Review: “Attachments” by Rainbow Rowell

71ZlxOeCx4LSummary: “Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It’s company policy.) But they can’t quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.

Meanwhile, Lincoln O’Neill can’t believe this is his job now- reading other people’s e-mail. When he applied to be “internet security officer,” he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.

When Lincoln comes across Beth’s and Jennifer’s messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can’t help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories.

By the time Lincoln realizes he’s falling for Beth, it’s way too late to introduce himself.

What would he say . . . ?”

You know how sometimes you just randomly pick a book off a shelf and it turns out that book is your life story? THAT’S THIS BOOK.

Rainbow Rowell’s first novel has all of the elements for me. Two best friends sending witty emails in a newsroom making jokes about headlines and j-school; a self-deprecating, somewhat lost male protagonist who falls in love with someone through her writing; lots of Internet creeping; and several really well written declarations of love. SERIOUSLY. Can this be my future life story?

I picked this up after devouring “Eleanor and Park” earlier this year, which is also great and suspenseful and beautiful in all the best ways. I couldn’t imagine anything striking a chord more than nerdy high schoolers wearing weird clothes falling in love on the bus UNTIL I READ “ATTACHMENTS” AND I WAS LIKE MAN PLEASE LET THIS BE ME IN 7 YEARS.

I highly recommend this book, especially if you like love stories or journalists, good writing or developing crushes on people through their writing that you creep on the Internet. (I love all of those things, so I love this book.)

Happy Naw-Ruz!

It’s a new year, with all of the familiarity of last year’s snow still sitting heavy on the ground.

At least the sun sticks around for longer. And I don’t need to wear my big pink poofy coat anymore. I think my days as fluorescent marshmellow are behind me, but spring is a finicky lady at this latitude so I’m never quite sure.

Tonight is the last night of my last spring break of college. I made chili to celebrate with ground beef Valerie’s parents vaccuum-packed and mailed to her when she kept getting low hematocrit scores at the bloodbank.

In honor of spring cleaning, I cleared out a trash bag’s worth of clothing that I’ve accumulated from various dump trips over the last year. I also spent several hours meticulously reading through banjolele user reviews on Amazon.

“You’re going to show up in Haifa with a backpack full of dump clothes and an orchestra of weird stringed instruments,” Valerie remarked.

Now I want a mandolin too.

My brother and I are both graduating this spring, him from high school and me from college, so we’re planning one of those rites-of-passage backpacking trips right now. You know, the kind where you fill the small pockets on your backpack with earrings from artisan markets and eat ice cream from corner stores?

I keep googling imaging cities in warm climates on the coast, knowing full well that this is it for winter and I for a few years. I want to be less anxious about seeing the snow melt, but patience is not a virtue I’m very good at during breakup season.

Lately,

Even though I was in a small car with three other people for most of my winter break, I still managed to get left alone long enough to cut off about five inches of hair one afternoon in the bathroom.

The thing about staring yourself in the mirror and saying “whatever, hair grows back” and shrugging indifferently is that the growing back is agonizing (as a metaphor for things in life that take patience and–no implied meaning–as several months of bad hair days).

I’m starting to think there’s a correlation between girls who have the patience to grow their hair out and girls who have the patience to find and keep boyfriends.

///

I’m taking oboe lessons again, because I needed a few more credits this semester and because I realized recently that I wasted three and a half years being melodramatic about playing music and it was time to suck it up and move on with life.

It’s fun because Candy bestows such gems during our time together as “I’ve noticed all these boys talk to you. You could have a million boyfriends” and “Don’t be nervous. No one knows who you are” and “Is that from Value Village? You could be a Value Village model.”

But it’s also fun because, oh yeah, I love this. I forgot that.

///

It’s the Baha’i fast again. The time of year between March 2-20 where Baha’is don’t eat or drink between sunrise and sunset. Tomorrow is day 5 out of 19.

Usually I look forward to this time of year. I like challenging myself and figuring out what I’m capable of, whether it’s skipping lunch or moving a million miles away or managing a newspaper for a year or feigning indifference at my most recent self-imposed haircut.

And I like the reminder that we’re more than our material connection to this world.

But this year it feels different. Like I’m just going through the motions.

///

It snowed today. Soft, small Fairbanks flakes that have been piling up outside since I got out of bed this morning. The kind of snow that just happens. The kind that makes me exasperated with and appreciative of winter all at once.

I don’t know at what point I started to like Fairbanks so much. It just started, soft and small, piling up slowly, until at some point I realized I was wading through three inches of affection and it was sticking to my boots and melting onto the hem of my jeans, staying damp long after I shook it off.

Some recent published photos

I’ve been taking a lot of pictures lately between my photography class, my job at the KSUA and working at The Sun Star. Here are a couple of recent pictures I’ve published in the paper:

36-year-old musher Cody Strathe from Ester leaves downtown Fairbanks to embark on the 1,000 miles to Whitehorse during this year's Yukon Quest. Strathe ran the race last year, where he places fifteenth. Feb. 1, 2014. Elika Roohi/Sun Star
36-year-old musher Cody Strathe from Ester leaves downtown Fairbanks to embark on the 1,000 mile journey to Whitehorse during this year’s Yukon Quest. Strathe ran the race last year, where he placed fifteenth. Feb. 1, 2014. Elika Roohi/Sun Star
A father and his daughter watch the start of the Yukon Quest. Feb. 1, 2014. Elika Roohi/Sun Star
A father and his daughter watch the start of the Yukon Quest. Feb. 1, 2014. Elika Roohi/Sun Star
Lathrop High School exchange student Hang Shan waves his napkin in the air along to Josh Verhagen's performance of "Di Yi Ge Qing Cheng" at the Chinese New Year Celebration on Saturday, Feb. 8. Elika Roohi/Sun Star
Lathrop High School exchange student Hang Shan waves his napkin in the air along to Josh Verhagen’s performance of “Di Yi Ge Qing Cheng” at the Chinese New Year Celebration on Saturday, Feb. 8. Elika Roohi/Sun Star
Tanana Middle School students Rosalee Bertram and Ruth Keith watch the children perform a dance at the Chinese New Year Celebration at UAF on Saturday, Feb. 8. Elika Roohi/Sun Star
Tanana Middle School students Rosalee Bertram and Ruth Keith watch the children perform a dance at the Chinese New Year Celebration at UAF on Saturday, Feb. 8. Elika Roohi/Sun Star
Madeline Follin, the lead singer of the Cults, performs at the UAF Pub on Saturday, Feb. 22. Elika Roohi/Sun Star
Madeline Follin, the lead singer of the Cults, performs at the UAF Pub on Saturday, Feb. 22. Elika Roohi/Sun Star
Guitarist Brian Oblivion performs with the Cults at the UAF Pub on Saturday, Feb 22. Oblivion and singer Madeline Follin formed the Cults in 2010 when the two were both students in New York City. Elika Roohi/Sun Star
Guitarist Brian Oblivion performs with the Cults at the UAF Pub on Saturday, Feb 22. Oblivion and singer Madeline Follin formed the Cults in 2010 when the two were both students in New York City. Elika Roohi/Sun Star
A performer dances to the Sleeping Lady Drumming group at the 41st Festival of Native Arts at UAF on Saturday, March 1. Elika Roohi/Sun Star
A performer dances to the Sleeping Lady Drumming group at the 41st Festival of Native Arts at UAF on Saturday, March 1. Elika Roohi/Sun Star
Members of the Alaska Native community hosted the 41st Festival of Native Arts at UAF this weekend. Here a performer dances to the Sleeping Lady Drumming group on Saturday, March 1. Elika Roohi/Sun Star
Members of the Alaska Native community hosted the 41st Festival of Native Arts at UAF this weekend. Here a performer dances to the Sleeping Lady Drumming group on Saturday, March 1. Elika Roohi/Sun Star

Some of us are Emmas and that’s ok

I just caught up on the webseries “Emma Approved” based on “Emma” by Jane Austen, and while I’ve always sort of felt a deep kinship to Austen’s wordy, Victorian Emma and Emma’s melodramatic, meddling ways — seeing  the character portrayed in a vlog, checking her Twitter is hitting really close to home.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that we can’t all be Elizabeth Bennets, no matter how clever we fancy ourselves. And despite that fact that Jane Austen herself wrote about Emma Woodhouse, “I am going to take a heroine whom no one but myself will much like,” (ouch, Austen) I think I’m probably an Emma.

I’ve drawn up a venn diagram to illustrate my point:

emma elika

As opposed to the venn diagram of Elizabeth Bennet’s personality and mine:

lizzie elika

Also, consider the line from the 1996 movie adaptation of the novel where Gwenyth Paltrow as Emma throws her hands up and implores of the heavens, “What is the point of me being almost twenty-two when there is still so much for me to learn?” FEEL THAT, EMMA.

There was a lot that didn’t fit in the middle of my Emma/Elika diagram. But the main thing, of course, is that underneath all of Emma’s self-assurance that her terrible ideas are great ideas and all the trouble she causes, when she realizes she’s wrong and has made a huge mess, she does her best to fix it and make everyone happy again.

If you’re still unsure because you’re still 17-years-old and think you’re an Elizabeth because Matthew McFadyen in the Keira Knightly remake is super dreamy, you can always take the BuzzFeed quiz. I got Emma, obviously.

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Aurora hunting

I took a ton of pictures of the aurora over Fairbanks a week and a half ago, and I never shared them! It was amaaaaazing, probably one of the best displays I’ve seen up here. I’m still learning how to take pictures of the northern lights, and I didn’t have a tripod with me so I had to jack the ISO up super high, and these pics are all relatively grainy. BUT. Still super rad.

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Obligatory post about love

I started a post a few weeks ago and titled it “an ode to friendship on valentinealsijALSIDfhsdkf” and tried to write an un-cliché post about how much my main babes light up my life, and the reason I’m probably perpetually single is because I am so goddamn content hanging out with Valerie all the time because she is the best and my heart is already full of whatever it is that other people get out of relationships and fill their hearts with.

It’s half-written and intelligible and mushy and gross, and I only added things to it if I was up after 1 a.m., figuring I would edit it down in the light of day and it would be the most heartwarming-but-fresh essay anyone would read on Feb. 14.

But I’m not particularly good at writing about feelings or sports, and even the best editing can’t fix my failures in these departments.

I don’t really know anything about anything, particularly love in the grand-romantic-gesture-at-the-end-of-the-movie sense, but I think everyone gets all weird about Valentine’s Day because we’re all on this terrifying quest to find our person who’s name we can put all the heart emojis next to in our phones and text every single detail about anything, and it’s lonely if all the names in our phones are–literally or metaphorically–emoji-less.

And I’m just really happy I have people in my life who have metaphorical emoji hearts next to their names in my phone. Happy day after Valentine’s Day, babes. Let’s buy discount candy today.