There is a study out there that says men like to read male authors and women prefer to read female authors. I have never analyzed my reading habits and author gender. I do know a lot of my favorite authors are male. I do, however, have quite a few female authors I read regularly. I like to joke that I sometimes have the reading habits of a teenage girl. I’m too lazy to do a count, but I could see my total skewing more toward the male authors. I don’t think this study says more than that people like to read what they know and that people feel more comfortable with the voice of someone with whom they relate. That’s why the push for more diverse titles is important, especially for kids. All kids need to be able to find books about someone like them.
I was thinking about this last night after I was working on a list of books for a class I will be leading at work. It is a list of good adult fiction for teens. I took many of the books of the Alex Awards list and added a bunch from my personal experience. As I was asking coworkers for some titles to add to the list, I mentioned that I needed to add some diversity, because although I didn’t know what most of the authors looked like I was pretty sure they were a little too similar. I googled the names of the authors and discovered that they were more alike than I realized. If I just looked at the author photos, I could assume that they were all related. Apparently, I don’t just have a thing for British and Irish authors, I I have thing for British, Irish and ginger authors. It was really weird. I can now add diversity to the list of my reading goals for 2015.
Or, if I do what I claim I will do in this post, an undefining moment.
I’ve always been someone who said I did not want to be defined by my job. I’m a librarian and I enjoy being a librarian, but I don’t want my life to be defined by my libriarianness and/or my success in the field. Lately, however, I have started to worry too much about my success in the field. I’ve applied for many promotions, transfers, jobs in other library systems over the past few years and have heard nothing but a resounding no. I know that I am good at my job and that I would be good at these new jobs, but the constant rejection is getting me down. I think that I am not exactly letting my job define me as much as letting the people making these decisions define me. I’m letting myself be defined as someone who reached the peak of their professional life 20 years ago. There is nowhere to go from here. That wouldn’t be a problem if I had continued in my belief that I am not defined by my job. So, what changed?
It was easy when the kids were little. I was defined by my job as dad. I didn’t worry so much about job advancement because my job gave me the flexibility to be home most nights and every weekend with the kids. This was especially important because Dawn traveled a lot with her job. Once Bradley got older, I was defined some by my job as Coach Alan. I spent a lot of nights and weekends on the baseball field and the gym helping coach baseball and basketball. Jessica was also still young enough for me to be kept busy just being dad there as well. I was also defined by my job as Mr Alan, youth worker at the church. I started my work with the youth group right before Bradley was born and was there until right when he went to high school. I did youth camps in the summer, youth retreats in the winter, mid week Bible study, middle school Sunday school, and various other events. Again, my job allowed me the flexibility to do this, so I was happy.
Now, Bradley is away at college. Jessica is in high school. While dad is still needed, it is not the same as when they were little and needed me for everything. I haven’t been Coach Alan since the group I coached went to high school. Now they are all in college. The main group of kids I worked with at Severn Run are all married with kids these days. I leave work and realize I have no where to go and nothing really to do. I guess I decided to put all of that excess time and energy into advancing at work and now realize that is not likely to happen.
I guess maybe this is my midlife crisis. Who am I now that I’m not these people? I need to make sure I find how to define myself and not let others define me as a failure.
Unless you have been living under a rock the past week you have likely heard the controversy surrounding the New England Patriots and their deflated balls. At this point, it seems like there is enough evidence to prove that the balls were deflated and that the New England Patriots have cheated once again. Bill Bellichek can claim all he wants that he knows nothing about the issues with his balls, but we all know that isn’t true. We have to assume that since Tom Brady and the rest of the offense spends their entire career handling balls that they had to know as well. My personal opinion is that Bill Belichek needs to be suspended since this is his second time being caught cheating. If the NFL had any guts they would suspend him for the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, what will likely happen is that they will be so mad at New England that they will fine Marshawn Lynch more money for grabbing his crotch(maybe we was making sure his balls were properly inflated?) and not talking to the media.
This is not a sore loser complaint. I’m not saying the Ravens lost to NE because of their balls(I do blame GB’s loss on the lack of balls). I’m saying that I don’t like cheaters and that we seem to be to willing to forgive the cheaters of the world. There are plenty of people out there who think nothing should be done because they assume NE would have won anyway. These are probably the same people who think the steroid users from baseball deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. These are probably people who would and possibly have cheated to get ahead in life. We use the excuse that “everyone else is doing it” so it’s OK for us to do it as well. Do I think that there is a good chance that every team in sports cheats in some way? Yes, I think bending and violating rules is common place. Do I think that’s OK? No, I don’t. I would like to think that my team’s ownership, coaches and players are honest, but I wouldn’t be shocked to find out that they aren’t. I also wouldn’t argue that it’s no big deal. If John Harbaugh was caught cheating I would wnat him suspended by the NFL and fired by the team. Same goes for John Calipari at UK. I would rather be an honest loser than a cheating winner.
Top ten books read in no particular order
Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
Winger by Andrew Smith
The Cormorant by Chuck Wendig
Serpent of Venice by Christopher Moore
Breakfast Served Anytime by Sarah Combs
Revival by Stephen King
Butter by Erin Jade Lange
Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larrsen
Seven for a Secret by Lindsay Faye
Golem of Hollywood by Jonathan and Jesse Kellerman
The Three by Sarah Lotz
Trouble by Non Pratt
The Ghost in the Electric Blue Suit by Graham Joyce
Parasite by Mira Grant
Worst book I finished
Someone Up There Hates You by Hollis Seamon
Book I Dustbunnied
Wolf by Lorenzo Carcaterra
Number of books read: 106
Number of pages read according to Goodreads: 37067
I have to say that this was not a banner year in reading for me. Too many mediocre books. It was hard to come up with the 15 best. I need to be more selective with my reading next year.
Sunday morning I discovered that we had no hot water. I went to the basement hoping it was something simple like the pilot was out on the water heater. Unfortunately, I discovered a flooded basement and a dead water heater. We spent hours that day moving all of the stuff out of the flooded part and vacuuming out water. There is a section of carpet that will likely need to be pulled up and thrown away. There’s also another section of the basement with a leak that gets damp when it rains, so there is more carpet that will need to go. Monday I payed a lot of money to a plumber to install a new water heater.
Last night, we went to watch a show on our DVR and the play back was choppy and kept freezing. I rebooted the box as they recommend and after a long time thinking it wouldn’t reboot, it finally did. The DVR worked for one show and was bad again. Verizon tells me the box is bad and I need a new one. Easy fix, but I lose hours of recorded television. I’m not sure Verizon understands why that irritates me so much. They think I should just be happy with my new box. This one is just a minor irritant, but following so closely on the water heater debacle, it was hard to take. Maybe this one will help me with my TV addiction.
I’m trying to think positive and think that maybe all of the bad stuff will just make the next good thing that happens that much sweeter, but the pessimist in me is holding his breath waiting for the next thing to go wrong. I’m thinking a car this time. Christmas vacation will come at the perfect time this year. I can’t wait to get away to Kentucky and not think about things for a while.
But the topic of this post is something that really bothers me and I decided not to keep quiet. I am appalled that the same people who are all over the internet loudly proclaiming that they are being persecuted because people are saying Happy Holidays are the same people who don’t understand why people are so worked up over police killing unarmed men and the US torturing people. I will loudly proclaim my Christianity and show how Christian I am by demanding that everyone recognize my personal religion by greeting me only with my personal preference during the holiday season. Human life and dignity? Meh. What’s the big deal? They probably deserved it and even if they didn’t, doesn’t mean anything to me personally. Why do I care if some criminal is dead? Someone wished me a Happy Hanukah! That’s what matters! Why do I care if some mooslim from another country was tortured? They probably hated America, so they get what they deserve. What really matters is that all the gift cards in the stores say Happy Holidays. I’m being persecuted! It’s about time we started talking about what’s important! Where’s the CNN expose on the use of generic holiday greetings? After all, isn’t Christianity all about that and not loving other people? Oh, wait…