I’m Back!


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a little sunshine therapy

It’s June, and, as promised, I have returned.

I missed you all so much, and I missed writing this blog, but hiatus was a good choice for me. This spring was loaded with work and travel and grieving and decisions to be made. It wreaked havoc on my mental and emotional health. Having one less thing to worry about was important.

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exploring gloriously empty trails

But now, I’ve completed my graduate degree. I’ve spent lots of time resting, out of doors, reading, and writing for myself. I’m not 100%, but I’m back. In the past few weeks, I’ve found myself thinking, “I should blog about that,” and now I will.

You can expect the usual book reviews, plus a few deeper dives on subjects I care about. I want to get better at talking about the tough topics, scary as that is to do on a public forum. I’m not certain if Lyse Links will return, but I suspect I won’t be able to stay away. It’s one of my favorites.

I have already scheduled my first (real) post of summer for tomorrow. It’s a doozy, talking about things I’ve never discussed, and I’m a little nervous about releasing it. I can’t wait to see what you think though.

Now it’s over to you! What have you been up to while I was gone? What did I miss?

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Hiatus


I wanted to start the new year with a series of posts reflecting on 2017. It was a good year, an eventful year. I moved; traveled; took up running; tried a multitude of new activities; blew past my reading goals; nearly doubled my blog views; grew immeasurably. I wanted to share those accomplishments with you and talk about the future (including my plans to go on hiatus).

2 things got in the way of that:

  1. I’ve been wholly consumed with tackling my 2018 projects and beginning the year as I mean to go on.
  2. I was blindsided by a family tragedy this week.

For my mental health and the success of my degree and career, I’m immediately limiting my online consumption and focusing on “real life.” I’ve included some of my original writing about my already-planned hiatus below.

Hiatus

My reflections on 2017 and goal-setting for 2018 revealed an important theme: I need to focus this year.

I’m in the throes of what I’ve dubbed Project FREEDOM–the final rush of requirements to finish my master’s program and escape academia. I have bills to pay. A career to build. A book to write.

To do those things, something has to go. Exercise can’t go. Reading can’t go. My job can’t go.

So the blog has to be one of the things I drop for now. That was a hard decision to make, especially on the heels of 2 years with the most traffic I’ve seen. I’m terrified that I’ll never grow back to that. Or at least that I’m throwing it away by not capitalizing on it.

But I need to make the hard prioritizing choices. I need to finish this degree. I need to get settled so that I have the freedom to explore my art and passions more. So I’m going on hiatus here and on Twitter until at least June. I should be done with my degree then, and I’ll evaluate whether I can come back.

Until Then

If you’re new to my blog, welcome! I hope you enjoy my old writing and, if so, that you follow to be notified when I come back. In the meantime, I recommend a few blogger friends:

To my wonderful followers: thank you for joining me on this journey. Blogging has been a joy in my life for 6 years now. I can’t wait to come back and give you the attention you deserve.

Authors/Publishers: I will not be taking books for review until I return. I appreciate your thinking of me, and encourage you to contact one of the bloggers I listed above.

Take care.

Lyse

 

 

Lyse Links: Adoption, texting, and hit songs


I’ve led with some shorter/lighter pieces, but the last few links are hefty. Enjoy!

Texting with Boys — This is an op-ed, so not as thorough as I’d like, but it’s a fascinating look at differences in communication. I have several similarities with the author, including a mostly-female family, plus emphasis on written communication (obviously).

Couple buys street in millionaire neighborhood — in a comedy of errors revealed by one couple’s stroke of astonishing luck, the street in a private high-scale neighborhood is now owned by outside individuals who are scheming ways to make money from their acquisition. Moral of the story: pay your taxes.

Trump’s positive news folder — for someone who doesn’t want to argue politics, I share a lot of political stories. This one caused a Twitter uproar about the President’s delusion. That’s up for anyone’s perception. BUT. If you’ve spent much time in entrepreneurial circles or high achiever optimization literature, this will sound pretty familiar. Starting the day with affirmations or positive thinking is not so unusual. Maybe not normal (or good?) for a president, but not as odd or laughable as many people think it is.

The Children of Strangers — this is an excellent profile of a family that had or adopted more than 20 children. Large families are a point of contention for many reasons, some of which will be obvious in this article. But I like a few things about the article. First, the author makes a serious attempt at relating the story with little commentary or bias. Second, I think it provides a good picture of the trade-offs necessary in any family. No family is perfect. Every decision to say “yes” is also saying “no” to something else. So “yes” to 20+ children means that more children have a family. But it also means less money, (probably) less time with each child, etc. In the end, I think these parents made the best decisions they could based on their values. Those choices probably helped their kids in some ways. And too much time thinking about “what-ifs” will drive you crazy.

The hit song you’ve never heard of (sold more than the Beatles) — The world is a big, diverse place. So much so that you’ve probably never heard of the man who created a hit song that sold more copies than any Beatles song. It’s a great story about music and legacy in Africa.

Has the smartphone destroyed a generation? — Look, I hate doom and gloom generational opinions as much as anyone. But this is a balanced, data-backed article from a generational researcher. Strongly recommended for anyone who cares about generational profiles, the current adolescent generation, or the effects of technology on human behavior.

28/30 Book Review: Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Sex and Science


Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Sex and Science
Mary Roach
Nonfiction/Journalism/Science

Summary

In Bonk, the best-selling author of Stiff turns her outrageous curiosity and insight on the most alluring scientific subject of all: sex. Can a person think herself to orgasm? Why doesn’t Viagra help women-or, for that matter, pandas? Can a dead man get an erection? Is vaginal orgasm a myth? Mary Roach shows us how and why sexual arousal and orgasm-two of the most complex, delightful, and amazing scientific phenomena on earth-can be so hard to achieve and what science is doing to make the bedroom a more satisfying place.

Less taboo than you might think

Let’s just get this out of the way–it’s a book how sex works and what science knows about sex. It’s not erotica. Yes, it talks about erections and orgasm and arousal and all kinds of body parts. But it’s quite tasteful, for the most part. Any adult could read this book and not feel guilty. Continue reading

12/30 Book Review: The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake


The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
Aimee Bender
Fiction/Fantasy?/Magical Realism

Summary

On the eve of her ninth birthday, unassuming Rose Edelstein, a girl at the periphery of schoolyard games and her distracted parents’ attention, bites into her mother’s homemade lemon-chocolate cake and discovers she has a magical gift: she can taste her mother’s emotions in the cake. She discovers this gift to her horror, for her mother—her cheerful, good-with-crafts, can-do mother—tastes of despair and desperation. Suddenly, and for the rest of her life, food becomes Continue reading

Oh, Greta! The Library’s Real Role on Campus


Greta’s tweet triggered instant anger & humorless laughing for me, so I’m glad someone took the time to explain why she’s wrong. I’ve been in several university libraries & none of them are vanity projects in any way.

Mr. Library Dude

This morning, media personality Greta Van Susteren tweeted out:

A vanity project? Hah! No library I’ve ever worked in could be called a “vanity project.”

The tweet was in response to a Yahoo Finance article: College is Still Getting More Expensive: What Can Stop It?

No real surprises here: College is too expensive and yes, debt is a concern for most students and families–something that most of us agree with.

The comment about smartphones? A flippant remark that reveals a real lack of understanding about academic research and how information is accessible to students.

But a vanity project? A 2012 article on InsideHigherEd.com reported that library budgets as a percentage of the total university budget had fallen from a high of 3.83% in 1974…

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A Note on Wikipedia’s 15th Birthday


I wasn’t prepared for Wikipedia’s 15th birthday (today) and I have homework to do, so this won’t be long. But here’s what I want you to know about Wikipedia.

Wikipedia shaped my teen years. I joined the site in 2009 and logged 10,000 edits in 3 years. I created over 9000 pages. I met countless people, read about numerous subjects, and contributed a little bit to global knowledge. I learned a lot about proofreading, formatting in html, and citing sources. Wikipedia changed how I think about Continue reading