Again a pretty light Friday but at least it’s actually a Friday this time!
The Kentucky Derby is tomorrow and I went to the beach twice this week, as it’s the only reasonable place to be when the weather is over 80 degrees. And I finished Middlemarch this morning. Very exciting.
And say to my new beluga desktop background.
It was a long time ago that my default Amazon wish list was renamed ‘Book Wish List’ and colonized by- you guessed it- books.
But not just any books- the books that my library doesn’t carry. I’m aware that I pretty frequently sings the praises of the Boston Public Library conglomerate/system, which allows you to check out any book in the Greater Boston area and have it shipped to your local library. But that doesn’t mean they have every book I have ever wanted to read. Almost, but not quite.
I don’t usually buy books. I also don’t usually shop on Amazon anymore (given that they still advertise on Breitbart and I find it problematic). But Mom (who originated this politically-minded ethic) recently told me that we have a fair number of Amazon points. So maybe I’ll make an exception for some new used books around my birthday time…
And that inspired a visit to my list, and then, as per my usual compulsions, some much needed pruning. The oldest book had been added to the list two years ago. Which isn’t too bad, but still almost 1/10th of my life. So some stuff was eliminated and some had been acquired by the library (!).
Here’s what remains:
- Mad About the House: A Decorating Handbook
It hasn’t been published yet, so finding it used on Amazon is not an option, as of now.
- Paris in Stride: An Insider’s Walking Guide
I recently started following this illustrator on Instagram and am always on the lookout for Paris recs.
- Home Sweet Maison: The French Art of Making a Home
- Parisian Chic Lookbook: What Should I Wear Today?
I enjoyed the original Parisian Chic by Ines de la Fressange. I’ve heard that this one isn’t nearly as good, but I’m still interested.
- My Little Paris
I subscribe to the My Little Paris newsletter via email. They share lots of fun news about the city and favorite locations.
- Une Femme Francaise: The Seductive Style of French Women
Clearly books about Paris, style, and the intersection of the two are one of my pets.
- Don’t Be a Tourist in Paris: the Messy Nessy Chic Guide
- The New Paris
- Impressions of Paris: An Artist’s Sketchbook
- Am I There Yet?: The Loop-de-loop, Zigzagging Journey to Adulthood
Mari Andrew, whose illustrations I sometimes share in links posts, published a book!
- Yours Always: Letters of Longing
- The Book Lovers’ Miscellany
- The Milk of Dreams
Children’s stories by an excellent surrealist author.
- How to Break Up with Your Phone: The 30-Day Plan to Take Back Your Life
- The She-Devils
So hard finding this one in English (Les Diaboliques in French).
- Twenty-Four Hours in the Life of a Woman
- The Story Cure: An A-Z of Books to Keep Kids Happy, Healthy and Wise
I liked The Novel Cure, and as a big fan of children’s literature I feel like this one seems pretty promising.
- How to Live Like Your Cat
- What Flowers say: And Other Stories
George Sand short stories.
- Book of My Mother
- A Book of Book Lists: A Bibliophile’s Compendium
- The Book of Forgotten Authors
- The Joy of the Snow
Elizabeth Goudge, noted children’s author.
- Gio_Graphy: Fun in the World of Fashion
- The Place to Be
The best destinations for different moods, according to Lonely Planet.
- Dress Scandinavian
- I’d Rather be Reading: A Library of Art for Book Lovers
- The Art of Discarding: How to Get Rid of Clutter and Find Joy
The original KonMari method.
- Siddhartha’s Brain: Unlocking the Ancient Science of Enlightenment
Buddhism and neuroscience- pretty up my alley.
A mid-20th century ghost story like The Uninvited and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. hard to find.
- Ladurée Savoir Vivre: The Art of Fine Living
- Quiet Houses
Intertwining yet distinct ghost stories.
- A Child Again
Robert Coover cynically and nostalgically retells childhood fables and tales.
- The Name Therapist: How Growing Up with My Odd Name Taught Me Everything You Need to Know about Yours
- The Diary of Lady Murasaki
- The Library
Zoran Zivkovic is an excellent name.
- The Blood of the Vampire
Like Dracula, one of the original Gothic vampire novels. Also check out Sheridan’s Carmella.
- Perfume Legends: French Feminine Fragrances
It’s kind of funny because the books tend to fall on one of two extremes. the library doesn’t carry them because they’re more obscure, but half are more light/frivolous obscure while the others are foreign/old/scholarly.
I’ve been falling back on word posts fairly often recently because they’re easy to churn out and I’m lazy- but when you’ve been hitting a lot of museums it’s also the case that there are a lot of fun and exciting words coming to your attention.
- stele: a stone or wooden slab, generally taller than it is wide, erected in the ancient world as a monument
- pyx: is a small round container used to carry the consecrated host to the sick or those otherwise unable to come to a church in order to receive Holy Communion
- stevedore: a person employed at a dock to load and unload ships.
- gussy: as in, to ‘gussy up’
- bodhisattva: a person who is able to reach nirvana but delays doing so through compassion for suffering beings
- catafalque: a decorated wooden framework supporting the coffin of a distinguished person during a funeral or while lying in state
- parure: a set of jewels intended to be worn together
- cuivrer: to copperplate
- chameau: camel
épingle: pin (n)
- saule: willow
My posts are slowly catching up to my actual life, and two weekends ago I hit four (!) museums in Paris.
Bonus tip: A bunch of museums in Paris are free the first Sunday of every month.
Where did I go?
- Musee Cernuschi: A small museum of Asian art, actually free and replete with Tang dynasty horses.
- Cinematheque Francaise: A museum of cinema history, focused on the early days of film technology, featuring a lot of very old projecting equipment. I was hoping for something a little more on the art than the tech side, but it was pretty cool.
And then on Sunday-
- Cluny Museum: The Cluny is the Medieval History Museum on the left bank of Paris. This was probably my favorite of the weekend. Lots of cool/amazing artifacts and architecture. Reliquaries, sundials, pope rings, etc.
- Musee Picasso Paris: Probably my second favorite of the weekend, even though it was super crowded due to the free day. On the other hand, it’s a small museum and I’m not generally the biggest Picasso fan, so it was the right choice for me. There was also a great exhibition going on on 1932: The Erotic Year.
Merry Christmas Eve, everyone! Or happy holidays, happy days, happy days are getting longer.
Here are some fashion exhibits that I’m looking forward to possibly attending in the year of 2018.
Featuring movies I both have and haven’t seen.
Let’s say you’re the kind of person who prefers their Christmas light on the Christ. And also light on the mas(s). Thankfully some parts of the world have accepted Christmas as part of the non-denominational holiday season- a time when we celebrate not the mis-dated birth of our Lord Jesus, but rather our love for one another. Our family, our friends, cozy nights, festive lights, and a rapacious culture of consumerism.
One of my favorite traditions for holiday togetherness is the Christmas movie, whether it’s on in the evening while I’m curled up on the couch or its just on in the background while I decorate the tree (just kidding, you have to play the Nutcracker Suite while you decorate the tree. It is written).
While I’m usually all ready for a trite and sentimental holiday story, sometimes you just need something a little more subversive. If that’s you, here’s your list.
Films I’ve Seen:
- In Bruges: I honestly love In Bruges, a black comedy-crime featuring Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson (my real Santa Claus) spewing a never-ending stream of swears and spirit.
- Edward Scissorhands: This just treads the line with being actually Christmas-y, with the heartfelt themes of family, community, belonging, and the harm of isolation. But Johnny Depp has scissors for hands and Winona’s awesome.
- The Life of Brian: Biggus Dickus. ‘Nuff said.
- The Lord of the Rings Trilogy: There are a lot of families for which LOTR is a real Christmas tradition, given that the films were released around the holidays. For me it’s because I found the box set under the tree as a child after Dad and I read the series together. An Ent is the only real Christmas tree I need.
- The Harry Potter Series: Actually tender and fuzzy feelings with delightful magic and Christmas scenes. But because evangelicals like to burn the books, the series gets a spot on this list. *Christmassiness declines as the series progresses.
- The Nightmare Before Christmas: Multiple songs with references to murdering Santa.
Films I’ve Yet To See:
- Eyes Wide Shut: Tom Cruise on a harrowing and dangerous night-long odyssey of sexual and moral discovery. Kay.
- Gremlins: My plan is to get this one watched this year.
- Die Hard: I didn’t finish this movie. I just don’t find it very interesting, mostly because of Bruce Willis. But if you can hang in there for Alan Rickman, do it.
- The French Connection: There are a few more Christmas-adjacent gang/crime films (Blast of Silence is another), but I’ll put this one on as the representative. But watch In Bruges first. I vouch for it.
I guess I just need more cats…
I have a long list (Okay, if I’m being brutally honest here I have Excel spreadsheets) of my favorite baby names, because onomastics and naming has been one of my obscure interests since middle school.
Collecting names that long, you end up with some pretty odd favorites. So I thought I would post a list of names even I would hesitate to saddle a child with (a lot of the names I enjoy would I think set off red flags for others- Edwidge, Ludovica, Odysseo, Faisal- and yes, I did choose those names because they’re some of the hardest to get behind) but this list is for the really out there, or otherwise unacceptable. Continue reading “Names I Shouldn’t Name Babies”
I’m absolutely exhausted this evening so I’m going to take advantage of someone else’s hard work and bring you the imaginitive art of Jamie Wyeth- in particular a series of paintings in which he personified the seven deadly sins as especially sinful seagulls.
Read more about the cycle of paintings here. Continue reading “The Seven Deadly Seagulls”
I’m a big fan of Christmas/holiday music and my favorite category has to be more traditional choral stuff. You know, where you take little boys and make them sing together and then chuck them out when their voices start cracking so that they can begin bootcamp for King’s College Choir.
So actually very traditional and staid, rather than good old family tunes like Santa Claus is Coming to Town or whatever Frank Sinatra or Nat King Cole you want to wedge in here. Not that those aren’t good. I love those too. But maybe a little less? Anyway, a brief rundown (because we’re still in finals period!) of my favorite somewhat antediluvian Christmas songs. Continue reading “Christmas Music: Traditional”