Erin’s Reading List Week 3

Hey there! I have set myself a summer reading goal: I’m reading a book a week for 15 weeks. I started 5 weeks (and 6 books!) ago and will go through to the first week of September.

So the third book I read for this challenge was Stiff by Mary Roach. This book came in with a bunch of other books I had put on hold from the library, and I was really feeling the pressure to get them all read in time!

This book was at times gross, graphic, and hugely entertaining.

Because this book was about cadavers- how they decay, how they’re disposed of, the various ways they can be useful to scientific and medical advancements.

So it feels kind of wrong to say that this book was hilarious- it had me actually chuckling to myself on the bus! Because the way Mary Roach wrote this was as a layperson, exploring the various professions involved with bodies, and sharing with us her own feelings (and moments of queasiness) as they happen.

One of my favorite moments included her trip to a forensic anthropology lab where corpses are left out in various states of decay for educational purposes. Another was the interesting callbacks to how bodies were treated historically- our modern ways of dealing with death look pretty odd, even in comparison to the sometimes unscrupulous industries of the past!

Anyway, I think I’ll try and read more of Roach’s books, I loved her writing style, and have high hopes for her book “gulp”, about the digestive system.

Happy reading!

Erin’s Reading List Week 2

Hey there! So as I shared last week, I have set myself a summer reading goal: I’m reading a book a week for 15 weeks. I started 4 weeks (and 4 books!) ago and will go through to the first week of September.

On my second week of this challenge, I finished When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present by Gail Collins. I was recommended this book by someone as a counterpoint to some really dumb things said by Fox News about women in the workplace. So I headed to my local library and hunkered down for some good girl power history lessons.

I have to admit, after a couple weeks to think it over, I have somewhat mixed feelings about this book.

Part of me (the lady empowerment part) was in awe of the tireless efforts of generations of women in securing our current position in society. This book detailed a the stark contrast of today’s ladies with a woman in the 50s whose post-high school options were mostly limited to finishing school in the guise of college, marriage or (oftentimes) a career as a secretary or teacher. The equal rights movement, which continues today, was furthered by these remarkable women.

Another part of me (the self-focused Gen X’er part) felt pretty guilty. Comparing my current situation to those of the women who are only a few generations removed from me, I have life pretty cushy. It’s never occurred to me that I might not be able to have a career AND a family. In my work, I’ve never felt direct or overt sexism. I take it for granted that gender plays no role in how seriously my work is taken (though I do often think about the role of age in being taken seriously in today’s workplace). Sure, I probably have it easier than some, being in a more female dominated industry, in the happy bubble that is the Pacific Northwest.

And finally, a tiny sliver of myself (perhaps the long-suffering journalism major part) had a hard time with the structure of this book. This book relied heavily on anecdotal examples to make its point. While these stories and individuals did make for a more engaging read – and humanized a movement that, in my perspective, seemed so much larger than my comprehension- it also felt at times like one person’s point of view, backed up by her friend’s collaborations. Direct quotes from women were given, but the context and background of these women was never explained in a way that quite satisfied me. I was sometimes left wondering who this woman was, and why I should listen to her opinion (something that I can so clearly picture the commentators on Fox saying that I am cringing at myself).

Overall, however, I loved this lesson in women’s lib. It sparked interest and conversation with my fellow ladies, and has given me a new appreciation and understanding of the world my mother and her mother may have lived in- and how different their worlds were from my own.

For a more thorough (and helpful!) review of this book, I enjoyed the NY Times article.

Happy reading!

What I’ve been reading lately.

Hey there!

(Oh hey heeeey)

I’m not sure if I’ve shared this on the blog yet, but I have set myself a summer reading goal! I’m reading a book a week for 15 weeks. I started 3 weeks (and 3 books!) ago and am going through to the first week of September.

Why? Because I love to read, I have a rediscovered love of the library, and the time I commute via bus is more than enough time to get some pages in. That’s an hour a day of reading time! And did I mention I happen to be one of those lucky fast readers? That isn’t to say that I am one of those readers who actually retains the information they read, however….

That’s why I’m going to also start sharing what books I’ve read, and what I thought of them, if nothing else so that I can remember! Your first installment this week is my first book I finished: Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan.

This book is actually one my Berk Clerb picked for some lighter summer reading (compared to the books we chose prior to this; Slaughterhouse Five and The Portable Dorothy Parker, which, while both very good, were also pretty depressing).

It fit several of our preferred book categories for a quick summer read: Young Adult Fiction, and Queer Coming of Age Stories. It chronicles the intersecting lives of two teenaged boys who happen to have the same name- and is written by two authors in an intersecting, every-other-chapter fashion. Apparently, the authors didn’t coordinate their stories except at the points in which they overlap, and it’s amazing the commonalities in themes that seem to pull through for each Will Grayson.

Overall, this was a fast read, hilarious, and really spoke to issues about growing up in a digital age, growing up queer, and just plain old growing up.

Happy reading!

Realizing some childhood ambitions

Sometimes I step back from my work and am overcome with the realization that 6 year old Erin would have loved what I do today.

Erin May Design Chalk Art Erin May Design Chalk Art Erin May Design Chalk ArtYesterday was one of those days. Drawing pretty things on chalk boards is a pretty amazing gig.

And now, just like 6 year old Erin, I need a nap and a juice.

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Manic Monday

Hey there, and happy Monday! How was your weekend? Mine was pretty fantastically relaxing, but as a result also fell pretty short of productive. So here I am, trying to get a running start at a very busy week to come!

I bought a chair this weekend...and found this.

I bought a chair this weekend…and found this.

Here are some fun tidbits from the ‘net this last week:

To continue my obsession a bit more today…

Zooey Deschanel is the unofficial poster child for hip and quirky twenty-something white girls, who have shaggy bangs and tattoos of fruit on their ankles and a closet full of brightly colored, vintage cardigans.

As a follow up to Today’s Post, I started doing research on what glasses Zooey wears (found here!) and in the process came across the quotation above from this article, entitled “How Zooey Deschanel [almost] ruined my sex life”. Now, I’m not saying I have a tattoo of a fruit on my ankle (I really don’t, I swear grandma!) but this description is eerily spot-on.

Now if I could only decide if that’s a good thing, or a bad thing….