Scenes from a Book Nerd's Happenings

Library Clerk Getting Real

Clubbin’ with Books, yo

My work started a new book discussion group at a local coffee shop, in which we titled as ‘Brookline Book Buzz.’ The purpose behind this “new and improved” book group is to introduce alternative, weird, strange, quirky reads that usually don’t get the publicity as your standard bestsellers, paperback romances, and Stephanie Meyers does. To our surprise, we ended up getting a couple of people to show up to the first (informational) meeting we just recently hosted and I have a sneaky feeling that we can make this group grow.

I’m mostly excited because we will definitely get into books that are more along my own interests of reads as well as tackling books I haven’t gotten a chance to snatch up before. I’m also looking forward to getting to know more people with similar interest as myself, especially in the world of literature. The coffee shop we are meeting, called Cannon Coffee, is also a relatively unique and rather “hip” spot in the neighborhood (as in, this is where all the people my age hang out because there isn’t much else for options). They even have a, get this, outdoor patio in the back. I’m hoping that the weather gets warmer sooner than later so us bibliophiles can take advantage of some serious patio business.

Graphic Novel Memoir

Graphic Novel Memoir

Anyways, right, reading weird and unusual books, yeah? The first book we selected is “Fun Home” by Alison Bechdel. If you haven’t heard about it, it’s a graphic novel memoir that focuses on a young girl’s complex relationship with her father while growing up in a family business of operating a funeral home, and how she came to discover he was a closet homosexual (which interesting ties in with her own sexual orientation discoveries shortly before learning about her father). There are a lot of literary references used in the books, as both Alison and her father was very fond of reading (her father was also an English teacher). So far, it’s been a really great read and I’m stoked to see what the other members have to say about it.

Fictional story in a fictional town about fictional people. Warning: Involves a snowstorm that was actually real.

Fictional story in a fictional town about fictional people. Warning: Involves a snowstorm that was actually real.

The next book everyone has picked out (for May) is “Downtown Owl” by Chuck Klosterman. While Chuck is usually the guy behind heavily intricate essays on pop culture and the what-of-it notion of understanding, this is his first fiction novel. Set in a fictional town of 1983 Middle America, he spins a story of several characters who eventually become intertwined due to a historically accurate snowstorm that led to a few deaths. It’s certainly a book that makes you second-guess on totally normal events and conversations, as you start to wonder about the deeper meaning of things. I personally have grown fond of Chuck Klosterman over the years, although I know there are many who don’t like his style of writing (some say it comes off as haughty, condescending, arrogant…). You could say that his style could be an acquired taste, but I think it’s just more whether you can appreciate what he chooses to immerse himself in completely.

I’m currently seeing if the group would be interested in getting a little more… shall we say, technological with their reads. I’m mostly talking about good ol’ GoodReads, of course. I find the social website quite useful for endeavors involving books and the likes, but I can see why it could come off as overwhelming to others. I mean, to remember every book you ever read and to find them all on GoodReads. It’s a daunting task and you must be dedicated to the challenge. I’ve learned that I will never find all the books I’ve flipped through since I was a young babe, but one can only hope that maybe I will come close to the true number…

And here we go once again.

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Being a Nerd is IN when You’re in your 20s!

Image

Don’t be swayed by the haters, they no not what they speak of

You ever have that moment where you read a series of books, all ranging from one end of liking to the other end of disliking, and your feelings are all jumbled up? Like you just want to jump in those books and either kiss or punch the very character that causes you such intense emotions? Man, I don’t know why some books cause such a roar of emotions in me, but there have been times where I pause in the middle of a great book, look around, and totally forget where I am or what the heck I was supposed to be doing.

I used to be somewhat embarrassed of my book nerd ways, simply because there was a time where books weren’t cool. It was that awkward time where everyone was pimply with gangly body limbs and incredibly unbalanced walking abilities, and we giggled excessively over things that weren’t really worth giggling over. Then that cute boy walks by and you freak out over the way your shirt is (YELLOW?! WHY DID I THINK YELLOW WAS OKAY?!) and whether you have lettuce stuck in your braces. This is when you start hoarding all of your interest in the dark recesses of your mind, away from the knowing public (no, I never watched Dragonball Z, I don’t even know what balls are…yeah, those things) because if they ever, EVER found out that you didn’t mind looking at fanart…. ugh, just forget about living like a normal person for the next 10 years.

Now that I work in a lovely library, surrounded by the nerdiest of many types of nerds (except those computer, IT nerds… I just can’t handle that intensity), it’s like everything I held back in those years long ago, are now expected to reveal themselves full force. The nerdier you are, the cooler you are due to your vast knowledge on that particular subject.

Awesome!

While my books I chose to read can be intense, emotional, tragic, dark, and sometimes horrifying, I then flip to the other side when it comes to the rare times I turn the television on (to play a DVD because I can’t afford cable yet) and watch a bunch of cartoons to dumb myself down again. You gotta keep it even at times, otherwise your mind might get overwhelmed with nerdy intellect and you suffer from pseudo-genius causing migraines, brought on by those moments where you feel smarter than everyone.

So, my people! Embrace your nerdy ways, it’s the only thing you have that makes you, YOU! Don’t be ashamed because if you show true pride, there is no such thing as shame. You enjoy drawing Sherlock as a deer? No Problem! You enjoy creating Tetris cookies with a play-doh shape maker? Go for it! Like crocheting dolls from your favorite anime show? Who’s going to stop you? Nobody!

I’m going to continue blogging, watching Futurama, and think about my Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children book while debating on the next craft I should tackle.

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Spring 2013: It’s On!

My company is awesome. I can’t wait for things to start happening.

Spring 2013: It’s On!.

via Spring 2013: It’s On!.

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Book List that was Crazy in my Head

I’ve done many projects at work and have read many books since the last real blog updated. I apologize for not keeping up with the image of my book nerd persona (or is being distracted by libraries and books considered a valid excuse for not updating?). Either way, I will try to do more legit, possibly timely updates. I do enjoy what I have accomplished and look forward to many more things.

Let’s talk books for a second. I read the following titles within the past couples months and they were crazy.

Chopsticks” by Jessica Anthony

Black Hole” by Charles Burn

Stargirl” by Jerry Spinelli

The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt” by Caroline Preston

The Sicilian” by Mario Puzo

Scott Pilgrim” v. 1 & 2 by Bryan Lee O’Malley

Batman: The Killing Joke” by Alan Moore

Hater” & “Dog Blood” by David Moody

There’s a bunch more, but these titles particularly stuck out. Thoughts? Where’s my book nerds?

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This is a Story About a Fish Named Mitch…

There’s a story called Mitch the Fish, which is about a fish whom is unhappy about his appearance. Based on other sea creatures he comes across, he changes his appearance until finally he decides to stay as he is. It’s a children’s lesson about both color and being happy with who you are. The children’s librarian that I work for showed me the idea through the Storytiming blog (please check out her blog for the whole story about Mitch and his vain ways), and asked me to create my own version for her. So here’s a crafting DIY post about how to craft a Mitch the Fish story out of one manilla folder, scissors, glue, and several sheets of colored papers.

Where the magic begins

To implement my ideas, I plotted out my idea on a couple post-its (mostly because that’s what I had on hand), devising a way to make the sea creatures recognizable but not too cartoony. She decided she wanted the orange fish, a red lobster, a yellow starfish, a (light) blue whale, and a gray dolphin. What had to be done was create the ocean ‘scene’ onto the manilla folder, cut a fish shape in the center of the paper/folder (which is hard with a pair of scissors and not an exacto knife!), create individual creatures that will be laminated and attached to folder via velcro slips, and finally faces onto each colored paper inserted into the folder to represent the fish’s color change.

Confused? It’s actually pretty easy.

As a quick note, this project took me a couple of hours to do, but it’s mostly because I’m a stickler for details. You can basically create this in whatever fashion you desire with any sea animal of your liking and take any amount of time you desire, it will probably have the same effect with the kids regardless.

Pick your weapon, er, I mean manilla folder to work with, along with several different colored pieces of paper. I constructed a sheet of blue paper with waves along the top.

Try swimming acros this, heh heh

Now I start getting fancy by adding sea features such as sand and seaweed, which is drawn with squiggles. Remember, don’t make this any more complicated than necessary. If you’re fussy over details like myself, be warned that it’ll take a bit to complete. The sand is cut from tan paper and the seaweed from two shades of green.

Squiggle power!

Sketch out where you want Mitch to be and how big. My children’s librarian wanted him to be the center focus (obviously) so she asked for him to be pretty big and right in the center. Now, I didn’t have an exacto knife (at the time), so I had to do the awkward stabbing the center with a pair of scissors and cut starting in the middle to out. Snip your way to the edges and cut out a nice looking fish.

There’s… something there…. what could it be…

I like things looking pretty with details (as I already may have made this clear before), so I decided to add some flair to my waves by tracing an outline on white paper, then cutting out some currents. It’s not crucial to do this; I just like the look of it.

I’m swimming along the ocean waves… la la la…

Speaking of extra details, I also decided to add in two clams in the corner because they’re cute.

Bahaha I love them

Go ahead and add some lines with a thin Sharpie. Add some fish bubbles too. While you have the Sharpie in your hand, this would also be a good time to get all of Mitch’s colors done. Mitch’s original color is orange and he ‘changes’ colors based on which creature he encounters. So I selected four creatures: lobster, whale, starfish, and dolphin. Each creature has their color: red, light blue, yellow, and gray (in the order of said animals). Therefore, Mitch gets a face on each colored paper.

Got it? The easiest way to do this is to have all the papers layered in the order you will tell the story. That is, the top layer will be Mitch’s introduction as an orange fish, the second paper will be Mitch’s color change to the first creature he meets (so I did red first), and so on. I used a pencil to sketch a little face while I had the papers in the folder, then pulled the papers out to outline with the thin Sharpie so I could extend the lines (the papers and folder as it is taped is not an exact fit, so be sure your papers are aligned as they are in the folder, so you can just pull them out one at a time). Mitch turns back to orange at the end of the story, so instead of flipping the first paper over to add a ‘ending face’, I just inserted an extra sheet in the back to prevent the annoyance of having re-insert the paper and disrupting the story (wasting papers, I know, I know).

Blub blub blub…

Details? Check. Next, I decided to sketch out all my creatures and make my separate pieces.

Lobby the Lobster is the kind of creature that likes to lob around and poke others with his claws.

Sketch, cut, and outline.

Boom. Sea-lings.

Now the annoying part (for me, anyways).

Laminating.

If you read my previous posts about the bulletin board background I created, you probably know that I don’t like the process of manual laminating stuff. If I had one of those fancy lamination machines where I could just throw something in, life would have little less #firstworldproblems, but I must continue doing this by hand.

Enough of my mindless complaints, onward we go.

The smaller pieces were easy; just cut a strip large enough for two or all four, and lay them flat close but with enough space to trim around each piece. And then add a secondary layer on the other side. Press flat and smooth, then proceed with your trimming.

I had extra scraps that were able to fit the small pieces without having to sacrifice more from the roll.

Aren’t you a shining star?

The “hard” part was doing the folder. I’m sure there may have been better ways to go about this, but honestly, this was my best method when I was short on time. I simply rolled an entire section across the top of the folder, press it smooth, and then trimmed it, edges and Mitch’s outline. Yes, I had to stab the center and trim that once more.

I don’t proclaim to be an all-star crafter, I just do whatever my hands do first.

Now for the Velcro pieces! You can basically use any size or shape of Velcro you would like. We had some square ones we snipped in halves because it was pretty strong. I put the softer side on to the folder itself, in the corner where the creatures will “lay” when they meet Mitch. Every individual creature had a rough piece on the backside. I lined this up by connecting the Velcro pieces together, sticky side up, and placing each creature on the sticky part to align properly.

Power to the Velcro

Awe, they match. How darling.

And that’s that! Now you have a complete Mitch the Fish Manilla folder story with Velcro pieces to tell/show!

Red with envy, yes

Have fun!

Thanks for reading! Any children’s program craft projects or stories to share? Please drop a line in the comments and tell me what you have done! 🙂

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Requirements: Zero Thinking

New blog post at other blog about painting! 🙂 Please check it out and let me know about your painting adventures!

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Epic Struggles of Choosing a Book

Upon finishing one of the biggest books in the past year, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (I know, I’m way behind on the times here) and now finally picking up The Hunger Games (double fail on the upkeep) to give it a try, I realized how poorly I have been doing with my reading list. According to my horribly incomplete Goodreads account (I honestly tried to think of every single book I’ve read in my life, but it’s impossible to find them all), I have about 70 books under the To-Read shelf. However, that’s just a starting point because I just rediscovered my account on there recently, so I’ve been in an ongoing, non-stop process of updating it. Add that with my job in the library… if I remember to keep up with it, it’s going to get blown to pieces with all the books I come across.

Is being a book nerd a good thing? I certainly hope so, because it’s my destiny. I enjoy every minute of it.

It’s Only the Beginning…

I believe another issue I seem to have trouble in keeping up with the reading is I will pick up a couple first-of-a-series books to see what I like and then realize that I’m either going to read the entire series at some point, or forget that it exists in order to carry on with another one. Am I being traitorous to my books? I don’t necessarily think so… I just would like to stay dedicated to my interests and passions. I read the first Dexter book of the series and loved it…. I just won’t be getting the next one until I try a couple other ‘first book of a moderately-long-and-possibly-irritatingly-straining-on-my-nerves-with-impatience series

You won’t find me reading Twilight (I absolutely refuse), but that doesn’t mean I will disregard teen romance or supernatural series. I just have preferences with what I specifically would like to read. Twilight, for example, just simply did not grab my interest. It might have a small portion to deal with Kristen Stewart’s total blank face, but you and I both know that it’s a little more than that. I honestly would like to give every book a try to find where my interests lie (who knows, I could be really into Medieval-period S&M that take place in Northern regions of Iceland… has this been written yet? I feel like it’s mentioned in a book somewhere out there); however, the difficulty I tend to find is when I do find something I like, I tend to stick with that particular genre/author for a while.

For example, after realizing that the movie Fight Club was actually based of Chuck Palahniuk’s novel, I immediately sought out the book, fell in love with the story once more, and went into a frenzy with most of his work. On the flip side, I also realized that his stories is often times ghastly and intense, in which I would read one of his books, picked a totally random book to recover, continue to another one of his books, and repeat. Or at least, with Haunting. It took me about three tries to finally read the whole book and then I curled up in the corner of the room, erasing the ugly imagery. Mind you, this is just one example of my inconsistent, frazzled reading style.

Currently in the To-Read pile; So far, only the top book has been completed.

Either way, I have full intentions of building up my bookshelf (both physical at home and my virtual one on GoodReads) with lots of new finds and interesting stories. I only hope to expand my horizon a little more and allow myself to be immersed in stories that I have yet to try. If you guys have any recommendations (especially if you have a GoodReads account, please add me and we can do a comparison!) , please let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear what people are wiggling in the pants over.

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Post update from my other blog, please read! 🙂 Thank you kindly!

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What’s Your Dewey Decimal?

So cute and approriate since I work in a library as well! Here are my results:

Shayna Ross’s Dewey Decimal Section:
390 Customs, etiquette & folklore
Shayna Ross = 9815418599 = 981+541+859+9 = 2390Class:
300 Social Sciences

Contains:
Books on politics, economics, education and the law.

What it says about you:
You are good at understanding people and finding the systems that work for them. You like having established reasoning behind your decisions. You consider it very important for your friends to always have your back.

Find your Dewey Decimal Section at Spacefem.com

Shayna Ross’s Dewey Decimal Section:
612 Human physiology
Shayna Ross’s birthday: 6/24/1988 = 624+1988 = 2612Class:
600 Technology

Contains:
Health, agriculture, management, public relations, buildings.

What it says about you:
You are creative and inspired to make the world a better place. You can work hard on something when it catches your interest. Your friends have unique interests in common with you.

Find your Dewey Decimal Section at Spacefem.com

Shayna Ross’s Dewey Decimal Section:
003 Systems Class:
000 Computer Science, Information & General Works

Contains:
Encyclopedias, magazines, journals and books with quotations.

What it says about you:
You are very informative and up to date. You’re working on living in the here and now, not the past. You go through a lot of changes. When you make a decision you can be very sure of yourself, maybe even stubborn, but your friends appreciate your honesty and resolve.

Find your Dewey Decimal Section at Spacefem.com

The Lupine Librarian

I have often wondered what my Dewey Decimal number would be, and thanks to an internet quiz, now I know. I love these kind of quizzes…they are usually scarily accurate, and this one is no exception!  Thanks to the Ellsworth Public Library’s facebook page for suggesting the cool link 🙂  Here are my results:

126 The self

126 The self
Abby Rae Morrow = 1225815358853 = 122+581+535+885+3 = 2126

Class:
100 Philosophy & Psychology

Contains:
Books on metaphysics, logic, ethics and philosophy.

What it says about you:
You’re a careful thinker, but your life can be complicated and hard for others to understand at times. You try to explain things and strive to express yourself.

025 Library operations

Class:
000 Computer Science, Information & General Works

Contains:
Encyclopedias, magazines, journals and books with quotations.

What it says about you:
You are very informative and up to date. You’re working on…

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Chalk It Up

April was Poetry Month and our community library with its many branches provided a lot of fun events to participate in! However, on the downside, my branch in particular isn’t the most popular branch in the city (we’re pretty small to begin with). Even so, we still carried on with what we had and one co-worker provided a ‘Commit a Poem to Pavement’ event that had a surprisingly (and awesome) number of younger adults and children show up to. The weather was amazingly beautiful (hooray for a rare pretty spring day in this city!) and there were a lot of people walking around outside, which made it more fun.

Madness, I know…

The program allowed anybody to either select a poem from our collection or write their own (within in limitations). A couple of kids wrote multiple ones, but I think they were more thrilled over the idea of playing with chalk, as opposed to the actual poetry.

Rebels of Society in the Making. Courtesy of your local library.

The best was when one young girl decided to wear black pants and left the events covered in so many pastel colors. She didn’t seem to mind it too much, I suppose. Either way, the participants really seemed to enjoy the activity! See picture below for some examples of what was chosen.

Intensity

Density

Name-sity

Passion-sity

Any chalk inspirations you guys have to share? Or activities you participated in that involved covering your community sidewalks with pastel-printed words? Thanks for stopping by again. 🙂

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