What Type of Book Worm Are You?

From the curator to the book hoarder, we all know that not all book worms are alike. Read on and determine which title fits you best!

The Curator

The curator selects titles that they might have already read, but want to proudly display on their shelf. These people might do their initial read through of a book through the library or on a digital device before determining if they want to own a physical copy of the book. Their shelves are often colour coded and decorated with carefully selected bookends that suit the vibe of their collection. Many people that you see on #booktok or instagram might fit into this category.

Consider these shelves from next.favorite.book on Instagram:

If your shelves look anything like this, you might be a Curator.

The Matchmaker

You’re not as determined about the aesthetics of your shelves as which authors and genres should be placed by which. The idea of putting Ted Hughes beside Sylvia Plath makes your skin crawl because they should have at least a shelf between them. You fill the gap with Whitman, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning to give them some space. Furthermore, your Romance novels shouldn’t coexist beside your Horror titles no matter how closely the authors’ names might be to one another. You design your shelves with similarities in mind and enjoy explaining the method behind your madness to any puzzled onlookers.

I’d take a picture of my own bookshelf here as an example, but sadly my books are all currently in boxes as we are trying to sell our house!

The Madman (Or the Aesthetician)

Horror upon horrors, you’re one of those people who thinks that the book’s primary function is to heighten the level of decor in your house. Most of your books are facing the wrong way on the shelves and when asked about it, you mumble something about the virtues of a neutral shelf.

(Credit to iNews for the photo.)

Aestheticians, you make our souls hurt.

The Book Hoarder

Shelves? You ran out of those a long time ago. Also, you see no point in organizing your collection. You’re constantly adding to it or rummaging through titles for it to be a worthwhile pursuit. Your home houses stacks upon stacks of books. You might have a pile of TBRs on your nightstand, your favourites have a conspicuous placement in the living room, while the dog earred pages of the most practical are placed within arm’s reach of your keyboard. Your friends are scared to lend you any of their own titles because you have a penchant for losing items in your hoard.. I mean collection.

(Credit to RightAttitudes for the picture.)

A throne made entirely of books is your fantasy.

Which one are you? Let me know if I missed any categories in the comments.

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Review: The Conflict Thesaurus. Volume 2

I was recently given the privilege of being an Advance Copy Reviewer for Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi’s The Conflict Thesaurus Volume 2.

We’ve all been there. Facing the “and-then-what?” part of any story can be a daunting challenge. For example, we might have written a situation in which Character A is upset at Character B because Character B has both a bologna sandwich and a boyfriend, but then we struggle to put words to what that jealousy physically looks like from the outside looking in.

Another dilemma might be wondering how to describe what it feels like to be cheated out of a job opportunity. I don’t want to just say, “Bob was sad.” In addition, how do I later counteract this disheartening scene with some redeeming factors about Bob? (Poor Bob.)

Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi have been my long time heroes in each of these scenarios and their latest installment in their collection of writing thesauruses (thesauri?) is no different.

The Conflict Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Obstacles, Adversaries, and Inner Struggles (Volume 2) begins with some helpful pointers on how to craft provocative and believable conflict that will help drive the rest of your story. One of my favourite parts of this section was examining what they call “The Four Levels of Conflict”. The obstacles and inner struggles identified in this part of the book are what keeps readers engaged! Not to mention, building these conflicts can help solve writer’s block by getting the ball rolling. As Ackerman and Puglisi describe, this conflict can lock in the wheels of your story’s roller coaster.

This section of the book alone made me want to immediately start applying its tips and tricks to my current work in progress. For example, the discussion on scene-level (or micro) conflict describes how setbacks and failure can be used to increase the pressure and bring your character to a point of self-discovery and internal growth. Although the protagonist in my current novel encounters multiple setbacks, I wasn’t sure if I was using these failures as an opportunity for her to examine what went wrong and raise the stakes in her goals.

Keep in mind, this segment on identifying the four levels of conflict is only seven pages out of the entire book.

Writers will also be treated to some advice on how to create powerful clashes with authentic villains, methods to amp up conflict, and how to create a climax that feels satisfying, but might not have the predictable outcomes that readers expect.

The bulk of The Conflict Thesaurus then goes into the various situations that writers might encounter in their novels. Some entries include: a break-in, being captured, and not achieving a coveted goal. These entries provide examples for how these situations might manifest, what some minor complications could be, and a list of some potentially disastrous results. On top of this, writers are given a list of internal struggles that could result because of this conflict, emotions, both negative and positive traits, and impacts on basic needs.

Remember Bob and his lost job opportunity? By applying some of the tips included in the “Not Achieving a Coveted Goal” entry, a writer can ensure that their readers’ hearts are completely broken for Bob and ready to delve into his redemption.

Volume 2 of The Conflict Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Obstacles, Adversaries, and Inner Struggles is a tool that I have no hesitation in calling indispensable. It’s a book that you can crack the cover and immediately start using in either creating a new story or working on a current one.

I honestly can’t say enough about how fantastic, wonderful, awesome, sensational, remarkable, and FABULOUS this book is. (Oops. Looks like I’m getting a bit too hooked on my thesaurus usage!)

Pick up a copy of this book on September 6th.

Find out more about The Conflict Thesaurus at WritersHelpingWriters

To see a list of topics covered in The Conflict Thesaurus, click here

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When Words Collide 2022

One of the things that nobody seems to talk about after attending a virtual convention is the clean up afterward. The endless onslaught of used coffee mugs that have been filled and refilled to keep yourself awake as you attend panel after panel from 8 am onward. The microwave meal containers left in a slovenly pile on your kitchen counter. The dozens of tabs left open on your browsers as panelists fill your urge to find more content, attend other conventions, and buy more products. (All necessary, of course.) Then there’s the towering laundry pile and the untended to IMs and phone calls.

When it comes to attending a virtual writing convention, this process is no different. Except add in the piles of notebooks and pens and several open documents detailing your plans to take over the world finally finish that WIP.

When Words Collide has been one of my favourite virtual conventions both due to the above things and despite them.

Originating in Calgary, Alberta, this annual non-profit festival offers informational, social, and educational programming all catered towards starting or improving upon your writing projects.

In the past, the festival has hosted literary giants such as Brandon Sanderson, Diana Gabaldon, Jonas Saul, and, most recently, Terry Brooks.

This year, I found myself hosting (and trying to keep up with) an unofficial chat consisting of family and friends, compiling a document with notes regarding each panel I attended, and keeping a detailed and colour coordinated spreadsheet consisting of what panels were occurring at what time, which also included my second choice for that time slot as well as a conversion from Mountain Daylight Time to Pacific Standard Time.

Because the virtual version of the convention provided me with the option to attend a panel in every time slot – I obviously ran myself ragged. Because I could.

By Sunday, I was completely exhausted, had loads of information to organize, an endless amount of errands and housework to catch up on, a massive assortment of library holds and parcels demanding my attention in the near future, and conflicting information to make up my mind on. (Panelist A said to write and format your writing to an American audience all to ensure that we reach the greatest amount of potential readers but Panelist B pointed out that to do this is can be a form of erasure that does not honor backgrounds and lived experiences. What to do with this?)

Needless to say, I’m in clean up mode. I’m also feeling the most motivated than I’ve felt in months and excited for the improvements that I’m about to make on my writing and my day-to-day life.

When Words Collide 2022 will be the last fully virtual convention before we go back to attending in person.

I’m looking forward to making those in person connections again and going back to a more tangible experience where the merchants’ tables have books that you’re able to physically flip through. A void of the mountain of coffee mugs waiting in the sink. An experience where you might run into a late night pillow fort hang out at the Delta hotel where authors provide impromptu readings of their latest works. (Some more spicy than others!) One where you might engage in a project where you Frankenstein together several copies of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein into one hideously beautiful creation.

However, the virtual version of the conference has left me with a couple positives:

I didn’t have to change out of my pajamas to participate and my next coffee was always within reach.

To find out more about When Words Collide visit:

https://www.whenwordscollide.org

You can also view previous panels and events at their YouTube channel.

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Filed under alberta, books, events, writing

Hybridization

Skip ahead five years. Nothing is the same. I live with my husband, our two Siamese cats, our always-snoring dog, and a plethora of books that fill the house to every corner. I’m no longer in the same house as before. I don’t work at the same library. I’m not even in the same country. I’ve graduated with my Master’s in Library and Information Studies, but am stranded out in the woods living out my dream of becoming a witch of the wilds.

There is only one library nearby and I’ve sat on the waitlist to get a position just as a page (or shelver) for the last three years. There are rarely any openings for librarians. The area that I live in has a library school so I’ve been pushed into small-fish-in-a-big-pond territory.

Things have become dire.

Imagine this drawing I made is a small fish in a big pond instead of a pen and ink goldfish held up against my kitchen wall.

However, librarian dreams aside, things aren’t all that bad! We’re in the process of moving into a larger area where I can hopefully weasel my way into the library there. (This also happens to be my favourite library that I’ve ever visited so that’s a huge bonus.)

I’ve also been given the opportunity to focus a lot more on my writing. This feels like a luxury that not everyone is given so I plan on taking full advantage of it while it lasts. Not to mention the piles upon piles of books that I’m able to read and review. Alongside all that, I volunteer in an archive and have learned a lot about preservation and local history.

As a result, this blog might become somewhat of a hybrid as I’ll be devoting posts to libraries, books, archiving, writing, and pipe dreams.

Although the posts I’ve written here have been spaced out by several years, it’s evident that goals are being achieved – however slowly.

I think that’s a really strong positive. I’m looking forward to reworking them and seeing where they take me.

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The End of the Semester

Sitting at a coffee shop down the road from my house watching the world go by.  I am working (or I am supposed to be working) on my final assignment for my very first term of my Master of Library Studies.  (By the way, I was accepted.)

It’s been almost a year since I’ve updated – mostly due to the excitement, stress, and infinite number of course readings to delve into.  Despite the ongoing exhaustion, it’s been one of the nicest feelings in the world to finally be working towards a goal rather than drifting a bit aimlessly.  My final assignment is to discuss what I believe about my future in librarianship.

It’s due on Friday and to be honest, I haven’t started on it yet.

What do I believe about where I’m going as a librarian?  This should be an easy assignment.

All I can think of is right before I knew that I was going to be admitted to the program, my boss introduced me to Anita Sarkeesian and she graciously took me as her guest of honor to the BC Library Awards.  (Very exclusive.  Very fancy.  Consider it to be the book worm’s version of the Oscars.) She was doing a speech on video games, gender, communication styles, and libraries.  I remember just sitting there being shocked that I was even allowed to attend the conference.  After listening to her speech and the awards for different innovative projects in various libraries .. I knew without any doubt that this.. this is what I wanted to be doing.  New events.  Incorporating new technologies into library settings.  Discussing VIDEO GAMES in a LIBRARY. (Seriously.  Add cats in there somewhere and all of my interests would have been in one place.  I would have died.)

How do you even put that into a paper?

anigif_enhanced-4464-1450036511-3

I’m sure I’ll figure it out.  But wanted to make a quick update to say that everything is wonderful.  I’m going to be a librarian and I can’t wait.  (Though I might die of happiness on my way there.)

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Three Profound Tips On Applying For Your MLIS

It’s been a disheartening year since I applied to the University of British Columbia for their Master’s in Library Science program (apparently librarianing is now a science – laugh away bio majors) and was ultimately rejected.

picture-290

The rejection was real.

Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that I’d already attended UBC in hopes of being a teacher and, once having my true destiny as a librarian unlocked, quickly withdrew from the program to begin training to become Dewey Decimal’s protégé – never to be seen again.

Maybe my reputation as a book thief has preceded me and I have now blackened my name as a future librarian.

Or it could have been that while I was submitting my application, my internet-famous-and-smug-about-it boyfriend turned up on my door step and decided to have the break up talk right then and there. I kept trying to tell him it was fine and he just needed to leave.  However, in his mind, he thought this meant he should stay and try to console me.

I would have preferred a break-up text.  (Perhaps he knew that I’d be desperate to have it done with so I could finish submitting my application and planned accordingly.)

In any case, some time has passed and I’m now ready to move on from the horrible rejection that ensued from that fateful night.

Below are three helpful tips I’ve uncovered through blood, sweat, and tears in applying for an MLIS.

1. The Style of Your CV Should Not Be a Direct Reflection On You As a Person

Or at least this is what my ex boss thinks. As he is a quite successful and literary type of person, I decided that he would be the perfect choice to look over my CV and assure me that all of my life experience has been leading up to this moment.  The university staff would be out of their minds not to accept me.

Instead, he told me the following:

“You’ve used the bullets in the opposite way that they’re intended. […] And they’re a little wobbly.  They seem to wander like drunks down the margin. Resumes should not actually resemble private lives.
Key thing to remember.”

Point taken.

the-stumbler

Get those bullet points in line or else people will think you’re a drunkard.

2. Your References Are Not Beyond Bribery

Although you don’t want your prospective university to think you’re a drunkard based on how you use bullet points, faculty from your previous university will embrace you for it.  Especially if you offer them beer in exchange for writing your reference.  In fact, if this is your second time requesting one from them, this point is absolutely crucial.

None of this, “I would be eternally grateful” bullshit that wikihow recommends.

My request: How do you feel about my owing you 22 drinks instead of the previously established 11?
Prof’s response:
giphy
As to whether that reference was actually coherent or not is another matter.

3. Do Not Say The Words “I Love Books” In Your Statement of Intent.  No Matter How Challenging.

I actually picked this tip up from another website.  I’m sorry.  I don’t know which one.  But the author of said web page made an excellent point.  Anybody going for a career as a librarian is going to love books.  It would be very strange if they didn’t.

grinchyhate

If you have to talk about how much you love reading, say something original or tell a story behind why you love books so much.

I talked about escaping from the torturous prison cell of the public school system to find sanctuary in the library.

…I’ll let you know how that application goes.

If not – third time’s a charm, right?


On the off chance that these tips did not solve all of your burning questions about applying to library school, I highly recommend checking out this post from hackyourlibraryschool.com

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Hero’s Journey

It’s my first time visiting the Central Library in Vancouver and I feel like I’ve walked into a coliseum in a whimsical, fantasy world.  The trees are shaped so that their bare pillars reach forever into the sky, ending in spherical masses of multi-coloured leaves.  People are sitting under them reading, drinking coffee, talking at pigeons, and drinking wine out of paper bags.  This is absolutely where I belong.

In fact, having just decided that I need to be a librarian, I’m on my way in to take out some books on the subject.  I’m imagining finding a plethora of useful knowledge with titles such as:  How To Librarian (1st Ed).  Becoming a Librarian For Dummies.  On Saying “Shh!” and Really Meaning It.  Melvin Dewey: An Illustrated Biography.  (The man who invented the Dewey Decimal System is kind of a hunk.)

dewey_01

(See?)

I can’t imagine a better way to begin my career path as a Librarian Extraordinaire than taking books out on the subject. From the library.  It’s kind of poetic, like a quasi-Hero’s Journey à la Bilbo Baggins. (This line of reasoning made a lot more sense in my head before I typed it out.)

In any matter, I adventure into the library – armed with an assortment of call numbers and a bag with the inscription ‘I Love to Read’ emblazoned upon the side – to meet my destiny.

My destiny is apparently a library worker with roguish good looks and (highly coveted) white librarian gloves.  He’s loading up a cart full of books from a series of shelves that seem to be constructed in what used to be a study centre.  Various pieces of paper have been tacked to each shelf designating general subjects of the material placed there. I don’t see, ‘library books on libraries’ on any of them.  I’ll have to ask the guy in the gloves.

I do a couple laps in and around the section trying to decide on what my opening line should be.  I couldn’t be more flustered if the revered Melvin Dewey himself was standing in front of me.  Maybe when I tell him that I’m looking for books on how to be a librarian, he’ll escort me to the front desk to fill out paperwork to be his new apprentice.  Maybe he’ll fall deeply in love with my cataloging skills and ask me to marry him.  Maybe we’ll start a librarian legacy.  All of our children will be librarians.  We’ll form.. the Dewey Decimal Dynasty.

“Um. Hi.  Sorry. This section is under construction,”  he says.  Impatiently, it seems.

I’m standing directly in his way.  It’s very romantic.

“Oh, hey.  I was just.. looking for a book. Maybe you can help me.”  I pull out my list of call numbers from my book bag.  I hope he takes notice of how the bag says that I love to read.  In case he didn’t already gather that from my being in the library and, consequently, in his way.

He squints at the scrawled call numbers.  I inwardly kick myself for writing them on the back of a Shoppers receipt and hope to God that it isn’t for tampons and chocolate.

“Huh.  Do you know the titles of the books?”

It’s my time to shine.  “Actually, I’m looking for books on libraries.  On how to be a librarian.”  Surely he must see that we’re meant to be together.  I decide to leave the part about our Triple D Dynasty out of it. For now.

“Interesting,” he says.  “Yeah, the library section’s been moved somewhere. I don’t know where we put it. Sorry I can’t help you.”

“You lost the library books?” I can’t help but gasp.

“Well not all of them,” he says.  “Just the ones on libraries.”

“So only the most important ones.”

He laughs, probably thinking that I’m joking.  “They’ll turn up.  Do you need them for a paper or something?”

“No.  They’re just.. for my own personal use.”

He gives me a look.  Obviously thinking I’m a total weirdo.  Maybe I am.  (Dewey wouldn’t have thought so.)

“You should try placing a hold on them online.”

I can’t think of how to argue with this so I agree. “Yeah. It’s not urgent or anything,” I say.  It’s not like my entire destiny was supposed to begin today.

Instead, I take out No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July so I can spend the night feeling reassured that someone out there is just a little bit more awkward and misplaced than I am.

Or at the very least, is on the same level.

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The Life and Times of a Single Bookworm.

blinddate

Now that I’ve moved on to Vancouver, I’m missing the “Blind Date With a Book” event that the Strathmore Municipal Library put on last year for Valentine’s.  It led me to read something that I probably would have never discovered on my own as well as finding one of my favourite books of the year.  (Paul Hoffman’s The Golden Age of Censorship).

The library wrapped up books in red paper with short “dating bios” on the covers and put them in a display by the door.   The bar-codes were written on the side to check out so you didn’t know which book you had until you went home to unwrap it.

Definitely beat a night spent rummaging through an endless onslaught of chin shots, neck beards, and desperate usernames on OkCupid.  ..There’s always tomorrow.

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Framed at the Vancouver Public Library

May 2014. I decided to pack two suitcases and take a Greyhound from Strathmore, Alberta to Vancouver, BC on a whim.  It was a difficult process trying to decide what to pack.  My HP desktop or.. clothes?  When it came down to it, I decided that it didn’t matter how many resumes I sent out from said computer, nobody was going to hire a naked girl.

Well.  Some places would.

Probably not the places that I’d be applying to.

Still, you can rent library computers to find work.  You can’t really rent clothes – at least not very efficiently.

Did you know that in Vancouver, you get library cards for free?

For FREE.

My life was made.  This news alone told me that I’d finally come home to a land of cultured and civilized people.  Or so I thought.

Day one of my job search, someone stole my (FREE!!) library card.

I didn’t realize until I got home and spent the night wondering why somebody would resort to such a thing unless they were a genuinely terrible person.  Fine. Let them take it, I thought, seeing a future of bad karma awaiting this tasteless individual.  Since the cards were free, I’d just pick up another one.  For free.

However, I was called for an interview, got the job (thank goodness for clothes), and forgot all about the missing card and the poor condemned soul attached to it.

Weeks later, I received an e-mail about my overdue items.

  • The Twilight series. Books 1 – 4.
  • Twilight: The Movie.
  • A textbook titled, The Fundamentals of Ethics.
  • Anger Management: The Movie.

Whoever took my card was either a teenage girl or someone with a very dry sense of humor.  Probably both.  I kind of admired her.

The overdue charges weren’t astronomical, but at this point.. I’d realized that the delinquent/my hero probably had no intention of ever bringing the overdue items back.

Also, remember the two suitcases thing? I had no books left to read.  This was probably the greatest tragedy that I’d ever encountered in my adult life.

I marched back to the library, certain that they would understand my dilemma and secure me with another free library card.

Suspicious eyebrows were probably the worst thing that I could have encountered while explaining this situation.  The librarian to whom the eyebrows belonged insisted that she believed me (she totally didn’t), but I’d have to provide a police case number in order to regain access to my account.

To summarize: I’d have to call the police to report a stolen (free) library card.  On top of this, the library staff now saw me as a Twilight book thief. My shame was complete.

After much deliberation and countless self-deprecating Facebook posts, I finally summoned the nerve to call the Vancouver Police Department.

“Hi. I’d like to report a theft.”

The operator asked me for the date and time of the incident, followed by the question, “And what was stolen?”

“Books.  The Twilight saga.  Except they weren’t my books.  They belong to the library.  But they were on my card.  I didn’t take them out though; someone else did.  After they stole my card.  I’m calling to report the stolen library card, actually.”

“Seriously?”

“Yes.”

The operator burst into hyena laughter, covered the receiver for a moment to regain her composure, and then asked me again if I was seriously phoning to report a stolen library card.

When I finally received the police report number (and then lost it and then found it again – I’ll spare everyone the details), the library still wasn’t satisfied. Only because I’d brought the police number to a different library than the card was stolen from.

The interaction ended with me near tears wailing at a security guard, “Do you know what I had to read today? The Canadian Tire flier.  FOR FUN.”

I think this was the point when they finally found their hearts.  Or they realized that I might have a nervous breakdown.  Whatever the case, I was given a new library card and was able to leave the building with a full stack of books.

Well. After having my bags checked.

Let this be a lesson to you all: If it ever comes down to a suitcase full of clothes or your computer.. go for the computer.

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Filed under Uncategorized, Vancouver Public Library

A Kinda Short Introduction.

It’s 2012 and I’m counting an endless box of bouncy balls – prizes for the library summer reading program. We have to make sure that every single item that we ordered actually arrived so for the first three days of my new job, I’m tallying styrofoam airplanes, dinosaurs, bookmarks, and sticky slaphands that I know are going to end up on the ceiling of some unfortunate library. It’s not exactly what I expected when I signed on as the summer reading coordinator, but it’s not like I’m complaining. Most of the people in my program have picked up jobs at Walmart and Toys R Us. At least my job is much less menial. (I’m joking, bear with me.)

As I’m ruminating over my good fortune, I drop one of the balls and it goes jumping under the desk of one of the librarians.

“You know, you should really do this for a living,” she says. There are five enormous ferns on her desk so she has to whisper-scream to me through them. It makes me feel like we’re always on a top secret jungle safari.

“Counting toys?”

She picks up the ball and rolls it back to me. “I mean you should be a librarian,” she whispers through the foliage.

“Oh, maybe.” I’m nearly finished my English degree and pretty attached to the idea of being a teacher.

But then, I was also attached to the idea of being a princess.

“Well, think about it,” says the voice of my invisible spirit guide. “It seems like it would be up your alley.” I can almost see the glint of her glasses behind a gap in the leaves.

I promise that I’ll consider it.

It’s now the end of 2014. I’ve nearly finished my Education program. I’m less than thrilled about it. I enjoy hanging out with kids and talking about books. I love handing out the books. I love taking back the books. I love recommending them other books. I love when they recommend me books. I love hearing them talk to each other about the books. But this is pretty much it. Extracurricular activities threaten to steal my soul to the point of reoccuring dodgeball nightmares.

My friends all think that I’m in denial about my career path.

Especially when I borrow novels and hand them back with carefully reinforced spines.

It’s time to finally come to terms with reality..

libr

Hi.  I’m Nichole and I want to be a librarian.

More to follow.

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