A Librarian's Thanksgiving

Ah. Thanksgiving. Before diving in to the turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy bowls, and whatever other delights whoever in the kitchen cooks up, many families pause and share a few things that they're thankful for. My family, scattered and a little unconventional, sometimes forgoes this tradition and digs right in. With gobs of grandchildren, cousins, aunts, uncles, step siblings, spouses and what not, it can be a little time consuming. Before you know it, someone's belly deep in greenbean caserole anyway. So I decided share my Thanksgiving here. Though I am thankful for things like my family, my fiance, and my health, I thought I'd take a moment and express gratitude for some books, music, and television shows that I've read, listened to, watched and experienced this year.

I love when books make me feel something. Whether it's fear, anger, sadness, I know it's a good book when these feelings flood my senses and I cannot put it down. One book that I read this year that did that for me was Haruki Murakami's After Dark. It just made me feel a little strange. Character driven, the book focuses on Mari, a Japanese student studying Chinese, and Tetsuya, an amateur trombonist, who meet late at night at a Denny's restaurant. They somehow get involved in helping a "love hotel" attendant clean up and assist a badly beaten Chinese prostitute. Interwoven with this story is a strange account of Mari's older sister, who's been asleep in a menacing netherworld for days. Murakami's novels, always on the edge of creepy, mystical and strange, never seem to disappoint.

When I was probably 13 or so, I developed an intense liking of the television show, Roseanne. I would stay up late each night to catch the two rerun episodes after the 9 o'clock news, and no matter how many times I watched an episode, I laughed and enjoyed it over and over again. This year, Roseanne released Roseannearchy: Dispatches from the Nut Farm, a collection of ranting essays that exposes the ridiculousness in just about everthing. Though some may find "the Domestic Goddess" to be too rude and outspoken, I've always appreciated her honesty and uninhibited eagerness to express her opnion. After reading the book, I posted one of my favorite quotes on Twitter and tagged her, and I was thrilled to find she actually responded to me! The quote: "Religion needs to be less about believing things and more about beholding things, sharing and healing and bringing people together, not separating them." I love her perspective on life, and I love how much I've learned from reading her essays.

Though I was about four years late in the game, I also developed a similar passion for Desperate Housewives. No other television show has made me feel such a plethora of emotions--I've laughed, I've cried, I've been enraged and disappointed (most recently so because the producers of the show have announced that the current season will be the last). I love each of the main characters for different reasons, but I think Lynette is the one I relate to and like the most, probably because she seems the most real to me. Felicity Huffman does a wonderful job portraying the headstrong mother and wife who isn't afraid or unable to accept and acknowledge her weaknesses. Desperate has been one show that my fiance and I have been able to enjoy together and I'm thankful for how much it has moved and taught me.

I'm really thankful for this year's music. I was amazed by how many of my favorite musicians have released new material. It used to be that when I got a new album, I would spend at least a week listening to it over and over again until I got tired of it or I got something newer. Now I just rip albums to my iTunes, listen to a couple of songs repeatedly, and then they sort of get lost in the shuffle. Noah and the Whale's Last Night on Earth, Lykke Li's Wounded Rhymes, Adele's 21, and Feist's Metals are just a few that deserve another listen. I also had the wonderful opportunity this year to travel to Texas to see my all time favorite artist, Jewel, in a free, private fan concert. Though she focused on children's music this year with The Merry Goes Round, I still am amazed at her lyrics and her voice, and I adore her for her willingness to explore different styles of music.

And I think I'll stop there--this post has probably taken longer than a turkey cooking in the oven (and you may be thinking it's getting just as dry too). One more thing that I'm thankful for, though, is those who take the time to read my blog posts! I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and holiday season!

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