Quote for the Day: August 7th, 2022

I don’t know that there are any shortcuts to doing a good job.

Sandra Day O’Connor

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Quote for the Day: March 4th, 2022

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.

Robert Louis Stevenson

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Quote for the Day: February 6th, 2022

Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

Autonomy, complexity, and a connection between effort and reward—are, most people will agree, the three qualities that work has to have if it is to be satisfying.

Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers: The Story of Success

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

My COVID-19 Diagnosis

Well, dear readers, despite all my efforts to stay safe for the past two years during this global pandemic, I am sad to say that I have been infected with COVID-19.

I am still processing this fact. I started feeling poorly around 7:00 PM on Friday, January 14th. Extreme fatigue, tiredness, shortness of breath, etc. All of which I at first attributed to the week I’d had. My store’s Regional Vice President visited on Wednesday, January 12th, and I had spent more than twelve hours the day prior prepping for her visit, which was my first as General Manager. I knew she liked me already from prior visits she made when I was my store’s Assistant General Manager. I am just about as Type A as a person can be. I leave nothing to chance and always make sure my ducks are in a row.

Tuesday, January 11th was a perfect storm. As anyone who’s worked in a bookstore knows, Tuesday is the day most major publishers release their hot titles so those days are always busy with updating bestseller features, putting new product on the floor, and changing out in-store marketing. On top of that, we’ve been bombarded with after-holiday resets, sales sets, and overstock scans (oh my!). I didn’t have the manpower I’ve been enjoying because sales and foot traffic have slowed (though only marginally, following this unprecedented sales year). When I got to work, our truck shipment had arrived. The receiving area in the back of my store is chock-full of voided and overstock titles awaiting their journey back to our warehouse. And this truck was huge. So I had to play quite a few rounds of Totes Tetris to even be able to process my truck shipment.

Then, in the evening, I found out that my fellow (and only other) closer had been in a car accident early that morning and had stayed at school the rest of the day because she wasn’t having any complications or soreness. When she got to work, though, she started having shoulder pain and I made her go to the ER and closed by myself. No biggie, I’ve done it before. More than once or twice, in fact. One of my other managers volunteered to come in after her dentist’s appointment to help me get the store ready for our RVP visit. We were there until after 11:00 at night.

Had I known then what I know now…but I couldn’t have, could I? Sometime during that day, we were both exposed. She had opened that morning and came in after closing with me that night. We are both vaccinated but haven’t gotten our boosters yet, and we wore our masks at work at all times. But we still got infected.

I suppose one could call my case “mild” because I didn’t need to go to the hospital or require a ventilator, but in the world we live in, “mild” as a descriptor really doesn’t cover the hell I’ve lived in.

I started writing this post after I left urgent care on Saturday, January 15th. It is Friday, January 21st. It’s only been in the past couple of days that I’ve been able to string more than one cogent thought together and even now I’m aware of the haphazard and jumbled state of my mind. Whether that’s COVID-19 itself wreaking havoc on my mental faculties or simply the by-product of being deathly ill for days on end, the effect is the same. I suppose one could call my case “mild” because I didn’t need to go to the hospital or require a ventilator, but in the world we live in, “mild” as a descriptor really doesn’t cover the hell I’ve lived in.

Wearing a mask for up to twelve hours a day wasn’t enough. Washing my hands and disinfecting things constantly wasn’t enough. Social distancing, as much as one can social distance while working in a retail store, wasn’t enough. Nothing I did was enough. I still put the two people I love most in the entire world in grave danger, and we’re still not out of the woods.

You see, I live in a small two-bedroom apartment with my disabled parents. My first thought when I got my test results was of their welfare, and my second thought was pure unadulterated rage at the fact that despite my best efforts at protecting them and myself, I had failed. Miserably. Wearing a mask for up to twelve hours a day wasn’t enough. Washing my hands and disinfecting things constantly wasn’t enough. Social distancing, as much as one can social distance while working in a retail store, wasn’t enough. Nothing I did was enough. I still put the two people I love most in the entire world in grave danger, and we’re still not out of the woods.

I should be staying home recuperating and caring for my parents but the god of capitalism demands a sacrifice and thus on the heap my body goes.

How do I reconcile all of that? How do I cope with my anger at the fact that I am supposed to return to work tomorrow when work is the farthest thing from my mind, the thing which concerns me the least? I should be staying home recuperating and caring for my parents but the god of capitalism demands a sacrifice and thus on the heap my body goes.

My personal experiences have reiterated to me the urgent need we have here in America for universal healthcare, for a single-payer system.

I forgot to mention that I discovered during all of this that my health insurance had been switched without my knowledge, so I went into urgent care thinking I’d have to pay out of pocket because I was dropped by my previous provider. I’m still working all of that out and unfortunately it’s just been one more unnecessary piece of bureaucratic red tape I’ve had to navigate to get basic care. My personal experiences have reiterated to me the urgent need we have here in America for universal healthcare, for a single-payer system. It’s unfortunate that something so essential is so politicized, with right-wingers decrying “SoCiAlIzeD mEdIcInE” every time someone mentions single-payer healthcare. Never mind the fact that Medicare is socialized medicine lite, but the Faux News pundits won’t say that. It’s okay to hold contradictions when they serve your interests, i.e. further enriching the top 1% of the top 1% while the rest of us are left with scraps, if anything at all.

Never mind the fact that Medicare is socialized medicine lite, but the Faux News pundits won’t say that. It’s okay to hold contradictions when they serve your interests, i.e. further enriching the top 1% of the top 1% while the rest of us are left with scraps, if anything at all.

I’d like to end this post on a positive (or at least lighter) note, so please enjoy the following memes I’ve saved from Twitter in the past week. Note that I am unable to provide attributions to their original creators.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Manifesting My Goals

Please save your gatekeeping nonsense for someone who gives a fluck because I do not.

First off, my number one goal right now is to actually make my Goodreads Reading Challenge goal this year. I only missed it by two last year, and that ish hurt bad. Am I probably going to have to read a crap ton of short books to make it? Yes. Do they count? Absolutely. Please save your gatekeeping nonsense for someone who gives a fluck because I do not.

My bigger and longer-term goal is to become someone like Oprah. I want to be someone who lives their life authentically and is able to translate that into influence on other people. Honestly, nothing would make me happier than being able to post a list of my favorite things and have people try them out just because I said they were awesome.

I do not want to work until I die. I want to sit down. A lot. Preferably with a good book in one hand and a glass of wine in the other.

Finally, my last goal is to retire by the age of 40. I do not want to work until I die. I want to sit down. A lot. Preferably with a good book in one hand and a glass of wine in the other. I mean, I’ll probably need to exercise some too, but I’m still holding out hope that science will figure out a way for me to do nothing and be skinny. Let me qualify that. I do not have a problem, aesthetically, with being fat. I know I’m the sexiest motherflucker God ever did carve from clay. That’s not my issue. My issue is that the world we live in makes it incredibly difficult for people of my girth to shop off the rack, and this bish here doesn’t like to shop from a catalog. I want to roll up into my local department stores like Ariana Grande and see it, like it, want it, and got it.

I do not have a problem, aesthetically, with being fat. I know I’m the sexiest motherflucker God ever did carve from clay. That’s not my issue. My issue is that the world we live in makes it incredibly difficult for people of my girth to shop off the rack, and this bish here doesn’t like to shop from a catalog. I want to roll up into my local department stores like Ariana Grande and see it, like it, want it, and got it.

Now, are all of these goals super-specific? No. And right now I don’t want them to be. For most of my life, my anxiety disorder has forced me to exert a large amount of (read: perceived) control over every aspect of my life. And you miss out on a lot of life by trying to force your will on everything. So for me I feel like the best course is operate from a state of grace, to focus on day-to-day living and on taking the next right actions. I know that by doing this, wherever I end up will be the right place for me.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

I’m Just Not Feeling It

Do you ever have a day where you wake up and you know that you have a list of things that need to be accomplished, but you just can’t seem to care about anything?

That’s how I feel today. It is beautiful outside, the birds are chirping, and Julie Andrews is singing The Hills Are Alive while butterflies caress her with their wings. And I’m just so irritable I can’t stand myself, much less anyone else. As I’m looking at the clock, I have just barely over an hour to go before I have to start getting ready for work. Yes, I know I’m lucky to be employed. Yes, just the other day I made a post dedicated exclusively to talking about my hard-won promotion. On an intellectual level, I am grateful— but I’m so freaking tired.

It is beautiful outside, the birds are chirping, and Julie Andrews is singing The Hills Are Alive while butterflies caress her with their wings.

Days like this make me think of Shelley, which makes me smile. Shelley is an older Australian woman I used to work with at my store. She was contrarian, pugnacious, cynical, and sarcastic. She designated herself as our resident Mean Old Bitch and wore the title like a badge of honor. Sometimes I miss her so much that it makes my bones ache. We had a bond, we two. I love her and I know she loves me, and that’s for forever.

She designated herself as our resident Mean Old Bitch and wore the title like a badge of honor.

The rapport we quickly developed morphed into a beautiful friendship I’ll cherish as long as there’s breath in my body. One day when we were working together, she looked at me and out of nowhere exclaimed, “Shit, there’s got to be something fucking better than this.” A gentle warning for you: if the word “fuck” offends you even mildly, never work with an Australian émigré. I’m fairly certain Australian elementary school teachers end the school week by telling their pupils to “fuck off and have fun”.

One day when we were working together, she looked at me and out of nowhere, exclaimed, “Shit, there’s got to be something fucking better than this.”

I think about what she said that day a lot. She was right; there’s got to be something fucking better than this. I’m going to make it my life’s work to try to find it. For both of us. Bless her heart, the sour old bitch had to work retail right up until the pandemic forced her into an early retirement, followed by a move to Florida with her son. If you ever read this, Shelley, I love you. If we both end up in hell, please save me some space in your cabana.

If you ever read this, Shelley, I love you. If we both end up in hell, please save me some space in your cabana.

There’s not a tidy resolution for this post. I always get irritated when I’m reading something about someone having a bad day and they “somehow turned it around”. Nope. You can stop right there. A big part of self-care for me is just allowing myself to feel like shit when I feel like shit because it’s my brain’s way of telling me there’s something I need to process that I can’t happy-think my way out of.

A big part of self-care for me is just allowing myself to feel like shit when I feel like shit because it’s my brain’s way of telling me there’s something I need to process that I can’t happy-think my way out of.

I mean, let’s be real. I’m working a full-time, public-facing retail job in the middle of an ongoing global pandemic in a world that’s literally on fire from climate change and living with more mental health disorders than Meryl Streep has Oscar nominations. Ergo, I’m allowed to feel like shit. And so are you!

If you also feel bad today, know that I see you and I stand in solidarity with you, not to talk you out of your pain but to weather it with you until we all feel better. Much love.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please follow, like, comment, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at thevoraciousbibliophile@yahoo.com or catch me on Twitter @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.