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This Week In My Library: 9.5.23

Sep 05, 2023

murder, volleyball, and some big falls

Life Of A Bookman

Bookman 1. a person who has a love of books and especially of reading. 2. a person who is involved in the writing, publishing, or selling of books. Oh, hi thats me!!

This book has sucked me in: Remember a couple weeks ago I couldn't find my footing with The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood? I bought this book in July of 2022 and had many false starts trying to get into it. Turns out, it just took about 20% of the book to hook me and over the weekend I sped through it. In true Atwood fashion, there's incredibly complex women at the heart of this. There's vivid backstory and a brimming mystery. I love that I have absolutely no idea where this thing is going. With 10% of the pages left, I can confidently say if you like Atwood's books, you'll dig The Robber Bride, provided you hold out past the first 50 pages.

Read it before you see it: Killers of the Flower Moon will come out on the big screen in a few months, but this non-fiction book is deserving of your page-turning attention, first. David Grann's reporting focuses on the family of Mollie Burkhart, an Osage woman whose relatives were picked off one by one for their wealth. The read is dark, but it tells an important part of Osage Nation history I wasn't aware of (they were the richest people per capital in the world in the 1920s). Killers of the Flower Moon is part of the origin story of the FBI, but I loved it for Mollie's compelling, resilient and gut wrenching story.

What I'm writing: “If I knew how much work #thatnovel was going to require, would I have chosen to write it?” This reflection bubbled up for me over the long weekend while I was tooting around on my Vespa. I wanted to say YES. Of course. Duh! So worth it! I'd do it a million times over. But that would just be positive narration in hindsight to justify the amount of time and hard costs (close to $30k by the end of this year, which doesn't include my time) that I've invested in this book. I'm not scared of hard work. Or investing in myself. But hard work with no guarantee of “outcome” really forces you to detach from any idea of success you once had when you started. And focus on the moments in the middle, instead. I don't think someone could have explained to me what this process was going to be like, or would require of me, even if they tried. Ignorance was a gift. And ignorance will probably will continue to be one because we're so not near any sort of #thatnovel finish line. I've let go of finish lines. I'm just going for a long, long as run instead!

Women's Studies

What gets passed down becomes our history. A few for the canon: Women songwriters are so wildly underrepresented in hit music it's INSANE. I know we're celebrating the summer of iconic, women superstars making waves and lifting the economy. And not that I want to blow that buzz, but I'm going to blow that buzz with Pudding's visual essay about (the lack of) women's songwriting credits since 1958 from Top 5 hits in the Billboard top 100. Also, if you've never checked out Pudding before, you're welcome. Hands down some of my favorite (visual) writing on the web and in their words “a digital publication that makes cool shit on the internet”. To which I'd add, cool VERY SMART shit.

Also, in better statistical news...this was my favorite meme from the internet after the University of Nebraska built a volleyball court in the center of the football field to shatter the world attendance record for women's sports (which they did. And as a former collegiate volleyball player, I'm in AWE.  Go Girls!!!!):



Pass It On

Stories are heirlooms. Here's one of mine: If you follow me on Instagram, you likely know about Professor Jimmy and our weekly date nights on Zoom. Jimmy is 90 years old, one of my former Lehigh professors, and a dear, dear friend (catch up on the story of our friendship over here). Anywho, last night he was telling me about a bad fall he had – which sent him to the hospital (he's ok!), gave him a black eye, and some stitches on his face. And if you wouldn't believe that guy was back on campus in a few days working. Going to dinner with some of his friends. Hitting up his workouts. Zooming with me (and laughing the whole time). It was a really beautiful reminder that we can fall hard, but we gotta get up. And getting up to laugh makes it all just a little bit easier.


My words are written just for you.