Thematically Appropriate Content

If you’re looking for something to “get down with the sickness”, as it were, here are some recommendations.

Reading material:

  • Masque of the Red Death, Edgar Allen Poe
    Short Story
  • The Plague, Camus
    Novella
  • A Journal of the Plague Year, Daniel Defoe
    Novel
  • Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
    Novel

Music:

I may have joined the club and made a coronavirus playlist, focused on my preferred musical era of 60’s/70’s.

Movies:

I don’t have any disease-focused films, but if you’re self-isolating (which, if you can, you should be) here is a list of 100 RT-Fresh films you can stream for free online (with links).

Library Haul

I’m back in the United States which means I’ve checked out an inappropriate amount of books and movies from the library.

Here’s what they are:

Books:

  • White Negroes: When Cornrows were in Vogue… and Other Thoughts on Cultural Appropriation, Lauren Michele Jackson
  • Women who Run with Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype, Clarissa Pinkola Estes
  • Fantastic Women: 18 Tales of the Surreal and Sublime from Tin House
  • Forty Stories, Donald Barthelme
  • In the Gloaming: Stories, Alice Elliott Dark
  • The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations, Toni Morrison
  • A Village in a Valley, Beverley Nichols

 

Movies:

  • Pick of the Litter
  • Becoming Astrid
  • Cold War
  • Good Manners
  • Land of Mine
  • Room 237
  • Maria by Callas
  • Mandy
  • Night Comes On
  • Shadow (the one from last year)
  • You Were Never Really Here
  • Miss Hokusai
  • Prospect
  • November
  • L’Amant Double

Mini-Celebrities I Want to Meet in Paris

42648a2d960c857d7770761bd75283c1

It’s one of the cool things about living in big cities, the awareness that at any moment one of the people you know by name and face- but have never met before- might be just around the corner.

I’ve got a few people that I’m thinking of reaching out to when I return to Paris, in the hopes of meeting.  It’s a short and eclectic list, but true to me.

If you’re familiar with me (or my Instagram habits) the lack of ‘French Girls of Instagram’ might surprise you, but they’re really more people whose style I admire- it’s hard to want to meet them knowing relatively little about their interests and personality (beyond shared tastes in bathing suits, jeans, and sweaters).
But I wouldn’t say no to a patisserie with Sabina Socol, any day.

So who’s on the list?

  • David Lebovitz: I recently finished reading L’Appart and the story of the author’s harrowing journey to owning a Paris apartment really resonated with me, in terms of expatriate growing pains.  And as a big fan of home renovations, I’d love to hear more.
  • Rosie McCarthy: Speaking of expatriate growing pains, Rosie’s youtube channel, Not Even French, is a recent favorite discovery of mine.  In her videos, the native New Zealander discusses the surprises (both good and bad) of life in Paris.  She seems like such a lovely person, and I can only imagine how interesting (and informative) a talk with her would be.
  • Paul Taylor: I may have shared one of Paul Taylor’s videos in the past, because they’re quite funny.  He’s a British comedian responsible for the What’s Up France?/What the Fuck, France? series.
  • Jessie Kanelos Weiner: Jessie Kanelos Weiner is the writer and illustrator of Paris in Stride, a gorgeous book for the dedicated flaneuse (me) who wants to explore Paris. It’s currently hiding in my Mom’s closet for my July 25th birthday.  Sometimes she holds watercolor classes.  And I really want to attend one!

You may have noticed that this list is super expat-heavy.  This isn’t because I have no interest in native Parisians… so much as I think expats subconsciously strike me as being much more approachable.  Parisians have notoriously close social lives and with expats, I have the benefit of a shared language (frequently) and similar experiences.

Mid-week Links

call-by-monet

It seems like every time I’ve been posting recently it’s been prefaced by an apology about my lack of consistency.  I’m here again and again with another excuse- you would think being homebound with a bad ankle would lead to more posting rather than less, but instead I’ve just generally been very off my game for the last week.  Thankfully I’m starting to shape up and am more or less ready to rejoin the land of the living/productive, which is good because we’ve got some family trips lined up which I would never for the life of me be missing.
But that does also mean I’m unlikely to be posting consistently for another week and a half.  The boondocks of PA doesn’t even have phone connection, much less WiFi.
See you on the other side!

In the meantime, I’ve amassed a hideous army of motley links from around the interwebs.

Why so many posts about Instagram?

Peace and Acceptance:

On Films:

  • The trouble with Hollywood’s gender flips: “These reboots require women to relive men’s stories instead of fashioning their own. And they’re subtly expected to fix these old films, to neutralize their sexism and infuse them with feminism, to rebuild them into good movies with good politics, too. They have to do everything the men did, except backwards and with ideals.”
  • The Pop Culture Detective strikes again! The topic: Abduction as Romance.
  • The Hate U Give. This looks pretty great.
  • What is Cinemascore?

Miscellaneous:

SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave

Nonfictional Thoughts: Lykke and HTBUWYP

I recently finished reading two nonfiction books (that were, in my opinion, very good); The Little Book of Lykke and How to Break Up with Your Phone.

I wanted to give some details about them and some of my thoughts, in case my random recommendation doesn’t carry enough weight.

The Little Book of Lykke: In The Little Book of Lykke, Meik identifies the six factors that explain the majority of differences in happiness across the world—togetherness, money, health, freedom, trust, and kindness—and explores what actions we can take to become happier. As he reveals, we can deepen our blissfulness and contentment with little adjustments in our behavior, whether it’s eating like the French (sitting around a table and savoring our time) or dancing the tango like Argentinians in Buenos Aires.

  • I really enjoyed the case studies sprinkled throughout the book, detailing how specific people or communities had made a change for the better/happier in their lives.  Like Michelle’s No Spend Year- to learn how to live well for less, put yourself out there, and remember that buying belongings won’t bring you the perfect life.  because it’s about experiences!
  • Apps like Kamino and Field Trip will give you the scenic route, rather than the fastest.
  • The Mappiness Project in the UK seems super cool- by mapping happiness around the world, researchers aim to understand how happiness is affected by the local environment.  You can sign up to participate.  And, no surprise: participants tend to be significantly and substantially happier outdoors.
  • The Parental Happiness Gap has a whole damn lot to do with the policies in place to support working families.  The US and Papua New Guinea are the only two countries in the world that do not have a policy in place to give mothers paid time off after having a baby.
  • Cooperation versus competition.  I’ve always been a humongous fan of musical chairs, but why are so many kids games competitive rather than cooperative?  What if a game were played where no kids were out but a chair was taken away every round- leading to all of the kids piling into one chair at the very end.  Sounds just as giddy and prone to accident.
  • Become a RAKTIVIST, a kind of Random Act of Kindness ninja/hitman. You can sign up on the website http://www.randomactsofkindness.org.

This next is a little harder because I’ve already returned the book though I finished it more recently- so this will be a bit shorter.

How to Break Up With Your Phone: Award-winning journalist Catherine Price presents a practical, hands-on plan to break up—and then make up—with your phone. The goal? A long-term relationship that actually feels good.  You’ll discover how phones and apps are designed to be addictive, and learn how the time we spend on them damages our abilities to focus, think deeply, and form new memories. You’ll then make customized changes to your settings, apps, environment, and mindset that will ultimately enable you to take back control of your life.

  • Disclosure: I don’t have much of a phone addiction, and I mostly read this book applying what I was learning to laptop time- particularly after I was hit with a particularly strong Spider Solitaire addiction a few months ago as a result of university stress (I can’t explain).
  • Apps, smartphones, websites, etc. are designed to keep interested, often in pretty sinister ways.  Not only do they tap into your dopamine circuits, but likes are pretty much designed to take advantage of peoples’ competitive natures and need to belong and have social approval.  And frequently you as a user are not alerted of likes in real time- platforms alert you of them when research/empirical evidence shows that it will have the biggest impact on users and encourage users to continue the most.
  • In 2007, when the first smartphones were released, many demographic trends changed sharply.
  • Among other data, the incidence of depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders, especially among younger people, increased significantly.
  • So now I’m trying to ask myself before I pop open my laptop or phone- 1) What could I be doing instead right now?, 2) What am I using this device for? (so that I can make sure I have a purpose rather than just ‘because’), 3) How am I feeling? (Am I using my phone or computer to relieve stress?).
  • I’m going to schedule a no screen weekend. I might cheat and do it when I go away for Independence Day. To an area that has no internet and no reception.
  • Streamline your phone. Make it harder to open the apps you tend to get lost in.  If things are less convenient to access, you’re less likely to access them ‘unconsciously’.
  • Engage in tech fasts. Sounds like fun.
  • All in all, I really liked how the data was set out initially and followed by a proposed 30 day detox plan- which wasn’t super applicable to me because mI’m more irritated by my somewhat extensive laptop time, but there were lots of great ideas I took away (and I’ve been using my laptop less!)

Friday Links 5/18

gq-comedy-cover

Happy Friday! It seems like a pretty good day 9a bit nippy) and I’m looking forward to some exciting doings this weekend.

How about you?

Library Haul

I meant to write this post up yesterday, but I was in a bad, not very companionable mood.  I’m feeling better today, having, among other things, cooked some beautiful dal and finished watching Mother!, which was much better than last autumn’s reviews had led me to believe it would be.

Other news? I’m looking forward to seeing Deadpool 2, probably this weekend, hoping to go out for  meal or ice cream (or both), my chocolate quinoa pancakes continue to be excellent, and Solo is getting some pretty mediocre reviews. Oh, and I’m falling behind on reading Travels with Charley.

Here’s what else I have checked out:

Books:

  • Travels with Charley
  • How to Break Up with Your Phone
  • The Little Book of Lykke: The followup to the widely acclaimed Little Book of Hygge. I’ve actually already finished it, just not ready to return it yet.
  • Lolly Willowes
  • Ripley’s Game: Wondering if this third installment will be the one that puts me off the Ripley series
  • The Wings of the Dove: I really fear the day when I have no more big Henry James. This and The Golden Bowl. That’s all I’ve got left, I think.
  • The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning

Movies:

  • Gran Torino: Clint Eastwood is bae.
  • Lady Snowblood: Miss Havisham goes violent samurai.
  • Mother!
  • Enter the Dragon: Triggered by a youtube video pointing out a very extra extra.
  • The Furies: Barbara Stanwyck is also bae.
  • My Name is Nobody
  • The Old Gun: Yay westerns!
  • Prisoners
  • Frenzy: One of the chronologically last Hitchcock films and one of the last ones I haven’t seen yet.
  • Amarcord: The first movie of Fellini’s that I’ve liked.