Site Closing Down & Moving

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I’ve been finding it a bit hectic managing three blogs at the same time so I finally made the decision to move Little Nook to my main personal blog. I don’t think it’s a big change since many posts from Little Nook are reposted there, but I’ve made it easier for readers to have the option to follow only Little Nook posts at my personal blog if that’s what they like. Little Nook is now a category in Storm in a Teacup (link highlighted in pink in the image above). You can either directly go to the Little Nook posts page or subscribe to the category itself by simply copying the LN posts page’s URL into your favorite RSS feeder.

I will be keeping this blog active until the end of the month and then delete it permanently.

So see you there! If not, then it’s been fun crossing paths with you!

Happy reading! 🙃

 

Seeking Comfort in Libraries

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Every day, library workers are quietly changing and saving lives. As well as providing informal mental health and wellbeing support, they are raising national literacy levels, supporting families and reaching out into their communities to make them stronger and more cohesive. Now picture what your communities would be like without those library workers. For many people they are literally the last line of mental health defence. (…) As a nation, we are not only haemorrhaging libraries but the highly experienced people who work in them. If we lose library workers, we are at risk of completely abandoning those people in our communities who just need someone to talk to, someone non-judgmental who can offer a helping hand, or maybe just a patient ear. Formalising what was once informal social care is expensive, and so is the failure to support mental health, and that will cost us all a great deal more than investing in library workers ever would.

Reading this article by the Guardian broke my heart. I’m not sure what it is exactly about the surroundings of a library or a bookshop that feels so comfortable– comfortable enough to make people feel so at ease to open up to someone they don’t even know or just find shelter.

I worked for over 10 years as a manager of a small academic library and although I’m probably the last person qualified to solve people’s problems, kids in the department used to joke around and say my office was the shrink. A big chunk of my daily time was spent talking to students who came in not really looking for anything in particular. All they wanted was to sit and talk– talk about their dreams, interests, plans, problems or vent about this and that. Adding a mini fridge stocked with juice and water proved successful. Every now and then a student walks in with an unhappy expression or in tears and it’s always the same– grab the tissue box, juice from the fridge, and let them talk.

It made me happy knowing the library made someone’s day feel a little better in some way or another. I guess that’s one thing I miss the most when I look back. A much bigger study area is always available nearby but students would still choose ours simply because “it’s more comfortable here”.

During my summer breaks, on days when I just need want to get away and sit someplace comfortable myself I would go to the nearest bookshop. I don’t have to buy anything. I feel happy just sniffing new books, browsing titles, or sitting at the bookshop coffee shop.

It’s one thing I really really miss here as well. I still haven’t found my ‘bookshop’ or ‘library’ shelter yet, although I’ve taken serious initiatives to experiment and look for one.

That’s one thing an online bookshop or a library can never substitute.

Reading With Jane Austen

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In 2017, we visited the Jane Austen House Museum and later Chawton’s House in Hampshire, which used to belong to Jane’s brother Edward Austen. The trip to the estate was memorable to me. It was raining nonstop that morning during our trip. We walked quite a bit to reach the Chawton’s estate and the roads were wet and muddy. On the way we passed a couple of farms filled with sheep. I imagined Jane Austen walking these very same roads on many occasions to reach her brother’s house.

I wondered if these wet and muddy walks were the inspiration behind Miss Bingley’s “To walk three miles, or four miles, or five miles, or whatever it is, above her ancles in dirt, and alone, quite alone! what could she mean by it? It seems to me to shew an abominable sort of conceited independence, a most country-town indifference to decorum.”

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Muse Lounge – Bookstore Tour

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Muse Lounge is located in the basement of Symphony Mall, Salmiya; next to Trapped Inn Escape Room.

I’ve passed this place several times wondering what it was. From a distance it doesn’t look like a bookshop. The place is decently sized although oddly enough not many bookshelves are there. The place has a coffee shop in one section offering refreshment, hot drinks and cake. One corner of the room has a slightly elevated surface functioning like a stage with an electric piano. Another section has a gallery of art pieces.

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According to the staff, the bookshop functions as a cultural space. Anyone can sit down, enjoy their coffee while browsing their books. The gallery section is intended to display and promote the work of young Kuwaiti artists while the stage section is used for bookshop events such as poetry reading, live classic music and lectures.

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History of Publishing

The following post summarizes the history of publishing from its early stages to contemporary times. The information up to the period 2004 is taken from Richard Guthrie’s “Publishing: Principles & Practice“. 


Before humans found a necessity for documenting data into some sort of medium, they preserved, celebrated and shared valuable information through oratory either in the form of storytelling (legends, myths), poetry, chanting or singing. This was often preserved and passed on from one generation to another.

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Image source: Getty Images 

Period: (197-159 BC)
Vellum, also known as parchment, is made of dried animal skin and is considered to be one of earliest forms that man used to write on. During this time period, Eumennes II of Pergamum, in Asia Minor created the Library of Pergamum.

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01. Ready to Launch

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After completing my masters in MLIS I found myself constantly ruminating about going back to Information School. I simply felt like I haven’t had enough. After leaving the academic field behind, I felt there’s little use in furthering my studies with a PhD– at least not for the time being.

I changed career paths and delved into corporate business. Earlier this year, I went back to graduate school to study MBA with the resolve to focus my research on publishing. Two years shy of hitting 40, I felt it was either now or never. Publishing has always been a topic that I wanted to learn more about. I also took a lot of business classes during my graduate studies, so MBA felt like a fine decision at the time.

My first and second semesters were exciting in many ways. I met a lot of people and learned a great deal but I also found myself hitting a lot of roadblocks. A lot of energy and effort were put into learning ‘institutionalized business’, something that I wasn’t particularly interested in which made me feel like I was drifting away from my initial plan. Although I deliberately focused all my assignments on information and data topics, I still felt alienated compared to everyone else with me in class with accounting, banking and finance backgrounds. I was more excited about doing research than I was about learning formulas and equations. After weeks of struggle, I finally made the difficult decision to drop out and I felt miserable. Deciding to go back to graduate school kind of gave me a sense of purpose and I’m ashamed to say a false sense of security. Dropping out made me feel like a failure and unlike my 20s, facing failure at this point hits hard.

One day I was browsing online when I stumbled on a flyer about a publishing program. I clicked on the link and it took me to a university website offering a masters program in publishing. After doing a little research I found out that several universities are offering the same outline. The programs are divided into three parts: Theoretical courses on publishing principles, technology/information systems, and publishing business, sales and marketing. In fact, some programs extend the scope to cover publishing illustration and design, comics and magazine editing. It was exactly what I was looking for.

I booked an appointment with an educational advisor, took my TOEFL exam, and worked on my application. I applied to a second university as backup and eventually got accepted into both with a merit scholarship. I chose one of the universities, paid my tuition and here I am waiting for my first semester.

The university that I chose has the option of offering the program fully online which I’m planning to take as I’m employed full-time. Is it a wise decision to pay full tuition for an online education? Probably not, but the institution is accredited with a formidable list of educators that I find hard to miss. I also have a feeling that in a few years online education will become a thing. I’ve been taking self-development online courses for over a decade now and it’s interesting to see the mechanics grow and develop for the better. I have no doubt it will get even better.

So far all the services the university offers to me as an online student are similar to being on campus including booking an appointment with a registration advisor, using library resources, requesting research assistance and using interlibrary loan among many others.

It’s definitely going to be lonelier than attending real classes but it’s exciting to try.

 

Effortless Journaling (Book Review)

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A few years back I used to follow Live Bold and Bloom, a very popular personal development and award-winning blog by Barrie Davenport. I enjoyed her friendly and positive writing style. She teamed up with S.J. Scott last year to write Effortless Journaling: How to Start a Journal, Make it a Habit and Find Endless Writing Topics.

The book is purely aimed at people who are just starting out in journaling and would like to find out more about this form of writing.

The book starts out with the power of journaling and its benefits on various parts such as the personal, physical and productive. Almost all the benefits they listed are evidence-based and back up with data in the footnotes, which I thought was nice.

A whole chapter is dedicated to the art of mindfulness and the connection between journaling and mindfulness. Steve Scott has written a book on Mindful Journaling which he refers to every now and then.

The book then delves into the various tools a beginning journalist can try out such as physical notebooks, digital apps and habit tracking softwares to maintain the routine.

The fifth part of the book is the beefiest and it includes a chapter on each one of the journaling strategies the authors propose: Daily diary, journaling with prompts, morning pages, mindfulness journaling, goal-oriented journaling, bullet journaling and custom making your own (mix and match).

Each strategy chapter follows the same outline. First it gives a short overview of the type of journaling. Secondly, it lays down the advantages and disadvantages of this form of writing and who it’s best suited for. Next, the chapter offers starting steps to adopt the strategy. Finally, resources are offered for external reference, and these could be books for further reading, apps to download or notebooks to buy.

Two chapters at the end of the book are dedicated for habit forming and keeping journaling consistent.

I found the book easy to read and well organized; however, if you’re someone well versed in the topic of journaling, you might find the information very basic and mundane. Also, I imagine in a few years many of the apps and notebooks suggested would be out of date. The book is ideal for someone who’s interested in beginning journaling and it gives a decent summary of each journaling trend and what tools are required.

Book Details

  • Paperback: 149 pages
  • Publication date: 2018
  • ISBN-13: 9781946159175
  • My Rating: ★★★
  • Link