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:
- 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
- Pick of the Litter
- Becoming Astrid
- Cold War
- Good Manners
- Land of Mine
- Room 237
- Maria by Callas
- Night Comes On
- Shadow (the one from last year)
- You Were Never Really Here
- Miss Hokusai
- L’Amant Double
Happy Friday and Happy Mother’s Day weekend!
Do you have any plans?
In a few hours we (my parents and I) will be going up to Belfast, Maine to spend the weekend with my Aunt Susan and Bill, whose mother owns an alpaca farm. There will be alpaca shearing, vegan food, and tactful discussions about Infinity War without mentioning to movie fan Bill (it’s so nice to be around other movie fans) that I never plan to see it.
I’ve been reading a lot, falling behind on the films I have checked out from the library, gardening for hours a day, and enjoying the springly weather. I also cooked some interesting pancakes yesterday so that have foods when I return next week. I will report back.
What’s happening on the worldwide web?
- Speaking of movie people, this film looks like it could be amazing. Also really excited for The Seagull, an adaptation of one of the few Chekhov pieces I’e actually read.
- A beautiful essay that I’m at a loss as to how to describe.
- The Duchess of Northumberland sounds like a fun lady- she created the garden at Alnwick Castle, possible the deadliest garden in the world.
- How does Deadpool always win the promotion game? This is genius.
- One of the greatest things about being back in America is the access to SNL’s youtube uploads. I know the main story (DESERVEDLY) is the release of This is America by Donald Glover- but let’s not forget about the Barbie skit.
- #MeToo and Junot Diaz: Cycles of victimization and victimizing, sexual harassment, celebrity and race.
- When two celebrity ladies (internet fashion personae?) give birth in close succession and get together to share their experiences with the early days of motherhood.
- I love this Public Place Meditation Guide– it’s very closely related to some wisdom my mother shared with me years ago: practice seeing the divinity in everyone around you.
- A mathematical model may explain how two brains agree on the experiential profile of smells.
- Possibly the most charming interview I’ve ever seen. I think I may have just fallen in love with all three of these men.
- Have you liked any pages created by Russian bots?Ask Facebook.
- A complex algorithm predicts the likelihood of final season Game of Thrones deaths. Bye, Daenerys.
- An amazing photograph. I love whales.
A links post with a one day delay. I’ve officially started on a two week break (but can’t get too excited because we have two exams the week we get back) and I’m debating whether I should go to The Catacombs today or take a joint trip to Maison de Balzac and the Monet Marmottan Museum. It’s a rough life full of hard choices.
- Yara Shahidi was on Stephen Colbert, is turning 18, having a voting party, and is an amazingly well-spoken individual. I know it’s a cliche to say this, but we need more people like her in the world.
- In spite of my issues with The Shape of Water, I do think it’s a bit unfair to sum it up as ‘the film where the woman has sex with a fish’. That being said, someone designed a dildo inspired by Fish God. You can find anything on the internet and this is why we don’t deserve nice things.
- The inspiring knitwear of Prabal Gurung’s Fall 2018 collection.
- The Obamas’ official portraits have been unveiled at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. They’re both pretty amazing, both from an historical and artistic standpoint.
Buuuut: here’s a counterpoint and a deeper reading.
- Wisecrack on how Monty Python shaped modern comedy (via postmodernism, the comedy of the absurd, and political satire).
- A thought-provoking personal essay about an ‘accidental wedding dress’ and accepting that life rarely/never comes with the closure of a settled and final happy ending.
- Similarly, this comic on the numerous ways to fill your heart and live a meaningful and love-filled life.
- A surreal video of a very fluffy doggo swimming underwater.
- The Louvre has created a Valentine’s-inspired Pinterest board. I’m particularly in love (no pun intended) the Antonio Canova’s sculpture of Cupid and Psyche.
- I’m not planing on watching the newly reimagined/animated Peter Rabbit film ever, but there’s been a bit of a kerfuffle about a scene involving food allergies. I don’t think there’s much to be upset about but part of the reason I am steering clear of the film is that even from the trailer it struck me as being crass and mean-spirited. And I wasn’t even a Beatrix Potter kid.
- And… a Disneyland social club is being sued for using ‘mafia-like’ intimidation tactics. What even is this world and what are people? Watch out for the White Rabbits or you’ll be swimming with the… flounder?
- Reaffirming my goal to spend less time on my phone and computer.
- I didn’t cry at this animated short, but I won’t lie- it did give me the feels.
I am indeed more sane today! It’s amazing what a Chipotle burrito can do to pull back together the resolute American spirit.
And as goes my stress- I had my favorite pastry and a beautiful pear for breakfast today, went to the pastel exhibit at Petit Palais that I was looking forward to, bought a few things that I’ve been searching for (for years), and have a classic financier tucked in my desk for breakfast tomorrow (with a persimmon and maybe some chocolate (?).
So what is a classic financier I hear you ask? The almond one. My bakery had a pistachio-chocolate one (half and half), the almond, and a cherry one. How does one choose?
Well, I like fruit in pastry, but I usually have fresh fruit with my breakfast (I stole an excellent pear from my landlords today) and didn’t want to be outfruitied. And then I was considering pistachio, but when I got there realized I wasn’t feeling chocolate. It’s always best to start with the classic anyway.
So life is good.
Here are my links
In the few months since I posted a list of my favorite authors (one of my first lists here, incidentally) I haven’t been able to stop thinking of those poor lost souls I didn’t include who rightfully deserved their place on said list.
So today I’m going to remedy some of that by focusing on the nonfiction authors and playwrights I omitted.
As a refresher, an author or playwright is objectively a favorite if they have multiple works, most of which I love/find amazing/enjoy.
So step right up, nonfictioners and theater people!
- E.B. White
So Charlotte’s Web is brilliant. Stuart Little is brilliant. The Trumpet of the Swan is even better because Boston and Swan Boats and the Public Garden. But E.B White wrote some really astonishingly good and beautiful essays and I stayed up reading them all night before Thanksgiving my freshman year of college after being introduced to them through English 115 [we read Death of a Pig in class (And to all those people who thought he was mocking the pig and its pain- He wrote fucking Charlotte’s Web! Context people- you really think E.B. White is a pig-hater?! Idiotic)]. Somehow I didn’t get turned on to this when I was made to read Once More to the Lake my senior year of high school. (Probably because the class, professor, and short story were all of lesser quality). So White’s farm tales feed my soul. The New York ones are also quite good.
- Joan Didion
At the moment I’m reading Play It As It Lays, which is lovely and bleak. Mom recommended it. She likes lovely and bleak (as do I). She’s also the reason Carson McCullers will be up on a coming installment of this list. But Play It As It Lays is fiction, you say. Shut up. Because she’s also on here for Slouching Toward Bethlehem and The Year of Magical Thinking. That last one. Ouch. Ooof. All of it in the feels. I read it shortly after Dad’s rock climbing accident. I sometimes wonder how much loving a book has to do with serendipitous alignment of mood, circumstance, another factors. I do sometimes just set a book aside because I know I’m not in the right mindset to properly get it. Which is another of the benefits of having favorite well-trusted authors. You can just say, “I’m feeling Steinbeck.” or “Wow, that Thomas Hardy just razed my soul, please find me a Jane Austen before I curl into the fetal position.” But anyway, Didion: points for naming her daughter Quintana. Pretty awesome.
- Antoine de St. Exupery
Okay, forget about The Little Prince for a minute. I know it’s hard. Because that book is a lot and because it’s the Expert that’s been shoved down everyone’s throats forever. I know the fox is wonderful. I know the rose is a callous, disillusioned, shallow bitch (Like all women, am I right?) (The answer is NO, misogynistic pigs). FORGET ABOUT IT AND GO READ HIS STORIES ABOUT FLYING. PLANES. Both fiction and nonfiction. Wind, Sand, and Stars. Night Flight. Flight to Arras. His journals of the war years. I want to include a quote to impress upon you that overwhelming beauty of his writing about planes and flight. But I can’t pick one. And the quotes, beautiful in and of themselves, are actually glorious when they’re all nested and twined together in a complete story. They’re not long but the amount of human feeling, profundity, and aspiration they encompass is like filling your lungs fully with air for the first time. And they’re so little talked about it kills me.
- Ernest Hemingway
Haha, yes okay maybe this is cheating a little bit. My favorite Hemingway is A Moveable Feast. *Swoon*. But Hemingway is known for his fiction. Which I also quite like (with exceptions). Like you’d think To Have and Have Not would be perfect given that I love the movie based on it (Bogie and Bacall, MORE SWOON). But it’s not, one of the few times the movie is head and shoulders above the book (don’t kill me). But hey, he has some good short stories. The Sun Also Rises is good. Except ew, bullfighting. The Old Man and the Sea is definitely good.
Let’s be honest: Hemingway is holding on by the ends of his nails. I’m even taking into account his love of extra-toed cats. Without that he probably wouldn’t be on here. (Also he was really attractive.) The thing is A Moveable Feast is one of my favorite favorite books. And that’s enough to make up for my more tepid admiration of some of his other works. They’re not as favorite-y as they could be, but A Moveable Feast is here to make up the difference.
- Peter Mayle
I love Peter Mayle. I love reading about Provence and Provençal culture. It makes me happy. And his anecdotes are truly amusing. A Year in Provence, Encore Provence, and Toujours Provence. But I’m not very fond of Peter Mayle’s fiction. But the anecdotes about the mistral? Parisian gastronomic delights? Truffle gangsterdom and swindles? His crazy neighbor (like the French version of a hillbilly?). Such excellent summer reading. Or, you know, also good for chasing away winter blues. Always is good too. An important point here being that I’m a bit of a francophile (if you haven’t noticed) so if you’re indifferent to the French (or if, like my Pop Pop, you’ve avoided and disliked them ever since you met some rude ones while in the navy) I don’t know that these will be up your alley.
Okay, I lied! This is long enough- I’m saving playwrights for a separate write up. There are four of them. Debate who they are in your heads until then.