Meet Your Unfamiliar Self | Read Diversely

It’s been a while since I wrote anything in this space, so let me catch you up real quick.  I work in a library – a small public library in Missouri – and from December through February I’m in charge of our displays.  This month, I set up a display themed around reading diversely.


Meet Your Unfamiliar Self

February is Black History Month, and where I work the entire staff is white women.  Most of what comes across the circulation desk is written by straight, white, cisgender men, and I’d like to see some more diversity.  Which is not, of course, to say that straight white cisgender men don’t write great books, plenty do.  But plenty of other people do too.  

Even though this is Black History Month, I chose to do a general diversity theme because I am almost certain that when my quarter of the year on displays ends there won’t be another similar display.  I’m only on displays from December-February.

So I scoured our catalog (twice actually – lost the first list) and cross-referenced it with a bunch of lists of popular authors from different racial and ethnic backgrounds until I had eight shelves worth of fiction, poetry, and children’s books to display.  Eight shelves worth is a ton of books, but there were a few sticking points.


Meet Your Unfamiliar Self


While I was able to find a bunch of authors, I also found that we most often only owned one of an author’s books.  At least, that held true for authors of color.  I couldn’t count on both hands the number of Clive Cussler or Gilbert Morris books we have on the shelves.  On top of that I had a really hard time identifying Native Hawaiian, Indigenous Australian, or Polynesian authors.  If you know of any, please, leave a comment.  Though we had quite a few children’s books by Native American authors, adult books by Native authors mostly eluded me.  

Ultimately, the diversity display, and the call for diversity in literature in general, isn’t about me.  It’s about the little girl who opens up Corduroy and sees a girl who looks like her, or the teenage boy who’s finally drawn to reading when he sees a name like his own on the front cover.  It’s about showcasing the stories of people who don’t experience the world in the same way that I do.  As a white person with white privilege, it is my duty to use that privilege to elevate the voices of people who do not.  
I used GoodReads lists to find popular authors of different backgrounds.  Native American | African American | Latinx | Asian American | Polynesian

If you know of any Native Hawaiian, Polynesian, or Indigenous Australian authors, please, leave me a comment so I can add their books.


Around The Web

This is the first installment of something I’m trying out.  I’d like to share some nerdy links with you guys, and I’ve been collecting them this week.  Here goes.


This is in no way a nerdy link, I just really like this picture of my dog.


Perfect for this time of year, The Evolving Face of Santa from Smithsonian Magazine.  Not only does this have a cool slideshow of past Santa images, but it gives you a basic intro to Santa in the US.

Why do we wear white wedding dresses?  Because Queen Victoria did.  Try explaining this one to your very old-fashioned grandmother, I dare you.

Did Civil War soldiers suffer from PTSD?  I’d wager that most historians, or anyone who’s ever studied the Civil War in an academic setting would say yes, this is not surprising.  But I’m quite glad it’s being talked about, because it may help to remove some of the stigma from modern cases of PTSD.


The Pantheon has withstood an awful lot of earthquakes, invasions, and weather over the last two thousand years.  How?  Apparently, it’s all about volcanic ash.

The oldest organized town in Scandinavia might be even older than anyone thought, from Archaeology Magazine.

Also, archaeologists have identified the oldest dated bronze item in Britain: a dagger found in 1989.  It was found with Racton Man, who stood more than six feet tall, and was older than 45 when he died.


Just For Fun
Things We Believe In Our Twenties That Aren’t Actually True – from Business Insider

How To Roast Tomatoes (do you know how long this task has been put off in my Any.Do?  DO YOU?  No, you probably don’t.  At least 45 days).

The Orphan Black Season 3 trailer is here!  Let’s freak out together!

Scorch Marks: A Poem


Satiated Saturday: Vegetarian Thanksgiving Roundup

This is my second thanksgiving as a vegetarian, but the first where I will actually be at a thanksgiving dinner.  I usually prefer to spend my thanksgiving at a museum and thinking critically about American history, and in fact history as a whole.  But, in order to participate in thanksgiving with my family  I need to have some vegetarian options for myself.  Because I don’t have as many of these in my own arsenal, I’ve rounded up a bunch of resources for you me and you guys.

Satiated Saturday

The Veggie Table | A vegetarian blog with its own roundup of recipes, but all of these are original and created by the author Laura K. Lawless.

Veg Kitchen | Another roundup from a vegan blog, and I think most of these are original recipes too.  All vegan things are safe for vegetarians, but remember that not all vegetarian things are safe for vegans, so if you have vegan friends over for thanksgiving, remember that they might need separate things as well.

Buzzfeed actually has a handful of vegetarian/vegan thanksgiving recipe roundups, so here we go.  Pure Links | Brussels Sprouts For Thanksgiving | 29 Side Dishes | 37 Delicious Vegetarian Recipes For Thanksgiving | 22 Delicious Meatless Mains | 41 Delicious Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes

Chef In You | A vegetarian thanksgiving roundup from 2009.  There is everything from soup to risotto on this list, so it’s sure to have something for you.

The Pioneer Woman Stuffing | Substitute veggie broth for chicken broth in this recipe and you can make your own stuffing from scratch.

Satiated Saturday | Shameless self-promotion: you should check out my Satiated Saturday category on my blog

Vegetarian Gravy | This is my vegetarian gravy recipe, and I love it.  I’ll be making it for my family to share the joy that is delicious meatless gravy.

Easy Italian Bread | My Italian bread recipe adapted from Bakers Banter would be delicious on the side of your tofurkey.

Roasted Almonds | Roasted almonds would make a great side, especially if you’re the only vegetarian and you have a hard time getting family to let you in the kitchen on Thanksgiving.  They’re easy and fast.

Remember: if you check the ingredient list you can find lots of vegetarian stuffing mix, and mashed potatoes are always vegetarian.  If you’re like my family you could make an antepasto tray/spread and not let anyone else eat it.  (We haven’t actually made an antepasto in years because our thanksgivings are weird, but they were my favorite as a kid).  Try this tutorial from Martha Stewart, and this one from Giada de Laurentiis.

Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers!

Interesting Reads

I’m off at work/internship today, so instead of a well-written original post (okay, even I couldn’t write that with a straight face, well-written?) let’s chat about what we’re reading.

Lately I’ve been reading a lot about paleontology and extinct human species.  So I thought I’d share the last two weeks of reads with you guys.


Since I finished The Casual Vacancy I needed something a bit less dramatic.  Saxons, Vikings, and Celts by Bryan Sykes is just what I needed.  This is all about the genetic ancestry of the peoples of the British Isles.  Or, as I like to call it, the sweet spot where history and science meet.  I also picked up the book All The Lovely Bad Ones from my local library, and it’s meant for kids about 13, but it’s a fun read.


I started reading Science Magazine’s website, and found that they have a HUGE section on paleontology and fossil humans. For a random sampling: How We Domesticated Ourselves | Pregnant Fossil Mare & Fetus | Profile of Rachel Watkins (my favorite anthropology professor)


Early Europeans Weathered Ice Age | BBC World News recently posted this article, which is super interesting if you’re like me and into this sort of thing.

Ice Age Babies Surrounded by Weapon Found in Alaska | Smithsonian Magazine is always good for science, anthropology, and history articles.

The Long History of Disease and Fear of the “Other” | In this time of crazy outlandish fears about Ebola, it’s important to remember the cultural history of disease and othering.

George Washington Didn’t Have Wooden Teeth | I touched on this a bit in my American April Misconceptions video, but the myth about wooden teeth is just that – a myth.


Kim Kardashian Doesn’t Realize She’s the Butt of an Old Racial Joke | This article from The Grio sums up exactly what I thought when I saw the photos of Kim Kardashian from the Paper Magazine photoshoot.  The images reminded me very much of Saartjie Baartman, also known as the Hottetot Venus.  They conjure up a long history of the exploitation of the bodies of women, especially women of color.  On the other hand, I’m not about policing what another woman does with her body – mother or not.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Response | Just for good measure, the Met weighed in with an art history comparison and it’s good to remember that everything has a longer context than the last few years.


I’ve been incredibly into slam poems recently, and Button Poetry is my current favorite channel for them.  Some personal faves?  The Tampon Poem | Thighs | The First Time I Met His Mother | Fantastic Breasts And Where To Find Them | Khaleesi | Sleeping On God | Girl Code 101 | The Nineteen Text Messages To You Stuck In My Drafts Box | Mother of Dragons | One Side of an Ongoing Conversation with Sharon, My Therapist

(I also shared a very short slam poem called Scorch Marks and you should definitely go watch it.)