Aww . . . My Very Own Succulent

Joseph visited this past weekend, and we went to the garden store looking for a plant I could take to my dorm and keep alive. Unfortunately, I fell in love with this lovely succulent. Joseph says it needs lots of sun, so I'm praying to whatever deities may be listening for a south-facing window. Meanwhile, since Joseph pointed out it was hermaphroditic, I've named it Calliope after the main character in Middlesex.


Harry Potter Release Party: Photos!

Weary yet glowing with the successful release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows at 12:00 midnight this morning, I've posted a few pictures to my website, and also uploaded pictures to my Facebook page, if you are linked to my profile there. Check them out!



Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is being released to the general public at 12:01am midnight, 21 July 2007 (in case any of you have been living in the back of beyond for the last year . . . and I've taken so many orders for the book at Barnes & Noble that I had the ISBN number memorized (or at least, my fingers did) weeks ago. In spite of being a congenital non-joiner, I can't help being pleased: there's something insanely wonderful about the world getting so excited over a book.

At the little old Barnes & Noble in Holland, we're having a midnight party, like most bookstores. We'll be open until the last customer leaves in the wee small hours of the morning, and then return to do it all again starting at 8am Saturday. The only disappointment is that we aren't allowed to serve wine to the patrons as they wait in line.

I'm going to wear my grandfather's Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry collegiate sweatshirt, which until his death this spring he wore to every Hope-Calvin Basketball game with pride. On Saturday, once I've woken from my Harry Potter hangover, I'll be driving Grandma's copy of The Deathly Hallows out to South Shore personally. I'm sorry Grandpa won't be with us in person to see how the story comes to a close.

Pictures will be coming soon!


Radical Librarians

In my application to Simmons last year, I wrote that "as a scholar at heart, I am also committed to working for social change," and that a degree in library science would enable me to "translate my knowledge of radical pedagogy and feminism into hands-on activism." Becoming a librarian and historian will, I firmly believe, "make it possible for me to bring together all my commitments--to education, feminism, and history--in a vocation that is both intellectually rigorous and politically engaged."

This is a vocation I came to through my life-long need to be surrounded by the printed word (physically as well as intellectually), and the realization that I was happier in libraries and bookstores than almost anywhere else in the world. Maureen Corrigan wrote in her memoir Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading that "like so many bookworms, I was timid and introspective, and yet reading, my earliest refuge from the unknown world, made me want to venture out into it, instead of sticking with my own kind" (xxiii). No one I know would call me "timid," but I do have a tendency to be introspective, absorbed in my interior life. Books are an integral part of this interior landscape of mine. Yet like Maureen Corrigan, I find they fuel my curiosity, empathy, and determination to be a part of the living, breathing exterior world. The library seems the perfect solution, a balance between the privacy of books and the engagement of political activism.

Turns out (at least according to the New York Times) I'm riding the wave of a generational trend. In July 8th issue of the newspaper, they ran an article called A Hipper Crowd of Hushers that breaks the "news" that we bibliophiles have known for a damn long time: librarians are an awesome people.

(P.S. Thanks to the several friends who brought this article to my attention!)


Me: Diane Kruger? and other revelations of an almost-grad student

This weekend, I'm moving house from one place on 12th Street, where I've been house-sitting for the past two months, to the house of our friends Lyn & Larry, where I'll be bunking until I leave for Boston. With all this moving, by the time I get to Boston, I will (hopefully) have pared what I need to absolute essentials (plus lots of books).

I've been working a lot lately . . . even more than usual. I'm being trained on a new computer program at my second job (Lean Logistics, Inc.) and at Barnes & Noble we're gearing up for the great Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows unveiling, 12:01:01am on 21 July. Festivities start at 6pm and I've been recruited (well, strictly speaking, I volunteered) to paint lightening bolts on people's foreheads. Since we have hundreds of reservations, I am hoping I have a whole crew of house elves to help or my wrist will be totally useless by the end of the night.

Yesterday, when I was at Lean Logistics, my supervisor said her eleven-year-old son had been in with her the day before, and asked about me. When he heard I was going to grad school, he wondered if I was going to become and engineer and build robots like his uncle (who also went to graduate school). She said no, that I was going for something else, and then tried to think how to explain what I was going to do in a way that would make sense to him. "Then I remembered that his favorite movie in the world," she told me, "is National Treasure . . . you know? . . . with Nicholas Cage?" I thought about this, and remembered, vaguely, trailers that included lots of exciting chase sequences and something about the Declaration of Independence . . ."Yeah, I think I remember." "Well," she continued, "there's this character in the movie, Dr. Chase, and she's got a degree in library science and in history and she works as an archivist. So I said, 'Anna's going to be Dr. Chase!' "

Who knew that being an archivist was soooooo sexy?


American Activism(s)

My colleague at Barnes & Noble, Tony, who runs the music department, has decided to set up a display in my honor come August, when I am abandoning the store and moving East. I was asked to come up with a theme. After some consideration, I picked (for obvious reasons) the theme of political rabble-rousers in twentieth century American history. The movies must be fiction (no documentaries), but be based on actual true-life people or events. It's a completely subjective list of movies that I have enjoyed, and from which I learned something about our collective history.

In order of historical period, they are:

1. Newsies (1992)*
2. Iron-Jawed Angels (2004)
3. Reds (1981)
4. Entertaining Angels (1996)
5. Cradle Will Rock (1999)
6. Dash and Lilly (1999)
7. Good Night & Good Luck (2005)
8. Kinsey (2004)
9. Norma Rae (1979)
10. North Country (2005)

They are all worth watching . . . so add them to your Netflix queue!

*be warned, this is a (thoroughly enjoyable) Disney musical about the newsboy strike of 1899--okay, almost the 20th century--so if your taste doesn't run to musicals, this may not be your first choice!