little sarah Big World

Month: March, 2011

Enjoying Books, Despite College

I love to read, I work at a library, I am a member of two different book groups, and yet I really haven’t read that much in my life. There are two reasons for this:

1 – Although I read often, daily, I take longer than most to finish a book. I am a Slow Reader, meaning that I can’t read much faster than talking speed, or else it feels frantic. I didn’t even know this until late in college, when I was reading an article with my boyfriend, and he kept finishing each page twice as fast as I did. Adversity.

2 – Also, I was an English major in college, and They totally tried to suck all the fun out of reading and make me feel like an idiot for not automatically noticing major themes of oppression and sexuality (or whatever). All of a sudden, book talk was less “I really like this character, because she reminds me of my friend…” and more “Furthermore, by placing a comma–rather than a period–here, Famous Poet is imploring us to pause, but not to stop…” etc.

I would want to read, but then I’d think about how if I was going  to read, then it really ought to be something for school, but of course I didn’t want to read stuff for school, and then I wound up just not reading.


Phase I: I started keeping a little paper log of all the books I read (even the ones for school–motivation!), and it was so, so pleasing to see my little literature list grow, so satisfying, and then to be able to look back and remember what I was reading, and when, and where I was sitting as I finished the book. A book club of one, and it was good.

Phase II: But I wanted to remember more about each book, so I started dog-earring pages with quotes or passages that I particularly enjoyed–insights, humor, metaphors, etc. (I’ve since switched to tearing off little pieces of paper to mark these pages, because maybe some people don’t appreciate me returning their books all dog-eared). Then, when I’m done with the book, I sit down and copy my favorite bits into my journal:

Phase III: Phase three is where I start a blog and decide that the minutiae of my daily life is interesting to anyone other than myself. So now I post my favorite quotes and hope that they’ll spark discussion, THOUGH THEY ALMOST NEVER DO.

from What is the What by Dave Eggers (a biography of Valentino Achak Deng)

“I lost someone very close to me and afterward I believed I could have saved him had I been a better friend to him. But everyone disappears, no matter who loves them.”

“This boy thinks I am not of his species, that I am some other kind of creature, one that can be crushed under the weight of a phone book…The pain is not great, but the symbolism is disagreeable.”

“But I loved when she wore [her glasses], and wanted her to wear them more often. She was less glamorous in those enormous frames, and when she had them on, it seemed more plausible that she was truly mine.”

“Without William K, I would have forgotten that I had not been born on this journey. That I had lived before this. Without William K, I could have imagined myself born here in the tall grasses, paths broken by the boys before me, that I had never had a family, had never had a home, had never slept under a roof, had never eaten enough warm food to fill my stomach, had never fallen asleep knowing what could and could not happen when the sun rose again.”

“It was me, Achak Deng. Successful with ladies.”

“One moment I could feel Jor’s breath on my neck, and the next I could smell the animal, its dark-smelling sweat. I turned and saw Jor limp, dead in its jaws. The lion was looking directly at me, emotionless, and we stared at each other for days and nights. Then he turned and left with Jor.”

“On the day of the visit, the camp had never looked so beautiful. I was proud. I can remember the feeling still; we were capable of this, the creation of a life from nothing.”

“We thought we were young and that there would be time to love well sometime in the future. This is a terrible way to think. It is no way to live, to wait to love.”

“Each exhalation was a falling tree and my mind went mad with the noise of it all, but I deserved the turmoil. I deserved nothing better. I wanted to be alone with my stupidity, which I cursed in three languages and with all my spleen.”

“Though I tried to disguise it, I slowed our pace as we walked. I wanted so badly to make the evening last. It was a lovely night, the air warm, the wind civilized.”

Also, I have an account with GoodReads, but I’m not sure that counts as a Phase, since it’s less something I sought out to make my reading experience more interactive and more something that my coworker suggested I do so that I can remember and easily call up all the books I’ve read when a library patron wants a recommend. Plus it allows me to spend that much more work-time sitting in front of a computer.

QUESTION: is it worth linking to my GoodReads from this blog? You know, in my blogroll.

A Journey to the Stars

Clark Planetarium, Salt Lake City


Kevin, on Mars


Best Friends on the Moon


I wish I could relax. Sit back and enjoy the ride. Be the person in these photos.

Or should I not have told you the truth? That I am only human, after all.

Please won’t you be my neighbor?

Part I:

Whitney lives in San Francisco, and before that it was Maryland, before that France, and before that Juneau.

Melissa has a house in the suburbs and 3.5 kids

Brett joined the Peace Corps while I was in Spain

Allison figured out that I was never going to be the party girl she’d always wanted me to be

Carol forced me out of my own apartment, and several others are guilty by association

Nicole moved to Portland

Lindsey is a grown-up with expensive tastes (but she does occasionally slum with me, and that’s nice)

And of course my siblings, but they are frequently too grown up or too far away. (And sometimes too cool–even little Rosie)

I feel like everyone is going away from me.

Part II:

Freshman year I lived in the dorms, and for the first few weeks everyone was super friendly and outgoing–kids hanging out in the hallway, getting to know each other in the common spaces, joining new people for dinner…friend-making mode. But about a month into the semester that all STOPPED, and suddenly it seemed taboo and desperate to go out of your way to introduce yourself, or try to join in the reindeer games, to put yourself out there. Teams had been chosen, end of story.

Sometimes I feel this way about Salt Lake. Like…like everyone is already established and happy with their own group of friends, and while there might be some light intermingling, there aren’t really any open positions.

So maybe someone from work invites me to a party, and I go and it’s a good time (drinking, dancing, laughter), and I might get invited to another party, but that’s as far as it’s going to go. We’re not going to become buddies, no casual hang-outs, no junk food and video games, or driving around, running errands. And it’ll still be not-so-comfortable at work, because deep down we know that we’re really only acquaintances. We cannot breach that divide.

Part III:

I am so sick of dating my friends. Sick of making plans for movies, plans for dinner, sick of GOING TO LUNCH (seriously, how many friends do you have where all you ever do is go to lunch?). I just want to hang out. Eat popcorn and watch a movie. Get stoned and listen to records. I’m all for outings, but one-on-one it feels like a date, an interview, like too much pressure.

And you know what else I miss? Sleep-overs.

Part IV:

I just feel like such a creeper. Putting myself out there when it’s not appropriate, when the other person is not currently accepting new friends. In New York my cousins friends LIKED ME, and we GOT ALONG. They said I should move there, and I was blown away.

I had forgotten that I could make new friends, that someone could find me interesting and fun and want to spend time with me.

Part V:

Whatever, this stuff is totally what fuels this damn blog, anyways–the essence of littlesarahBigWorld. I’ll just keep drinking alone.

Things I Cannot Hold On To

“Margaret felt sick and was racked with guilt. But after reading about Scott’s ex-girlfriends (and his difficulty in committing to them), what she felt was not exactly jealousy, fear, or suspicion: she felt love for Scott. Everything she adored about him was evident: the integrity he had toward his own instincts, his impatience with passivity, his boredom with shallow values, and his intollerance for cruelty.

This did not go far to alleviate her nausea, or slow the spool of images rushing through her head. But Scott’s past, before she met him, was blameless, and real.”


Yeah, that sounds about right.

(If only I could remember)

little sarah NEW YORK CITY

A photo essay












Came home from a quick weekend in New York City to a long letter from Nicole in Portland and a giant box of condoms from Sister Natalie.

So life isn’t all bad.