Get Gone, Gone Girl.

I’m writing to you today from my home-away-from-home – the library. I’ve already started making a habit of dropping by on my days off to see if we got any new arrivals in books or DVDs and I think my coworkers are starting to think I am insane for doing this – regardless of the fact that I live a 5 minute walk away.

The theme of today’s post is a cliché but relates to reading – be true to yourself.

I’m not saying you should never try reading something new and out of your comfort zone – I will be doing the same by reading some Sci-Fi books this year. You can discover something you really like if you give it a chance… but if you already know you’ll hate it, don’t bother reading it.

I need to take my own advice.

While I was working the other night a patron brought back a copy of Gone Girl, a book that got phenomenally popular over the last year. While I was getting my MLIS in Pittsburgh I’d be on the bus or walking my dog on any given day and spot at least one person reading this book . Someone at work would always be telling me how good this book was. It was everywhere. I didn’t care.

There was something about it that made me know I’d hate it before I ever picked it up. I have no clue what it was – some kind of an intuition regarding several factors including but not limited to: the title, cover, and popularity.

Despite this, I went against my better judgement and tepidly checked it out. I started it that night and got through 200 pages like a robot, getting no emotion out of the experience at all. I read the next 200 pages the next day and finished it. I hated it and I had to finish it because I hated it.

On the bright side, it didn’t fill me with nearly as much rage as Happier at Home or Under the Tuscan Sun did (which seriously probably wasn’t healthy). But regardless, I get to add that title to my hate list while remaining irked that I went against my intuition and bothered reading it in the first place.

During the experience I was reminded of one of my first shifts at the library when a “floater” came in (an employee who floats from branch to branch and isn’t a permanent employee of my location who I will now refer to as Floater) and immediately started griping about how we have The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling) on display. He went on and on about how people only say they liked it because she wrote it and it got horrible reviews before they knew it was her book (which isn’t true). On and on he went about how much he hated it. Then Floater goes on to say that he’s never read and it doesn’t know anyone who’s read it and he hates seeing it on display. It really irked me that he felt that way – that he didn’t even KNOW anyone who had read it and he still hated it. But now I’m a little more understanding – some people in general don’t like to have titles/authors pushed in their faces. Other people rely on this method in order to be able to pick out anything to read, but others cringe at it. I guess I’m a little like Floater and am a cringer sometimes.

So go on, fellow readers, and learn from my mistakes. Take chances but remain true to yourself.

(Unless you like getting book-rage)

xx. ls

Death and Taxes

It’s been over a month since I’ve posted and here’s why:

I got a new place in Cincinnati. I can walk to work! (At least library work, not retail work.)

I took a solid two weeks from the 15th-onward moving the majority of my stuff. I still don’t have my real bed or couch. Turns out after about two weeks your body gives up its fight against the elements and starts to accept its current reality: the air mattress.

And the Big One: I’ve been pretty open about my budget woes and have decided to not get internet/cable. The cheapest deal I could find was $44 for just internet, and I figure this way  I can get rid of my addiction (Netflix account) cold turkey. I’m saving money on both accounts that will go toward my student loans AND I’ll read a lot more than I have the last couple of years. Plus, I still have a small T.V. and DVD player to enjoy. The only setback to this is I’ll have to either go to the library or a cafe of some sort to update this site…

In other news, I did my taxes today and it wasn’t too horrible yes it was. But you know what they say, death and taxes. Death and taxes. Death. Taxes. Deathandtaxes. (I’m a little brain dead in the aftermath.) But shout out to H&R Block who made me not want to kill myself entirely. I might still go into hiding living off the grid in Montana one day, but at least H&R Block gave it a real go in trying to keep my sanity.

Also! I finally met with my book club Stacked via Google Hangout. It was a good time that I’ll talk about in more detail later.

Good night, all. Death and taxes.

xx. ls

Career Women

Sometimes I look back on my life and hate myself for taking t.v. shows, movies, and books too seriously when I was younger. T.V. was probably the biggest culprit leading to my lack of financial reality. Take Friends, for instance. For a while, at least, Monica is a chef and Rachel is a waitress living in a New York City apartment that would probably go for around $4,000 a month. I  should mention I know nothing about NYC real estate except that an old college friend lived in a closet-sized studio for $1,200 a month. I know that times are way different than they were when my parents and grandparents were growing up, but I thought by 25 I’d at least have a career under my belt, much less a place to live by myself without roommates.

In grad school, my friends and I had conversations about a common dream we’d all had since we were kids: having our very own grown-up place. Our dreams differed slightly, varying from apartments in a dream city of choice to a small farm house sitting on about 50 acres that was still in driving distance to a dream city of choice. We’d all yearned for independence, privacy, and a magical bank account that kept our conservative-yet-adventurous lives possible. We may pass on designer duds splurges but that doesn’t mean we’ll forget Berlin is only a plane ride away. Alas, those idealistic dreams were just that: dreams.

I know I’m not alone in my struggle to find a full-time job in the career of my choice. I have friends I graduated college with in 2011 who didn’t go to grad school and are still looking for “career work”. It’s come to the point where a Bachelor’s isn’t enough to get a job – employers are now looking for Master degrees. The library field is basically at a standstill for hiring but that doesn’t stop universities from accepting us and spitting us out to the job market. In all fairness they do tell us to be open to relocation and look for untraditional jobs we can utilize our skills in. I have a problem with this – I am a purist at heart when it comes to wanting to be a public librarian. That is what I went to school for. If you want to tell your students to think outside the box for using our degree, you should  tell them before they become paying students. One close friend I made did end up getting a job before graduation and I think we were all thrilled for her – we all knew how hard she had to work for it, and her success story kept our optimism flowing.

I have been actively searching for a library job since May 2013 and I graduated in August 2013. Every month I submit at least 15 applications, with a couple months even up to 30 applications nationwide. I won’t lie when I say I’ve felt sorry for myself on numerous occasions when I add up eight months of over 160 applications with only two interviews to show for it. I’ve always lived by the philosophy of “work hard, play later”, thinking that my college nights spent in my apartment studying/working on top of working two jobs would pay off with a career. I thought, they’ll see my work history along with my education and know I have a strong work ethic with exceptional time management! It’s that easy! Months later I’m still unemployed in the library field and work at a retail store an hour away from where I live. I can’t say that feeling sorry for myself has helped me at all other than sometimes you just need a good cry to get yourself back together again.

The thing about college is you have to get loans in order to go. I’m months out of graduation and still looking for work –  these $350 invoices mailed to me don’t make me feel any better. I’m to the point of confusion and frustration that I bought a For Dummies book: Personal Finance in Your 20s. Trust me, when it comes to finances I am definitely at a Dummies level of understanding.

So far my favorite bit is when it discusses living within your means. They say how in your 20’s you probably won’t get a high-paying job so you need to live within your means and give an example along the lines of “If you make $40,000 a year and only spend $30,000 you can save a pretty good chunk of change. But if you make $30,000 and spend $35,000 you will always be in debt.” hahahahahahaha – oh, sorry, I was just laughing at the possibility of getting a $40,000 a year job.

I’ve definitely learned that you need to take life one day at a time. I’m fairly certain I’ll have a job offer soon, even if it’s just part time. Life is about readjusting depending on your changing circumstances. Maybe it wouldn’t kill me to live with roommates again, and I could save those hundreds of dollars a month on a real trip to Berlin every few years. Luckily I’m not completely detached from reality and do have a strong work ethic – I believe you should work for everything you want in life so you’ll truly appreciate it.

In my retail history, I’ve been surrounded by coworkers who are approaching/older than 30 sharing an apartment with roommates. Women who are trying to become lawyers, teachers, dentists, journalists, and even opera singers. There are success stories, and stories like mine that are still in progress. We know our plot, but we’re still working on getting through the conflict to get to the climax.

Now pardon me while I go buy some lottery tickets.

Literary Resolutions

It’s the end of 2013 and as I’m finalizing my resolutions for 2014 I couldn’t help but think about this time last year when I decided to add reading resolutions for the first time.

In December 2012 I had just finished my first semester of grad school and was embarrassed that I was a library student who hadn’t read a novel since school had started almost four months prior! Don’t get me wrong, I was reading, but it was mandatory library and information science-related readings. It had felt like ages since I could get lost in a book’s story… in a way that wouldn’t affect my grades. I decided to take action.

For 2013 I made a resolution to read at least two non-school books a month. The good news? I succeeded! The bad news? I kind of cheated. Out of the 28 books I ended up reading this year, I had already read 14 of them. Every year I try to make a point to read Pride and Prejudice and I read Jane Eyre every winter. I started to reread Harry Potter and the Chronicles of Narnia because I love both of the series and hadn’t read them in a few years, and the rest of the books I reread were just because I’m the kind of person who doesn’t have a limit on that sort of thing when it comes to books I enjoy – especially if I see them everyday on my shelf.

Although I’m happy I technically fulfilled a resolution, I don’t feel much accomplishment from it because of all the repeats. This year I’ve decided to challenge myself harder, particularly because I won’t be balancing grad school at the same time. I present to you:

2014 Literary Resolutions:

1. I will read at least 30 books I have never read before.

2. I will make a book club with friends. 

3. I will read all of the works of Hans Fallada currently available in english print.

4. I will write at least “a line a day” following a writing prompt from the book “A Writer’s Book of Days” by Judy Reeves. (This will be separate from my yearly resolution to journal at least three times a week.)

Here’s hoping for a successful 2014!