Monday, January 30, 2012

What's in YOUR name?

I've always been fond of my name. 
I like the fact that it is a standalone noun, an ideal that doubles as a virtue. 
I like that it counts as a Biblical name without being something awkward like Hepzibah or Hezekiah or Ur. 
I like that it spawns nicknames like "Joyful," "Joy to the World," "Joyful Noise," "HappyHappyJoyJoy," etc.
I like that I attended "Spirit of Joy Lutheran Church" in college.
I like that it is a lyric in many songs and hymns (including "Ode to Joy," which I chose for the processional in my wedding). 
I particularly like that it is a Christmasy name.

However--

THIS past Christmas, I don't know if it was the economy (i.e., take "joy" in what you have), or if I happened to be particularly attuned to it... but it seemed like everywhere I looked (even more than usual), "Joy" was being used as a holiday ad buzzword.  So I started keeping track. 

(This is only a sampling, because I lost a bunch of photos in the Great Thanksgiving Procrastination Debacle.  Anyway, enJoy.)

FEDEX:
Send me anywhere!

PANERA:
Share me with a friend!

THE GAP:
You can find me in skinny jeans and an overpriced sweater!

KIVA HAN CAFE:
Or while wearing your skinny jeans in a hipster cafe!

STARBUCKS:
You can take me WHEREVER YOU GO!!!

PUBLIX:

You can even find me in the grocery store, just like that one awful sort-of-Christmas song.

SPECIAL K:
You can use me to (somehow) help burn off all those extra helpings of casseroles and slices of pie!


The more I saw, the more dizzying it became.  Couldn't those unoriginal ad executives think of something else, like "Jingle All the Way" or "Merry and Bright" or "Holly Jolly"?  Didn't they realize that Joys everywhere were being visually assaulted?  The world was starting to feel like one big nametag!


There comes a point, though, when you find yourself standing in the middle of Jo-Ann Fabrics, and you realize that you can either curl into the fetal position on the linoleum, or suck it up and decorate your ENTIRE house with your name...


And you just decide to go with the flow.


Have you ever seen your name in an unexpected place?  Where, and under what circumstances?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

2012 Book List

One of my resolutions for the New Year is to read more books for fun.  As somebody who has always loved books and hopes to write them for, you know, a career and all, I've strayed in the past couple years from reading as much and as often as I used to.  I figure if I keep a running tally here, I'll be more inclined to keep it up. 

I added a "Book List" page to the top of this blog, and I'll add to it as often as possible.  Here's my first entry for 2012!


Girl Parts, by John M. Cusick (2010, Candlewick Press)
  • Started January 11, 2011, on the morning commute; finished same day on my lunch break (!)
    • An inventive, darkly humorous (and at times heartbreaking) YA sci-fi novel 
  • Plot in a Nutshell: David, a popular rich kid who demonstratives dissociative disorder, is given Rose, a beautiful, realistic "Companion" android, to teach him how to develop proper relationships.  Their unconventional pairing starts off well, but when David cruelly rejects Rose for her lack of "girl parts," she runs away and meets Charlie, a depressed loner who helps Rose to realize her own identity (as well as his own in the process).
    • Cusick deftly fuses social criticism of our increasing replacement of meaningful relationships with internet connections and avatars, with a narrative that is flush with complex characters and a well-structured plot.  The scene-painting and attention to the individuality of even tertiary characters are what particularly impressed me from the start.
    • For such a theme-centric story, Girl Parts never feels heavy-handed, though the ending wrapped almost too quickly for me.  However, Cusick tweeted that a sequel may be in the works!  There's also a companion/sequel short story at YARN, titled "Abandon Changes."

What new books have you discovered so far this year?  Any recommendations for me?