Aragog Makes An Unexpected Comeback

, , , , , , | Related | May 1, 2020

My oldest niece is in high school and a bunch of her friends are making fun of her because she has never read the “Harry Potter” books, only seen the movies. I have all of the books in hardback and she asks if she can borrow them and then let her little sister read them next. I say sure, lending them out one at a time.

She gets halfway through the third book when we hear a blood-curdling scream. I go running to her.

Me: “What’s wrong?!”

Oldest Niece: “There’s a huge spider squished in between the pages of this book!”

I started laughing and finally remembered I had been in bed reading when this spider came down in between my nose and the book. I am both scared to death of spiders and allergic to them, so I slammed the book closed on it and then forgot… for a few years.

The best part is, my niece didn’t clean the spider off and when my younger niece got to that same page a week later, there was another blood-curdling scream.

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Ahora, El Gato En El Sombrero Puede Leer Por Sí Mismo

, , , , , , | Learning | April 10, 2020

When I was in Spanish 3, one of our assignments was to translate a children’s book from English into Spanish. She suggested we get a book that’s a beginning reader level. My teacher’s only rule was we couldn’t use a Dr. Seuss book because the rhyming structure and the made-up words would be too difficult to translate. This was an in-class assignment we would be doing all the next week.

I will say, I was not a fan of this teacher. There were times I felt like she singled me out. I didn’t like her teaching style, and her personality clashed with mine. She also kept calling me a name that wasn’t my name, and I insisted she call me by my name, and that didn’t help things. I feel like the only reason she didn’t give me a harder time was that I was quiet, I did my work on time, I got mostly As and Bs, and I actually paid attention in class.

I went home and looked through my old children’s books and settled on a book about a bunny who had an identity crisis. It wasn’t written by Dr. Seuss and it was a beginner reader level, so I thought I was good to go.

The next time I had class, I brought in the book so I could do the assignment. I placed the book on my desk and, while I was getting paper out, one of my classmates saw the book on my desk and said, way too loud, “You’re not supposed to have a Dr. Seuss book!”

On the top right corner of the cover was a small picture of the Cat in the Hat with a seal that said, “Beginner Books: I can read all by myself!” The back cover of the book had some information about the Beginner Books, as well as a bigger picture of the Cat in the Hat. 

Beginner Books was created by Dr. Seuss, and most — if not all — Dr. Seuss books are Beginner Books, but not all Beginner Books are Dr. Seuss books. All it means is that it’s easy to read.

I tried to explain this to my teacher and I pointed out the extremely feminine author’s name, but my teacher refused to listen and made me pick another book.

A different classmate had brought in three or four books in case someone else couldn’t find a book to use, and she offered to let me use one for the assignment. I agreed, only because my teacher wouldn’t give me an extension and I would be wasting classtime doing nothing otherwise. 

I ended up with a B on the assignment. I still feel like if it had been anybody else, she would’ve let them translate the original book. This teacher was the reason I gave up studying Spanish and switched to Latin for my last two years of high school and took ASL in college.

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Intersectional Fantasy

, , , | Related | April 6, 2020

My dad and I are talking about a book I wrote. I send it to him in email form to read. 

Me: “Do you like my characters?” 

Dad: “You mean the yellow-eyed bisexual vampires?” 

Me: “Yeah, I knew you wouldn’t care for that part.”

Dad: “I don’t care for the fact that he’s bisexual, no. You already gave him yellow eyes and made him into a vampire; did you have to make him bisexual, too?”

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Fans Like You Are Why They Have Pen Names

, , , , | Right | March 22, 2020

(A customer approaches me holding a copy of a popular author’s latest book.)

Customer: “So, [Author] is a pen name, right? Where can I find books under her real name?”

Me: “No, ma’am, that is [Author]’s true name, although she does write under several pen names. Those would be [list of several alternate names].”

Customer: “No, no, no! Not those, her real name! It’s right here in the back of the book, real small. See?” 

(She turns the book around so I can see the inside of the back cover, pointing at the photo of the author.) 

Me: “I assure you, I’ve met [Author]. She’s a lovely person and her name really is [Author].”

(That’s when I realize the customer is pointing at the tiny printing under the photo.) 

Me: “Ma’am, that’s the name of the photographer who took the picture.”

Customer: *stomping away angrily* “No, you’re just being stupid! I’m going to the library! They’ll know that’s her real name and get me her other books!”

(My sympathies to the librarian.)

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When The Employee Is The Kind To Hang With Bipedal Dogs With Antlers…

, , , , | Working | March 2, 2020

(I am in a bookstore to buy a specific book — a rather unusual fantasy story about, among others, a bipedal dog with antlers, his talking sword, and a land shark — and can’t find it. What I do find, however, is an employee who doesn’t seem too busy at the moment.)

Me: “Hi! I’m looking for a book!”

Employee: “For real? What a surprise!”

(He smiles expectantly.)

Me: “It’s [Title].”

Employee: “Oh, [Title]! That’s one of my favourites. Haven’t sold it in quite a while… Is it for you?”

(He goes to a computer to look it up.)

Me: “Yup, and I’ve read it already. Now I moved, though, and it’s at my parent’s house. But I felt like reading it again, so…”

Employee: “Say no more, I got you. We have it in stock; let me fetch it quickly.”

(After a minute, he returns with the book.)

Employee: “There you go. I guess you could also buy drugs, but this is cheaper.”

(He winked. I stared at him and at the book, and then I started laughing so hard I got the hiccups. If you’re reading this, bookstore employee, you made my day!)

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