Who’s That Girl?

My name is Anissa Stansfield. I started Panthera Book Clubs to combine my interests in books, graphic design, games, giving gifts, and having opinions—all my favorite things in one place. I thought about trying to draw up a neato Venn diagram to demonstrate this (because I’m an engineer in real life and I like that sort of geeky thing), but it was too complex and I think it would just wind up being a brown circle and bore all of you anyway. So back to the show…

Reading Books

I have always loved books. Some of my earliest memories are of going to book stores with my mom. Remember B. Dalton and Waldenbooks? We even had a tiny bookstore near my elementary school called Clairemont Books that had a spinner rack of the Little Miss and Mister Men books by Roger Hargreaves. I would still recognize Little Miss Bossy and Little Miss Splendid anywhere. I also loved Nancy Drew. In fact, I loved her so much that I tried to write my own version with a character called Farley Sweet. Today, this might be considered fanfic, in the ’80s it was just a rip-off. Farley starred in my first, and only, novel (which was three pages long and more of a brochure): The Mystery of the Pearl Pagoda. Doesn’t that sound like a book worth reading? But I digress. My point is that I have loved books for decades, and if you’re reading this post, then you probably love books too. So we already have something important in common and have the foundation of a wonderful friendship.

Attempting Graphic Design

Let me start by saying that I am by no means a professional graphic artist. I like to think of myself as a sincere dilettante because it sounds better than dabbler and makes me think of Oscar Wilde. And so, I have always had opinions about what looks good and what doesn’t (see paragraph below). So I was delighted to learn in my twenties that there is a real art to good design and set out to learn more by…..you guessed it, buying a book! I recommend Robin Williams’ (not the genie) the Non-Designers Design Book for the basics. Now, I operate on the “I know what I like” approach and admire great design everywhere I see it. And, of course snicker at ugly signs and packages with the letters too close together. This is called kerning if you want to sound like a smarty-pants, and I do.

Playing Games 

Ok, this one isn’t as straightforward as you might think. I’m not at all competitive. I don’t like to play games to win them, but rather to hang out with other people and laugh together and maybe have a glass of wine and some snacks. I like to make up little games that amuse my friends and family and help all of us laugh and have something to tease each other about next week. Only good-natured, friendly games for me. Monopoly? No thanks. Parcheesi? Maybe, but only because I like the name. 

Giving Gifts

There are very few things that make me happier than choosing something special for someone I care about. I like to see a big reaction: laughing, smiling, crying. It’s very true that it’s the thought that counts, so it’s important that a gift be a good one. We all daydream about what we would do if we won the lotto. Well, I always skip over the obvious—pay off my mortgage, get a new car, save for college—and go right to the fun stuff. Send my mom on a cruise around the world. Create a fund for all my friends’ kids to go to college. Buy an apartment building for low income families. Get chroma glasses for my friend who is color-blind. It’s so much fun to think about. I recommend it when you’re in your next boring meeting. Look around the room and think about what you would give people if you had infinite resources. That meeting will be over before you know it.

Having Opinions

Well, now that we know each other so well, this will come as no surprise. I’m a thinker, and part of being a thinker is having opinions. Whenever I come across something new, I always feel a little unsettled until I decide what I think about it. I’m an evaluator; indifference does not come naturally to me. But! I am an enlightened opinion-haver and accept that reasonable people can disagree with respect and affection. After all, no one likes a zealot.

Well, that’s a good summary of me, Anissa Stansfield. I appreciate your reading this far and coming to my website. I hope there is something fun here for you. I’d love to hear from you.

In my next blog post, I’ll tell you what three problems Panthera Book Clubs is intended to solve.

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