What are ten things you still want to learn?

learning
1. The first is entirely due to Netflix. Is it weird that I never cared about art history before watching White Collar—but now want to know all of it? I’m pretty much determined now to eventually take some sort of class on this.

2. Science. There is a lot that I’m missing. Because I went to Moody.

3. Kick-boxing. Is anyone in Chicago interested in taking a class? I’d need to find something really inexpensive, unfortunately.

4. Coding.

5. To use InDesign better, to know more about what Photoshop can do, and to know how to use Illustrator at all.

6. How to dredge up the energy every evening to keep up a clean apartment. Or cleanish, you know, whatever.

7. How to sew my own clothes: I’m starting to work on this one! As in, I have pretty much everything I need for a dress pattern, except printing out the pattern. And practicing on the machine I haven’t used in years, first.

8. Pretty much all of the skills involved in being a spy, a con, a space pirate, Arrow, and/or a Time Lord. I’d also accept merely being outfitted with the Intersect in my brain like Chuck (but with better control), and/or allomancy.

9. To draw. A friend and I have started working through a “You can draw too!” sort of book, and by started, I mean we’re both terrible still. We also just sort of skipped a month (or so…) without planning to, so, this may or may not work out. (Sarah, oops?)

10. To be moderately successful at being a functioning adult.

This is not, by any means, all of the things I want to learn. But you have to start somewhere, right? Also, a longer list would become depressing, especially if I have to include stuff like “holding my breathe underwater properly” and other embarrasing things.

Yeah.

What are yours?

When you couldn’t be bothered to fix your old “About Me”

I wrote an “About Me” sometime in 2011 when I began this WordPress blog, and then never bothered after that. I left it up so long I finally added “from 2011” at the top to explain anything that felt out of date, and another time made a couple of tiny adjustments to make it less dated. And then, finally, I just removed the page entirely. I’ve only just gotten around to working on a new one. Or, you know, starting to.

I think it was easier to describe myself in my teen years because the need to be able to was so strong. That, and in a strange way I think I knew myself better then. I didn’t know who I would be. And I didn’t really have any idea who I should be. But I had an idea who I was, in those moments, and I ran with that.

Finishing school kind of screwed that whole thing up.

I still don’t know who I will be, I only have a slightly better idea of who I should be, and heaven knows I don’t always know who I am. To be honest, half the time I think the question and concept of “knowing who I am” is flawed anyways.

But the funny thing is, the way I described myself in 2011 isn’t half bad.

Overanalytical, argumentative, cynical, hyperactive, stubborn, indecisive, facetious, innapropriate, impatient. My failings.

My passions? Harder to define. Learning and knowing. In the past, and hopefully soon the present, my education. Showing people that most of life’s questions have more than one right answer and we should probably stop hating one another over them. Laughter, being overcome by it and causing it. Showing people love through words and actions. My faith. Words. Sentences. Punctuation and grammar.

Just like you. And you, and you, and you over there with the brown coat.

Now, I don’t think my failures or passions make me that much different from the general populace, but they do make me a bit different from the specific people I come into everyday contact with.

I’m less cyncical indecisive innapropriate… ok, actually, the failings I listed are still pretty accurate. If I were to write them now I might reprioritize them. I might add “listless” or “lost” (although I’ve learned that this one might just be a general symptom of being a 20-something.)

I still wouldn’t list successes or positive traits. I have them, but sometimes they fail me and and sometimes I don’t live up to them and sometimes I lose them entirely. I’d rather not set that standard for myself, here, in public. (I’ll save that for any future job interviews).

And my passions, though using “passions” feels overly passionate now, are a bit immaturely written, but still—there’s still me in there. But now I’d add books, and design, and good feminism, and a need for community.

And through learning about my passions and failings, and how they shape me, I get these glimpses of who I’m maybe, perhaps, potentially meant to be.

This blog is occasionally about that.

The rest of the time, I write to amuse myself.

And hopefully, once in while, you.

The biggest difference? Now I mostly write about books. I hope you don’t mind.

Life, Currently // Three

Time //  Wednesday night, finishing up a few posts that aren’t time sensitive that I can actually schedule. Blogging ahead? That’s a thing?!

Reading // Mistborn. I’m madly in love with this universe right now, and all my other books are just going to have to deal with it.

Watching // Lately I’ve just been keeping up with my usual shows, but I did catch up on a few months of Arrow last week. It’s one of the shows I just like better serialized, so I’m more likely to skip it week by week and then binge. Flash, on the otherhand, I can’t get enough of. I usually watch it the night it airs.

And has anyone else been watching iZombie and Younger? Both of these shows have been great so far in their first seasons, and I’m planning to keep up with them. I just really hope they don’t go the early cancellation way of last years A to Z and Selfie, especially considering Selfie was getting genuinely good towards the end.

Loving // Spring clothes. Short sleeves, new shorts, and I even made it into a bathing suit in Florida two weeks ago—outside!

Raving about // How sad is it to discover an amazing place mere blocks from my apartment when I’ve already lived here some 8 months? Or rather, how awesome, but lame to not find it sooner? The Panini Republic is on Diversey, three blocks east of Clark, and so, so, so tasty.

Working on // The same giant project I’ve been on for a while now, and I’m starting to really look forward to smaller projects with quicker turnovers. Outside of freelancing, I’ve itching to finish updating and polishing my resume for future use.

Anticipating // Two of my best and weirdest friends from home are visiting in a couple of weeks, and it’s going to be crazy good to finally show them around where I live now. I’m just praying for good weather, because Kelly’s a true wimp with the cold.

Considering // I’ve been thinking about the reasons I rarely get too serious here, and considering if that’s something I want to change. I think I do, eventually, but I’m not sure I’m in a place for it right now. Either way, I know I want to try my hand at a little more “everyday” blogging. We’ll see.

Books, Lately [May]

pages of the book as a bird flying away
Welcome to Quick Lit!
This is where I partake in Modern Mrs. Darcy’s link-up and share short (sometimes) and sweet (cavities not included) reviews of what I’ve been reading lately.

This month is also extra colorful. Literally, not literarily, colorful. I’m not actually sure what I think of it.

MS. MARVEL
G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona

I don’t read a lot of comic books and graphic novels. But I actually really like them, I just find the vast expanse of what’s available to be completely overwhelming (and potentially expensive). So reading a new series from the start is really working for me. The second volume is out, but I’ve been saving it in my cart for the next time I feel the need for some Amazon retail therapy. Or when I’ve actually read more of the books I’ve already paid money for!


MISTBORN
Brandon Sanderson

I’m in love. The Mistborn series is everything I ever could have wanted in a long term commitment. And I mean long long term commitment. I’m currently on the third of the series, which technically ends this triology, but Sanderson has QUITE a few books set in the same universe, and in the next six months will be putting out two books which will finish the second trilogy on this particular world.

It’s intense.

But about these books specifically! Um, they’re great, and I’m in love. Is that enough? No? Well, it’ll have to be. When I finish the third book, I may try and summarize the series, but no promises. Suffice to say there’s a fantastical powers-system (calling it magic doesn’t feel quite right), characters I love, characters that are really enjoyable to dislike, and  and a couple of crazy-unique races, and plotting, and intrigue, and really cool powers (worth two mentions), and an intense mythology,

And I am such a sucker for a world with a good mythology.


AT THE WATER’S EDGE
Sara Gruen

Once upon a time I started watching the Water for Elephants movie with friends, and I never finished it. I really just didn’t care. But then I read it, and then I cared, because Gruen is quite good at what she does. I got At the Water’s Edge as an ARC from Netgalley (though I accidentally neglected it till it was out anyways, oops) because of how much I liked Elephants. And because of that cover, isn’t it gorgeous?

Water’s Edge is set primarily in Scotland and explores the myth of the Loch Ness monster through the lives of of three Americans who came monster hunting to escape their current situations (and to find a monster and be famous for it, of course). Maddie, a great character who someone described well as being both strong and naive at the same time, is married to Ellis, who just lost his Father’s favor (and money) and is also there to redeem himself to dear old Daddy (it’s complicated). While the boys try to capture a monster on film, Maddie gets to know the people of the town, and through that and seeing her husband and marriage for what they really are, Maddie has to decide what she wants, and who she even is.

It’s occasionally slow, and I can understand reviewers who called it thin, but personally I was into it from the start. The interactions are great: between Maddie and the maids, between her former identity as a socialite and her even more former identity as daughter of a scandal, and between Maddie and Angus. Themes of complicated infidelity and abuse might turn off some readers, but Gruen handles them well.


lostlake

LOST LAKE
Sarah Addison Allen

SAA ‘s world is that of southern contemporary magical realism. It’s not a subgenre I spend a lot of time in, which is part of why I put off reading her two most recent books for a while, but I’ve liked almost everything I’ve read from her. Lost Lake isn’t as good as my favorites (Garden Spells, Girl Who Chased the Moon, and even Sugar Queen), but it was a big improvement IMO from Peach Keeper. The setting kept Lost Lake from feeling too similar to her other books, and I felt like I could emphathize with Kate, the protagonist. On the meh side of things, I felt like the magic felt more… contrived than her other stuff? I still ended it feeling content, which is something I like with her books.


BURN FOR BURN
FIRE WITH FIRE
Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

Highschool revenge drama with a twist. Like, a really big, unexpected twist that leaves you not entirely sure what genre you’re reading. I’ve never read Vivian, just Han, so the [spoilers!] element might have been less of a suprise if I was acquainted with both. Either way, I’m definitely not unhappy with the kind of twist these books throw out!  I really liked the elemtents of healthier female friendships (as healthy as you can get when you’re plotting big revenge together) to balance out the expected, but not too overdone, catty ones. I also liked that it dealt with heftier issues and was grittier than Han’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.


WHAT’S UP NEXT

Honestly? More Mistborn. I’ve still got a ways to go in the third book (these things are nice and long!). And when I’m done, it’s going to be a challange not to just jump into more books in that universe right away.

When I can tear my eyes from Vin and Elend, I want to finish Searching for Sunday and Moral DisorderAnd I really need to turn my eyes back to the rest of the books I promised myself I’d read this spring! There’s still too many to finish in May (Mistborn ruined everything!), but I’d like to at least try to tackle a couple of these: Glittering Images, I Capture the Castle, Almost Famous Womenand Damaged Goods.

Although let’s be honest. With the lack of restraint I’ve shown lately towards series, I should probably avoid Glittering Images and anything else with a #1 by it’s name!

When it’s possible to enjoy both ebooks and real books (and libraries for both!)

In my first year of college in Chicago, I fell madly in love with the main Chicago Public Library.

It’s huge and amazing and I just loved entering. It’s got gorgeous architecture, and it always felt like a shame that the North side of the building was flush against the elevated tracks of the Brown line. (In a contradiction I had no problems with, I did not think it was a shame that I could take the Brown line and be immediately outside the building.)

Public Library and State Street at night, Chicago, IL, US
Public Library and State Street at night, Chicago, IL, US [© Oleksandr Dibrova / Dollar Photo Club]

 

(Ok, really, being in love with the library was hardly a new thing in my life. But there had never been one this pretty before.)

Unfortunately, I was in school and I didn’t have as much time for reading-for-me as I would have liked—and I wasn’t making the time either. I was actually in a bit of a silly  reading drought brought on by a critical misunderstanding of what sort of books I was “supposed” to read now that I wasn’t of YA age [answer: it doesn’t have to be all classics (and classics don’t have to be Jane Austen!)!] But somewhere in there, in the midst of the bits of reading I was doing, I discovered how to use Overdrive for Kindle. [I can borrow books from the library to my Kindle? Whaaaat?] It is quite possibly my favorite discovery of the past 24 years. Even with only reading a handful of books a year, and still visiting the CPL for stacks of books that would likely become did-not-finish books, most of my reading switched over to Kindle.

Once I remembered how much I liked reading voraciously (finding new genres helped a lot) and ended my drought, I was a total Kindle junkie. Of course! Overdrive was free and took much less effort than multiple trips into the Loop, and in a tiny dorm room there simply wasn’t space for many paperbacks.

But, after graduating, there was space in an actual apartment.

Conveniently (inconveniently), I work just two blocks from a fabulous used bookstore, Open Books*. One of the greatest (worst) things about OB is how well they’ve uilize their giant windows for displays: over the past two years I’ve probably gone in a dozen times to buy something I saw in the window walking by on the way home.

I started accumulating.

And because I was buying physcial books, I knew I should probably re-learn how to read them. Which may sound silly, but I was so deep in an ebook groove that it has taken some intentional effot: remembering to take them with me, reading at home more, not minding the weight, not minding only having one book in my hands at a time.

I still finish my ebooks much faster, but the gap is slowly closing.

Yet even though I graduated a almost two years ago now, I’ve never taken advantage of the library two blocks from my first apartment, or, now, the one that’s a fifteen/twenty minute walk away.

But I should, right? I feel like I’m missing something in my life, with the only library I frequent being a webpage. Now that I’ve been pushing myself to put down my Kindle more and pick up hard copies instead, shouldn’t I be using the library?

This is a complicated question, which involves mentoning the dozen unread books already in my own used bookstore apartment.

But.

But libraries!

Hopefully I’ll give in soon—and fall in love again.

How does everyone else manage reading from so many different sources—digital and physical, puchasing and borrowing? Do you organize or prioritize somehow, or just read whatever suits you at the time?

 

*Open Books is moving quite a bit further away, and it is possibly the worst thing ever. My budget disagrees.