August and September were strange and stressful months. The library where I work has been in the process of moving into a new building since well before I started there. The summer had been an odd experience of working in the old, closed-to-the-public Samuel Paley Library while the new Charles Library was being completed and the books, some furniture, and equipment was being moved. It seemed like a long, slow process, but then, seemingly suddenly, it was time for staff to move.
Because of delays with being able to occupy the new building, staff didn’t move until just a little over a week before classes started. Even after we moved, there was still a lot of construction going on. It was a rough time for such a big transition because we needed to prepare for the start of the semester without being familiar with the new space and uncertain about what details would be complete.
All this made for a stressful and draining couple of weeks. I feel like I didn’t do much of anything during August and September other than think and worry about the move and adjust to the new working environment once we got in.
The building is magnificent, especially the public-facing areas. You can see some pictures on the building under construction in my Libraries Old and New post and some photos of the finished building in my New Library post.
The only other major event of the past couple of months was a trip I took to Novi, MI for work. I joined an advisory board for one of the vendors we work with and flew out for a couple of days for an initial meeting. I had never been on such a board before and found it interesting. I enjoyed the colleagues I met from other libraries and appreciated the approach the vendor team took to soliciting ideas from the board. They had some topics and guiding questions but the two days were not overly structured and they allowed the board members to really guide the conversation. They also put us up in a rather nice hotel (albeit basically in the parking lot of a shopping mall) and fed us well. It was a busy couple of days, and I don’t have single picture from the trip.
August and September were a bit frustrating regarding my creative hobbies. The move to the new library was intellectually, emotionally, and, in some ways, physically draining. I find the constant stimulation of being in a more open office environment to be exhausting. I feel less tired during the day but am totally enervated by the time I get home.
In addition, a good part of August was really hot so I didn’t even go out to take any pictures. Luckily, the weather moderated in September and I got out and about again. A couple notable outings involved using my Minolta Celtic 135 lens, which I bought back in the spring, on my Minolta XE. I haven’t had much luck with using 135 lens (I also have one for my Olympus OM-1). I don’t have much experience with telephoto lenses and still need to get comfortable shooting with them. It’s also a little tough in Philadelphia where everything is so close together. It helped on this last outing that I walked around Benjamin Franklin Parkway and later along Broad Street, two wider avenues in the city.
I belong to a film club through F Stop Cameras which sends a roll of film each month. A few months ago, they sent a roll of Kodak P3200 Tmax black and white which I didn’t have the best results with. A couple of months ago, they send another roll of the same film, and I had some thoughts as to why the pictures did not turn out so great. I knew 3200 ISO film was better in darker situations, and I felt that perhaps I was shooting in too dark conditions. I tried shooting in lighter situations but was still not happy with the outcomes. I have seen other people’s pictures taken with this film which look better so it’s not the film’s fault. I just don’t relate well to 3200 speed film, apparently.
An issue I had was with shooting my new-to-me Pentacon Six TL. I had shot one test roll and most of the pictures turned out OK. I shot a second roll and had issues with the images overlapping. I wrote a post about issues with that and a follow-up post about that and some success with fixing my Flexaret VI.
I made an attempt starting in the middle of August to get back into drawing and continued with The Great Courses “How to Draw” class that I’ve been slowly chipping away at. As usual, my success at keeping up with that was hit or miss.
And I spent very little time writing. My major writing accomplishment for the month was organizing my computer files which grew very messy over the years. I had been wanting to do a clean-up and reorganization for quite a while. I decided to put aside some newer writing project to concentrate on wrapping up some lingering ones.
I hope in the coming weeks I’ll feel more settled in my new work environment and feel less exhausted and distracted.
Despite the upheaval at work, I did finished reading a couple of books in August and four in September. I read Radical Inventor: A Retrospective of Alexander Calder, which I had gotten when we went to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts back in November during their Calder exhibit. I also re-read three books: Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory, Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being, and H.G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds. All were as good as I remembered.
I also read a couple of new non-fiction books which were both fascinating: Amber Scorah’s Leaving the Witness: Exiting a Religion and Finding a Life, and Jia Tolentino’s Trick Mirror.
Lastly, I finally finished Richard Neupert’s A History of the French New Wave Cinema which I’ve been chipping away at for a couple of years. The slow pace is not the fault of this excellent overview of the French New Wave. It was due to wanting to watch all the films along the way.
2019 has been a great reading year. By the end of September, I had read 40 books, 31 of which I gave 4 or 5 stars to on Goodreads.
Books Read in 2019
- The Way the World Ends, Jess Walter (Kindle book)
- There’s No Place Like Home, Edan Lepucki (Kindle book)
- Controller, Jesse Kellerman (Kindle book)
- At the Bottom of New Lake, Sonya Larson (Kindle book)
- Falls the Shadow, Skip Horack (Kindle book)
- The Only Harmless Great Thing, Brooke Bolander (Kindle book)
- Sabrina, Nick Drnaso (Kindle book)
- Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng (Kindle book)
- Asymmetry, Lisa Halliday (Kindle book)
- Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back), Jeff Tweedy (Kindle book)
- Washington Black, Esi Edugyan (Kindle book)
- Boca Raton, Lauren Groff (Kindle book)
- The Hillside, Jane Smiley (Kindle book)
- Ninth Street Women, Mary Gabriel
- Amaro, Brad Thomas Parsons
- The Crying of Lot 49, Thomas Pynchon
- Are You My Mother?, Alison Bechdel (Library book)
- Zama, Antonio di Bennedetto
- Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love, Dani Shapiro (Kindle Book)
- Educated, Tara Westover (Kindle Book)
- Star Wars: Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith Vol. 2: Legacy’s End, Charles Soule (Kindle Book)
- Darth Maul – Son of Dathomir #1-4, Jeremy Barlow (Kindle Book)
- Dark Disciple: Star Wars, Christie Golden (Kindle Book)
- Star Wars: Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith Vol. 3: The Burning Seas, Charles Soule (Kindle Book)
- Star Wars: Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith Vol. 4: Fortress Vader, Charles Soule (Kindle Book)
- Ahsoka, E.K. Johnston (Kindle Book)
- Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch, Henry Miller
- Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft, Janet Burroway
- The Order of Time, Carlo Rovelli (Kindle Book)
- The Girls, Emma Cline (Kindle Book)
- The World According to Garp, John Irving
- Radical Inventor: A Retrospective of Alexander Calder, Anne Grace
- The Power and the Glory, Graham Greene
- Leaving the Witness: Exiting a Religion and Finding a Life, Amber Scorah
- The War of the Worlds, H.G. Wells
- Trick Mirror, Jia Tolentino
- A History of the French New Wave Cinema, Richard Neupert
- The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera