Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Selling pencils in Hanoi

Library school finals season enforced that long lull. I have a couple of things to talk about, so that will either make up for the lull, or bore you. Like Fox News, I'll let you decide.

I'm at home in the Midwest for a couple of weeks, but I just finished a trip to NYC with my mother and sister. We were quite touristy - did museums, skating at Rockefeller Center, etc., but my favorite part, of course, was the Strand. This was my fourth time to New York, and I finally visited the physical origin of those tote bags I've been staring at forever. Their slogan is "18 miles of books," which must be mostly in the height of the shelves. It was just everything I hoped it would be, from the hipster employees to the overstuffed poetry section to the way you'd keep turning corners and there would be still more books. Only the prospect of having to carry my purchases all day prevented me from buying boxes of high-quality, reasonably-priced used books.

And speaking of books, I'm two-thirds through one of my first pleasure-reading books since the summer: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, by Dave Eggers. I didn't know what it was about before I started reading it, didn't know it was a memoir about the death of his parents--I just expected some good clean po-mo fun. And it is, but it's also moving and funny; David Foster Wallace's blurb on the back of the book really describes it best, and you should check it out. The writing reminds me of DFW's, but not in a derivative way. He writes thus about exposing all his experiences to the world:

"These things, details, stories, whatever, are like the skin shed by snakes, who leave theirs for anyone to see. What does he care where it is, who sees it?....Do we know where the snake is now? What the snake is thinking now? No. By now the snake could be wearing fur; the snake could be selling pencils in Hanoi."

This makes a lot of sense to me, and also seems to explain, somehow, why PostSecret hasn't posted any of the four secrets I've sent them. They're not really secrets, after all. They're just secrets from some people. I've never been able to keep anything totally to, hence, this blog (among other things).

Oh, and this week I'm in love with:
The Pursuit of Happyness, which my mom and I saw tonight and very much enjoyed, despite the efforts of many giggling suburban teenagers.
Rilo Kiley - actually, I'm fairly obsessed. Thank you, Michelle.

The Strand! Image from

Monday, December 04, 2006

An embarrassment of riches

I think there's a directly proportional relationship in my life between the level of busy-ness and the number of good things happening. I have barely two more weeks to go in this semester before I leave for a couple of weeks (New York, Chicago, Louisville). I have no time and less money, and so much work to do academically. And yet, the following things are true:

-I got into Collection Development next semester.

-I got to write a paper on Library Thing - you can peruse my catalog as LaBibliotecaria here.

-I opened my Wallace Stevens' Collected Poems to a perfect, appropriate poem today.

-I'm looking forward to a long break full of books, food, and travel.

-This morning, I had to get up early to go to a full day of work after not that much sleep and with a fairly wicked hangover, but I'm glad, because if I hadn't, I would have completely missed the first snow of the winter - which always inspires this foolish, primal joy in me.

Basically, my little life is bursting at the seams. So I'll have to be running now.