I’m Still Here!

I want to apologize for the last of posts recently. I so love the idea of being a blogger, but everything hit me at once and I simply haven’t been able to keep up with it like I wish. Summer classes, work, and preparing for an out-of-country vacation and apartment move have kept me extremely busy.

Fear not, though! I am in the process of writing a blog post to review a fantastic book I read recently (The Returned by Jason Mott), and I have a huge stack of Advanced Reader Copies of books to read and review.

In the meantime, feel free to visit and add me at Goodreads. I have kept that slightly more up to date than this blog with regards to reviewing books.

I hope everyone is doing well and reading some fantastic books this summer!

REVIEW: The Shade of the Moon

A few weeks ago, YA author Susan Beth Pfeffer hosted a giveaway on her blog for ARCs of her soon-to-be-released The Shade of the Moon, the fourth book in the Life As We Knew It series. The books tell the stories of several families dealing with the aftermath of a asteroid hitting the moon and knocking it closer to Earth. The first and third books, Life As We Knew It and This World We Live In, are written as the diary entries of Miranda Evans, a teenager living in the suburbs of Pennsylvania. The second book, The Dead and the Gone, is a companion to the first book that follows devoutly religious Alex Morales in New York City as he experiences the same events. The asteroid hitting the moon proves to be catastrophic. The event leads to tsunamis, volcanoes, earthquakes, and a steep drop in temperature. There is illness, starvation, and desperation in the post-apocalyptic world.

I love the book covers!

Unfortunately, I did not get an e-mail saying I won a copy of the book in the giveaway. I was disappointed, but I figured August isn’t too far away. But! Not all was lost! One of my coworkers had also entered, and she did win a copy. I waited patiently (or not so patiently) until she and her son finished reading it, then she very kindly passed it on to me.

Before I begin my review, a disclaimer: I read an advance reader copy of The Shade of the Moon that was borrowed from someone who won it from the author. I am writing this review because of a personal goal I set for myself to read more, review more, and blog more. Also, this is an honest review. I tend to be a little harsh with YA fiction because I am constantly finding so many problematic elements. I did have some issues with this book, but overall I enjoyed reading it.

Caution! Spoilers!

There will be major plot spoilers for all four books from this point on! I will try to not give away too much about the fourth book, but small plot points will be discussed.

I really love the idea that Susan Beth Pfeffer has explored with her novels. One big problem that I have with a lot of post-apocalyptic and dystopian literature (especially YA) is that I often find myself asking, “But why?” I can never quite suspend my disbelief long enough to accept that the chain events the author gives could feasibly cause the plot of the novel. With the Life as We Knew It series, I could really buy that an asteroid hitting the moon could cause some serious issues. I could imagine the tides getting messed up (along with all of the other natural disasters), and I could see the reasonable ensuing panic.

In the first book, we are introduced to Miranda Evans and her mother, older brother Matt, younger brother Jonny, neighbor Mrs. Nesbitt, and other minor characters. We know that she has a father and a pregnant stepmother. The family struggles in the aftermath of the moon disaster, but through her diary entries we see them survive. I gave this book 4 stars on Goodreads because despite the fact that I am not too terribly fond of diary/first-person POV novels, I fell in love with the idea and I enjoyed reading it.

The Dead and the Gone is set in the same timeline as Life As We Knew It, only in New York City instead of Pennsylvania. We meet highly religious Alex Morales and his younger sisters Briana (who is the most pious of them all) and Julie (who is a bit of a spitfire). Unlike the first novel, there are no parents to help the situation. Alex, who has taken a traditionally male role in the family, struggles to adjust to daily chores such as cooking and bigger tasks like keeping his sisters alive and scouring fields of dead bodies to see if his mother is one of them. By the end, he and Julie are able to procure tickets to get into a community that can help them survive. Briana dies (and I must say that while it seemed obvious afterwards, I did not see that death coming!) My Goodreads rating for this book was 3 stars. I still loved the idea and the execution was good, but most of the characters annoyed me to the point that the book was slightly less enjoyable.

This brings us to the third book, This World We Live In. Unfortunately, this book was my least favorite. We are back to Miranda’s diary, and we see soon enough that her father, stepmother, and half-sibling arrive with three strangers in tow. Two of those strangers just happen to be Alex and Julie from the second book. Her older brother Matt sets out and returns with a wife, Syl. This growing group of people are trying to survive on dwindling supplies and food. Since it is the end of the world, it is only natural that the teenagers pair off in romantic couples (Miranda with Alex and Jon with Julie). I prefer my books without piles of sappy romance, so that aspect of the novel – while understandable and believable – was not my favorite. I was also quite upset about the cat and Julie. Miranda wrote about how furious she was that her sister-in-law Syl humanely killed their family cat, yet Miranda herself humanely killed Julie after she was terribly injured. She was so angry at Syl because she felt that Syl was not part of the family and did not have the right to do so. If that is the case, why in the world did she think she had the right to kill her boyfriend’s sister?! This book was a 2.5 star book for me, but I rounded it up to 3 on Goodreads since we can’t do half stars.

Since I wasn’t incredibly fond of the third book, I was not sure how I would like the fourth one. It was an unexpected – though not unwelcome – surprise to see that there was going to be a fourth; I thought she was finished after three. I was intrigued to see where these characters could possibly go from the end of the third book.

Susan Beth Pfeffer posted the first twelve pages on her blog. You can find them here. The first few pages of the book tell us that Miranda’s brother Jon lives with his stepmother and half-brother. His dad died on the way to the enclave where they currently live. They got in using the passes that Alex procured in The Dead and the Gone. This series has slowly moved from the post-apocalypse to a new, dystopian society that was created to deal with the fallout from the moon incident.

This society includes two main groups of people, the clavers and the grubs. Grubs do manual labor and live in subpar housing. Clavers are the upper class, living in houses with proper air filtration and eating the best food available. Jon feels a lot of guilt over the death of Julie, not realizing that Miranda was the one who ended her life. As a claver in his enclave, he has grown accustomed to a certain lifestyle – one that includes plenty of food and domestics to do the cooking, cleaning, and babysitting. His mother, along with a pregnant Miranda and her husband Alex, live in the nearby grub town and work as a teacher, greenhouse employee, and bus driver.

I don’t want to give away many major plot points or spoilers, but suffice to say things get ugly fast. The clavers feel some sort of entitlement over the grubs, and it leads to loads of drama and, of course, some tragedy. The way society naturally devolved into two main groups, the haves and the have-nots, illustrates a pretty typical dystopian element that really works well in this instance. It was hard to digest at points, but I believed it could really happen. I believe that it is entirely plausible that certain people would feel that entitled to the finer things in life while the rest, the majority, struggle to exist. I mean, it is basically a more intense imagining of something that is already happening to a degree.

One thing I must note, though: I hate Jon. Really. He is completely selfish and obnoxious and just awful. I appreciate that he went through some character growth throughout the novel, but I still thought he had loads of maturing to do at the end. The way he treated people (especially how he described his nights in the grub town ‘taking’ any girls he could) was pretty gross. Even with my hatred of the main character, I still enjoyed the story. I would have liked to see more uprising from the grubs, though. These are not stupid people – many of the grubs in the book were highly educated people who just happened to be in a profession before the moon disaster that was not productive in the aftermath. With all of those educated people, surely they could stage an uprising and use their smarts to their benefit? The one huge showdown between the clavers and the grubs in the book did not end well for the grubs. I know they have a lot going against them, but it would be great to see them really fight against these new societal classes.

Overall, I really liked The Shade of the Moon. The things that were meant to disgust me disgusted me, and the book kept my attention the entire way through (something that is surprisingly commendable thanks to my absurdly short attention span). I am glad that we got to see what became of the rest of Jon’s family. There was a healthy dose of action, drama, and heartbreak. There was one scene in particular that broke my little stone heart. I also like that it was open-ended enough that Susan Beth Pfeffer could always write another book in the series.

I gave this book 4 stars on Goodreads. Contrary to popular belief, I am not a literature snob. I do love my F. Scott Fitzgerald and George Orwell, but I also see the value in a solid idea and execution in general fiction and YA. And that is exactly what the Life As We Knew It series is – a solid, enjoyable read.

 

Sophisticated – God, I’m sophisticated!

My resolution to blog more has clearly been a bit of a failure so far this year. I was off to such a good start, but I put aside my normal topics to write a blog for a man that I respected very much after his passing in January. After that blog I lost a bit of mojo, so I decided to wait until I was ready to talk about something else. That time is now, so here we go!

I was able to procure tickets to see an advanced screening of The Great Gatsby this past Monday. It is one of my all-time favorite novels, and I have been beyond excited to see the film. I even showed up with my Great Gatsby earrings that a friend got for me a while back.

Earrings

I was not entirely sure what to expect from this film. While I am a fan of Baz Lurhmann (his Romeo + Juliet is still one of the greatest cinematic experiences of my life), I am incredibly protective of Gatsby and did not want anyone to mess it up. I was also slightly skeptical about the casting. Leonardo DiCaprio is not the Gatsby I expected, and I have a hard time separating Carey Mulligan from her guest role on Doctor Who as Sally Sparrow.

DontBlink

Don’t blink. Blink and you’re dead. They are fast. Faster than you can believe. Don’t turn your back. Don’t look away. And don’t blink. Good Luck.

Personally, I absolutely adored the film. It was beautiful and fantastic and everything that I had hoped it would be. It was very true to the novel in terms of dialogue and narration. There was one facet that was unique to the film, but it was not something that I disliked or felt was out of place. All of the actors slid perfectly into the roles assigned to them. I have never enjoyed Leonardo DiCaprio or Toby Maguire as much as I did here. The costumes were amazing, and the party scenes were to die for!

Party

Ain’t no party like a Jay Gatsby party!

My only gripe (and it is a fairly small one) is the soundtrack. Unfortunately, that was one Baz Lurhmann-ism that just didn’t fully work for me. I appreciate that he was trying to seamlessly blend the upbeat Jazz Age music with current music, but there is something about hearing Jay-Z playing loudly whilst hundreds of people in tuxedos and flapper dresses dance at Jay Gatsby’s house that threw me out of the scene a bit. Not all of the music was bad, but I think I would have preferred more authentic music.

Gatsby

Gatsby may raise his glass to Jay-Z’s “$100 Bills,” but I was not a fan.

I have noticed the film receiving less than positive reviews. Many say that, despite all of the opulence and pizzazz, the film is empty and without heart and soul. I have to wonder if they’ve read the book. THAT’S THE POINT. The whole novel (and movie, really) revolves around the fact that all of the money and luxury and extravagance was covering up complete moral bankruptcy. The film may not have accomplished this entirely, but it seems silly to complain about lack of heart. There is no heart and soul in this story. There are no good guys. There is no happy ending or moral to the story. I mean – COME ON. “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” That is a far cry from, “And they all lived happily ever after!” No one is obligated to like the film or the novel, but nothing gets accomplished by imposing unrealistic expectations on it then getting upset when it does not rise to the challenge.

Eyes

Dr. T. J. Eckleburg’s sad eyes are judging anyone disappointed with the lack of happy ending.

Do you like Baz Lurhmann? The Great Gatsby novel? The Roaring Twenties and its accompanying fashion and music? Leonardo DiCaprio? Going to the movies instead of doing homework? Any of these are reason enough to go see The Great Gatsby. I loved it, and before long I am sure will have a spot on my DVD shelf.

GatsbyLogo

 

A Few Words on Don Nultemeier

The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things. But, vice versa – the bad things don’t necessarily spoil the good things or make them unimportant. And we definitely added to his pile of good things. Doctor Who season 5 episode 10 “Vincent and the Doctor”

When I made the resolution to blog more, I did so with the intentions of blogging about books and school and other fairly inane things. I never anticipated the need to write a blog such as this, but it is the least I could do for a man who did so much for so many people.

My mother informed me when Don Nultemeier was admitted to the hospital four months ago. I was surprised and incredibly concerned, but it never once crossed my mind that he would not come out. I figured he would be out and fully recovered before it was time to start throwing his summertime pool parties. Every time she went to visit him I sent her along with my well-wishes, figuring I would get to see him at some point in the future. The news that he has passed away has left me extremely sad – a sadness that cannot be fully expressed on an online blog, and my heart aches for his family. He has left behind a massive community of people who loved him and will miss him dearly.

I transferred to Princess Anne High School about nine weeks into my ninth grade year. I wanted to get into the chorus program because my best friend was already there. Mr. Nultemeier did not grant me permission to transfer in once the school year was well underway. I was miffed; I did not think a high school chorus was a big enough deal to warrant the attention he seemed to think it needed.

Anyone who has been in one of Mr. Nultemeier’s choruses understands just how wrong my original thinking was. He wasn’t a ‘teacher’ as much as he was a powerful hurricane in teacher form. Immediately after chorus started up my sophomore year, we were off and running. A Don Nultemeier chorus was not your typical “stand up on some bleachers and sing a bit” chorus. It was a production. There was singing, dancing, acting, costumes appropriate for a professional theatre, incredible lighting and sound, special effects, and more. All you had to do was look around the chorus room – it was decorated with photos and trophies from his past triumphs. This was a man who played to win.

I thought regular chorus practices were tough, but they were nothing compared to preparing for the musical that he put on every year. Monday evenings were already accounted for with regular rehearsal, but the plays demanded eight-hour Saturdays and countless evenings. Mr. Nultemeier would not present a play that wasn’t perfect. I was in Princess Anne High School’s production of Grease. I cannot remember how many times Mr. Nultemeier would stop us a few bars in to whichever song we were working on. “No, no, stop! That SUCKED! Do it again!” So we did it again. And again. And on and on until we were exhausted and it was perfect. As frustrating as it could get, there was something amazing about pulling off a wonderful finale and hearing the audience begin to applaud uproariously as the curtains closed.

(I’m in there somewhere!)

It was during this time that I got my mother involved with the chorus. Mr. Nultemeier was in need of people who could sew, and I knew someone perfect for the job. I dragged my mom to a rehearsal one night (to be honest, it was most likely done in an attempt to gain some brownie points). She got on really well with Mr. Nultemeier’s wife Sharon, and the next thing I know one of my mom’s best friends is my teacher’s wife. It was really one of the best things that could have happened. My parents now have a whole circle of friends that came from Mr. Nultemeier, and they have been presented some amazing opportunities as a result.

It wasn’t just concerts and plays at the school, either. During my time in chorus I got to sing on a Caribbean cruise boat and visit the amazing New York City. My parents went on several of the trips after I left chorus. They’ve been to New York City multiple times, Orlando, and Las Vegas thanks to Mr. Nultemeier and his “go big or go home” attitude towards life.

I was only a member of chorus for two years, one of which was spent behind the scenes doing spotlighting. I was never going to be a star. Singing was enjoyable to me, but I did not have the passion or commitment to succeed in Don Nultemeier’s chorus. My singing was best kept to the shower and the car. I’m perfectly okay with that. Chorus was intense. It could get frustrating and maddening. There were times when I hated chorus. It was so much work. I didn’t care about being the next great musician; I just wanted to sing a bit. Even though I was not suited for the chorus, I still maintained a massive amount of respect for what he was doing. I continued to accompany my mother to chorus rehearsals as a helper my senior year of high school and through college until Mr. Nultemeier retired.

Nulte created and nurtured stars (and a few divas, but that is the nature of the business of course). He could spot talent from three miles off. He knew exactly what needed to be done to make a show perfect – even if it was as simple as moving someone a few feet to the left during a number. You could practically see the smoke from the gears turning in his head as he stared at the stage. You may have wondered what was going on in his head, but soon enough he’d begin shouting his new ideas to make everything better. And it was always better.

As time went on I began to know Mr. Nultemeier more as my parents’ friend than as my former chorus teacher. He was clearly a magician because he got my father, Mr. “Football, Fishing, Hunting, Art is for Girls,” into musical theatre. He had his dream pool installed in his backyard, and I have spent several enjoyable summer nights at a Nultemeier backyard party. He had this twinkle in his eye and a great belly laugh that could be heard all over when something amused him.

106

(4th of July at the Nultemeiers’. See the sign in the background? Someone – a former student, I believe – hooked Mr. Nultemeier up with a 42nd and Broadway street sign. That thing made him so happy!)

The older I got, the more my fondness and respect grew for this man. He has inspired so many people. His death was announced this morning, and already dozens and dozens of people have expressed their sorrow on Facebook and beyond. People who have not seen him for two decades are reminiscing about being a part of a Nultemeier chorus. His name will be known to more people than I can even imagine. I bet former students will be telling their children and grandchildren years from now about Nulte. His legacy will live on.

I want to revisit the quote from the beginning of my blog. The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things. But, vice versa – the bad things don’t necessarily spoil the good things or make them unimportant. And we definitely added to his pile of good things. It is from one of my favorite episodes of one of my favorite shows. The episode is equal parts beautiful and tragic, and this quote sticks with me. Today has been full of bad things. We lost a great man today, but he did so many good things that we cannot forget them in our sadness. Throughout all of his years as a teacher, a family man, and a friend, he added so much to many peoples’ “pile of good things.”

So thank you, Mr. Nultemeier. Thank you for being a such a powerful teacher. Thank you for being a wonderful friend to my parents. And most of all, thank you for being absolutely and unapologetically you.

My Reading Goals for 2013

Wow! Two blog posts in 24 hours? I guess I am trying to make up for lost time!

I was too slack with my reading last year. I only read about 20 books – several of which were either juvenile chapter books or picture books that I read through at work. Of course, I also read textbooks and countless articles for school, but this is still not acceptable! Reading a book used to be my ‘happy place.’ It was what I did to unwind and leave the world behind for a bit. I also enjoy video games and playing on the computer as relaxation devices, but I want to return to the avid reader I used to be.

I have also picked up a terrible habit that I never used to have. At the moment, I have six books that I am reading. SIX. I used to read books one at a time, but I have been flitting around recently. I want to finish all of these books by the end of January, though that is quite the lofty goal with school.

What I am reading at the moment:

An Utterly Impartial History of Britain, or 2000 Years of Upper Class Idiots in Charge by John O’Farrell

utterlyimpartial

I have been working on this book for months now. It is hilarious and interesting, but it is best read in small doses.

Dolly by Susan Hill

dolly

I picked up Dolly at Hatchards in London. It is a signed copy, which I thought was pretty cool. I am an absolute sucker for a good ghost story, and even a mere 15 pages in it already has a good creepy atmosphere.

Have I Got News for You Presents: A Guide to Modern Britain by Nick Martin

modenbritain

I found this in a bookshop for £1, so I figured I couldn’t go wrong. Like An Utterly Impartial History of Britain, it is a clever and amusing read.

The Liar by Stephen Fry

liar

After being lucky enough to meet Stephen Fry, genius and all around amazing human being, I decided I needed to watch, read and listen to anything he’s ever been involved with. I can hear his voice crystal clear in my head when I am reading this book.

Atheism and the Case Against Christ by Matthew McCormick

atheism

Normally I do not read this much nonfiction (what can I say? I love my novels!), but I saw this book at work and had to check it out. I am not a full chapter in and the author is already preaching to the choir, but I appreciate any well written arguments for my beliefs (or lack thereof in this case).

Wrong and Dangerous by Garrett Epps

wrong

Another surprising nonfiction that caught my attention at work. I figured I already had a religion book – might as well get a politics book too!

Urban Welsh edited by Lewis Davies

urbanwelsh

This is a collection of short stories by Welsh writers. Many of the stories are set in the urban areas of Wales (though some are not). The only problem with this so far is the same problem I’ve encountered with every collection of short stories – I don’t like all of the stories. The good news is that if I do not like it, it will be over soon. At the moment I am stuck on a particularly tedious story. I thought of just skipping it and moving to the next, but I really would like to read this book in its entirety.

I never set specific goals when it comes to things like how many books I am going to read because I feel like I am setting myself up for failure; however, I would love to read at least several books a month this year. Once I cross the books named above off of my list, I am thinking of reading popular young adult fiction in order to have a better idea of how to help the teens who come into my library looking for new books to read. I would love some recommendations if anyone has any! The last YA I read was Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and the Life as We Knew It trilogy.

New Year’s Resolution: Blog More

I started this blog back in August 2012 with every intention of becoming one of those prolific bloggers. Of course, like so many things in my life, it quickly moved to the back burner. It’s a new year, so here I am making the promise to try to blog more.

Since my last blog, I finished my first semester of grad school, Romney lost the Presidential race, I had an amazing holiday in the UK, and I started my second semester of grad school. The school probably isn’t that interesting to anyone but me and I’ve spent enough time pointing and laughing at Romney, so here is a brief summary (with pictures!) of the fabulous vacation.

I started off in London.

London

London is the best city in the world. I went to museums, saw plays, took tours, ate great food, and spent hours just wandering aimlessly around the city I love so dearly. Also, this happened:

Fry

Yes, I met Stephen Fry, one of Britain’s national treasures. I now like to pretend that he and I are best friends.

I took two day trips. As much as I love London, it was great to go out and see other places. On my next trip (which will, if everything goes to plan, happen in mid-2014) I will probably spend a good deal of time outside of London.

My first day trip was to Cardiff, Wales.

Cardiff

It was very chilly, windy, rainy, and beautiful. I spent the entire time soaking wet and barely noticed because I was enjoying the sights. I got to see a good portion of the city, including attending the Doctor Who Experience to amp up my geek cred.

DoctorWho

The other day trip was to Edinburgh, Scotland. I had been there once before, but I only stayed in the city long enough to take a train to Stirling. This time I spent the whole day in the city.

Edinburgh

It is really one of the most stunning places I have ever been to. I cannot get over the gorgeous architecture. There were several times I just stopped and spent several minutes admiring the winding and climbing streets. Or maybe I stopped because my lazy, out-of-shape self was winded from the hills. Either way, beautiful! Also beautiful was the hot chocolate I got at their Christmas fair.

HotChoccy

Cadbury’s hot chocolate with whipped cream, marshmallows, and a Cadbury Flake bar. It was sinfully good.

Speaking of food, that was one of the best parts of the trip. Meat pies with mash or thick, greasy chips, hot tea, mince pies, chocolate. I spent most of the time drooling over the amazing food. I also took pictures of some of the delicious food.

Food (1)

Food (3)

Food (2)

It was incredibly bittersweet to have to return to the US and my real life, but I attempted to bring back a sizable chunk of Britain with me:

ChocolateHaul

(The most important part, of course – the chocolate!)

Anyway, as everyone who has interacted with me in the past few weeks knows, I had the most amazing time. I was euphorically happy during the whole trip and I am ready to go back.

Happy 2013, everyone! This is the beginning of what I plan on making a blogging-filled year.

Who Care’s, or Why This English Major Won’t Correct Your Grammar

Image

(What do you mean there’s a grammatical error in the title?)

It should come as no great surprise that as an English major I do my best, even in informal writing, to use mostly correct grammar. I try to use correct spelling, punctuation, and capitalization. I freely admit that there are common SPAG errors that drive me spare. I very rarely shorten words or phrases (though I must admit I am guilty of an ‘lol’ or two.)

These are all signs of many self-proclaimed “Grammar Nazis.” I am not one of those people – for many reasons. I hate anything that is compared to a Nazi that isn’t, you know, a Nazi. This may come as a shock to many people, but being a stickler for grammar is in no way similar to genocide. Stop proving Godwin’s Law correct.

I readily admit that there are common errors that make me twitch a bit – ‘defiantly’ for ‘definitely’, ‘intensive purposes’ for ‘intents and purposes’, and all of the ‘your/you’re/there/their/they’re’ misuses. Regardless of my peeves and preferences, I will not spend my time correcting your grammar. I promise.

I just don’t find it necessary. There are only a few times in life when it is really important to proofread and correct your writing. Are you writing a term paper or other university assignment? Are you filling out a resume? Sending out a formal work e-mail? Typing up an employee handbook? If so, you should probably check or have someone else check to ensure that your writing is professional and error-free.

Most of the time I encounter these errors in informal conversations. It comes across as really condescending if I go around to every Facebook status or text message with my virtual red pen. It is even worse if I interrupt someone in the middle of speaking to say, “You mean you could not care less. If you say that you could care less, then that implies you are actually capable of caring less even though your intention in using that phrase is to indicate that you have very little concern for the situation at hand.” I can already imagine that acting like that would probably chase away the few friends I have at the moment.

I also think it is really important to understand that there is a major difference between formal and informal writing. Many grammar rules are rendered inert, if you will, when it is informal. It was hammered into our heads in English class that you cannot start a sentence with a conjunction. I routinely break that rule in my informal writing. Go ahead and start that sentence with a conjunction! Feel free to write a stream of consciousness Facebook status – it worked really well for James Joyce.

We all make mistakes. I am constantly making weird grammar and usage errors when I speak because my mouth works faster than my brain. If you can discern what I mean without having to correct me, please just let me keep going. When I am interrupted in the middle of a sentence to be corrected, it makes me feel stupid and it makes me lose my train of thought. It is infantilizing, and I do my very best to keep from doing it to others. I know you are all intelligent people. Unless you specifically request my proofreading services, you won’t find me correcting your grammar. It is an exercise that usually ends in hurt feelings and frustration, so I see no point in it.

Welcome, one and all!

After years of convincing myself that there is nothing interesting enough in my life to blog about, I finally caved in and got my very own blog. I will probably be playing around with the design for a bit before I finally find something that I like.

A bit of background info: My name is Ashley. I was born in 1987 in Virginia. As of August 2012, I am in the Masters of Library and Information Science program at the University of Alabama.

So, what should you expect from this blog? I am not really sure. I will likely end up reviewing products that I enjoy, complaining about the current political climate, bemoaning my massive load of coursework, detailing my fabulous and fun-filled vacations (of which there will be very few – broke grad student and all that), a dash of craftiness, and maybe a few stories from the Madhouse (also known as my job). Oh, and pictures of my cat and rabbit. Everyone likes cat and bunny pictures, right?

There should be a little something for everyone, so thanks for checking out the blog!