You know, I was beating myself because I hadn’t posted yet this week, and I realized it’s because I have been struggling with how to (and whether or not I wanted to) address current events. All I’ll say is this: Living in this country is exhausting.
My reading deprivation is officially over, so I watched some TV and read some books. More specifically, I finally finished Living Single (Hulu), which is super fun because the characters really do feel like they’re my friends. I was trying to decide on my next throwback comfort watch and remembered that when I was watching The Bernie Mac Show, I started X-Men: The Animated Series (Disney+), so I think I need to go ahead and get back to that. Not to mention, seeing the good guys win over and over again might just be what I need to feed my soul right now.
A note on the wrap-up: I’m going to try something new with my book reviews this week since WordPress has stepped up its game with these blocks. I’ll see if I have the patience for it in the coming weeks.
If you’re unfamiliar, a reading deprivation occurs in week four of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. During a reading deprivation, you give up reading for a week. I started mine on January 1 so that means I’m currently on day four. Just like last time, I have basically given up all media that uses words, including social media. I also gave up Bejeweled (except–TMI alert–when I’m in the bathroom) because I definitely use it as a form of distraction and admit that about myself. Unlike last time, I am a little less crazed–probably because I knew what to expect this time and also, maybe, because I have grown as a person in the last four and a half years.
As a result of the no words thing, I am VERY into the Pop Goes Classical playlist/station on Spotify. It is getting me through. Current faves include “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Queenz of Piano and “Lose Yourself” by David Garrett.
The holidays were nice and low-key. Jólabókaflóð (Yule Book Flood) was a success this year. I received The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett (reviewed below) and milk and honey by Rupi Kaur (started but, obviously, on hold until the end of the week). I gave The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas to my daughter’s friend who said she wanted to read more classics, and I gave my daughter The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo because she said she wanted to read more about minimalism. We exchanged books, drank hot cocoa, and read together for about an hour or so. It was a delight. Christmas was also a lot of fun with us hanging out, opening presents, watching movies, and eating some food.
I did make a post last week, and I did read some books and watch some movies that I didn’t post about here before the end of the new year.
I’m finally home after my five-week (!) Eastern time zone adventures. There may be a lot to say about that some other day, but I have read some books and watched some TV & movies, so let’s get into that first. Also, if anyone is on Letterboxd, give me a shout so we can follow each other. (Or, you know, sign up and then we can follow each other. Either works for me.) My username over there is englishist.
I think I have too many books to read. No, I know I have too many books to read. And by read, I mean have finished by a deadline because I am in two book clubs and also clearly hate myself. I mean, obviously, I want to be in these book clubs and want to be reading the books but also, like, why do I do these things? I do not know.
Also, I am having a hard time remembering what I did this past week. Oh, I know why. It’s because I spent the first part of the week prepping my summer course and the rest of the week recuperating. I also participated in a virtual coffee date through the #RaiseThePercentage incentive and had a fun phone conversation and then a work date with a friend of mine. Oh and fun (unexpected) conversations with other friends! So that was nice.
There have been a lot of posts with anti-racist reading lists, which is great, and I appreciate people doing this work. In fact, my local independent bookstore posted such a list, and I wrote this response to their FB post since I have been thinking about this issue quite a lot.
I really appreciate this list, and I appreciate the inclusion of fiction, especially for young people here. I would like to remind you and your readers, though, that Black people think about things other than race and police/state violence and that adding in some fiction and nonfiction that show Black people just existing are also important. One of the issues Black people face is that we’re expected to constantly educate people about race and to exist as Black first, people second. Fiction books that don’t center race as the primary narrative are essential to building empathy in readers. Perhaps you can create a list that centers those fiction and nonfiction narratives–written by Black authors–as well.
Books by Brandy Colbert, Varian Johnson, Samantha Irby, Liara Tamani, and others would nicely fill a list of that sort. I also created a Twitter thread during Black History Month that has several of the types of books I’m thinking of. Black lives matter not just to address racism but also as fully lived lives.
I have started accidentally watching Vampire Diaries.
I know. I KNOW. Believe me, I know.
I know this brings up a lot of questions.
First, how does one accidentally watch a show? Second, vampires? Third, seriously VAMPIRES??? I mean, honestly. I know it’s a pandemic and all, but whew.
The first question is easy. My daughter is the one actually watching Vampire Diaries and because there is just the one TV and the one living room/work area, I am often in the room while she’s watching it.
For people who know me well, the vampire thing is a real conundrum because I hate vampires. I mean, I *hate* them. I HATE THEM. SO MUCH. And yet, this stupid show has sucked me in. Do you know why? Because it’s a really, really good teen soap opera. My biggest love combined with my biggest hate.
It probably doesn’t hurt that the vampires are all very, very good looking.