Sunday Lowdown #16

This Week in Job-Land

What an interesting week! On Thursday, I had an interview with a different library system for a position as a computer lab associate. I met with three women: the manager of the department, a librarian, and the HR rep. The interview went well, and they were incredibly supportive. We discussed benefits, I took a tour, and they offered me the job on the spot. Next, we negotiated wages, and while I was unused to do that and thus felt awkward, the HR woman was incredibly helpful. All I kept thinking was, they are going to be my wolfpack. I learned that if no one needs help in the computer lab, I can come up with display themes and pick the books myself! They were thrilled, I was thrilled, and I asked everyone if we could high five. We did.

This Week in TV & Film

I saw Shaun the Sheep for the first time. Delightful! There are no words in the entire 90 minute film, but I enjoyed every second. Shaun the Sheep 2: Farmageddon comes out later this year, and you can bet I’ll see it in theater. This wonderful sheep and his sheep friends are the brainchildren of Nick Park, who created the cheese-loving Wallace and Gromit.

LOVED IT!

This Week in Reading: Finished & Reviewed Books

I finished reading the summer musical for the theatre’s 2020 schedule, which should be loads of fun, and the four plays by the same playwright. The reason the script selection committee chose so many plays by the same person is the theatre will do three stage readings leading up to a fully-produced play by the same playwright at the end of that month.

I posted three reviews of books I finished the previous week: Abby Wambach’s Forward and Wolfpack, and then Fat Angie: Rebel Girl Revolution, a funny, sad, interesting book by e.E. Charlton-Trujillo that I loved. If you’re a Goodreads user and you actually liked my review, can you go like my review on Goodreads, too? So many people crapped on the author’s book in thoughtless ways, so the first several reviews are 1 star.

I finished up Venturess by Betsy Cornwell. It’s the follow-up story to Mechanica, a steam punk fairy tale re-telling in which things go quite differently but are still recognizably Cinderella. This is another young adult novel that feels more grown up, possibly pushing (or putting off) teen readers who like positive conclusions with romance at the heart. Reviews of both Cornwell novels coming up next week!

This Week in Reading: Books in Progress

I’m a few chapters into Irvine Welsh’s third book in the Mark Renton series, a novel called Porno. So far, the chapters alternate clearly between Sick Boy and Nikki, demonstrating the writer grew in skill between Trainspotting in 1993 and Porno in 2002. By cutting down the number of narrators significantly, and writing clear chapter titles, the book is a more enjoyable read so far.

My “bed time stories” book for my husband is picking up traction! I read one chapter of The Book of Ruth by Jane Hamilton each night. At first, he really didn’t like it, asking me when it would stop being depressing. Now, he says it’s “okay.” Part of the problem is he loved Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell so much that I think he just wasn’t ready for a new book! My man-person gets some terrible book hangovers.

Next Week in Reading:

Shamp of the City-Solo by Jaimy Gordon is described as a “fantasy novel” — yes, with quote marks. In it, the teen-age Hughbury Shamp’s education involves a series of preposterous and hilarious misadventures with the likes of the impresario Sergei Shipoff, Dr. Harry Analarge, and the World Friar Tapsvine, all the while he is being propelled toward stardom as prize-winning speaker at the murderously competitive Arslevering Ox-Roast. I’ve scheduled smaller daily reading goals for this novel, as I’m sure it will be complicated.

Books I Obtained This Week:

Good gravy, I bought more books. This week I picked up three titles from a used book store. The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston is a memoir about growing up a first generation Chinese-American in Stockton, California.

I grabbed two more non-fiction books, as seems to be my preference lately. The Prison Book Club by Ann Walmsley describes how after Walmsley was mugged near her home, she feared walking down the street, but after a friend invites her to participate in a new book club inside a Toronto prison in a room without correctional officers or cameras, she sees how book discussions become a springboard for frank conversations about loss, anger, redemption, heroism, and loneliness.

Lastly, Fat, Fit, & Feeling Fabulous by Vevanne Biggs. It was one rating on Goodreads — a two star — but I was intrigued by the synopsis. The author tells of her inspiring journey from obesity and self-hatred to a fit — not thin — body, mind, and spirit, as she developed into a triathlete in her quest to successfully complete an Ironman triathlon by her fiftieth birthday.

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36 comments

  1. Congratulations on that job. You’ve done very well to get something interesting so soon.
    On the book front that prison book club sounds a remarkable idea if it accepts non prisoner participation

    • I think the leader of the book club is not an inmate, but everyone else is. I love that the synopsis notes that she’s with the inmates with no correctional officers or cameras around. That’s what it was like when I was teaching in a prison.

      • I’ve been toying with the idea of joining a voluntary group that does reading programmes in prison. I think I need to go along with someone initially to see how it works and whether it’s for me

        • At least in the U.S., you can’t really check anything out in a prison facility. You have to have a heavy-duty background check, go through self-defense training, and then be approved by the facility and given credentials to even get in the door. Then comes the shake down, etc.

            • I know that some professor’s teaching in prison would have a guest come in to class, an expert on something that would enrich the class time. Those folks would still have the background check, but not the self-defense training.

    • Thanks so much! I know the author was very appreciative of my review, and I’m happy to support her work. That’s okay that we weren’t Goodreads friends already; I follow your blog! 😀

  2. Great news on the job! I’m excited for you. You’ve finished a lot of books and here I’m spending time catching up on blog posts since I’ve been out of the loop the last few weeks but for good reason.

    And you got new books! Now I don’t feel bad for the order I placed Friday. Admittedly one of the books was for a friend because I was telling her about it, I found it years ago as a kindle deal and now you can’t get it for a reasonable price.

  3. Wonderful news about the job, congrats! Looking forward to your thoughts on The Woman Warrior. I found the more I took my time with the chapters, the more I enjoyed them.

    • I’ve read Amy Tan’s experiences with an immigrant mother, but Hong Kingston’s story has to be quite different, given there are 8 children in the family and her father was a white collar worker in China. I’m interested to see how their lives compare.

  4. Congratulations on your new job! The book about being fat and fit sounds interesting – I’ve been listening to the BodyLove Project podcast recently, and they talk about this subject quite a bit. It’s also something I’ve been thinking about more as I get back into exercising. I’ll be interested to hear what you think about the book.

    • Thank you! It’s true: weight is less of an indicator of health that physical activity and diet. This is why so many fat activists talk about why it’s so damaging to assume fat people are lazy and unhealthy. On the flip side, there’s a whole faction of fat activists who argue that it doesn’t matter whether or not they are fat, lazy, have a poor diet because we have the freedom to make choices and not be judged as “bad people” based on our personal decisions. We don’t shame other populations that make terrible, unhealthy decisions in the same way.

  5. That cuts out all the bad bits of job hunting, being hired on the spot, and someone to tell you how much pay to ask for, how good is that. What I don’t understand is book buying -YOU WORK IN A LIBRARY. On a different topic altogether, I listen to maybe 6 audiobooks over the course of 10 days away. If I don’t have a substantial break – sleep, work, music, silence – in between then they flow together. You and the pirate need gaps between your books – debrief, perform 2 handed operas, I don’t know … think of something.

  6. Oh, awesome! The library job sounds very exciting, and I loved how everyone high-fived afterwards. I have this theory that librarians, specifically kids’ librarians, are the nicest people ever because they immerse themselves in kids’ picture books, which basically try to teach people how to be better human beings, which is something we all need continual lessons in (sharing is good, don’t be mean to people, accept people’s differences, etc).

    You can tell me if my theory is correct once you get to know your coworkers better hahah

    • I don’t remember what area the librarian in my interview is specialized in. I did learn that the librarian who used to lead a book club I went to died this past year. What a bummer. She had us read all kinds of interesting books I never would have picked up.

      I wonder if children’s librarians have their fingers on the pulse of the next generation. Picture books in particular are getting more diverse, so I wonder if that informs those librarians of how a group of people will be shaped.

      • Hm yah that’s a good point, I never thought of that either-I wonder if they’re better parents (those who have kids) too? So many things to discover about librarians! haha

  7. Yay! Well done on the job, that’s fabulous news! When do you start? And the Chinese-American (I’m sure I’ve read something by her) and the ironman book (as a not-skinny late 40s athlete) look fascinating and I’ll be interested to read your reviews.

    • Today was my first day. I had already resigned at my previous job, so I was able to start right after the Memorial Day weekend.

      I definitely feel like I’ve heard Maxine Hong Kingston’s name many times, but I think it’s usually because her stories are included in anthologies.

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