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There is much to be said of the dysfunction, waste, and general inefficiency of the U.S. government. However, the very concept of a highly functioning public library system will never cease to amaze me. The government gives us free books, whenever we want them. If the library doesn’t have the book that we want, the government will buy it for us. What a time to be alive!

I haven’t always appreciated the library. I walked to the local public library regularly as a child, but my debilitating shyness kept me from enjoying most of the programming. I would walk in…

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The Premonition by Michael Lewis
I picked up this book when I recently visited Ryan Holiday’s new bookstore The Painted Porch in Bastrop, Texas. The Premonition is a fast-paced deep dive into the informal but highly qualified group of experts (Lewis accurately positions them as heroes) who knew how dangerous Covid 19 was before anyone else and knew what to do about it. As you can all guess by now, their advice and warnings went largely unheeded. This book fills in the gaps regarding what went wrong and why. As we grapple with both processing the last 18 months and the…

Big Bend State Park; the photo is my own.

The recent protests over racial injustice have resulted in the removal of over 100 statues honoring generals of the Confederacy. But what happened to them? I never really questioned this until recently. Perhaps I assumed that they were taken to a volcanic opening, thrown over the edge, and burned down to their core elements to be fused within the deep layers of the earth’s crust. Dust to dust, iron to iron. Or something like that.

When my family and I took a recent vacation to West Texas, I discovered the new life of one of the Confederate statues that had…

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I’m not an expert in Critical Race Theory (“CRT”) by any means, just a layperson who has done my fair share of reading on the topic. As with most of the country, I started hearing about CRT for the first time last year, and consequently, Evangelical and conservative opposition to it. At first, I couldn’t understand what about CRT was so objectionable. The framework for addressing and identifying institutional racism struck me as entirely sensible at first blush. As podcaster Jasmine Bradshaw explains, CRT focuses on the impact, not the intent of laws and institutions.

I started to realize that…

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Apparently everyone I know gets botox now. Generally, there’s a nationwide phenomenon of seeing one’s face on Zoom calls that has increased the demand for cosmetic procedures. I’m also squarely in my mid-thirties, and perhaps I’m just hearing about it more as my friends and I age. Whatever the case may be, it is a topic that comes up a lot these days in my circles.

To inject or not to inject?

Gone are the early, experimentational days when a puffy, frozen-faced look was the result of Botox injections. The Botox my friends are getting looks great. That is to say: you can’t tell who gets…

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When I was pregnant, I read ten or more pregnancy and parenting books. As expected, many of the books touched on the pros and cons of breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding. The general impression I was left with was that breastfeeding and formula feeding both have benefits and drawbacks, and that the choice should be left up to the mother or parent. The word “choice” always seemed to be at the fulcrum of these discussions. For example: “If you choose to breastfeed…” “Whatever you choose to do, know that your baby is healthy…” “Should you choose to bottle feed...”

A matter of choice?

The whole…

Everything you need to know before you buy for your little one

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When I was pregnant with my daughter, I was confident that I wouldn’t fall for the marketing ploys of the baby product industry. Just hearing the word “registry” made me want to run in the other direction. I was sure that I would have a baby, and my home would remain exactly as it had always been, free of plastic contraptions and primary-colored baby accouterments. I would eat in restaurants without rolling in a huge stroller and diaper bag, just a simple baby wrap and a few diapers in my purse. …

Migraines are more than just bad headaches.

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I’ve suffered from migraines for as long as I can remember. As a kid, I’d play outside in the hot Texas sun, then spend afternoons curled up in bed with the lights off and a pillow over my head. Throbbing behind one eye, nausea, loss of appetite, freezing cold feet and hands, confusion, and, of course, pain are some of my symptoms.

As I grew up, I learned more about migraines from doctors and books. I learned that I wasn’t alone. However, as common as migraines are, there are a wide range of symptoms that different people experience. For example…

An accountability partner helps me read with intention.

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Midway through 2020, I realized I was in a reading rut, and I didn’t know how to climb out. I’ve always been one to read multiple books at once, and up until recently, it had been working well. But something about the pandemic, a sense of scarcity of reading time, and a jumbled-anxious brain sent my reading habits off the rails.

In June of 2020, I noticed I had 18 books in my “currently reading” list on Goodreads. And these were all books that had passed my “60 page rule,” that I was enjoying and intended to finish. Yet I…

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Raising our daughter to speak multiple languages is one of our top priorities as a family. The benefits have been well documented in research: richer social interactions, cognitive advantages, higher self-esteem, greater empathy and understanding, and many others. On a personal level, we want to provide our daughter with the opportunity to learn more easily while she is still young, as well as feel connected to her cultural identity.

I am a non-native Spanish speaker and my husband’s native Thai was getting rusty by the time our daughter was born. As we prepared for her birth and early years, we…

Catelyn Silapachai

Texan, plant-based, antiques dealer, compulsive reader.

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