Monday, November 19, 2012

My Life Since 10/12/12 And Some New Resolutions!

Busy Time at the Library
Fall is always one of my busiest seasons at work. First we have the annual book award committee meeting where we spend the whole day at a library arguing (we librarians tend to get a bit invested in our books) to see that our favorite books make the list for the following year. After the list is finalized it is hush hush until the big reveal at the ILF Annual Conference in November. While we all get the list of books in March, there is that inevitable rush at the end to cram in those last minute titles. During this time all of my reading is devoted to this committee, and trying to read as many of the books on the list as I can possibly manage.

After the committee meeting is over (actually before the committee meeting is over) I turn my attention to our annual One Book One Community project. October is usually the month when we are focusing on our one book, but the work starts months earlier. While I am not in charge of the program I am on the committee, and have to devote time to the project. This year I helped coordinate the essay contest that went along with the program.

While One Book One Community goes on, life at the library doesn't stand still. I have my regular teen programming and this year I added an additional aspect. My teens (please note this was a group of all boys) created Steampunk Notebooks this month while we discussed our mutual fascination with all things steampunk--one of the boys even brought his steampunk goggles, and boy did I have goggle envy. The additional aspect I added to my programming this year was the implementation of a Redesign a Book Cover Contest. We contacted the schools, the community art organizations, and a number of other art supporters to help us promote this program to our teens. The contest deadline was October 19th and we had 80 entries. We were amazed at the talent we saw.

The next program is the program that takes up the most time each year, and that is our annual Battle of the Books program. Each year I choose 10 books. Five of them new books and five of them books we have used in years past. Then I write 500 questions. 100 questions per book. Let me tell you this is time consuming and you better love the books you choose because you will be spending a lot of quality time with these books! On November 10th of this year teams from the area schools battled it out to prove who knew the books the best, and who would win the 2012 Battle of the Books Trophy. Surprisingly, the program ran like clockwork, and we were ahead of schedule all day. Why was this so surprising? Read on...

And Then I Got Sick
On my last post in October I mentioned I had been sick. Actually, I spent the entire month of October sick. I ran a fever for over 30 days before they finally figured out what was causing my bronchitis--a sinus infection. After 3 rounds of various antibiotics, and the equivalent of 3 rounds of prednisone, I found myself lacking any immune system at all. The Monday before Battle of the Books had me in the ER with a stomach virus, that dehydrated me so bad they had trouble getting a good blood draw and had to try multiple times to get in the IV. It all came down to not having any resistance to whatever virus I got--a consequence of all the antibiotics, which I had finished taking the previous morning. After the CAT scan came back (did I forget to mention that the day before I had suffered a head injury--yeah, I'm lucky like that) the doctor comes in and informs me that my head is just fine, but oh yeah--he can definitely see that I have a bad case of sinusitis--oh joy. Needless to say I still have my sinus infection because I am afraid more antibiotics too soon will have me laid up again. I don't think I will be able to wait much longer because I am afraid the fever will come back.

As I said, I am not sure how it all happened, or how I managed to get through it, but I am slowly recovering. The big programs for the year are over and I barely survived. I think next year, I am going to have to plan better, and find a way to stay healthy!

Reflections on Lessons Learned
All this hasn't left much time for reading, but has left me with a lot to think about. Sometimes I even came close to giving up the blog for good, but I believe that I need to keep blogging for myself and for my love of books. Yes I still love them, but I definitely need to pace myself. Sometimes when I find myself rushing through books, trying to beat deadlines, that I lose the enjoyment of the books, and so much of it becomes more like work. I need to find my enjoyment and love of reading again. This may mean that my reviews will be less frequent, but let me tell you they will be more true to myself and the works I read. I want to take time to savor and reflect on what I am reading. Last year I set a Goodreads goal to read 100 books and I did achieve that. This year I had planned to do the same, but after the year I have had, I have had to come to terms with the fact that sometimes it isn't meant to be.

Resolutions
I know it isn't the end of the year yet, but I think I am ready for some new resolutions. I need to start listening to myself and my body. I need to take time to savor and appreciate both the world around me and the literature I read. Most of all, I need to read for me.

What does this mean? First I am going to be a lot more selective about the review requests I take. I need to make sure it is one I want to read. I am also giving myself the okay to put down a book I don't enjoy. No offense intended, but not every book is right for everyone. I am giving myself permission to walk away from the books that don't hold my attention. It isn't a crime if I don't finish a book.

Next I think I am going to revisit my roots. I am going to go back and perhaps reread some of the books that stimulated my love of reading, so if you see some retro reviews in the future you are forewarned.

I am also going to actively seek out and pursue the books I want to read. How many times have I set aside books I really wanted to read because I had others that had deadlines waiting. Does this mean I will be doing fewer prepub titles? Probably, but I need to read for me. It probably also means that I may not be accepting as many review requests. Deadlines are killing me. I have them all the time at work, and this is something I do as a hobby, for fun. Lately the deadlines have been taking the fun out of it.

I needed time for reflection. What I got was a lot of sick time, but when you feel crappy, sometimes you have a lot of time to think. I have written this post a million times in my head, but what it comes down to is that I started this blog for me, and if it is going to be work, stress, and no fun, it is time to walk away. I am determined to make it fun and recapture my love of both reading and blogging. What will happen? Only time will tell...

PS
If anyone has a good cure for a sinus infection, I am all ears! I don't want any more antibiotics! :)

Reviews to come.... :)

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