Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Things to be Thankful For

This year has been a struggle for me when it comes to books and reading. Regular readers of this blog probably already know that. I wrote about being in the worst reading slump of my life earlier this year, and my posts lately have been sporadic and not as focused or as enthusiastic as in the past. Part of it is that, while we have found a lovely community here in Michigan, I miss teaching. SO. MUCH. Of course I still teach my own two kiddos and that is no small thing, but I miss being in a classroom discussing books with teens and tweens and helping them learn to think about them on different levels. It was only one day a week when we lived in Tennessee but that day was a highlight of my week. I miss the prep work for it. I miss the grading. Yes, I do mean that. I loved reading my students' papers. Another factor is that a lot of what I read this year was just disappointing. I've been getting my groove back as far as reading goes, but it's been slow going and hard. If it weren't for several other imagination boosters and support for my brain to feast on this year, I probably would have sunk into serious rather than mild depression and I'm thankful these were in my life:

PARKS AND RECREATION

I don't watch a lot of TV. That's not me trying to be an intellectual snob. What I look for first in story is character, and TV doesn't work as well for me personally as a medium for that. But this show is all about its characters so it worked for me on every level. I decided to go ahead and binge watch it after its series finale aired earlier this year and was instantly outraged I hadn't been watching it all along. Had I known it was a satire of small town politics with amazing character arcs, I would have been there from the start. It also has this:

I wrote a post earlier this year about my formative ships, the ones that shaped what I look for in a good romance. It is pretty clear from that list that if it is adversary to respected ally to friend to lover, I'm going to go for it hard. And man did the writers of this show nail that arc. 

MISS FISHER'S MURDER MYSTERIES
Remember how I just said I don't watch much TV? Hi. Once I was finished with Parks and still not feeling the book scene for this year I decided I needed to give this one, that came highly recommended to me by my friend Maureen, a chance. Excellent characterization, fun banter, awesome costumes, this show has so much to recommend it. It is also centered around a strong sassy smart woman and the taciturn detective inspector who looks at her like this:
GIF found here

Thank you Australia for this gem of a TV show and Netflix for letting this American girl enjoy it.

HAMILTON
When I found out Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote a hip-hop style musical about Alexander Hamilton, I may have chuckled a bit in a what-was-he-thinking way. I love In The Heights, and was excited he was giving the world another musical, but I was also skeptical as to whether or not it could possibly work. Then I listened to it. And listened. And listened. And haven't stopped listening since. It is a huge thing now. So many people are talking about it, but it is not an over exaggeration to say that it is a work of genius pure and simple. Musical, historical, political, literary genius. And as all good looking-back historical narratives should, it holds up a mirror to our present and asks us to take a good look at where we are and where we started.


Usually my all-consuming obsessions come YEARS apart. I don't have that many of them. The West Wing was one. The Queen's Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner was another. Years apart. Then I get Parks and this in the same year and they're competing for space in my head, but I'm enjoying it. Oh so much. (And you get extra credit points if you know what two things all four of those obsessions have in common.)

TUMBLR
I joined Tumblr because Megan Whalen Turner did, and I'm not at all embarrassed to say that wherever she is that I can also be, I'm there. Anything that may give me hints about when book five is coming. And what it might be about.  But there are just pictures of coffee right now. WHAT DO THEY MEAN???? But this year, in addition to Ms. Turner's taunting coffee pictures, I discovered what else Tumblr was good for. It is a place where I can unabashedly revel in the things that I love. That's what I use it for. And it's great. I mean there's a place where I've actually found people who like the same mix of stuff I do. I'm not so strange after all. YAY! If you are also on Tumblr and are interested in seeing a lot of book love, West Wing, Parks and Rec, Queen's Thief, Star Wars, and Hamilton stuff mixed in with the occasional Sayers reference, Pride and Prejudice, and some feminist rants here is where you can find me. (NOTE: I do not edit the language other people use on posts I reblog.)

MY ONLINE COMMUNITY
People complain about how technology has made the world a worse place to live, but I know people I never would have known if not for the power of the Internet. I want to say a special thanks to Maureen, Shae, Chachic, Benji, Sage, Emma, Sarah, R.J., and Stephanie for letting me fan and snark with you. And for all the myriad conversations about education, religion, politics, literature, art in all forms, and parenting. Extra thanks to Sage Blackwood, Emma Barry, Sarah Prineas, and R.J. Anderson for also being authors who all contributed books to my short stack of loved books for the year. Maureen gets extra thanks to for being my brain twin, someone I know I can always count on to understand my feelings on the many rage inducing incidents that have occurred in the world of children's literature this year. Also she was a really awesome person to hang out with at ALA Midwinter in January.

These may seem frivolous, but they mean a lot to me and I'm grateful for what they did for me this year.

Did you have anything that made your year more special?

14 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. As I said to Maureen the other day, I feel like owe MWT SO MUCH. Not just for the amazing books, but because they brought me all of you too. <3

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  2. Seriously, I might frame this post to read when I'm feeling sad. It's the sweetest & so are you. <3 <3 <3

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    1. I will be reading when I feel sad too. Writing it was a good reminder for me.

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  3. I'm thankful for friends, family, including my reading community. Yep, pretty simple, but they mean a bunch. Love this post!

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    1. Thanks! It's the simple little things that can make hard days so much better!

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  4. Awwww. Thank you, Brandy! I'm so thankful to have you as a friend too.

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  5. I'm thankful we can be online friends now but I do miss my face-to-face book discussions with you!! Great post, here, friend.

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    1. Me too! You need to come hang out on Twitter more. :)

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  6. I MISSED THIS POST, AND IT IS SO SWEET! I'm so happy you linked it so I could catch up!

    And now you need to tell me what all four things have in common :)

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    1. politics and nuanced characters with magnificent arcs

      My own personal crack in other words.

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