About Me

Hello! My name is Tara and I am former middle school teacher and school librarian. Currently, I am a doctoral student in education at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I love YA literature so much that I am making it my life’s work, from teaching university classes on the topic to writing lot of academic scholarship on novels of note. And, as of right now, my dissertation will focus on BookTube. So that’s kind of exciting.

But don’t let my academic slant scare you. I started this blog before I started my Ph.D because reading is my hobby and books are my passion. I’ve been about these parts for SIX YEARS (yikes!) and I plan to stay around for many more. My focus is usually on book reviews and education issues, though occasionally I dabble in random things unrelated to either. Check out my Best Of The Librarian page for my favorite articles and posts!

Three things you need to know about me:

    1. I turned 32 this summer, but I feel 27 (probably because I’ve spent all of my 20s in graduate school!)
    2. I’m queer. I don’t meet a lot of LGBTQ bloggers, so if you identify as such, please let me know and we’ll be BFFs.
    3. I’m now a married lady!

Three things you need to know about this blog:

    1. I’ve been blogging for 6 years, since before this whole Ph.D business took place.
    2. I do try to write critical reviews. No book is perfect. Academics critique things, that’s what we do.
    3. This blog definitely has a feminist/social justice slant.

Three favorite genres:

    1. Literary YA (it’s a thing)
    2. Adult nonfiction (pop sociology/economics/psychology moreso than history and memoirs)
    3. Mysteries

Three favorite books of all time:

    1. The Harry Potter series (duh)
    2. 1984 by George Orwell
    3. Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley

Three favorite authors:

    1. AS King
    2. John Corey Whaley
    3. Andrew Smith

 

155 responses to “About Me

  1. Congrats. on being Freshly Pressed. Hope you find blogging adventures take you into areas never dreamt of!

    From a fellow MLS who is not a librarian at this time. But was (legal & engineering sectors. Never worked in public nor school libraries.)

  2. I saw your post on the Freshly Pressed page and then found myself reading your entire blog. 🙂
    I love it, there are great opinionated posts in here that make me smile. I have to say your post about the books out of your comfort zone was especially good, I read and shared the same opinion with you on a lot of those novels.
    Congrats on getting your MLIS! That is so much work, and on getting Freshly Pressed as well.

  3. Congrats on FP — I found you there! Looking forward to reading some of your past posts. I work in an elementary library, and I don’t post about it often enough. Thanks for the motivation!

  4. Miss Anderson

    Thanks, guys, for all the nice thoughts! I love my job and pushing the envelope at work and in my reading habits 🙂 and @squirrel circus, I highly suggest blogging about your experiences. Over time, it’s made me more focused at work because there are great benefits to reflection and processing my decisions.

  5. owl

    I’m happy to find another book-loving blog to poke around on, and I particularly appreciate your interest in YA and dystopian fiction. I have been working on Mark Vonnegut’s _The Eden Express_ for a while and always found it curious that it was marketed and reviewed as young adult material. Given its themes of counterculture activity and psychosis, YA would not have been the first genre I’d guess.

    Congratulations on the Freshly Pressed thing.

  6. Congratulations! Your readership should grow by leaps and bounds now that you are Freshly Pressed. (Funny term!)

    I hope you do not mind. I have placed a link to your blog on my site. I read most of the books you reviewed and totally agree with your comments. We lost our librarian to budget cuts and I have so missed staying on top of YA novels. You inspired me to order the last of Susan Pfeffer’s series, The World We Live In. Loved the first two. Have you read Richard Grants “Gone” series? Some of my MS kids could not put them down.

    Thanks again for writing a terrific educational blog!

  7. congratulations on being freshly pressed!
    i began following you, i hope that’s alright.
    (and i hope the non-use of caps while typing will not be held against me).

    congrats!

  8. Hi Miss Anderson! Found your post on Freshly Pressed 🙂 Congratulations!:)
    I LOVE books! And I kind of envy you because your job entitles you free reading time and you get to be in a place with a huge collection of books! Anyway, I hope to get ideas on what good books to read so I’m now following you 😉

  9. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed! I worked in my university library while I was studying and had the greatest time. Now I just spend all my time expanding my own library! Thanks for the different take on a couple of titles – I look forward to reading more!

  10. I really like your page. I’m new to blogging so looking for people I find interesting to follow. I’ve also just re-discovered my passion for books and a thirst for knowledge so following you on here i’m sure will be a joy!
    Michelle

  11. Hey Miss Anderson! I just linked to your blog on my own to nominate you for the Versatile Blogger Award…but now I see that you’ve already been nominated!! OOPS! 🙂 Anyway, congrats on having such an awesome blog!

  12. I’m 15, from Singapore. Writing isn’t exactly a ‘cool’ thing from where I come from, or for people of my age, in fact the arts scene is so dead over here, and the culture just suffocates budding writers like me. I love exposure, and this blog has been my oasis. I guess I could say I’m a budding writer, but I do mainly poetry. Getting recognition would mean so much for me, and publicity is really what I need to boost my place, and prove to people how serious I am about writing. People may tell me I’m too young, or that writing is gonna get me living in the streets when I’m older. With your help, maybe I could get a headstart, make it big! So here’s my blog:
    http://filledspace.wordpress.com

    Cheers! it would mean so much

  13. Tom McCormack

    Good article on AR.I teach 5th grade and we have access to it,but I rarely utilize it.My wife is a librarian in an elementary school and regularly informs me on the evils of AR.She literally gets sick at her stomach when someone brings up AR.You’ve given some info that I wasn’t aware of.I’ll pass it on.Thanks!!

  14. I’d like to reccommend my book, Night Shines as Day. Why? Because it is full of rich prose and heartfelt sentiment. It is book that, given a champoin or two, could have wide appeal. The book is on Amazon as Kindle or Paperback. I would be happy to send you the PDF MS as well.

    Best,
    Ron

  15. alexgreer13

    I noticed that you have one of the most popular blogs on wordpress.com I was wondering if you want to take it to the next level?

    -Alex Greer

  16. Your blogs amazing. Cant believe I only just found it, I could go through and like the last 20 posts I’ve read but I’d look like a mental new stalker. 🙂 can’t wait to keep reading!

  17. Just found your blog & I’m stoked I did! My friends and I just started a book club, so I’ll be checking out this page for future reads 🙂

  18. YA lit and children’s lit tend to be dismissed a lot or considered not serious or real literature. This has always bothered me as they are what shape our future. They are why people do or don’t become lifelong readers or even writers. Besides, if you’ll forgive a Religion/Myth student’s ramblings, they are an anthropological goldmine. They tell us what we value, what we fear, what we most fervently wish for. They tell us more about ourselves and our culture than just about anything else.

    • Tara

      I love the way you stated that children’s lit is an anthropological gold mine! I believe in the power of YA lit as legit, serious literature, which is why I’m focusing my doctoral research on it. I would love to see more English teachers cutting back on the classics and adding in more contemporary YA.

      • YES! I am not in grad school, but I did a great deal of undergraduate academic work on YA lit, fantasy/sci-fi, and how modern fan culture and literary genres mimic (ancient) ritualistic behavior (Eliade would be proud).

  19. I nominated you for the Liebster Award! go check it out its my most recent post and I swear this isn’t spam (must look a lot like spam now that I said this) but seriously just go to my most recent post and your names there! have fun!

  20. Would you like to read my new YA, drama? It came out in December 2012. It’s not a perfect book but the characters are raw and real; the plot is awesome too. Let me know!

  21. Would you like to read my new YA, drama? It came out in December 2012. It’s not a perfect book but the characters are raw and real; the plot is awesome too. Let me know!

  22. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog. congratz on being Freshly Pressed.
    Love the title of your blog.
    Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience! This is the ideal life 😀

  23. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog. congratz on being Freshly Pressed.
    Love the title of your blog.
    Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience! This is the ideal life 😀

  24. Hi,

    My name is KC Owens, I’m a college student and I love to travel! While cruising the Internet, I found your site and really enjoyed reading your posts. I have been to countries all over Europe with just my backpack and a camera. Since I am a college student and I have significant bills, it can be difficult to find ways to travel the world. However, I have done this several times, with less than ten pounds of luggage and while on a college dime!

    I was hoping that you would allow me to write a post for your site to share my tips and tricks with your readers. I put a lot of time into my traveling, it is my biggest passion and I would love to inspire others by sharing my stories, mistakes and triumphs. I look forward to hearing from you!

    Best,

    KC Owens

  25. Hi,

    My name is KC Owens, I’m a college student and I love to travel! While cruising the Internet, I found your site and really enjoyed reading your posts. I have been to countries all over Europe with just my backpack and a camera. Since I am a college student and I have significant bills, it can be difficult to find ways to travel the world. However, I have done this several times, with less than ten pounds of luggage and while on a college dime!

    I was hoping that you would allow me to write a post for your site to share my tips and tricks with your readers. I put a lot of time into my traveling, it is my biggest passion and I would love to inspire others by sharing my stories, mistakes and triumphs. I look forward to hearing from you!

    Best,

    KC Owens

  26. I enjoyed reading about you I am already an octogenary and still trying
    to do someting to be busy, I also love books and have written some short stories and a couple of books that I never published, but people who read’em asked me why I didn’t publish them anyway I am happy. I have kids (men and women already) I have planted a tree and I have wrote a book so I am in no debt with life!!! As to you keep up your good work and hope you to grow old like me to have good remembrances.

  27. I enjoyed reading about you I am already an octogenary and still trying
    to do someting to be busy, I also love books and have written some short stories and a couple of books that I never published, but people who read’em asked me why I didn’t publish them anyway I am happy. I have kids (men and women already) I have planted a tree and I have wrote a book so I am in no debt with life!!! As to you keep up your good work and hope you to grow old like me to have good remembrances.

  28. : Perfect for my 11-year old. She is a bookworm(not an ebook worm, yes!) and just started her own book review section on my blog. We like your blog and will definitely be checking it our for suggestions. I think it will be a great way for her to develope her literary and writing skills. Great read! 🙂

  29. : Perfect for my 11-year old. She is a bookworm(not an ebook worm, yes!) and just started her own book review section on my blog. We like your blog and will definitely be checking it our for suggestions. I think it will be a great way for her to develope her literary and writing skills. Great read! 🙂

  30. A quiet librarian no less. Like the concept and hope you don’t mind me clicking the ‘follow’ button thing! Would the opposite of the definition you have chosen be a ‘Town Crier who whispers?’

  31. A quiet librarian no less. Like the concept and hope you don’t mind me clicking the ‘follow’ button thing! Would the opposite of the definition you have chosen be a ‘Town Crier who whispers?’

  32. Hello ,I am writing this all the way from Great Britain and your blog inspired me to start up one for our own College , I work in the Learning Centre ( this is what some would call the library !). Its been an intresting introduction to the world of blogging and wonderful to watch it grow. Thank you so very much for not only inspiring me but also allowing our students an opportunity to view the expanse of fiction from a different angle.I come back to your blog every day to remind myself that small seeds grow into amazing trees.
    Kind Regards
    Ruth

  33. Hello ,I am writing this all the way from Great Britain and your blog inspired me to start up one for our own College , I work in the Learning Centre ( this is what some would call the library !). Its been an intresting introduction to the world of blogging and wonderful to watch it grow. Thank you so very much for not only inspiring me but also allowing our students an opportunity to view the expanse of fiction from a different angle.I come back to your blog every day to remind myself that small seeds grow into amazing trees.
    Kind Regards
    Ruth

  34. I’m new to blogging, but I am STOKED to have found your blog. As a twenty-something still struggling through her undergrad, I look forward to reading your point of view on YA lit and education! I’m an English Ed major, with the hopes of teaching in a tenth or eleventh grade English classroom. Everything will be relevant to me! Love it!

    • Tara

      I don’t know how I missed this comment earlier, but thank you! I love connecting with other English Educators (because, you know, we’re changing the world and stuff)!

  35. I’m new to blogging, but I am STOKED to have found your blog. As a twenty-something still struggling through her undergrad, I look forward to reading your point of view on YA lit and education! I’m an English Ed major, with the hopes of teaching in a tenth or eleventh grade English classroom. Everything will be relevant to me! Love it!

  36. I am fairly new to the blogging world and stumbled upon your blog….wow… The title just pulled me in! 🙂 Love it. And I have enjoyed several posts…I’m sure to read more. Keep it up 🙂

    • Tara

      Thank you for the kind words! Sometimes I think my title is a little long, but I don’t think it could ever be anything else!

  37. I am fairly new to the blogging world and stumbled upon your blog….wow… The title just pulled me in! 🙂 Love it. And I have enjoyed several posts…I’m sure to read more. Keep it up 🙂

    • Tara

      Thank you for the kind words! Sometimes I think my title is a little long, but I don’t think it could ever be anything else!

  38. Hi! Greetings!

    I was going through some of the blogs, and your blog caught my eyes. It is quite interesting!

    I am looking out for some good stories for our magazine “5 Stories”. Thought it would be a big help if you spread the message through your blog.

    The details are in: http://5storiesezine.blogspot.in/

    You can directly visit our website for submitting stories: http://bit.ly/5StoriesSubmission

    Please go through it and share if you find it suitable.

    regards
    Rohith

  39. I was an art director for an educational publishing many moons ago. Fast-forward past raising two kiddies and feeding a giant husband to becoming a substitute teacher/artist/writer/YA enthusiast who is on the constant lookout for blogs such as this one. I love your candor and wit and look forward to reading more during my visits here.
    AnnMarie
    newbie blogger

  40. I started my blog for a class project in my MLIS, and I stumbled on your blog–I’m really enjoying it! Would you mind if I use the Top Ten Tuesday idea for my blog? Obviously I’d be talking about completely different things, but I really like the title of the category. I wanted to see if you minded me using the same category name.

  41. Candice Perini

    Hey love the blog, totally inspired me to do my own. Can I ask how you got your goodreads reading challenge button to work. I can’t seem to figure it out. Need help please, new to blogging.

  42. First off, you look gorg! 🙂

    I am a Kenyan lesbian blogger. The joy of finding your blog, immensurable. My heart has found a home.

  43. Hello there!

    I have found your blog, (the old first, and then this new one) via the WordPress Reader. I am so glad I did! I have recently written a YA book categorized as “psychological fiction” called, ‘My Haunted House, The Crazy Within.’ I know, I know, another blogger coming out of the woodwork with a piece of themselves in hand, waving it in front of you wildly claiming its the best thing ever. Except I am candidly not saying it’s the best, but it is raw and it is honest. This book is my first attempt at writing anything longer than a blog post or a college essay. I would be utterly surprised, but eternally grateful if you read it, and even moreso if you gave me an honest critique. I have no one in my actual life who will be sincere about its merit and not just pat me on the head for having written something resembling a book. It is filed under fiction, but is a completely true story, just stranger than fiction, and with names changed for the respect of the real-life characters who preferred it that way. My story shines a light on mental illness as it relates to the family dynamic, and the resulting fractured line that is a childhood trapped within the walls of a mentally ill parent. The protagonist, yours truly, tells the story as a fifteen year old bewildered young girl, who is also playing the role of the adult in her family. It’s a story like few I’ve seen in the YA lit world. Lastly, May is National Mental Health Awareness Month, so it might be a great book to cover this month especially =) All the best~ Julie

    http://www.amazon.com/My-Haunted-House-Within-Darkest-ebook/dp/B00K1XHYOQ

  44. I have nominated you for the inspiring blogger award! Check it out hereeee…http://mylittlebookblog.wordpress.com/2014/06/29/inspiring-blog-award-for-mylittlebookblog

  45. Hi, I really enjoy reading your blog posts. You might like my writers website and blog at http://www.swordofair.net. I have taken a slightly different path by publishing my YA Fantasy novel in a multi-touch iBook format. You can watch the book trailer for The Sword of Air on my website.

    Take care

    Rae.

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