I love E.B. White. As a nonfiction writer, at least. I really hate Charlotte’s Web. But as a grammarian and essay writer, he is just the type of talented dude and curmudgeon that I love. So I liked reading this pile o’ quotes by him at Brain Pickings. His thoughts on egoism are great, because I think they totally apply to bloggers today. Since I am a blogger, and since I have published far more nonfiction than fiction in my “career,” this is very interesting to me:
The essayist is a self-liberated man, sustained by the childish belief that everything he thinks about, everything that happens to him, is of general interest.
Duh. Totes book bloggers. Like, there are so many of us, how can we possibly think that our opinions are more interesting or valid than others? But we all have to operate under that assumption that we are wildly interesting to other people to garner favor from publishers to receive ARCs, to take the time to write thoughtful reviews, and just to keep motivated in general. We keep using the first person because we think that all of you totally want to read our blogs above all others, not to mention above other critical outlets like newspaper book reviews or author blurbs. Continue reading →
So I am reading a bunch of scholarly books and articles for my final paper for my realism class. Of course. Since the requirement is one essay, I found two book-length works that seemed relevant (the paper is on The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt: A Novel in Pictures; more about it in a later post) and am also looking for essays and chapters of other books that I already have. It’s not that I go above and beyond, it’s that I have no conception of proper scope for school papers and I want to know everything about everything.
I really wanted to be able to write today about how this past week was completely and utterly excellent. Except that I live in Boston, so first someone bombed the longest-running marathon in the country (world?), and then I had to sit inside all day Friday because my neighborhood was on lockdown for being close to Watertown, and then the whole city was. Even though I know no one who was affected directly by the bombing, and even though I wasn’t in all that much danger on Friday, it was still extremely stressful. I didn’t actually feel like I was stressed, but then when I realized how I couldn’t stop going to the bathroom because of my stomachaches and how I couldn’t read a single page of a book because I couldn’t focus, literally with my eyes and figuratively with my attention, so apparently I was quite agitated.
I in no way want to say that I was in as bad a position as other people, like my friend who lives right in Watertown or like the countless people injured or grieving. But in my own little world, it was a tough Monday and a tough Friday.
I find that really unfair for the obvious reasons, since no one should have to be grieving right now, and also no one should have to feel grateful to be alive right now. Alive is the default, and nobody should have to spend their thoughts mentally thanking someone for only partially ruining their lives. That’s awful, and I am sorry for everyone who was at the marathon or who knew someone there. But I also find it unfair, because I had planned a really great week, and in many ways, it still was, and now I have to feel kind of guilty about that. Continue reading →
With all of my hesitation, complaining, and frustration with many aspects of library and information science, I think it’s important to note that there is one part of it that I completely love and that I would happily do ALL DAY LONG if I could find a job that allowed me to.
It’s actually two things that are sort of the same: booklists and libguides. Before I knew what these were, they were basically all I wanted to do, except I thought I would own an awesome bookstore and call them treasure maps or something, and they would be thematic and clever, because instead of “if you liked Twilight, try these,” they would be things like “nobody does angst like Winona Ryder” and “I paint with words,” which are simultaneously meaningless and yet more interesting and telling than readalikes for popular things. I suppose I have been doing these for awhile, since that’s basically what I do at AllExperts.com, which I joined before I had ever heard the phrase “reader’s advisory.” And sometimes family friends will ask me for a list of titles for their reluctant 12-year-old daughter or whatever, and I assume they are at least somewhat helpful. Continue reading →