Hello Internet

I’ve been toying with starting a blog for a wee while. I have slight reservations in that I was never able to maintain a diary, and my social media (Facebook) usage goes through sporadic phases, so I’m not sure how frequently this will be updated. We’ll call it an experiment, and see what happens. The timing though, is quite good. I’ve just the other week handed in my MSc Information and Library Studies dissertation, which was a study into individuals’ information sharing behaviour of things that make them happy – for simplicity’s sake, termed ‘happy information’. Am I glad the dissertation is finished?  Yes. Am I glad I did it?  Yes. Am I glad I picked that topic?  Massively – because although the dissertation was really hard work; although conducting and transcribing the interviews was really tiring; although I colossally underestimated how much data 30 interviews would generate, and how hard that would be to inductively organise into any workable format; I also spent three months talking to people about things they have shared that made them happy, and repeatedly re-listening to their stories, and that side of it was fun. It was interesting, heartwarming and hilarious. And although my study looked specifically at people’s motivations behind the giving aspect of sharing, as the interviewer I became a receiver of all this shared happy information – and that was a great position to be in. So, on the back of that I’m going to start blogging about the day-to-day things that make me happy, and share them with y’all. (I say ‘y’all’ – realistically, that’ll be myself and my mum.)

I said the timing of starting this was quite good – I mean that the notion of wanting to start a blog roughly coincided with doing the dissertation, which gave me an idea of things I could write about; which is quite good. The second reason that the timing is good is that today I woke up feeling fantastically happy. I’m not really a morning person, so my daily happiness doesn’t normally set in until there’s something to actively be happy about (something other than the fact that I’ve blearily awakened to encounter another day). So, I’m not entirely sure why I woke up feeling so happy, but it’s likely to be in part a residual happiness dragging over from yesterday. Yesterday consisted of making a serious dent in my to-do list (written in green ink for added awesomeness) with the resultant effect that items are being crossed off the list at a greater rate than additional points are being added (winning!); having a nice catch-up in town with a friend for lunch, before going to see my friends’ (really entertaining) play in the evening. So it was a good day. Equally good – if not better – was the spare time spent in town between lunching and catching my train.

I have new books. I have not one, not two, but FIVE new books. Waterstones’ ‘buy-one-get-one-half-price’ deal played me like a violin that’s been well and truly fiddled – and I know it, but I don’t even care. It started off that I wanted a slim volume that I could read on the train, but that would fit in my (reasonably small) bag. I was browsing and happened across the Translated Fiction stand. Based on the dual logic that the last book I read (The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson) was a) translated and b) very good, and that presumably people only go to the bother of translating books which are deemed better than average in the first place, I began to peruse the stand with interest. Now, my book-selection techniques are generally as follows: I don’t discriminate against books with unappealling covers, but books with awesome covers definitely catch my eye. This is also true of titles. Books I have heard recommended and subsequently spot are also of interest. I place good faith in authors whom I know that I like, comparisons to the writing-style of these authors, and positive critiques on books from these authors. Mostly though, I’ll be swayed by the back of the book description concerning the plot and general content or style. My book-buying spree occurred thus – first, on the Translated Fiction stand I saw a book with a hippo on the front (!!!) called ‘Down the Rabbit Hole’ by Juan Pablo Villalobos. The description seemed somewhat reminiscent of ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’ (in the interests of not misleading people,  I should point out that I misinterpreted a bit and it turned out not to be all that similar to Fear and Loathing, but I did enjoy it) and it was a very slim volume. Then I continued browsing and came across….. ‘Grimm Tales’ – a retelling of Grimm’s fairytales by Phillip Pullman! (!!!!) I did not know this book existed – I am so excited. That book was on buy-one-get-one-half-price. It’s also reasonably chunky, and so at this point buying books to fit into my existing bag ceased to be a concern. So then I was looking for a book to get half price, and inevitably found two and couldn’t pick between them (‘A Trick I Learned from Dead Men’ by Kitty Aldridge, longlisted for the women’s prize for fiction 2013 “pitch-perfect…blackly funny, moving”, and ‘The Vet’s Daughter’ by Barbara Comyns – “a small gothic masterpiece”). So, now having three books in the buy-one-get-one-half-price, I obviously had to find another one, and happened across ‘The Woman Who Went to Bed For a Year’ which my mum had mentioned during the week, but I hadn’t previously realised was written by Sue Townsend (i.e. the comic mastermind behind Adrian Mole). So that’s my five books. I’m so delighted. I spent far too much money, but since I don’t plan on leaving the flat until I’ve read these, I assume the funds will balance out accordingly.

The knowledge that I had a weekend of to-do listing and reading ahead of me most probably contributed to my good mood. I think though that what really made me happy was that when I woke up, my arms and my nose, and anything outside of the covers, was a bit cold. Through the curtains I could see that it was really sunny and a lovely looking day, but there was a wee nip in the air. Which means….? Autumn’s here. Now, I don’t not like summer – I like nice summer weather for doing things, I love wearing flip-flops, and I like long summer evenings – but now that autumn’s here I can pull on my snuggly jumpers and pretend to be a woolly mammoth; I can stomp about in my fluffy teddy-bear-esque slipper boots; I can curl up in my slanket (blanket with sleeves) while I sit on the couch; and soon I’ll be able to wear my brand new amazing turquoise woolly bobbly hat that I acquired from mum. I can legitimately run up and down the place announcing that Winter is Coming. Now I can make giant pots of soup or stew for dinner every night, with big hunks of crusty bread; and spend evenings curled up on the couch with huge mugs of tea. (To be honest, I do the latter anyway regardless of the seasons, but there’s an added satisfaction when you curl up with tea AND a snuggly jumper AND a blanket.) I think my body knew all this before I’d even gained consciousness this morning. I think that’s why I woke up feeling so happy.

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