inaugural post.

ampersands and coffee

Two things I like pretty well. And after about 40 other failed attempts to name this blog, I’m sticking with it – for better or worse. My original intention was a book-centered blog & I am often drinking coffee while reading – so I think it fits just fine. 

While many people in my life are aware of my current unemployment, many others are not. I found it weird to send out a mass text message detailing my status, so this will do. Long story short, the mother of the family I nanny for was laid off, and in turn, I was too. I’m happy to say that their family is doing just fine, and the boys love time with mom. I went back onto the website where I have found my previous nannying jobs and applied for a few. Within days I heard back from a woman moving with her two children from NYC to Cincinnati. After interviews and reference calls, I was offered a job starting July 5th. I’m really excited to start, and am looking forward to the both the individuality and sense of family that nannying brings – it’s a job I really love to do. 

So this brings me to my next venture: this blog. I have a month of unemployment ahead of me and a stack of books to read. I’ve found that writing about a book after you read it makes you feel it even more. You’re able to process emotions and new intellectual material much better than if you just close the book and say, “well that was good!”. I’m hoping that’s what this blog will be during this stint where I have the time to breeze through my reading list, and hopefully beyond. I’m sure a fair amount about what my life is like with Zach here in Cincinnati will pepper the blog as well. 

So. Without further delay, my first book review (is that what I should call it? sounds too formal) /book I have thoughts on/ book I read/ whatever is on Karen Thompson Walker’s first novel, The Age of Miracles. 

The Age of Miracles is Karen Thompson Walker’s first novel, ever. A feat which I almost always look at with reverence. A first book can be so beautiful, as it’s this authors real shot at getting into the published world and often the ideas and execution can be so new and exciting. I love the classics & seasoned authors like Vonnegut, but I also love getting my hands on something truly new. That’s what this book was for me. 

spoiler free plot synopsis: Julia is a middle-school aged girl living in California with her parents when the population learns that the earth’s rotation is slowing. While at first uncertain,the people of earth comes to realize that this slowing will effect circadian rhythms, crops, the magnetic field, water supply, tides, and many other things taken for granted in the modern world. Days and nights become longer and Julia is still forced to navigate middle school when the future is more uncertain than ever. 

what I thought: I really loved this book. I’ve read a lot of other reviews that said that this could have been classified as a young adult book, which I suppose could be true. However, I think a lot of times, even though a book is important and interesting, when it is slapped with a young adult sticker, many adults don’t give it a second thought because it’s not “meant” for them – I will use John Green’s novel The Fault in Our Stars as a HUGE reason that this way of thinking is flawed. I don’t think there is anything wrong with being absorbed in Julia’s middle school world, even though I am an adult. We all had to go through it – middle school girls that were just horrible to us, meeting boys, and trying to build those first fundamental blocks of who we are. But Julia is trying to do this when she doesn’t even know when, or if, the sun is going to rise. 

Another reason I enjoy this book is because it can get a little science-fiction-y. While I have never been one to read those intense paperback science fiction novels, I have a deep love for The Twilight Zone, Neil Gaiman, and Lovecraft – so I am always happy to have a little futuristic weirdness in what I’m reading. Walker uses what she calls “the slowing” to show how the American population divides in a time of crises. When given the news, the government elects to stay on “clock-time” (the standard 24 hour day) even though when they decide this, the technical days have already extended to nearly 30 hours. As time passes, this means that it may be pitch black at 2pm and bright white at 4am, as clock time and “real time” start to diverge. This causes a part of the population, what Walker calls “real timers”, to disregard clock time and live their extended days according to the rising and setting of the sun. These people distrust the stance of the government, and are almost immediately ostracized from society. Julia’s piano teacher & neighbor Sophia elects to become a real timer and Julia struggles with how to feel – as many real timers move to utopian-like communities and away from their previous lives. This plotline made me wonder what I would do in a similar situation – would I trust my government & ignore my body, training myself to be awake in the darkness? It’s hard to say, but you get the sense in the book that the real timers have it right, at least for a while. 

I will say that the book ends well, or so I thought, without telling you how. I would recommend it to anyone, as it’s a great coming-of-age story and one that makes you think of how you would handle the end of the world, however it came. 

favorite quotation: “Love frays and humans fail, time passes, eras end.” 

This is the end of my inaugural post. Hopefully this is the start of something constant. If you have any kind of feedback or criticism, please leave it. I’m pretty open to changes and learning new things. The next book I’ll post about is comedian & director Albert Brooks’ 2030. Another book about the future & what it could look like – and it’s bugging me out a little for sure. I’m excited to write about it.

Until then.