What I Loved #6 – Belzhar, Zita the Spacegirl, Meditation, Uptown Waterloo, and Graduation

What I Read

The thing about working in 2 library systems is…that there’s just so much more to read! I’ve read so many books this month – I’ll just have to give you bite-sized reviews of each of them.

1000feelings1000 Feelings For Which There Are No Names by Mario Giodano: New to our non-fiction collection, this book is a quirky illustrated list of human experiences that everyone can relate to. It’s inspiring and fun and meaningful. It’ll make you laugh, and it will make you feel connected. The perfect coffee break book.

Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer: I cannot get enough of Meg Wolitzer, and I’m so happy to see a mainstream author who doesn’t shy away from literary depth and risky metaphors. Belzhar, is her first YA novel: a deeply emotional fantasy story, that mixes the teen tragedy of John Green’s TFIOS with the alternate universes of Haruki Murakami. After the tragic death of her first boyfriend, Jam is sent to a Vermont boarding school for “highly intelligent, emotional fragile” teens. She finds herself enrolled in Special Topic in English – a highly selective, mysterious class where the only readings on the syllabus are by Sylvia Plath. Jam soon she realizes that every time she writes in her journal for class, she is transported to an alternate universe where her boyfriend is still alive, and they can be together. But what happens when the journal is filled? And is this actually the real Reeve? Are her classmates having the same experience? Highly recommend for teens and other lovers of YA fiction. Also, Meg Wolitzer is a delight and I’m now reading The Interestings.

Nikolski by Nicolas Dickner: This award-winning French-Canadian book is all about wanderlust and living authentically. Three main characters attempt self discovery and healing by separately traveling to Montreal. Along the way they encounter pirates, sea snakes, garbage-obsessed archeologists, and a very influential broken compass. This delightfully deep story is rich with whimsy and inspiration; an uplifting choice for anyone who’s ever wanted to wander the world.

The Flight of Dragons by Peter Dickinson– a serious work of speculative non-fiction attempting to prove that dragons really existed. The gorgeous illustrations are worth a flip through alone, but the scientific, literary, historical, and philosophical explanations will make you want to read every word. It’s the grown-up, academic version of the much more recent: Dragonology. For the right person, this could be a life changing, must-own book.

Raven Girl by Audrey Niffenegger:  Reminiscent of ancient mythology, “Raven Girl” tells the story of a man who craves adventure, a half-human girl born of an egg, and the wonders transformation. This eerie fairy tale features an unusual plot, and is told with sincerity, wit, and beautifully detailed illustrations by the author. Raven Girl is the perfect read for anyone craving an insightful and surprising piece of literature that can easily be read in one sitting.

zitaSo many children’s graphic novels! One of my main projects lately has been developing this collection, which has led to quite a bit of graphic novel inspired coffee breaks. The great thing about these books is that you can easily devour them in one sitting – and all of them are promising series. These three feature deeply imaginative fantasy worlds (full of the strangest, most adorable creatures), and amazing female protagonists who use kindness, bravery, and sometimes a little sass to save the day. Oh and they remind me so much of my beloved Jeff Smith’s Bone series. Check out Zita The Spacegirl, Hilda and the Troll, and Cleopatra in Space.

What I Listened To

Meditainment – I was a  little hesitant to try this slightly cheesy looking guided meditation series at first, but I’m so glad I did. It’s imaginative, peaceful, and effective. The set I listened to guides you through beautiful and unique locations – an ancient civilization in the jungle, the arctic tundra, and deep ocean. It allows you to start building a “mind castle” in a way. An interesting first step towards more meditation for me.

What I Did

I did so much this month. Not only did I take countless extra shifts, but I also attended my graduation ceremony at Western and moved into a gorgeous new place in Uptown Waterloo. Everything is coming together so nicely!

MovemberDisplayAt the library I’m working on mind-bogglingly interesting projects that I actually got to think up myself – an MP3 Adventure Flash Mob for kids, A Wreck This Journal making program for teens, a hilarious Movember themed display (pictured to the right), and a Blind Date With a Book display. I’m so excited about my job, and the impact it’s had on the patrons I serve.

readingroomAt home, I’ve just moved Uptown Waterloo – beside my favourite used bookstore, across the street from my favourite cafe, and dangerously close to my favourite Thai restaurant. My new home is filled with antique furniture, interesting and kind people, an impressive cookbook library, and did I mention the incredible reading nook? Let the coffee dates begin!

And I officially  walked across the stage to get my MLIS. The ceremony was long, the brass band played the Indiana Jones theme song, Jane Urquhart was inspiring and lovely, but what I’ll really remember is the amazing people I was able to complete this degree alongside. Weirdly enough, I already miss sitting in class with these talented, interesting, creative women. Doing my Masters was such a unique time in my life, and I’m so glad for it. Can’t wait to see where it takes me, and my fellow grads.

graduated

Okay, the sappiness is over now. What did you love this week? Seriously, tell me what you’re reading and what you think of it.

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