Monthly Archives: August 2015

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

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It’s Monday! is a weekly meme originally hosted over at Book Journey that allows bloggers to post a sort of wrap-up of the past week while also looking to the week ahead. Without further ado…

Last Week: After a long, stressful week at work, I just wanted a low-key weekend. My roommate was pet-sitting for her cousin, so we had two dogs and a bearded dragon staying with us, which took some getting used to. But overall, the weekend was really relaxing. After work Saturday, I went to the library, where I had an encounter with a Dalek. I just came around the circulation desk and saw it rolling toward me screaming “Exterminate!”. I’ve been well-trained, so I turned and ran the other way. Later I got brave and went back for a picture, but my heart didn’t stop pounding for quite some time. I also spent some time getting creative this weekend. Did a handmade card and worked with some watercolors for a friend’s birthday, which was super fun.

I didn’t spend a ton of time reading this week, and what I read was mostly light and fun. When I get tired or stressed, I go for books that don’t really make me work very hard. Unfortunately, that meant that Kavalier and Clay went back to the library, as I just wasn’t in the mood for it. But I’m sure I’ll get to it later. On the blog, I had a fantastic Saturday as my open letter to Felicia Day was retweeted and commented on by Day herself, so that pretty much made my whole weekend!

Posts:

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki You're Never Weird on the Internet by Felicia Day The Island of Dr. Libris by Chris Grabenstein

Currently Reading:

  • Star Wars Jedi Academy: The Phantom Bully (Jedi Academy #3) – Jeffrey Brown
  • The Dragon of the Month Club – Iain Reading

Star Wars: Jedi Academy, The Phantom Bully (Jedi Academy, #3) the dragon of the month club

Looking Ahead: Last night, the master post for R.I.P. X went up, which is super exciting for me! This year it’s being hosted by the lovely ladies over at The Estella Society, and I can’t wait to dive in to read and watch spooky stuff all the way through Halloween. This is my favorite challenge of the year, so be looking for a post of what I’ll be reading and watching! Before I dive into that though, I have a couple of books borrowed from a friend and several from the library that I need to read and return, and I still want to read some series stuff. I’m thinking it’ll just be an eclectic mix of stuff in the next couple of months.

Wonder Woman Vol. 6: Bones Alex + Ada, Vol. 1  Alex + Ada, Vol. 2 Sex Criminals, Vol. 2: Two Worlds, One Cop The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #1)

 

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An Open Letter to Felicia Day

You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)

Dear Felicia Day,

I just finished reading your book, and now I’m sitting here trying to figure out how best to put all of my feelings into words. This letter was originally going to be a normal book review, but that just didn’t feel right, to distill everything I have to say about the book into such small snippets and parameters.

This is what I was thinking the whole time I spent reading this book: It felt like you were talking straight to me. Writing for me. I think I can speak for a lot of us when I say that at times it seems like we are all alone in our passions and fandoms and hobbies. But you? You get us. I was that same 4.0 kid being shaped by the expectations of the world around me, and now at 25, I’m still trying to figure out who I am and what I want my life to be.

I hope that it’s something like yours. Because from the little I know of your life after reading your book and watching The Guild and trying to catch up on episodes of Co-Optitude, I’m learning that it’s okay to be awkward and shy, to replay conversations in my head afterward trying to figure out what went wrong, to do things wrong. To move forward. To yearn for more in my life and to strive for that, even in small ways. To be intentional in connecting with people and building community around common interests.

I’m learning about myself that gaming and reading and watching Dr. Who aren’t hobbies I should be ashamed of. That when I proudly present my drawing to a group and they ask “Who is Harley Quinn?”, it’s not a reflection on me. That I don’t have to defend the things I love, but I can instead be unapologetic and true to myself. Thanks to you and Wil and Tabletop, I’ve discovered a jumping-in point for tabletop gaming, something I was always too daunted to get into before. Now I play games every week at my local game store with my roommates and other people like me. Thanks to your book, I’m inspired to write and draw and create, even if nothing ever comes of it. I may never get Internet famous, but I’m at least beginning to like myself for who I am.

So thanks. Thanks for being courageous and outspoken. Thanks for writing your book. Thanks for your inspiration, your willingness to connect with fans, your quirky humor, your authenticity, and your passion that led to the creation of some of my favorite things. At the end of it all, thanks for being exactly who you are. The world wouldn’t be the same without you.

All the best,

Jancee

 

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Review and Fellowship of the Worms Discussion – A Tale for the Time Being

A Tale for the Time Being

Title: A Tale for the Time Being

Author: Ruth Ozeki

2013 – Fiction – Contemporary Fiction/Magical Realism

Rating: 5/5

Source: Library

The Story: A Hello Kitty lunchbox inside a plastic freezer bag washes up on the shores of Canada. Ruth is drawn to the lunchbox, so she takes it home, where she and her husband Oliver open it up. Inside, they find an antique watch, packets of letters, and a diary. Through the contents of this lunchbox, Ruth and Oliver are drawn into the story of Nao, a Japanese schoolgirl with a suicidal dad and a Zen Buddhist great-grandmother.

The Opening Line: Hi! My name is Nao, and I am a time being.

Thoughts: Gonna keep this real brief, due to answering the Fellowship questions below. I loved this novel. It was quirky and fun, heartfelt, touching, sad, profound, and educational all at once. I learned about Japanese culture in bits and pieces, and realized I wanted things in my life that I never existed (go look up a kotatsu and tell me you don’t want one). I was drawn into every single story and invested in every single character. With footnotes and dashes of three different cultures (Japan, America, Canada), this novel made me work for it, but I loved every single minute. A phenomenal novel all around, and one that I would highly recommend.

Fellowship of the Worms Questions

One of the things that struck me about this novel was how quickly Ruth became attached to Nao through her writing. Have you ever found yourself becoming attached to someone you don’t actually know through their writing?

Definitely. I think that’s one of the reasons we read – to find a kinship with the author, someone we can relate to, who shares our experiences. Ultimately, I think we all want to be known and accepted for who we are. Just recently, I read Felicia Day’s new book, You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost), and felt an instant shock of recognition as she described her upbringing and life experiences. It’s heartening to relate to someone, real or fictional.

How much did you love Old Jiko? Do any of you have an impossibly wise older relative who has shaped who you became?

I love Old Jiko so much and wish there could have been even more of her. Unfortunately, I don’t have that sort of relative, so I’ll continue to take my life advice from fictional characters.

Did any of y’all break down when reading about the bullying Nao went through at school?

Those parts were the worst. I know there are plenty of apathetic teachers, and I realize that school administrators aren’t usually great at curbing bullying, but to this degree? The teacher should have been let go, the administrators questioned, and an official investigation opened. What kind of creep just lets that sort of thing happen?

I feel like we can’t actually discuss this novel without addressing the elephant in the room, suicide. Despite Haruki #1’s kamikaze mission, Haruki #2’s failed suicide attempts, and Nao’s suicidal thoughts, the overall tone remains hopeful. How do you think Ozeki pulled that off?

I think the bleakness of each of those things was ultimately balanced by what Ozeki did write about hope. I have no idea how she pulled it off. I am glad that the “everything gets better” message did shine through, and that Ozeki wrote a story about hope and the kind of impact we can have on each other.

Nao’s narrative finding Ruth is pretty much the ultimate message-in-a-bottle scenario. Have you ever fantasized about leaving your story for an unknown reader to discover? What would you tell them?

I haven’t in a message in a bottle sort of way. But I do always think about how I journal – I try to be conscientious of the fact that someone could read that journal someday. If that happens, I want to be comprehensive, but not whiny. I want to be smart and intelligent and leave something worth reading. Not just daily, mundane things, but a record for the history books.

As always, this has been super fun and I can’t wait for our next book!

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