Five Things I Liked This Week

Another week has passed and my summer of doing pretty much nothing continues to be delightful, in case you were wondering. I pass the time by reading things on the internet, thinking about researching for a thing that I want to write, making playlists that mostly have the same songs on them, and checking my horoscope constantly. I can’t say that I’m unhappy about this? I’m going to have to find some motivation soon, but for now this feels chill.

While I read a lot of stuff I liked this week, I picked these five to share with you (mostly because I saved them on Instapaper):

1. “The Down and Dirty History of TMZ” by Anne Helen Petersen (Buzzfeed)

2. “Why I Have to Be So ‘Rude’” by Jia Tolentino (The Hairpin)

3. “The Jenny Lewis Experience” by Jeff Himmelman (The New York Times)

4. “Grandmas Rise Up Against Millenials’ ‘Grandma’ Lifestyle” by Cathy Lew (The New Yorker)

5. “‘Jesus Loves Winners’: How ‘Drop Dead Gorgeous’ Found Cult Success As A Flop” by Louis Peitzman (Buzzfeed)

And while I’m telling you what to read, let me urge you to check out this thing I wrote for my friend Sarah’s project, Ten to Life, last week!

 

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Femmes Noirs

Yesterday, I saw Out of the Past and Leave Her to Heaven, two films that are part of the Femmes Noirs series currently at Film Forum. I really liked them and will hopefully catch another Femmes Noirs double feature before the series ends. Both films are playing again tonight at 10:15, so if you have not made plans and live in New York and don’t mind staying up late, you should totally go!

Leave Her to Heaven (1945) is in gorgeous Technicolor and stars Gene Tierney and Cornel West. Here’s the trailer:

 

 

Out of the Past (1947) stars Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, and Kirk Douglas. Here’s a clip I found on the internet:

 

 

I hope to follow this post up with a complete ranking of Gene Tierney’s outfits in Leave Her to Heaven.

Five Things I Liked This Week

This week was sloooooow. I had a lot of time for reading, so I mostly worked my way through The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer – which I’m almost done with – and re-read a few of the chapters in Songs in the Key of Z just because I felt like it. The one really exciting thing that I did this week was…finally book a flight to London! I’m going for a week in November, so hit me up with all of your suggestions. I’ll also be stopping over in Iceland for two days at the end of the trip, so if you have any suggestions for that, I’m all ears.

Here are five things I liked this week:

1. “The Men Who Dare to Be Demented” by Katie Notopoulos (Buzzfeed)

2. “Scout’s Honor” by Rosecrans Baldwin (Oxford American)

3. Fly Art

(This is a Tumblr of classic artwork mashed up with hip hop lyrics.)

4. “The Letters That Warren G. Harding’s Family Didn’t Want You to See” by Jordan Michael Smith (The New York Times)

5. All of the songs I’ve been listening to this week, on one playlist

I Guess It Doesn’t Really Matter

I was going to write about how I left my wallet in a local pizza shop this weekend and didn’t realize it until the next morning, but it’s actually kind of a boring story.I just went to the pizza shop and asked the owner – who my friends and I call “Old Man Pizza” since he is old and a skilled pizzaiolo – if he had my wallet and he said yes and got it for me from behind the counter. And that’s the end of the story.

In the meantime, while I work on my fan fiction about Old Man Pizza, here is a playlist I made for my roommate two weeks ago of some stuff I’ve been listening to lately/this year.

Every Book I’ve Read So Far This Year (And Whether Or Not You Should Read Them, Too), Part Two

I feel like I say the same thing every time I post one of these things: I am way behind on reading. But so far this year, I’ve been in an actual reading slump. Very few books have been able to hold my attention. I was only able to finish reading three books that I’ve started in the past three months. Yikes! Realizing that makes me feel more than a little disappointed in myself. Now I’m really going to try to get some serious “beach reading” done this summer, even though I highly doubt I will actually go to the beach.

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APRIL

HHhH by Laurent Binet

What’s it about?

This book is supposedly about the two men – one Czech, one Slovak – who killed Reinhard Heydrich, a high-ranking Nazi official who organized much of the Holocaust. (“HHhH” stands for “Himmler’s Hirn heisst Heydrich” or “Himmler’s brain is called Heydrich”.) After several chapters, the book becomes not only about the history, but also about the narrator (or the author himself) trying to write this fictional account of how Jozef Gabcik and Jan Kubis killed Heydrich.

Did I like this book?

Not as much as I thought I would. I’d wanted to read HHhH when it was published here in 2012 and finally got around to picking it up this winter. I think any reader of this blog knows, at this point, that I read a ton of fiction set during the World Wars. It was hard for me to get into this book because of its unusual structure. However, I appreciated reading something that was as much about the process of writing historical fiction as it was about the actual history.

Should you read it? Why or why not?

I think yes, if you’re a fan of historical fiction, like reading about this particular period, or (I guess) post-modern fiction. If you’re interested in reading a book about someone trying to write a book, I would suggest a non-fiction book instead – Geoff Dyer’s Out of Sheer Rage.

 

MAY

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

What’s it about?

A woman named Ruth finds a Hello Kitty lunchbox that has washed up on the shore of a remote island off of the Pacific coast of Canada. The lunchbox contains several items, including the diary of a sixteen-year-old Japanese girl called Nao who, before she commits suicide, has decided to write down the story of her 104-year-old grandmother, a Buddhist nun. The reader is taken back and forth between Nao’s past in 2001 and Ruth’s present, where she is trying to unravel the mysteries of Nao’s family.

Did I like this book?

Yes. It’s sort of hard to summarize but I guess I liked the way the book blended past and present and played with philosophy, especially Buddhist thought. I also was very compelled by all of Nao’s chapters. Even if I was bored with Ruth’s story from time to time, I remained committed to reading because I wanted to catch up with Nao.

Should you read it? Why or why not?

I have been recommending this book to tons of people, so yes. I think there’s something for everyone in here? I didn’t like everything about A Tale for the Time Being, but had a generally positive and thought-provoking reading experience.

 

JUNE

Broken Harbor by Tana French

What’s it about?

In Tana French’s fourth “Dublin Murder Squad” novel, Mick “Scorcher” Kennedy and his partner are assigned to solve the murder of a young family of four who live in a half-empty housing development outside of Dublin. Mystery abounds.

Did I like this book?

Well, yes. I mean, I’ve never not been amused by a Tana French novel. I read The Likeness last year, followed by In the Woods. This is now the third book of hers I’ve read. I was left a little unsatisfied at the end of the book but was generally very entertained the whole time I was reading it. (I still liked The Likeness the best, even if it’s basically The Secret History, but in Ireland and with undercover cops.)

Should you read it? Why or why not?

I think this much-better-than-your-average murder mystery makes for a great summer read. A “beach read,” even!