I’m Fred & George!

At some point, I’m sure we’ve all taken the Myers-Briggs personality test. I know I’ve gone through it at least four times, the first being in a class in graduate school. Amongst the other soon-to-be librarians, I was the lone person to get an E.

It’s kind of a known fact that most librarians will get an I for introvert, but anyone who knows me would never question my E. I’m an extrovert all the way.

My full type is ESFP, and while definitions vary describing these types, it’s safe to say that:

  • E – I’m an extrovert who feels motivated being around people;
  • S – I like to take a hands-on approach and learn more by doing than by studying;
  • F – I identify and empathize with others;
  • P – I like to go with the flow and am open and adaptable to change.

Of course there are downsides to each type, but this week, when the internet went crazy over the Myers-Briggs types for Harry Potter characters, I’d say I hit the jackpot.

I’m like Fred & George Weasley!

Fred & George are arguably the best characters in Harry Potter. They are fun, inventive, smart, and everybody wanted to hang out with them. Sure, they gave some people a hard time sometimes, but overall they were pretty sweet guys. Remember, they were the ones who felt bad that Harry couldn’t go to Hogsmeade so they gave him the Marauder’s Map.

So which character are you? This chart was created by a woman named Emily and posted on her Tumblr account. Click the image below to see a larger version of it, and then click it again to make it really large and readable.

harry potter myers briggs
I will admit, one time I got an ENFP when I took the test, so I’m not always like Fred & George, but did you see who ENFP is? It’s Ron Weasley, the best friend ever! Well, except for book four when he was uncharacteristically jealous, but other than that, Ron’s pretty great, too.

So in terms of Harry Potter characters, I think I’m pretty awesome. And I’m so grateful I’m not Draco.

The Sisters Brothers

sistersbrothersIt’s 1851, and Charlie and Eli Sisters work for the Commodore, a corrupt leader who orders them to kill people who get in his way. The Commodore tells them to go to California to kill Hermann Kermit Warm, no questions asked. Charlie is a drunken killer and has no problem with the orders he received, but Eli isn’t as wicked as his brother, and on their ride across a couple states, their relationship slowly starts to crumble.

Their wild ride in Patrick deWitt’s The Sisters Brothers includes trouble with a rival gang leader, a dentist visit, a weeping man, a teen who was left behind, a foray into the California gold rush, and trouble with some horses. I can’t even tell you how much I loved Eli’s horse Tubs and what he goes through. I may have had a tear in my eye over a damn horse.

But I loved so much more than the horse. This was a great book. It was serious, funny at times, and a throwback to some old westerns where there is a grand, life-changing journey, like True Grit or Lonesome Dove, though the narrator here is more formal than in those journeys.

Eli tells the story, and he can be very formal and give great detail, but other times he’s funny and even vulgar, particularly about some of the murders they do. But what’s best about Eli is that we get his internal monologue. He’s contemplating changing his lifestyle, but he’s used to following along with his stronger, overbearing brother and feels trapped. I was fascinated with Eli and couldn’t stop turning the pages to see what would happen to him. His internal struggle, their struggles on the journey, and where this all goes was great.

I also loved the landscape and history in the book. We get an idea of the medical field at the time, both for humans and animals. We learn about the California gold rush and what San Francisco looked like at that time. We see all the political power plays that happen and the lawless way they are resolved. We learn about the harsh geography and traveling across it on horseback.

People have been telling me to read this book for awhile, and, again, they were right. This is a great book that could be widely read. Anyone interested in westerns or historical fiction would like this, but if you like following interesting characters, Eli is for you.

Reviewed at Minnesota Reads.

Who am I?

I’m somewhat ashamed to admit it, but I’m a total sucker for the show “Who Do You Think You Are?” If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a show where celebrities trace their genealogy to uncover some fabulous stories about their past relatives.

Wait. The celebrities don’t actually do the genealogy. That would never happen. The show clearly does all the research beforehand and uses historians, archivists, and librarians (yay!) to help the celebrities comprehend what they’re reading in census records, old letters, court documents, military documents, etc.

who do you think you areMy favorite show so far this season has been Zooey Deschanel uncovering a story about her ancestor Sarah (Henderson) Pownall who was an abolitionist who risked her life to help escaped slaves. Deschanel was surprised, shocked, and honored to uncover this story, but who wouldn’t be honored to hear about heroic acts of an ancestor? It’s fascinating to watch the celebrities get all verklempt, and, yes, this show makes me cry every damn episode. I really am turning into my mother.

But this show also makes me think about my ancestors.

In the past, I did a little bit of research on both sides of my family, but I uncovered an interesting story on the Suchy side.

The Suchys are pretty new to America. We came from Prussia, effectively Germany, in the late 1800s. In 1868, when he was 28 years old, my great, great grandpa Hillary came here from Marienwerder, West Prussia, but he had some problems along the way. In a short paragraph about him in the book The History of Millerville, Douglas County, Minnesota: 1866 to 1930 by Karl Matthias Klein, I found that the money Hillary saved up to buy a ticket to the new world was stolen. Luckily he was able to borrow money from a man already here in Minnesota in exchange for working for the man for three years to pay off the debt. Basically he came over here to be an indentured servant for three years, but for reasons unknown, after nine months he was released from the three-year sentence.

Here’s a picture of the tiny paragraph about him in the book (click to make it larger):

photo

I want to know more about this robbery, but of course, nothing exists for my little, old, farmer great, great grandfather. At least nothing about the robbery exists in the U.S.

The interesting thing about “Who Do You Think You Are?” is that they send celebrities overseas to uncover more family history. For me to try to figure out more about this robbery, I’d most likely have to have great contacts in Germany to try to track this down or travel to Germany, which is quite a trip for a non-celebrity. I also most likely wouldn’t find a thing. Did great, great grandpa Hillary even report this crime? If so, do the records still exist? The likelihood of either of these scenarios is slim to none.

I really didn’t do a lot of research into my past, so maybe I could uncover more about good ol’ Hillary. “Who Do You Think You Are?” has me interested to keep trying, but it also gives false hope. The television network has a lot of money to hire historians and travel all over the world to uncover family histories. The rest of us don’t have that luxury. So maybe I should take what I uncovered and just be fascinated by it, or maybe I will finally take that trip to Germany that I keep talking about and actually try to track something down.

Lots of book reviews

I’ve reviewed a lot of books lately that I didn’t post here, so here’s a roundup of the latest ones. For each review, I grabbed the first couple paragraphs and then link out to the full review.

But warning: I didn’t really love any of these. I’m so happy that right now I’m almost finished with a book I absolutely love, because I was in slump.

theshiningirlsThe Shining Girls

I’ve had Lauren Beukes on my radar for awhile now, and I’ve even had a copy of Zoo City since the last Humble Bundle, but I knew I had to read The Shining Girls when I heard about its time traveling serial killer.

In The Shining Girls, Harper is a disturbing, terrifying hunter from the 1930s who stumbles upon a magical house that allows him to travel forward and backward in time. He goes through time to find “shining” girls, gives them a memento from a past kill, and tells them that he’ll see them again in the future. One of his shining girls is Kirby who he meets in 1974 and later tries to kill in the 1990s. Kirby drives this story as she tries to connect murders similar to her attack to find the culprit. …more

someday-someday-maybeSomeday, Someday, Maybe

I loved “The Gilmore Girls,” the smartly written series from the early 2000s featuring Lorelai Gilmore and her teenage daughter, Rory. Everyone watching the show wanted to be friends with this fast-talking duo and live in their quirky town of Stars Hollow. It was a charming show and I will never picture Lauren Graham as anything other than Lorelai Gilmore, which I’m sure she loves.

But if Lauren Graham wants to distance herself from Lorelai, she’s not doing so well by creating a character just as witty, sarcastic, funny, and charming as Lorelai. Franny is simply a younger Lorelai, minus the teenage pregnancy.

In Someday, Someday, Maybe, Franny Banks is a twenty-something struggling actress in New York in the mid-1990s. She’s working as a waitress, taking an acting class, trying to get an agent and auditions, dating the wrong guys, and hating on herself and her looks. This young-woman-trying-to-make-it story is one we’ve seen before, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t charmed by Franny. …more

maggot-moonMaggot Moon

Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner won the UK’s Costa Coffee Award and the Carnegie Medal, so I had to check out this alternate history about the boy with one brown eye and one blue.

It’s 1956 and Standish Treadwell is a dyslexic teen living in a totalitarian state in the UK, but an alternate universe UK where a Nazi-like group representing the Motherland rules with an iron fist. Anyone who questions the Motherland mysteriously vanishes, like Standish’s parents did years earlier. …more

lexiconLexicon

Wow, did I have a hard time with this book. I thought I would love it. I wanted to love it. I still think I’m supposed to love it. The premise is pretty amazing. The characters kind of fascinate me. So why did I moan every time I picked up the book to keep reading?

Max Berry’s Lexicon sounds like the coolest book. A secret society trains young people on a mysterious way to control others by using words. Not real words, a gobbledygook mishmash of sounds that are reminiscent of what an infant might express when trying to learn how to speak, but words nonetheless. I’m still not clear on why their gobbledygook can control minds, but just go with it, it can. …more

thespectacularnowThe Spectacular Now

The critics have been praising the movie “The Spectacular Now,” and after reading the book I have no idea why. I think this may be one of those rare times when the movie is better than the book.

The Spectacular Now is the story of popular teen Sutter Keely, the life of the party. He drinks daily, parties hard, gets along with everyone, is always looking to have fun, and seems like he doesn’t have a care in the world. Every guy wants to be his friend and every girl wants to be with him. …more