Why, yes… there’s much more.

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If you’re not on TikTok by now, I’m not totally sure whether to congratulate or scold you.

On the one hand, it is a monumental time suck.

On the other hand, it has evolved into a delightful wealth of knowledge for everything from recipes to DIY home projects to political analysis to car maintenance to fitness routines. Sixty second video snippets of information delivered directly to your phone for the ultimate “what fun new thing can I learn today?”

Having been on this app for the better part of two years now, I am painfully aware that its algorithm knows…

And the extra spell of buying just a few more along the way

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I recently learned the name to one of my most constant and pervasive afflictions.


This simple Japanese word describes the practice of purchasing and collecting many more books than you could ever hope to actually read.

Well, I must admit, I felt a little called out when I discovered this…

But I also felt some strange sense of calm. There was a word for it! Words are easily one of my very favorite things, and here was one that described my hardcover hoarding habit in perfect detail!

And if it had a word, such a thing must also have… *gasp*

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My anxiety is an ocean.

There is high tide, and there is low tide.

When the tide is low, the ocean is still churning. It is still full of fears and expectations and nerve endings and pain, but it is further from the surface. I can walk along more of the beach without getting sucked in.

When the tide is high, the ocean is harder to ignore. It is an ever-present body that reminds me of those same worries and wounds as it laps at my ankles and begs me to step further in, just for a minute. …

A mid-year analysis of my 2020 reading list and a single app’s growing influence

In the beginning…

I fell hard and fast down the rabbit hole known as TikTok a full year before isolation drove my millennial brethren into the arms of every solo distraction they could get their hands on.

My cousin had grown pretty famous on the app and I downloaded it for the sake of supporting his content. My first mistake was believing I’d be able to merely sneak in, like all of his videos, and sneak back out again.

Because, dear friends, amidst the many group dance numbers and couples challenges and lip syncs, there exists a precious and beloved land known as…

Your literary fix is in excellent hands

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I get it.

We live in an age where convenience is key, and if shipping times are any longer than two days or if we (God forbid) have to pay for it, we move along to the more expedient, seemingly more cost effective option, right?

Of course we do. We’re about half a step behind Alexa beaming in our meals from a delivery drone flying overhead.

And as an avid reader, if there’s anything I purchase with steady regularity, it’s books. And this habit isn’t going anywhere anytime soon (just wait until you see how many I bought in quarantine).

Books are, therefore…

Haven’t we all come up with new ways to entertain ourselves by now?

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In case you have never ventured into the world of Bookstagram, allow me to be your guide.

Bookstagram is, at its most basic level, a hashtag. A painfully obvious and yet much beloved play on the words “book” and “Instagram” to draw the interest of users who enjoy both. What Bookstagram has evolved into, however, over the course of the last several years is a community — a veritable extended family of social media lovers who read.

This evolution has led to many a book blogger (and BookTuber for that matter) gaining online credibility and notoriety, but it has also created a space within the popular social media platform not wholly reserved for selfies, vacay photos, and…

We’ll make it through just fine, but that’s really not the point

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I am a (relatively) well adjusted millennial adult with a steady flow of income, a loving and supportive family, a sturdy and committed relationship, a wonderful set of friends, and many hobbies and interests.

I am simply not struggling in the same ways that many others currently are. I have had to adjust, of course, but not nearly as much as my peers have. I’ve done a great deal of remote work before, so working from home is no great feat. …

I really don’t care a bit about football.

I’m very simply not a football person unless I feel like I have to be. I will go to a watch party at a friend’s house because it seems like something others enjoy, and I want to spend time with those people. I will provide the requisite buffalo chicken dip because I love eating it, and I will pretend to care about this or that field goal because it’s the topic my fellow spectators are onto. The Army Navy game a few months ago was the first game I actually attended in person in about two decades, and I went…

It’s confusing, it’s sexist, and it’s dangerous.

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Reasons I’ve Never Wanted to Play

Once upon a time in college, I was trying to order myself a drink in a bar when a man in one of the highly coveted barstools swiveled so that his knee very deliberately brushed against my thigh.

As the place was crowded, I thought nothing of this, and many a long-practiced technique of not inviting undesired attention from potentially predatory male strangers dictated that I ignore him.

Barstool guy had other ideas. The instant he knocked into me, he stared over and said, “Were you trying to get my attention?”


No, sir. No, I absolutely was not.


The show’s second season is now streaming, and it’s ready to have even deeper conversations.

I am not an obsessive person, but anyone who has any insight at all into my Netflix queue will tell you that I am incapable of shutting up about Sex Education.

It is not, by any means, the sort of television my partner would normally select for himself, but after binging the first season within the space of two days when it premiered last year, I sat him down and made sure his eyes were glued to the screen.

His response was, after all of half an episode, and I quote: “Damn it, now I’m invested.”

And you know what…

Mary "Pepper" O'Brien

Writer, Runner, Baker, Mother. Over caffeinated with my nose in a book.

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