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  • Nicole Hill 3:00 pm on 2017/05/18 Permalink
    Tags: , the book nerd's guide to life,   

    The Book Nerd’s Guide to Dream Jobs 

    Welcome to the Book Nerd’s Guide to Life! Every other week, we convene in this safe place to discuss the unique challenges of life for people whose noses are always wedged in books. For past guides, click here.  

    For probably too many years of my life, I held onto hope that I could still attain the job I held in higher esteem than all others: archivist at the legendary Disney Vault. The vault was the place where everything I loved as a child went to hide from me. Because this was before I understood the concepts of supply and demand, my perception of the vault was of a cinematic Atlantis, a hidden and inaccessible Eden that obscured Lady and the Tramp from viewers like me for years on end.

    Likely to quell my inevitable disappointment, my parents assured me the vault was a metaphor, simply a state of being for Disney movies, not a physical location. Since then, I’ve been vindicated by the knowledge that the physical vault does exist, but I still haven’t been tapped to tend it. Granted, I have no qualifications and my idea of what the job would be is mostly the same as the guy from the warehouse scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark—but with vigilantly rewound VHS tapes.

    Still, it stings a little to watch your dreams turn to dust. And it’s not the first time. I’ve had a number of dream jobs slip through my fingers over the years.

    For example, I’ve written about the Macaulay Culkin vehicle The Pagemaster more times than, quite possibly, anyone else alive. At the very least, it extends past the point of good taste. Nevertheless, after watching a young boy come to realize all genres of literature are worthy of merit—thanks, primarily, to Whoopi Goldberg and Patrick Stewart—I had a new calling. I wanted to be The Pagemaster, lord of fiction, wizard of alternate realities, herald of otherworldly adventures.

    What you remember upon rewatching this classic of cinema is that this wizardry is actually a viable career path. We call it a librarian, someone who routinely opens doors to other worlds, albeit not always ones with Leonard Nimoy on the other side. It turns out I’d let this ideal career pass me by without noticing; I’d been trying to defy nature and grow a majestic beard when what I needed was a master’s degree in library science.

    Other opportunities, however, have yet to appear in the marketplace.

    It bothers me on a spiritual level that companies will pay thousands of dollars to sponsor video-game players but no such reward exists for people who read with such a ferocity as to be noteworthy. Where are the adult Summer Reading Challenges? Where are the sponsorship deals and merchandise when I complete my yearly reading goals? Why is 100 books in 365 days not enough to awe and inspire the hearts and minds of venture capitalists? They used to give me medals for this kind of thing. Now they just give me advice to get more vitamin D. 

    Of course, I’ve also yet to meet a real-life library cop, a la Seinfeld, or someone who sniffs books professionally (and not on their lunch breaks). Do I just dream too big? Maybe, maybe not. But as long as there’s a novel in my hand and a bookmark somewhere in the bottom of my purse, I’ll keep hoping and wishing and dreaming.

    The post The Book Nerd’s Guide to Dream Jobs appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Nicole Hill 9:21 pm on 2017/05/04 Permalink
    Tags: , the book nerd's guide to life,   

    The Book Nerd’s Guide to Lies They Told You 

    Welcome to the Book Nerd’s Guide to Life! Every other week, we convene in this safe place to discuss the unique challenges of life for people whose noses are always wedged in books. For past guides, click here.  

    I think we all like reading. You’re not viewing this page unless you’re into books, or have become terribly, terribly lost on the World Wide Web. For most of us, this affinity for the written word was cultivated in childhood, at our local libraries or Scholastic Book Fairs or in a cupboard under our cruel guardians’ staircases. We always knew reading was important. We also knew we liked it. And it was endlessly reiterated that that was the true and proper way of things.

    Now, no one’s disputing those particular facts. But I am saying we were lied to, in a number of ways and over a number of years. Harmless lies, really, or so the adults thought. They were just little fibs to lure kids to hardbacks. What harm could there be?

    Tell that to malleable young minds. Tell that to everyone who internalized these life lessons before figuring out they were falsehoods and deceptions. Tell that to the purely hypothetical idiot who stayed up reading All the Missing Girls into the wee hours and became convinced those thumps weren’t coming from her downstairs neighbors but from some shadowy figure from her past lurking outside the door.

    Tell these lies to that, again, entirely hypothetical person.

    Reading Is Fun-damental

    For me, the carefree days of childhood were pumped full of this messaging, whether through celebrity posters or preachy, on-brand bookmarks. Of course, I’m not disagreeing with the fundamental nature of reading. It’s the bedrock of enlightenment, a worthwhile way to fill the yawning hours of existence. But fun? Fun? Have you, well-intentioned school librarian, ever hurled a paperback copy of A Storm of Swords against a wall in a fit of fury and betrayal? My reading maturation led me from Clifford the Big Red Dog to the Red Wedding, with little to no warning. I’m still shook. Reading isn’t always fun, kids. Sometimes it’s the embodiment of the cold, cruel world we live in. The bookshelf is dark and full of terrors, and you need to be ready for them.

    You Can’t Judge a Book by Its Cover

    It’s a metaphor, I get it, but it’s a flawed one. I defy you to look at the cover of Claire-Louise Bennett’s Pond, or The Vegetarian, by Han Kang, or literally any volume of Saga and tell me you don’t immediately want to bury your face in it. While it’s important to teach youngsters not to turn up their noses at battered old mass market paperbacks, it’s also perfectly reasonable to make some snap decisions based on appearance. Beautiful covers often hold yet more beautiful books. The better lesson is that beauty comes in all shapes, all sizes, and all bindings, and good decisions can indeed be made based on ornamental book displays.

    They Lived Happily Ever After

    Sure. Sure they did. Of course. Nothing to see here.

    Slow and Steady Wins the Race

    When you’re 10, life seems like it will wind on forever. You will have interminable amounts of time to find yourself and reach for the stars. You must only endure the fleeting, painful years of adolescence before you realize how very wrong that assumption is. Sometimes I wake up finding it difficult to negotiate myself out of bed, because I feel crushed by the weight of the realization that I will never be able to plow through all the books I want to read. My to-read stack feels Sisyphean, forever replenishing without ever depleting. There is no end in sight. Slow and steady will do nothing for me, except ensure you’ll discover my corpse someday next to an ample stack of unfinished books. Please, be kind and bury me with the contents of what was in my online shopping cart.

     

    The post The Book Nerd’s Guide to Lies They Told You appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Nicole Hill 1:26 pm on 2017/04/06 Permalink
    Tags: , the book nerd's guide to life,   

    The Book Nerd’s Guide to Air Travel 

    Welcome to the Book Nerd’s Guide to Life! Every other week, we convene in this safe place to discuss the unique challenges of life for people whose noses are always wedged in books. For past guides, click here.

    By the time you’re reading this, assuming all has gone according to plan, I will be on an international flight to jolly old England. Subsequently, by the time you’re reading this, I likely have already instigated or escalated several disagreements about what kind (and what number) of reading materials are acceptable for a one-week vacation.

    Traveling is an anxious and hectic process, filled with a great many decisions, any of which, if decided with haste or haphazardly, can ruin your vacation. This is never truer than when you’re flying. There are more constraints on air travel than on a Bennet daughter’s marriage prospects. Your space, your time, your patience, they’re all under stress on an airplane. The way I usually mitigate this kind of stress is with a good book or twelve—but good luck with trying to cram that mini-library into an overhead bin–compatible rolling suitcase.

    But you’ve got to make it work. You can’t spell “vacation” without “cat” or “taco,” and the only thing you love more than those things are books. But there are so many considerations to be made.

    Because of space limitations and the nickel-and-diming of baggage fees, the idea of carting hefty hardcovers is right out. Pliability is the name of the game, which means all those wonderful, exciting new releases you’ve lined up are probably going to sit this trip out. It’s in their best interest, anyway. Do you want to risk messing up the dust jacket this soon into a book’s shelf life because your soft-sided suitcase was slung onto the baggage carousel like, well, like a younger Bennet daughter entering the marriage market?

    Then again, maybe it’s your e-reader’s time to shine. Its sleek flexibility is what attracted you in the first place, and you did download all those canon classics before the holidays. They haunt you still. When the wind is right, you can still hear Tess of the d’Urbervilles call your name. At least until your battery life runs out mid-flight because charging somehow escaped your pre-trip checklist.

    Clearly it’s not safe to rely solely on your e-reader to get you through several days spent separated from your personal library. It’s best not to leave these things to chance, and to always have backups, as if you’re Mrs. Bennet chucking dispensable daughters to eligible suitors.

    The other downside to ereaders is that no one can see what you’re reading. Occasionally, you’re perfectly content for this to be the case. You don’t need strangers on the train to see you whipping out Flowers in the Attic. But sometimes, you’re reading something that’s trendy, edifying, or otherwise, as the kids used to say, on fleek. Many have been the times I wanted to indicate to others, subtly and tastefully, that I too am familiar with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s work and, because of this, we share a common bond. How am I supposed to make this announcement if I have neglected to make room in my suitcase full of crap for some dazzling paperbacks?

    There are people in this world who think “the essentials” are socks, toothpaste, a passport. They’d rather struggle to fill their finite packing space with extra pairs of underwear and versatile shoes. I am not one of these people. I’m the type of person who’s easily able to devise an annotated list of 12 to 14 situations in which I could conceivably run out of reading material, including plagues of paper-eating locusts, being trapped in the hotel elevator, accidentally dropping my e-reader from a scenic balcony, or the sudden onset of a sleeping sickness that infects everyone but me.

    This is all to say there are four physical paperback novels in the cargo hold of this airplane, one in my carry-on bag, and half a dozen ebooks in my purse. My bags are as crammed full of reading material as a country ball is with Bennet daughters. My only concern now is what I’ll do with all the books I buy during the course of this vacation.

    I hope to see you in London. I’ll be the woman walking around Trafalgar Square with no jacket or pants, clutching all 768 pages of The Heir Apparent.

    The post The Book Nerd’s Guide to Air Travel appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Nicole Hill 1:26 pm on 2017/04/06 Permalink
    Tags: , the book nerd's guide to life,   

    The Book Nerd’s Guide to Air Travel 

    Welcome to the Book Nerd’s Guide to Life! Every other week, we convene in this safe place to discuss the unique challenges of life for people whose noses are always wedged in books. For past guides, click here.

    By the time you’re reading this, assuming all has gone according to plan, I will be on an international flight to jolly old England. Subsequently, by the time you’re reading this, I likely have already instigated or escalated several disagreements about what kind (and what number) of reading materials are acceptable for a one-week vacation.

    Traveling is an anxious and hectic process, filled with a great many decisions, any of which, if decided with haste or haphazardly, can ruin your vacation. This is never truer than when you’re flying. There are more constraints on air travel than on a Bennet daughter’s marriage prospects. Your space, your time, your patience, they’re all under stress on an airplane. The way I usually mitigate this kind of stress is with a good book or twelve—but good luck with trying to cram that mini-library into an overhead bin–compatible rolling suitcase.

    But you’ve got to make it work. You can’t spell “vacation” without “cat” or “taco,” and the only thing you love more than those things are books. But there are so many considerations to be made.

    Because of space limitations and the nickel-and-diming of baggage fees, the idea of carting hefty hardcovers is right out. Pliability is the name of the game, which means all those wonderful, exciting new releases you’ve lined up are probably going to sit this trip out. It’s in their best interest, anyway. Do you want to risk messing up the dust jacket this soon into a book’s shelf life because your soft-sided suitcase was slung onto the baggage carousel like, well, like a younger Bennet daughter entering the marriage market?

    Then again, maybe it’s your e-reader’s time to shine. Its sleek flexibility is what attracted you in the first place, and you did download all those canon classics before the holidays. They haunt you still. When the wind is right, you can still hear Tess of the d’Urbervilles call your name. At least until your battery life runs out mid-flight because charging somehow escaped your pre-trip checklist.

    Clearly it’s not safe to rely solely on your e-reader to get you through several days spent separated from your personal library. It’s best not to leave these things to chance, and to always have backups, as if you’re Mrs. Bennet chucking dispensable daughters to eligible suitors.

    The other downside to ereaders is that no one can see what you’re reading. Occasionally, you’re perfectly content for this to be the case. You don’t need strangers on the train to see you whipping out Flowers in the Attic. But sometimes, you’re reading something that’s trendy, edifying, or otherwise, as the kids used to say, on fleek. Many have been the times I wanted to indicate to others, subtly and tastefully, that I too am familiar with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s work and, because of this, we share a common bond. How am I supposed to make this announcement if I have neglected to make room in my suitcase full of crap for some dazzling paperbacks?

    There are people in this world who think “the essentials” are socks, toothpaste, a passport. They’d rather struggle to fill their finite packing space with extra pairs of underwear and versatile shoes. I am not one of these people. I’m the type of person who’s easily able to devise an annotated list of 12 to 14 situations in which I could conceivably run out of reading material, including plagues of paper-eating locusts, being trapped in the hotel elevator, accidentally dropping my e-reader from a scenic balcony, or the sudden onset of a sleeping sickness that infects everyone but me.

    This is all to say there are four physical paperback novels in the cargo hold of this airplane, one in my carry-on bag, and half a dozen ebooks in my purse. My bags are as crammed full of reading material as a country ball is with Bennet daughters. My only concern now is what I’ll do with all the books I buy during the course of this vacation.

    I hope to see you in London. I’ll be the woman walking around Trafalgar Square with no jacket or pants, clutching all 768 pages of The Heir Apparent.

    The post The Book Nerd’s Guide to Air Travel appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Nicole Hill 4:45 pm on 2017/03/23 Permalink
    Tags: , the book nerd's guide to life,   

    The Book Nerd’s Guide to Knowing When to Break Up 

    Welcome to the Book Nerd’s Guide to Life! Every other week, we convene in this safe place to discuss the unique challenges of life for people whose noses are always wedged in books. For past guides, click here.  

    If life imitates art, the number of relationships that bite the big one should come as no surprise. I’ll grant you that few real-life couples face the same love-dooming challenges as fiction. For example, rarely are they sucked into a televised bloodbath (Team Gale forever), and perhaps even less often (let’s hope) are they literally twins.

    More often, lovers suffer from the oft-studied Harry-Cho disorder, in which their feelings toward each other are simply too boring to survive. Even more common are relationships doomed by a series of otherwise unimportant micro-offenses, the tiny infractions against personal mores that turn doting partners into Nick and Amy Dunne sooner than you can say, “Think of the children’s books!”

    These aggressions tend to accumulate over the course of months and years, culminating in one final catastrophic event, like accidentally leaving the refrigerator door ajar all day or defending a lonesome pair of underwear left on the bedroom floor, as if it were an incident that did not happen every Tuesday.

    Sure, some of these things are trivial. On their own, they shouldn’t be enough to end a relationship. Maybe. There are certainly offenses, deemed inoffensive by some who are not reading this post, that can and should extinguish the flame of passion, mostly because they interfere with one of your other passions: reading, naturally.

    If the two major forces in your life—your partner and your books—are not in harmony, or worse, are in opposition, the pillars of your mental well-being begin to erode. Sure, you may pass off some annoyances as minor, but beware the slippery slope. By the time you’re reading furtively at a coffee shop because you just can’t handle the judgment about your title of choice, it’s too late. You’re already miserable.

    That’s why, as your friend, I suggest looking for warning signs early. It’s imperative you recognize your joint denouement before it gets ugly. Be ready to call it quits if, for example:

    • He dog-ears something from your first-edition collection.
    • She steals your Doctor Who bookmark and loses it.
    • He skipped school on Scholastic Book Fair days, and, subsequently, does not understand why throwing away your cherished Clifford the Big Red Dog eraser is a big deal.
    • Her idea of a low-key book light is a floor lamp.
    • He spoils the ending of something on your to-read list.
    • She spoils the ending of the thing you are reading literally right now. (Aw, come on, Shannon!)
    • He takes one of those Facebook quizzes and comes up as a Mr. Collins. And does not see the problem with this.
    • She refers to bildungsroman, in casual conversation, as her favorite typeface.
    • He finishes one of the pages of your Star Trek: The Next Generation coloring book without your permission. It was the portrait of William T. Riker. You were going to add scenery from Risa in the background.
    • She doesn’t think novellas should count toward your reading goal for the year.
    • He tells you finishing a chapter is “not a valid excuse” for skipping a work happy hour.
    • She kicks you out of her book club for disagreeing with her analysis of A Man Called Ove.
    • He thinks “Kurt Vonnemutt” is a dumb name for the dog.
    • She gives you a drawer in her apartment but has never made room on her bookshelf. She will never commit to you.
    • He has expressed preference for the movie over the book on three separate occasions.
    • She has not purchased, borrowed, or otherwise glanced at a book, ebook, or audiobook in the last calendar year.

    The post The Book Nerd’s Guide to Knowing When to Break Up appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
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