The Death of the So-Called ‘Death of Reading’

I have always dreamed of having my own library. You know what I’m talking about: stacks upon stacks of books, with ladders to reach the highest shelves and a cozy spot to curl up and get lost in other worlds.

In other words, the kind of library that the Beast gave to Belle.

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This scene makes me really emotional, okay?

And so, when e-books entered the literary world, I was determined to avoid them. After all, you can’t have a huge library with electronic books. When my parents asked if I wanted a Kindle, I felt as though I had been personally attacked. “I like holding a physical book,” I protested. I mean, really. What book lover would ever buy one of those stupid things?

Millions, actually.  Eventually, even my own pretentious attitudes toward electronic books disappeared, and I now own a Kobo–thanks to my wonderful parents, who probably always knew that I wouldn’t be able to resist the lure of downloadable books. My Kobo has not destroyed my life as a reader, nor has it destroyed my dreams of owning a huge library. I still buy books faster than I can read them. 

 Physical books are tough, hard to destroy, bath-resistant, solar-operated, feel good in your hand: they are good at being books, and there will always be a place for them.”

― Neil Gaiman

Despite the amount of bookstores that are still standing, many still speculate that the e-reader signifies the end of libraries and traditional bookstores (Borders going out of business didn’t give them much hope). Others worry that we just don’t read anymore.

Millennials probably get blamed for their lack of reading skills more than any other generation, simply because we grew up with the Internet.  But like e-readers, the Internet has only supplemented our bookworm life. Goodreads, for instance, is a website dedicated to talking about books; even social media sites like Tumblr and Instagram have thriving book communities.

My experience as a bookstore employee has also convinced me that books still have a bright future. Customers ask for books by their favorite author, or for my personal recommendations. Children beg their parents to buy several books at a time. People spend hours in the store reading and deciding what to buy. Despite twenty-first century technology, the book business is alive and well.

It is also true that nowadays, we are reading other forms of the written word–e-books, yes, but also blogs, articles, literary journals, fan fiction, and other online novels. As far as I know, these aren’t considered in the studies that allegedly prove that readers are rare…which is actually quite a shame. There are plenty of writers who blog for a living, or choose to write fanfics that are well over a 50,000 word count (the standard word count for novels), and they all need the support of readers. If we are so convinced that the future is destined to be a dystopian hell without libraries or well-read people, we must also learn to embrace stories in all their wonderful forms. It’s much more productive (and less annoying) than claiming that no one reads.

I can safely say that I’ve let go of any cynicism or fear about the future of reading. We may love modern technology, but we also love books. As long as they are writers with stories to tell and the people willing to read them, books will survive.  And perhaps one day, we’ll each get a library that even Belle would envy.

 

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Friends, Waffles, and Work: Athens, GA

Despite the fact that I lived in Georgia for part of my childhood, I still feel like the entire state is brand-new–and fortunately for a wanderlust-ridden twenty-something like me, there are dozens of places to explore.

Last week, our friends Abby and Chris invited Drew and I on a double date adventure to Athens, GA. I was there recently to attend a wedding, but I was more than happy to see more of what this adorable college town had to offer.

Armed with Abby’s map of local shops and restaurants, we hit the road for a day of shopping, eating, and the occasional beer.

Our first stop was Zombie Donuts, a) because Chris and I claimed we needed caffeine, and b) because I love donuts more than anyone should.

😻🍩 #georgiaadventures #athensga #zombiedonuts

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Double date with these cool kids in Athens, GA #georgiaadventures #athensga #zombiedonuts

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Needless to say, I got all hyped up on sugar and coffee. It was awesome.

While wandering downtown, we found a plethora of charming places…

I especially loved Bizzaro-Wuxtry Comics & Stuff, a quirky comic book store that comics and graphic novels of all kinds, plus action figures and other fandom goodies.

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I couldn’t stop laughing. Because cats. They also had How to Talk to Your Cat About Evolution and How to Talk to Your Cat About Gun Safety. 

We also loved the rooftop bar at Georgia Theatre, where we stopped for a beer and talked to the bartender about weird thrift shops (she was wearing a shirt with a cat riding a unicorn. How could I not ask?!)

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Maybe we loved it a little too much.

After finishing our drinks, we discovered more clothing shops and local bars. Abby and I stopped at Philanthropy Fashion , a Christian-based, locally-owned shop that donates at least 10% of their sales to charities. They even had a space for writing down prayer requests.

Love this prayer wall at @philanthropyfashion #athensga #philanthrophy

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We then met Chris and Drew headed for the Rook & Pawn, a nerd-themed bar with plenty of board games to play while you drink or grab a bite to eat. They were also celebrating their one-year anniversary, so Drew got a free party hat.

And he wore it for the rest of the day.

Happy first birthday to the Rook and Pawn! #georgiaadventures #athensga #rookandpawn

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Our next stop was Avid Bookshop. In my excitement, I forgot to snap a picture, but trust me when I say it was adorable. We even got to stay for an author reading and signing!

For dinner, we ate at Pulaski Heights BBQ. As a vegetarian, I don’t typically go out for barbecue…but thanks to Abby’s awesome map/planning skills, we knew it had vegetarian and vegan options. You can get a tofu sandwich, or substitute the meat on any sandwich or taco for tofu. It was delicious–however, I also feel obligated to say that nothing compares to Kansas City barbecue (even though obviously don’t really know from experience. I just feel like pointing this out is my duty as a Missourian.).

With all the awesomeness that Athens had to offer, I’d say our double date was a success–and I feel especially glad to have such wonderful people in my life. Life is good, folks.

Other Happy Little Thoughts: 

discovering adorable coffee shops • much-needed phone calls with best friends • e-mails from my dad • pictures of my baby cousins • beautiful sunny weather • going back to childhood and re-reading The Secret Garden • trips to the library • prayer times • road trip playlists • spontaneous date nights (“We should dress up one day and go somewhere.” “LET’S GO RIGHT NOW.”) • knowing that tomorrow evening, I get to visit kittens at the animal shelter • listening to Spanish podcasts on the way to work • meeting new people while I’m at work • “#falsedeep” • cooking shows • anticipating summer birthdays/anniversaries/holidays

How have you been? What are your happy little thoughts? 

Why I Write

Cup with hot tea near computer

At some point or another, all aspiring writers are told that it’s a less than glamorous life, and that we will face countless rejections over the course of their lifetime. We are told it is very difficult to make a living as a writer, and if we do manage to pull it off, there isn’t much money involved– because J.K Rowling is the exception, not the rule.

We create blogs and participate in National Novel Writing Month. We slave over drafts and try our best to silence our inner critic. We research self-publishing and agents and wonder how we will ever be heard when so many people are waiting for the same thing. We take our words and submit and submit and submit until we finally see our name in print.

We keep writing.

And we wait.

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

-Ernest Hemingway

Knowing all this, it’s a wonder I still write at all. It would be much, much easier if I had chosen a different path.

But that’s just it, isn’t it?

In many ways, writing chose me.

I love words. I love how I write faster when I get excited about an idea, and how my handwriting becomes more and more unreadable. I love the click-clack of my keyboard and listening to my writing playlist. I love my Scrivener outlines. I love writing so late at night that I’m the only one awake. I love stories, because when you get to the heart of a fairy tale, it’s just another way to tell the truth.

I write because I can’t imagine doing anything else and still feeling so unbelievably happy.

I write because I can’t imagine doing anything else when my heart is hurting.

I write because I believe God hears prayers, but He also reads letters.

I write because I don’t want people like me to feel so alone.

I write because it’s fun.

I write because it’s therapeutic.

I write because sometimes it’s the only thing that feels effortless, and sometimes I’ve never worked harder on anything in my life.

I write because the world can never have enough books.

I write because I have something to say.

I write because it’s who I am.

I write.

I won’t ever stop.

love is love is love is love is love

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Once again, our country is mourning. My social media feeds are filled with calls for prayers, information for blood donors, and political debates. I know any status I share or any blog I write will just be a blip on the vast space we call the Internet, but I am writing this because when I feel helpless, words are the only things that make sense.

But nothing about this makes sense.

This is the second blog post I have written about a shooting. The first shooting directly affected my family; the shooting in Orlando is the worst in United States history.

And I have to ask: when will it stop?

When will we turn on the news without seeing such horrific headlines? When will the hatred and prejudice against our LGBTQ brothers and sisters end? When will we learn how to discuss terrorism and ISIS without spreading Islamophobia and even more ignorance and bigotry?

I wish I had an answer.

As a straight woman, I will never live through the terror that many of my friends have endured. I have never felt ostracized and dehumanized by the church, the government, or my family because of who I love. My heart hurts knowing that this is the world we live in.

 

As we grieve, we must also respond in love. Pray for Orlando, yes, but also for LGBTQ people across the world. Pray for the victims and their loved ones. Pray for the LGBTQ Muslims who face prejudice against their orientation and their faith. Pray for those who believe that hate is stronger than love. Donate blood, or donate money to a victims’ fund. Share news on social media. Educate friends and family members. Attend a vigil in your city. Listen to LGBTQ voices, and don’t disregard their experiences. 

I hope that we can build a better world.

Friends, Waffles, and Work: June 5

As promised, we are back to our regularly scheduled programming here at Quills and Crystals! Obviously, last week wasn’t quite as action-packed as the week that we spent in Florida. I miss the ocean terribly, but stepping back into my daily routine feels more refreshing and less monotonous after a few days of vacation.

And yet, in between work, job hunting, and other items on my to-do list, some days feel overwhelmingly busy. I’ve realized that writing FWAW is not only a fun series for my blog, but it’s great for my spirit–and a great way to remember everyday joys that I might otherwise disregard.

Today, I am thankful for:

listening to David Bowie on shuffle • visiting dogs at the animal shelter • Remembrance by Meg Cabot (I missed Suze and Jesse more than I realized) •  job interviews • friends who share cupcakes (thanks, Kate) • Drew and I acting ridiculous • Master Chef Junior and Kids’ Baking Championship • browsing through Goodreads • reading for hours at a time • planning a trip to San Francisco • helping kids while I am at work • letters from my grandmother • writing fantasy stories • “These pancakes are on fleek” and “I’ve been so on fleek at work lately”• the magic of AirBnB • reading my favorite blogs • Constable Chubs becoming friends with Kate’s cat, Sam • the fact that my best friend finally has a break from studying for med school • when people ask about my tattoos • looking through pictures from Florida • Donut Day •

What are you grateful for this week? I’d love to hear from you!