Berrett-Koehler Internship

Occupy Davis – Police Brutality 19 November 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Michelle @ 12:36
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Yesterday after work at B-K, I came home to this: 


Just reading the article had such an emotional impact on me, even bringing tears to my eyes. Then at the bottom, there is the video. Much of what is said in the article is corroborated by that video and shows the extent of the police brutality (one student was coughing up blood 45 minutes after having his mouth forced open and being pepper-sprayed down his throat). This is in response to students SITTING WITH LINKED ARMS in a circle of solidarity.


Sitting at the quad today, the ‘heart’ of our UCD campus, where rallies have been taking place all week, and where on Thursday evening a number of supporters camped out in tents, I just am almost in disbelief that something like this could happen on the quad! The peaceful, serene, grassy area surrounded by century’s old oak trees, wooden benches covered with students names, a place where we sun-bathe, throw frisbees, take naps between classes. I feel like this area has been violated. That it’s tarnished. I don’t think I’ll ever be able walk down the Centennial Walk that runs through the quad and not think of this incident.


‘Students. Sitting down. With bowed heads. On university property. Police freely moving around them, pepper spraying them, facing no resistance whatsoever. Just students. Sitting on the ground,’ is how the article describes the scene. No one was in danger because of the ‘non-resisting, non-disruptive line of protesters’, yet still this occurred.


This is all anyone in Davis, and on Sac news, was talking about yesterday and today. There is currently a petition started by Assistant Professor of English here at UCD, Nathan Brown, for Chancellor Linda Katehi’s resignation.  The main point of his petition is quite simple, logical, and fair, I think. It is this:


‘Your (Chancellor Katehi’s) words express concern for the safety of our students. Your actions express no concern whatsoever for the safety of our students. I deduce from this discrepancy that you are not, in fact, concerned about the safety of our students. Your actions directly threaten the safety of our students.’


Since its drafting yesterday, almost 3,000 people have signed this petition. (* The petition has now, at 8:30am on Tuesday, gained 77,000 signatures.)


This incident is just one of the latest across the country concerning the Occupy movement, of which B-K has just recently published This Changes Everything: Occupy Wall Street and the 99% Movement. Unfortunately, I know it won’t be the last.


Oh, Family… 14 November 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Michelle @ 20:04
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One of the many longhorns on the ranch

One of the many longhorns on my family's ranch

Last weekend, I made a trip out to Houston, Texas for my cousin’s baby shower. For a quick little background, Texas is a breath of fresh air for me. Texas is family. Texas is relaxing, free of stress, and filled only with loud laughs, good times, and plenty of longhorns.  Having only two cousins in my entire family, this was a very special occasion to begin with, but this is also the first child for the happy couple and the first grandchild for my aunt and uncle. So my mom and I just had to fly out there. There was no other option! It’s not like we look for any and every excuse to visit my grandma, my aunt and uncle and their gorgeous, longhorn-filled ranch, my pregnant cousin and her husband, my other newlywed cousin, the open space, that distinct breath of fresh air that I can only seem to find in Texas. No… we don’t look for any excuse to fly out there…


Anyways, you get the point. I love Texas. (Though feeding the longhorns after a couple years made me a little nervous at first!)

Feeding... Look at that tongue!

Now all this may for some reason be vaguely interesting, but what relevance does this all have to my internship, you might ask?  Well. For all the fun times we have, somehow family get-togethers inevitably lead to discussions about careers. I feel like it’s always about my future plans that get talked about, ahem, seriously discussed, but I know it happens with my brothers as well. This time though, my dad (the strong force behind my career decisions) did not come, much to his dismay (mainly because it was a baby shower and guys aren’t present too often at these sorts of things…)


Nevertheless, some family members were asking what I was majoring in – Economics and English – and I got the typical response: ‘Oh. Well, um, huh, that’s an interesting combination.’ And I give my typical explanation: ‘Yes, yes I know it’s an ‘interesting’ combination, but I want to go in to publishing, specifically book publishing, and I think it works well for that.’  And they normal come back with, ‘Oh, okay. I get that makes sense’ or my least favorite response that usually involves a lot of scoffing and dirty looks and just general ‘Why are you studying economics in a time like this? What are you going to do? Fix the economy? Ha!’  No, I’m not going to fix the economy, but I think understanding what is going on is essential. By being informed, which is why I think studying economics during this crisis is particularly interesting, I can be a better citizen. I can be knowledgeable, carry somewhat intelligent conversations with people who just think that there is absolutely nothing to be done about the state of our country – and now, the state of Europe – and at the most basic level, just understand what’s going on in the daily news, understand possibly how this situation came about, why it’s persisting, what people are doing to fix it, possible measures for preventing it in the future, all those sorts of things.


One of these such conversations started when a friend of the family asked what I was studying at college, I told her, everyone in the room gives the collective response above, and I give mine, then, oh the coincidence!, the friend said that she suddenly had to go. Hmm. I know that she really did need to leave, and she was already on her way, but really?! Leave right after that conversation opener? The timing was just too perfect and I couldn’t help but think of these reactions that I get from both my major in Economics and my interest in book publishing. Both elicit such strong emotions in one direction or the other – people either want to completely discuss and nit-pick my decision for both (the economic crisis and book publishing as a ‘dying’ business), or they somehow get uncomfortable with the topics, like they are something taboo.  Whether that discomfort stems from being not informed about the economy, which is entirely plausible (I am definitely uncomfortable discussing topics I don’t know much about and trying to pull off that I do), or the person for one reason or another just does not want to talk about it at all, the reactions of people intrigue me. Also though, these reactions make me a little hesitant, maybe with even a touch of nervousness, before I share my major and career aspirations!  And I don’t mean to say either that any of the reactions is ‘wrong’ or ‘right’ but just the immediate responses elicited by the words ‘economics’ and ‘publishing’ absolutely amazes me. It’s tricky to pigeon-hole the reactions in to just a couple categories such as these, but that’s what I’ve seen in my few years of discussion about economics and book publishing.


Now though, as in just this autumn, I feel so much more comfortable and grounded in my major choices and career prospect, mainly because of this internship. Before, publishing greatly interested me, and I felt that it would be a fantastic fit for me even before I had much experience in the actual publishing world. But now, I am so much more confident, both with my self (reassuring when as a fourth year college student you know what you want to do!) and with others (‘Look, the publishing world may be changing, evolving, etc, but it’s not dying, and yes it might be difficult to get a job after I graduate, but at least I have a start.’)


This little incident in Texas last weekend just brought up to the very surface what I’ve been thinking and feeling and somewhat struggling with throughout my college career, and if my blog chronicling my book publishing internship is not the right place to voice these thoughts (long-winded as they are), well, I don’t know where the right place would be!

Baby Longhorn!

Baby longhorn!


Growing Interest in Business Books 9 November 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Michelle @ 11:31
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As an Economics major, the business world has definitely piqued my interest, but it’s been limited to mostly current affairs, not leadership, time management, personal growth, etc., subjects that B-K publishes.  I think this mostly has to do with the fact that I’ve just not been exposed to this area before. I have not worked extensively in a office setting, nor have I been in a leadership role where I would’ve benefited from the advice some of these titles would’ve given me.

This mentality shifted though after I had a wonderful hour-long talk with Jeevan, the managing editor at B-K. He encouraged me to pick up a few titles and browse through them, trying to glean something useful, something that pertains to me, something that I can incorporate into my life to enrich and improve it. Minutes later, he hands me a manuscript entitled ‘What to Do When There’s to Much to Do.’ Oh how well this fit in to my current situation! With essays due and midterms beginning the following week, I felt as if I could not possibly add one more thing to my to do list. Nevertheless, this got added, and couldn’t be more grateful. As the title suggests, this book deals largely with time management for overall improved performance, mainly in the working sector, but I found strong ties to my student life as well. Imagine that! A classified business book pertaining to the average college student!

So since then, as in, the last few weeks, I’ve really been making a point to peruse titles surrounding not only global sustainability, current events, women’s empowerment (all of which I find incredibly interesting and have for years, which is the point) but I’ve been branching out as well in to books dealing more with leadership, personal growth, etc and spreading my interest base and finding something in these new-to-me books. I mean, they wouldn’t be published if there was not some little nugget of wisdom in them, right?!


Stratford-upon-Avon, England

Filed under: Uncategorized — Michelle @ 11:26
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Riverside View

Riverside View

In early May, I took a trip down to Stratford-upon-Avon in the south of England to run my second marathon, the appropriately named ‘Shakespeare Marathon’.  I arrived a few days early and had the chance to explore this incredible quaint, friendly, riverside town.

Another View of the River

Another View of the River

Overlooking the River from Bridge

Overlooking the River from Bridge

I also wandered in to a few bookshops while there, but only photographed this one.

Great Collection

Great Collection!

Nonetheless, it was just the cutest, most fun little place to explore – I walked in the front door (had to duck my head, and I’m 5’4”!), then one little room feed in to the next. There was sort of a front room, then a small, narrow, windy hallway that led in to the next, and it kept going further and further back for a total of five rooms. The smell, you know, that ‘old book smell’? Well it was veeeery strong in this little store. I really enjoyed it while there, but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to open up a book and enjoy it again after Jeevan told me… wait for it… wait for it… that the smell is MOLD! Think about that the next time you breathe in that smell.

Inside the Bookshop

Inside the Bookshop

Not only was the structure of the bookshop incredibly fun to explore (as it was from the 1800s, complete with a thatched roof!), but the collection of books was something too! There was an amusing section entitled ‘Local Authors’. I look at the titles and all were by Shakespeare! Local authors don’t get much cooler than that!

The following day, the day before the race, we stopped by the beautiful Holy Trinity Church for a glimpse at the original King James Bible and the Shakespeare family’s graves.

William and Anne Shakespeare's Graves

William and Anne Shakespeare's Graves

Amazon and other online booksellers make finding books today so easy – have access to a computer and you have access to practically any and every thing.  But, I still love finding unique little bookshops like this one – they’re such a nice surprise!


Commuting 30 October 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Michelle @ 17:56
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Most people I talk with about this internship comment on the commute between SF and Davis, 73 miles to be exact, twice a week.  However, my immediate response is, ‘It’s not that bad!’ And here’s why.

I love driving. After spending an entire year not driving in England, and not having a car in Davis my two first two years in college, I really have only driven during summer the past few years. And I love getting away from Davis, even if just for two afternoons a week. It’s incredibly relaxing to disconnect from the often-times stressful atmosphere of college life, especially when midterms start rolling around.


So I like driving and getting away, but the bart has also been an entirely new experience for me. It is a sort of entertainment unlike any I’ve seen before… It’s great people-watching! Sometimes people will be singing along with their music, other times singing without, some dogs even make their way aboard the train, one time a cat.

But, mostly because of the times I travel (1pm and 5:30pm), the trains are full of business people, which is just fine with me! I’d taken it one time before this internship, but now I feel like I’m in a routine – I have purpose, going in to the city to work, and being part of the crowd of business people and professionals gives me such a sense of fulfillment and excitement that hopefully one day soon I’ll be a part of it!

Nevertheless, I have seen my fair share of accidents. In the past month alone actually, two of my housemates have been hospitalized after being in accidents – one was hit by a truck and another fell while riding her bike, which happens way more often than anyone would care to admit. Both are now mostly recovered, but since then, every time I get in my car, or on my bike, I am just extra careful.

That, however, is difficult with cars in the slow lane on the 680 going over 75 mph. The minute or two faster they get to their destination is just not worth the risk. I heard that all the time from my parents when I was first driving – ‘it’s better to be late than dead’ sort of thing. But sometimes that reality doesn’t hit home until someone close actually falls victim to it.  What absolutely bothers my friend though, is that it wasn’t her fault. As careful as you might be driving and biking, doing everything possible to be cautious and aware, sometimes the other person is completely at fault and there’s nothing you could have done to prevent it.

However, I still enjoy getting out the quiet (but stressful!) town of Davis, driving past open fields and rolling hills for miles and miles, and just relaxing a bit with radio turned up.  I know that someday, though hopefully not too soon, this long commute will be less and less exciting and enjoyable, but for now, just two days a week, I really do look forward to it. I look forward to driving, dressing up a bit (compared to my classroom attire of sweatpants and a shirt), coming in to the city to work in a high-rise, walking with all the business people in suits, and just doing something different. But different in such a good way because I want this ‘different’, this working at a publishing company, to soon be my norm. And so, for all those reasons!, I’m not minding the commute one bit!


Hello there!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Michelle @ 17:54
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Wanting to participate more in the BK Community, but not sure how to go about it, I realized a few other interns have kept blogs about their time here at B-K, and thought, ‘What a great idea!’.

About me… I’m currently studying Economics and English at UC Davis, and I one day (soon!) hope to work at a book publishing company and thought that an internship would be the most valuable experience I could have! Though my classes at UCD have prepared me in many ways for the ‘real world’, nothing beats actually walking in to a beautiful building in the Financial District, entering the publishing office, and working twice a week!


Since my first day on 9th October, I’ve done so much and learned more than I thought possible in just a few short weeks, such as updating the webpage using Content Management System, sitting in on editorial and digital team meetings, reading a manuscript, and much more! So far it has been beyond wonderful – a great escape from hectic student life and a wonderful glimpse in to the environment I hope to be soon working in!

I plan on writing a reflection about the two days a week I go in to the office, but also going back these few weeks and musing on what I’ve done and learned thus far.