The Democracy Of Reading

What if you lived in a place where there were no independent booksellers?

What if the biggest superstore carried a laughably small stock of books?

What if there were literally no such things as neighborhood libraries in the country where you live?

What if a mass-market paperback cost the equivalent of a very good meal and a hardcover book could cost up to 5% of your entry-level cube-farm paycheck?

Would you still read?

My guess is no.  Read More The Democracy Of Reading

Holding On To Sixteen

I’m a latecomer to the whole Glee thing. For about a year and a half, I ignored the show, even though I am an avid fan of television and musicals and people spontaneously breaking out into song. I knew the hype existed, but it existed on the periphery of my awareness, like seeing something out of the corner of your eye and not registering it with your brain. Plus, my sister told me she thought the show was crazy — maybe she said crazy in a good way but the impression I got was more like, “WTF is going on with this show and where is this all going in general?” At the time, I had enough WTF to figure out in my life without taking on the fictional kind.  Read More Holding On To Sixteen

Moving Through The Seasons

I like the seasons.

Specifically, I like that they change.

There is a rhythm to the seasons that I can appreciate for the very reason that I have lived in a seasonal world for short enough a time to still marvel at it. The seasons anchor your life deeply, color it in ways that a person cannot see if they have never lived in a place of colorless and monotonous weather.

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On Being A Grown-Up Human Being

This piece was originally titled “˜How To Be A Grown-Up’ before I realized that there was no surer way to bite off more than I could chew than to claim to know how to do something which, in the view of traditional sociologists, I am tragically failing at.
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7 Awesome Fictional Things I Wish Were Real

I’m not a huge fan of reality.

Actually, that’s a severe understatement — I have been known to actively and vigorously deny the conditions of whatever reality I happen to be currently living in by diving head-first into a pile of books and Nora Ephron movies. Friends? If I ignore your phone calls and neglect your Facebook statuses, it is only because I am currently in: a) Middle Earth, b) Narnia or c) Discworld.
Read More 7 Awesome Fictional Things I Wish Were Real

On Primordial Hunger And Food Blogs

I’m the sort of person who reads food blogs when she is hungry. Obviously, I also cook when I’m hungry or order delivery, which is a cheap and easy option when you live in Beijing. But I need something to do in between the chopping and the frying and the waiting for the delivery boy who has my order of Korean fried chicken strapped to the back of his motorcycle.
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On Keeping A Notebook

I think we are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not. Otherwise they turn up unannounced and surprise us, come hammering on the mind’s door at 4 a.m. of a bad night and demand to know who deserted them, who betrayed them, who is going to make amends. We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget. We forget the loves and the betrayals alike, forget what we whispered and what we screamed, forget who we were. – Joan Didion, Slouching Towards Bethlehem*

I am a serial notebook keeper. I started when I was seven and with a few short periods here and there, never really stopped. Read More On Keeping A Notebook

The Quest, or What Those $300 Shoes Are Really Saying To You

I always know when I am seriously discontented with the way my life is going.

Aside from the emotional eating, the cataclysmic breakdowns inflicted on the hapless boyfriend and the mindless surfing of the Internet, the kind that leaves you with a hollow and depressed feeling like you just ate a huge bag of candy and can’t quite remember why, there is also The Quest.
Read More The Quest, or What Those $300 Shoes Are Really Saying To You