The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy: A Handbook for Geeks

HEY! HEY! HEY! HEY!

JUMPS UP AND WAVES ERRATICALLY AT ALL MY FELLOW GIRL GEEKS, NERDS, OBSESSIVE LOVERS OF EVERYTHING.

I HAVE FOUND THE FANGIRL FEMINIST BIBLE.

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*phew* Ok. I’m tired now. Sometimes being that enthusiastic can be exhausting, but this book gave me ALL THE FEELS. Because ladies, it is all about us! And it’s amaaaaazing. I’m not kidding, I was internally screaming the whole time I was reading, like FINALLY someone stood up and said HEY! We need this. We deserve this. This is ours.

I basically want to post myself at the doorway of every high school and just hand out copies of this book. Because girls need to read it. It would change so many young girls’ attitudes about so many things.

I should probably tell you about it, huh? *deep breath* Ok. Calming down. Just a little bit though.

Sam Maggs is a fan girl. And like many of us, she’s gotten all of the resistance from the patriarchy about being a “fake geek girl.” What even is that anyway? Ugh. So, she’s written a book about how to fly our fan girl flag so high that the guys can have absolutely nothing to say about us being fake. Because we are pretty freaking awesome, ladies, and we should show it.

This book covers all the bases of geek–from cosplay to Tumblr, cons to YA lit. But the real underlying theme is confidence and feminism. It’s time to believe in ourselves and stop letting the world outside tear us down and stop us from being who we really want to be. The most wonderful thing about being a geek is that we love something with everything we have, which makes us different than anybody else. Why not show everyone what that one thing is?

If you couldn’t tell, I really loved this book. It’s coming out on May 12, and you bet I’m going to have this one on my shelf. Are you a fan girl? FLY THAT FLAG!

 

Fulfills PopSugar #24:  A book based entirely on its cover

NetGalley provided this ARC for an unbiased review.

Daily Bookish Challenges | Day Nine

If you could share and recommend only ONE book that you’ve read so far in 2014, which one would it be?

 

*HYPERVENTILATES*

I can only recommend ONE?! Do you know how hard that is? I have read SO many amazing books this year. Once I raised the bar and started blogging and reading harder, reading better, my whole reading world just took off.

I have learned so much this year about myself, about other people, about the world around me.

So you know what, let’s start at the beginning. What book changed all that for me?

The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin

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It was because of that book that I started this blog. And once I started blogging, I couldn’t stop. I latched on to more and more challenges, I looked for harder and more interesting books to read. I crave more and different knowledge. While I still read for entertainment, I have different goals now. And I absolutely love sharing them with you.

Everyone will get something different out of Rubin’s book, but it completely changed my attitude and life, and I think it will change yours too.

The Suicide Index

With a title like The Suicide Index, you know this isn’t going to be an easy review…

This isn’t a book I can just say, “Oh, I really liked this!” Because I didn’t really like reading it…although it was a very good, very well written book. It was a hard book to read, a very emotional book to read.

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First things first, this is nonfiction. Joan Wickersham is writing about the death of her father. More specifically, Joan Wickersham is writing about the suicide of her father. She calls herself a biographer many times during her story, but if anything, it’s more of a memoir about her own journey, than an actual biography of her father. The structure of The Suicide Index is unique–it is an actual index, with the chapter titles in alphabetical order. They all start with the word “suicide,” but then range on varying topics associated with the main.

It’s hard to say who the true audience of this book is. It is written out of the grief, anger, and healing of a surviving family member, so it is a very harsh reality of what it feels like to be left alive after a loved one kills themselves. It could be a rough read for those suffering from depression, but it could also be a big wake up call, for those who need one.

Joan says this:

“Did he know what it would do to us–my mother, my sister, and me?

If so, then he did something unforgiveable.

If not, then I wish he had known. But only if he really did have a choice, and only if knowing would have stopped him.”

 

I think this is a very important memoir. But tread carefully, if you do read it. There is a lot of pain here, so be prepared to open some wounds. Keep a journal nearby, or a friend if you need one.

And, if you do need real help, ask for it. I’ve posted helplines on the blog before, they can be found HERE.

 

(I’m not doing a separate Teaser Tuesday post today. Any quote I could have taken from this book would have been too raw without the context of the review.)

An Introvert in an Extrovert’s World

Today’s post is supposed to be titled “Favorite Nonfiction.” And it started out that way. But, I couldn’t leave that as the title, because, while this post is about my favorite nonfiction book, it is also about much more than that.

Susan Cain published Quiet in January 2012. Where was I in January 2012? Dating. Online dating to be specific. Meeting complete strangers for drinks at bars. It was absolutely terrifying. I was terrible at it.

And then I heard about this book. Or maybe it caught my eye at a book store, I can’t remember. But Susan Cain came into my life hard. Quite frankly, she saved me.

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For those of you who don’t know Quiet, this is a book about being an Introvert in an Extrovert’s world. Cain not only describes the differences, but also goes to great lengths to help us understand ways to be ourselves and still feel comfortable and confident in today’s society.

Not too long ago, my sister had my whole family take personality tests. I was not surprised to hear that everyone, except me, was some variation of extrovert. I had known that for years. They call laughed, though, when I told them mine:  INFJ (Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging). The rarest type in society. Only 1% of people have this personality. Where this comes from in my family, I don’t know, but I’m definitely the odd man out.

Growing up in an extroverted family was not easy. I very much wanted to keep up with all of the social activities, sporting events, and oh please god just let me get a word into this conversation! But mostly, my brain kept telling me that my books were waiting upstairs in my room.

School, especially college, was hard. For many people, college means parties! New friends! Clubs! For me, college meant feeling extremely out of place in a very big environment. People seemed to cling together quickly and easily, and I didn’t understand why that didn’t happen to me. Classes required group projects, and because I was in the business school, my groups were filled with aspiring sales people and entrepreneurs. Extreme Extroverts! All of my ideas were overspoken and thrown out…if I even tried to speak them at all. It has always been a very big frustration to me when I try to add something to a conversation and I get interrupted. I’ll try again once, maybe twice. After that I usually give up trying to participate.

But let me get back to January 2012. Remember that very dark place I talked about the other day? I was desperately trying to pull myself out of it. I needed something positive, fun, anything. So…online dating. Fun right? I was going to meet people. Yeahhhhhhhh….mmmk. Introvert’s Nightmare.

But then I read Susan Cain’s book. And she taught me that introverts need to recharge after social stimulation. I also learned how to prepare myself when I knew that I was going to be out in a big public place or bombarded with social stimuli.

So, I’d pick a bar or a restaurant that I could easily control. I’d show up 15 minutes early, and make sure I already have a beer before my date arrived–through the door that I could easily see. It made me much more relaxed and able to enjoy myself.

And hey…I found my husband that way, so it must have worked right? (Except he came in the wrong door on that first date. And I spilled beer all over myself.)

Applying these methods have also worked in other areas of my life too. R knows very well my “Haley Limits,” as he calls them, and helps make sure I’m recharging when I need to. My work is busy, but I am careful to watch and make sure I’m not multitasking to the point of overstimulation (and that is a problem for me sometimes, as a bit of a control-freak). I’m blessed to be able to work out of my home, so that helps too–and I’ve made my office a very calm place to focus.

My relationship with my family has grown up quite a bit as well. Maturity has a lot to do with it, but also, I know now that I will never be able to keep up with all of their activities. When I’m home though, there is nothing we like to do more than open a bottle of wine and play card games. And that, I can most certainly enjoy.

I would encourage you, at the very least, to watch Susan Cain’s Ted Talk. She discusses themes from her book–specifically our society’s obsession with GroupThink. (Confession time, I’ve probably watched this 10 times.) And I really do believe that everyone, Introvert or Extrovert, should read Cain’s book. It is that important. Especially for managers, teachers, religious leaders, parents–anyone who has any type of coaching or teaching role, especially with children. It is crucial that everyone is included in this world, that no one’s ideas are left unheard just because they are not as bold or loud as others.

Because some of us sit here, behind computers, behind books. We have ideas too. Some of the most brilliant minds in this world have been introverts. And they only become leaders because they have to. Susan Cain mentions this in her Ted Talk. They come across more genuine because they aren’t trying to steal the spotlight. They are up on that life stage because there is something out there that needs doing, and who else is going to do it but that introvert who is going to make it happen? So they stand up, even though every part of them is resisting. And at the end of it, they are beaten and exhausted and drained and small. Sometimes, it kills them. But it must be done.

Who are you listening to?

The Happiness Project

It’s been six days since I started this blog. And so far, I have enjoyed writing this more, and it has been more successful, than any other blog I have tried. I am not sure why it has taken me so long to do a book blog, but I should have started writing about my reading a long time ago.

It is no coincidence that I started the blog the day after beginning The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. You guys should see my journal. I have four pages of notes. This will be a book that I will buy to add to my collection, and one I will read again. While I’m not one to read Self-Help books, this was extremely inspirational and motivating. I wasn’t so sure about it at first, but the more I read, the more charged I felt. I didn’t always agree with everything she said, but she definitely challenged me to change my way of thinking.

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Gretchen has a very organized structure to her book. She set a monthly calendar of goals–each month she would have something in her life she would try to change:  marriage, parenting, spirituality, etc. She built upon each month, and then by December, her goal was to have a perfect month where she would live all of her changes.

These breakdowns are what got to me. Some of them were fantastic. Ironically, the parenting chapter I found incredibly educational. Even though my husband and I do not plan on having children, I found some of what she said extremely helpful in how I interact with my niece and nephews.

However, I hated the marriage chapter. I felt the goals were completely unrealistic and cheesy. I felt it cut out too much healthy communication, and instead made her a doormat. I kept picturing those really dumb Marriage Guru couples from the movies. You know the ones I’m talking about. Big hair, mega-watt smiles. And then they always turn out to have a horrible relationship, but in the end are found to be together for the money scam. Maybe it was just the way the chapter was written…but it was just a really bad vibe. Seemed like a horrible formula to me.

Rubin is extremely well read, that’s for sure. She talks about her love for books, constantly. I was able to relate to her on that level quite a bit. And she includes a lot of quotes in her book, from Aristotle and psychology experts alike. I liked that she used a lot of different sources to make her point, without it sounding like a textbook.

This book definitely made me think, which is why I have so many notes. The first thing it did was make me ask myself, “What makes me happy?” Answer:  Reading. “What can I improve upon?” Answer:  Retention and Education.

Solution:  Start taking notes and journal more about what I’m reading, and then blog about it. Do more than just reviews. Interact with people. Maybe join or start a book club.

I am not going to go quite as in depth in my Happiness Project as Rubin did and do the month to month breakdown. However, I am going to be a bit more serious about where my brain is at. Since college, I keep telling myself that I can’t let myself get stagnant. But I do, and then I get bored and depressed. So I’m going to challenge myself to read better and write more. I hope you enjoy reading the blog as much as I do writing it.

 

I am going to leave you all with a question from the May chapter from THP. This question got to me, and I sat down and journaled for quite awhile about it, and I think it’s a good question to ask ourselves.

Q:  “Are you more likely to think about happiness–and to take action to try to build happiness–when everything in your life is going well, or when you’re facing catastrophe? If you’re facing a catastrophe, does it help to think about taking little ordinary steps to build happiness (having lunch with a friend, making your bed in the morning, going outside for a quick walk)? Or are modest efforts like that dwarfed by the magnitude of what you’re facing?”