Travel Journals

I found my new favorite database and felt the need to share. I ran into this while writing a database comparison paper for one of my classes.

Meet: Travel Writing, Spectacle and World History.

This little beauty has scanned copies from a number of different travel journals throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Sometimes the handwriting can be a little tedious to read, but I found this to be one of my absolutely favorite databases. (I know, only a librarian…) Enjoy!!


Top Ten: Books

As of this day in 2014, these are a few of my all-time favorite books. Trust me, this isn’t a brag list. I do, on occasion, read something of literary significance but to be completely frank, I read a lot of weird shit. And honestly, that’s usually what entertains me the most. So, if you’re looking for a recommendation from me (and don’t follow me on Goodreads) here is what I would tell you:

10. Emma- by Jane Austin.

I guess I do love SOME things that can be considered a classic and Emma is one of those stories. Yes, I realize she’s a little annoying and thinks she knows everything, but I can relate to that! Seriously, she covers things that happen in real life. (I’ve totally been in about 70% of the situations Emma finds herself in) And oooh, when she messes up she really does it properly. P&P is the standard Jane Austen most people love to talk about but I think we forget about the other strong ladies she writes. Besides, I was never a Darcy fan, anyway.

9. Easy- by Tammara Webber

This isn’t a book that probably makes a lot of genra-crossing top ten’s. It’s a Young Adult novel, but I believe the actual rating is YA-M. It covers more mature topics than would be acceptable for a young teen and the heroine is of college age. It is a romance, but I wouldn’t consider it particularly heavy on the subject. Probably my favorite aspect of this book is that it focuses on a girl who is almost raped, and how she deals with it. She has, what I would consider, a very realistic and honest response without turning into the girl that needs to be saved by a guy. However, Ms. Webber certainly writes a very yummy hero.

8. Divine Evil- by Nora Roberts

Nora Roberts doesn’t JUST write the fiction your mom reads. This book was honestly super creepy, disturbing, and made me a little scared to go to sleep at night. Mostly because it seems like something that could really happen in a small town. Again, this is another book with a romance element (ok, this IS Nora Roberts) but you should maybe give this one a chance if you enjoy reading thrillers.

7. The Vampire Lestat- by Anne Rice.

I love a good vampire book. Especially when the vampires actually act like vampires. (Please no sparkling). Lestat is my absolute favorite of Rice’s vampires, so of course I enjoyed his story. Dude is seriously screwed up. Don’t expect any sort of love story in this one.

6. Can You Keep a Secret?- by Sophie Kinsella

I love this book. It’s total chic lit, but I found it to be hilarious enough to add it to my ‘re-readable’ shelf. I’ve gone back to this book several times and if you need something funny and light, this is the book for you. You might recognize Sophie Kinsella as the author who also wrote the Shopaholic books.

5. The Stranger Beside Me- by Ann Rule.

Ok, I know this is a creepy one. I suppose I should have said True Crime in general, but most of my obsession with true crime novels started with this book. The Stranger Beside Me is the story of Ted Bundy. If you know anything about him, he was a serial killer in the mid 70s. I always found him to be interesting just because he was so handsome and charismatic, a law student, and generally someone you would not expect to play a villain. Ann Rule’s book is also interesting because she actually knew and worked with Ted and began investigating the murders for her book before he was even a suspect. What timing.

4. Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs- by Molly Harper (Jane Jameson series)

I know I just told you that I like ‘real’ vampires, but here is a series with a “nicer” brand of fanged monster. I found a lot of similarity with this series and the Sookie Stackhouse series. The only difference is that I liked these books. They’re really funny and the heroine is a librarian in the South so I totally appreciated that element. Harper also has a werewolf series that’s equally amusing, so if vampires aren’t your thing, maybe give that one a go.

3. Touching Evil- Kay Hooper

Really, I like the series and the author but this was the first book I ever read of Kay Hooper’s so it stuck with me. Another serial killer fiction with paranormal elements, it’s really the type of book I probably read the most. I particularly like the ‘evil’ series by Hooper but all her trilogies are worth a shot if this genre appeals to you. This is another one with a romance twist, but I definitely stayed creeped out for most of the read.

2. Unraveling- by Elizabeth Norris

Probably the best description of this book is a mash up of Veronica Mars and the XFiles. Aliens, romance, traveling between parallel universes, this book has it all. Plus, even though the book is Young Adult and set in high school, I found the heroine to be rather likable which is becoming increasingly difficult for me as I get older. This was probably my absolute favorite book of 2012.

1. The Harry Potter series- by JK Rowling (surprise surprise).

There is no other series that has captured my interest quite like Harry Potter. I began reading the books shortly after Chamber of Secrets was published in 2000 when I was around fourteen. I remember watching an interview with JK Rowling on the Rosie O’Donnell Show (I loved that show! One of the few talk shows my mom let us watch) and I was completely intrigued with the wizard concept. Of course, I completely fell in love with the books. From that moment on, you could find me at every midnight book and movie release, usually in costume, anxiously awaiting the newest addition to the series.

The extent that I love these books is probably at a weird, creepy level almost bordering on a serious obsession. But really, I was one of those unique few that could place the series very specifically on my childhood. I love the books through my teenage years, and weirdly enough, the last book was published in the same summer I graduated from college, unceremoniously propelling me into a Harry Potter-less adulthood.

So there you have it- my favorite books.

The New Year

I can’t say that I’m sad 2013 is in the past. To be completely honest, it was a little rough. I continued in grad school, worked full time, had a number of close friends move away, and dealt with the first major death in my family. And if I’m completely honest, this was the first year I’ve become overwhelmingly aware that my life is drastically different from some of the people I grew up with. (#FirstWorldProblems… I know)

But 2013 wasn’t all bad. I have a loving family. I have my health. I became better friends with a few grad school ladies I met the previous summer and I started dating a really awesome guy. I even moved into a house with a group of pretty cool people. So in the grand scheme of things, I have very few complaints.

But seriously, by October, I was more than ready to bring on 2014!

For New Year’s Eve this year, The Boyfriend and I were a little uncertain of how we wanted to celebrate and we ended up in Market’s Square with about a thousand other people.





I don’t know if I would do Market’s Square again in the future, I mean, they literally had a crane dropping a ball of lights mimicking the New York ball drop, only it wasn’t at all timed. It started down at like a minute and a half left to go and was forced to suuuuuper slow down by the end. Amusing once, yes. Something I think I want to see every year, maybe not.

Maybe some year I’ll make it to NYE and see the real thing.

Hello 2014!

I have decided to start a blog.

I’ve certainly tried this before but (unless you count my book review blog) none have been particularly successful. So don’t expect great literature or profound statements, this is going to be treated somewhat like a journal. Only, this time I’m not expecting to keep going for more than a year. I think part of the reason my past blogs died off was because I always turn it into such a HUGE project to continue forever. It feels intimidating and daunting without any sort of payoff. If I give myself a time limit I think I’ll have a better chance at keeping up with it and in the end it’ll actually feel like I accomplished something.

There are a couple factors behind why I want to try this again.

I was talking to one of my roommates about how, in these 2010s, we’ve adapted to recording our history. Gone are the days of little book journals and cameras that require film and printed pictures. I mean, I’m one of those Snapchat users. Talk about disposable. I post on Facebook and I check in on Foursquare. I use Twitter to comment on tv shows and complain about things in the news. I have an Instagram account for photos, a LinkedIn for work, Pinterest for bookmarks and lists, Goodreads for book reviews, Couch Surfing for travel, and a tumblr for random librarian memes. And that’s just what I have on my phone at this exact moment. Who knows what I’ll have tomorrow and what I’ll get rid of in the future.

My point is, I have so many ways to track and record what I do, but they all hinge on someone else’s program and I don’t really ‘own’ any of it. This blog is similar, but I think at the end of the year I’ll print the whole thing out and maybe have it bound or something. Who knows.

The second reason why I want to give this another go is because my writing really sucks lately. For serious. I need practice. I was reading through a story I wrote in college and it just made me sad because I truly don’t think I have that level of talent anymore. Really, the only way I’m going to get better is by writing something consistently that I actually want to write.

So yeah. I guess this is something of a New Year’s resolution. We’ll see how this goes…