place where I can do something that I love?

So there we go. Yours Truly is moving to the Big Apple. And yes, I am aware that Step 1 is to never again call it the Big Apple. I am really excited about the prospect of living and working in New York, which is something I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid, but I also can’t wait to be around fellow book lovers.

As one of my friends said when I told her about all this, “you’ll finally be with your people!” I told my mom about this exclamation and she laughed and agreed, but then said that wasn’t I already with “my people” working at a publishing company? Sadly, no. A friend and I discussed this over drinks — in our chosen fields where so many English and literature majors flock, “our people” — the book dorks and grammarians — are a rarity.

In a group of ESL teachers she mentioned reading Pride and Prejudice and was met with surprise and near-disdain. The counter in my office kitchen which for most is a place to drop off old books that were cluttering up the closet or to pick up a book that looks interesting was a magical fairy book counter for me, producing a number of books on my ever-growing to-be-read list.

I went to the library the other day and returned 2 books. I checked out 5. I have at least 4 boxes of books I brought home from college sitting in a closet because we don’t have any more shelf space in my house (yes, the fact that they’re in the closet and not out in the open haunts me). It’s a sickness, but one I wouldn’t try to treat.

I can’t wait to move to New York, but I’m kind of dreading it at the same time. If I had to guess, I’d say at least 80% of my possessions are books. And books are heavy.

I suppose there could still be people who are not “my people” in the program. That’s fine, you don’t have to be a prolific reader to be my friend. But it would be nice if you’d help me carry my books.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

August 20, 2012

As you may have noticed, my blog has gone through a round of changes, but never fear! they are all on the surface. I decided to roll over the name/address from my old blog — Witless Witticisms — and keep Poindextrix as my username, so there you have it. The Poindextrix you know and tolerate love continues with a new look and a not-so-new name.

Think of it as recycling. I’m green and eco-conscious and whatnot.

Anyway, please note the change in the url if you decide to link to me.

On an almost related note, I’ve been tagged in blog tag and I was nominated for a blog award forever ago that I haven’t passed along. I really will get to both of those in the near future.

Meanwhile, I feel like I’m the butt of some cosmic joke. Really though, we don’t need to get into that.

I just finished Running for Mortals by John “The Penguin” Bingham and Coach Jenny Hadfield (yes, I know I’m supposed to be reading Infinite Jest and Mansfield Park — more on my book ADD at a later date).

It’s a really great book. Obviously I can’t recommend it to everybody ever because not everybody is looking to start running, but if you’re toying with the idea, I would definitely suggest picking this one up. These two make running seem approachable and, well, possible for the rest of humanity with more than 1% body fat and the usual scarring childhood gym memories.

My only real problem with the book is entirely personal and has to do with figuring out the program right for me. John and Jenny provide a bunch of tools throughout the book to help readers figure out just that, but I, being me, had to complicate things.

Had I read this book back when I bought it — some time in November 2011, I think — I would be completely new to running and able to accurately identify where I fit on the spectrum they lay out. But, being the overenthusiastic person I can sometimes be, I threw myself full-force into running and kind of forgot about the book and the training programs it offered. Fast forward however many months, one 5K and a few months of sitting on my butt. Now I don’t know where I fit in. I’m not entirely new to running, but I have been inactive for a while. I do want to run to lose weight, but I want to get other things out of it as well. I have a history of injuries, but they’re as under control as they can be. I have a chronic illness, but it’s under control. The book gives answers, but I’m a weird exception. I want to just call them up and lay it all out for so they can tell me what to do:

Hey, so basically my body decided to enact a coup against me. My doctors used drugs to brutally crush said coup. Now I’m working on picking up the pieces and trying to make friends with my body. Cue “can’t we all just get along” theme music.

And now you know more about me than you ever needed or wanted to. Ah, the magic of the internet!

Anyway, back to Running for Mortals. I think I’m the exception, not the rule. Most people will probably have very little difficulty figuring out which program to follow, and as far as I can tell, they’re all well laid out. They also provide strength training and flexibility exercises to incorporate into training and explain why all of it is important.

Running for Mortals is really just your comprehensive How-to running guide.

I’ve finally realized why I’m so glued to the Olympics: I generally missed the summer games as a child since I was usually at camp. Now I’m making up for lost time or something. In any case, I’m basically glued to my television during prime-time broadcasts and am trying to start running again, but I will be getting back to my regularly scheduled reading soon.

Is anyone else turning into an Olympics-zombie (despite the terrible coverage in the States), or is it just me? Also, a moment for the amazing-ness that is Jessica Ennis. I pretty much want her to come to New York and be my best friend/fitness fairy. Just saying. Is that weird? Probably.

And so we begin.

Let’s not kid ourselves and try to pin down a theme here. There will be book reviews and book talk because books are pretty much my life. There will also be reflections on trying to move to New York, actually moving to New York when the time comes, and, eventually, living in New York. There will be musings on library school. There may be attempts at creative writing and posts of my photography if I ever get the courage. There will probably be pictures of cats.

I realize that already I am living up to a stereotype, but hopefully as time goes on I will manage to debunk it somewhat. And if not, I’m awesome despite my stereotypical behavior, so too bad.

I am currently in New York visiting the school and looking for a place to live. It is hot and muggy and generally disgusting outside. We walked everywhere and I don’t own sensible shoes, so I think I have rubbed a few essential layers of skin off the bottom of my feet. In any case, my computer needs to recharge and so do I, so tales of the Strand later.