Thursday, December 1, 2016

November Wrap-Up: In Which I Become The Master Of Children’s Literature!


November was one of the craziest months of my life. Get ready for a long wrap-up and lots of photos.

November Overview


1. If you’re sick of politics, skip this paragraph. The rest of the wrap-up is more entertaining. I promise. I protested Trump without breaking anything or starting any fires. Not even a small fire. I spent a lot of time talking about fear and bullying. Since I’m a straight, white, nonreligious woman, it’s possible for me to sit back and ignore discrimination, but many people in the US don’t have that luxury. We can’t normalize Trump’s bad behavior, or the bad behavior of his followers. If you see something wrong, speak up. If someone is sharing their story, listen. Patriotism doesn’t mean blindly following a leader. It means working to make the country the best it can be.





 2. I don't have "residue." I just really like munchies. My backpack got swabbed for "residue" in the security line at the Denver airport. I don't know what kind of "residue" airports check for. Drugs? Bombs? This has never happened to me before. I found the whole thing hilarious because when the TSA agents opened my backpack, they were surprised to find that it was stuffed with junk food. I really like Doritos, okay? Don't judge me, airport cops! The TSA lady who swabbed my backpack did compliment my keychains, though, so that was sweet. Also, they didn't find any mysterious "residue" in my backpack.




3. I’m a master of children’s literature! I was in the airport because I went to Louisville, Kentucky to finish my master’s degree. I can now put the letters M.F.A. after my name whenever I want to feel pretentious. I’ve been a university student for 11 years and have earned 3 degrees. I don’t think I want a doctorate in literature, so I’m done with school forever! (Probably. Maybe.)





4. Public speaking almost murdered me. Have I ever mentioned that I hate public speaking? While in Kentucky, I gave a lecture about narrative structure and read part of my thesis to a conference room full of people. I’m sure my mentor said nice things when she introduced me, but I could only hear my heart pounding. I made it through all my public speaking without losing consciousness, so I guess everything went well.

I took this selfie after my reading to prove to myself that I was still alive.




5. My ass has more fans than my academic work. I’m a country girl, so I’m always caught off guard by the catcalling and sexual harassment that happens in cities. The harassment was strong in Louisville this month. One man told me I was sexier than all the girls at the bus stop. He asked if I wanted to “communicate” with him. I’m not entirely sure what that means because I declined his offer to “communicate,” but I’m insulted on behalf of the bus stop girls.





6. Maybe I like art? I went to an art museum for a school project, even though I’m not really an art person. I’m more of a sports bar person. My assignment was to find art that “spoke to me.” I rolled my eyes at the assignment until I got to the museum. One painting captured my attention immediately. When I got closer to it, I discovered that it was painted with chocolate sauce instead of paint. I guess I do like art!


Some of my own "art." Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky.




7. Authors are better at public speaking than me. The best part of studying literature for 11 years is that I’ve met a lot of authors. In November, I got to hear lectures/readings by Lamar Giles and Natasha Trethewey. I was very impressed with both of them. I especially appreciated hearing them discuss diversity in literature and their experiences as authors of color. If you want to be a fabulous individual, consider donating to We Need Diverse Books.






8. I blame the extreme exhaustion. I went to a lecture where the speaker analyzed part of a Laini Taylor book. I can’t remember which book, but my exhausted mind was completely blown by her writing style. I’ve never read a Laini Taylor novel, so where should I start? My zombie brain also loved the picture book I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen. I read it several times and laughed like an idiot every time. Sometimes I wish I had kids so I had an excuse to buy stupidly amazing picture books.




9. The strangest walk of shame ever? The oddest thing I saw in Louisville was a woman in a sparkly black ball gown, carrying a stack of pizza boxes down the street at 5:30 in the morning. If I was braver, I would have asked her where she found so much pizza that early in the morning.


Not Louisville, but I did take this photo early in the morning.




10. Mammoth Cave—chubby chicks need not apply. The day after I graduated, I went on a two-hour tour of Mammoth Cave. I’m a bit claustrophobic, and there are some tight squeezes in that cave. I really wished I was thinner while I was in there. The tour was totally worth it, though.





11. Bucket list item. One of the items on my bucket list was to eat at Kentucky Fried Chicken . . . in Kentucky. I did it! If you’re curious, my bucket list mostly consists of me eating different foods out of buckets. If you read #10, I guess my cave-exploring hobby is going to be short-lived.






12. If you want people to smile at you, bring a flower everywhere. I got this flower from my mentor after reading my thesis, and I carried it through two hotels, two airports, one airplane, and one national park. I noticed that people are much nicer when you’re randomly holding a flower. A lot of strangers smiled at me.  

     



Books I Read


I read 8 books in November:



The Power of Myth – Joseph Campbell
Sarah, Plain and Tall – Patricia MacLachlan
Native Guard: Poems – Natasha Trethewey
Anyone? – Angela Scott
Bound by Duty – Stormy Smith
ZIA, the Teenage Zombie & the Undead Diaries – Angela Scott
Floor 21 – Jason Luthor
There Once Lived a Girl who Seduced Her Sister’s Husband, and He Hanged Himself: Love Stories – Ludmilla Petrushevskaya



Best Books Of November




1. Native Guard: Poems – Natasha Trethewey
2. Sarah, Plain and Tall – Patricia MacLachlan
3. There Once Lived a Girl who Seduced Her Sister’s Husband, and He Hanged Himself: Love Stories – Ludmilla Petrushevskaya



Most-Viewed Reviews







Most-Viewed Non-Reviews





#ReadIndie Starts Today—Sign Up




I’m on the review team for #ReadIndie! I’d love it if you joined us.


“Welcome to the first ever #ReadIndie challenge! This event was created to promote indie authors who we think are amazing! What is this challenge, you ask? #ReadIndie is a two week time span in December during which we will only be reviewing and promoting indie titles.  
So what is #ReadIndie all about? This isn't necessarily a read-a-thon. Instead, the challenge is simply to post indie reviews for two weeks in place of the reviews you would normally post. However, each review you post and link up will gain you an extra entry into an indie book giveaway! This is ALL about spreading the word about incredible authors who don't necessarily get the hype that they deserve.”

Please consider joining #ReadIndie and helping us promote indie books in December. Head over to Cornerfolds to sign up and find out more. (Did I mention there are prizes?)



All The Things!


All the Things (AKA my TBR pile) = 30 books.

I’m currently reading The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami.













31 comments:

  1. Philly cheese steak in Philly?
    A Manhattan in Manhattan?
    A Denver omelette in Denver?
    New England clam chowder in New England?
    A Mississippi mud pie in Mississippi?
    Buffalo wings in Buffalo?

    Anyway, why do women get Master's degrees and not Mistress's degrees?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YES! Those are all things I want to eat. So far, I’ve eaten Kentucky Fried Chicken in Kentucky and Hershey chocolate in Hershey.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  2. Great post! I especially liked what you said here: "We can’t normalize Trump’s bad behavior, or the bad behavior of his followers. If you see something wrong, speak up. If someone is sharing their story, listen. Patriotism doesn’t mean blindly following a leader. It means working to make the country the best it can be."

    I haven't read any of the books you read this month, so I must check them out. Enjoy December, and congrats on your MFA!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Loved your post and congrats on the MFA, many hours of study and hard work. Would have loved to listen to your speech and you are looking very calm and alive in the aftermath of it, goes to show we don't always show on the outside what goes on inside.
    I don't think I have ever read Sarah, Plain and Tall and I am thinking I just might, going to look on Audible for it.

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    Replies
    1. I hope you enjoy Sarah, Plain and Tall. People said I looked calm during my reading, but I didn’t feel calm.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  4. Yay on the masters!!! I love the strangest walk of shame. I wonder what was going on lol. I will have to try the bringing a flower places - sounds liek good stuff. Hope you have a great December!!

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  5. That walk of shame sounds AMAZING. I have so many questions. But I almost wonder if they're better unanswered, somehow...

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    1. I know! Where was she going with all that pizza? And where did she get it?

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  6. Wow! You sure did a lot of things in Louisiana! I'm glad you had a great time there!

    Here’s my Monthly Wrap Up!

    Ronyell @ Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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  7. Yay! Congratulations on your achievement! lol love the bizarre things you see on the street at 530 in the morning. Definitely a good time for people watching!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, all the weirdos come out late at night or early in the morning. I was out at those times, too, so I guess I’m one of the weirdos.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  8. I love this update - it's just so much fun! Congrats on your masters---that is incredibly impressive!!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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  9. I love this post (and Elliptical Man's foodie suggestions)!

    #2 I've been tested for 'residue' too. I don't know - do we look like druggies?
    #3 Congratulations!!!!!!
    #4 Speaking from experience, public speaking gets easier the more you do it. Good for you for getting through this time.
    #7 I love I Want My Hat Back too. It's grest having grandchildren to read to.
    #10 You are braver than I!
    #11 (see comment about Elliptical Man)
    #12 I must try this; it would be inexpensive way to get smiles. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have to Google what this mysterious airport “Residue” is. I guess testing for it is pretty common.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  10. I totally agree with your paragraph number one! I'm also a straight, white, non-religious woman, but I have friends who aren't so I don't feel like I can just sit back and watch. :/ I've been doing pretty much the same as you, though I wish I could do more. Congratulations on your degree! I know you must be so relieved! I absolutely HATE public speaking! And those are some great books! :D

    Tracy @ Cornerfolds

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! I’ve been trying to find ways to help people in our post-Trump land, but I just feel useless.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  11. Oh wow, I would LOVE to have 3 degrees! And in Children’s Literature? That sounds FASCINATING!!! Unfortunately it’s not financially viable for me to go back to University yet, but one day… #GOALS.
    And as for Laini Taylor, you cannot go wrong with the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series. I mean, it’s the only one of her books that I’ve ever read, but GAH her writing is just mind blowing. I Hope you enjoy!
    Beth xxx
    www.thequietpeople.com

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the recommendation! I’m looking for a cheap boxset of that trilogy. I really want to read it.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  12. I love your personal posts, AJ! Congratulations on getting your Master's degree. That's an incredible achievement and you must be so proud. 3 degrees is amazing! I wish you the best of luck in your professional career. :)
    I hate public speaking as well. It's been a while since I had to do it, thankfully, but I imagine I"m so out of practice that the next time will be catastrophic. But I'm glad it went well for you!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! I loved writing this personal post. My life usually isn’t this interesting.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  13. Congrats on finishing your Master's AJ! I hope I'll be just behind you!
    And hey, I know some places in Europe you should visit for the food... Norway for a Norwegian Omelette, Denmark for Danish, Switzerland for Swiss cheese, France for French fries;)
    Have a wonderful week ahead and happy reading.
    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

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    Replies
    1. YES! It’s time for a trip to Europe. There are so many things I need to eat over there.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  14. You cracked me up with this post! I'm a grumpy person :) and I was chuckling out loud with each entry-- thanks for the laugh, which I needed today!

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  15. Always love hearing about other peoples months! CONGRATULATIONS on becoming the master of picture books and being able to get that degree. You should be so proud! And I also really like the sound of appreciating art. I'm one of those people who can't get enough of it.

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  16. Congratulations on earning your degree! That is an excellent accomplishment. I went to the Mammoth Caves while in high school and remember how tight a fit it was for my dad. I'd like to go again someday. I love the idea of carrying a flower--I shall have to try that sometime! Then at the end find someone who I can randomly give it to, someone who looks sad or stressed.

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  17. Congrats,I wanna study literature someday

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  18. Wow, congratulations on your MFA! That's such a huge commitment and an incredible accomplishment. Just shy of eating KFC in Kentucky, of course 😜

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