Five Things I Liked This Week

This work week is bookended by two weddings. I returned from a wedding in Palm Beach on Sunday and leave for another in Boston tomorrow morning. The time in between has been…not uneventful. I caught up with an old friend from grammar school on Monday. I signed up for Weight Watchers for the third time in my life on Tuesday. Since then, most of my time has been occupied by navigating the points system again and scheduling everything around going to the gym. Oh, and work. I’ve been going to work every day and working.

I’m  utterly exhausted, but am certain-ish that I’ll be energized once I get up to Boston tomorrow and see a bunch of my old pals. Anyway, here’s some stuff I liked this week.

1. Jacques Dutronc, “Hippie Hippie Hourrah”

I saw this song on a mix – embedded in Evan Minsker’s “How to DJ Your Own Wedding” on Pitchfork – and it made me nostalgic for some of the old ‘60s French music mixes I’ve made. This is one of my favorites.

 

 

2. “The Hunt for El Chapo” by Patrick Radden Keefe (The New Yorker)

In my neverending quest to catch up with The New Yorker, I finally got around to reading this article – from the May 5, 2014 issue – about the capture of one of Mexico’s most notorious drug lords last night.

 

3. The response I received from friends and readers after I posted about being broken up with via silence this week. Thank you to everyone for your positive feedback and positive vibes. Seriously, it makes me really happy when I get any response at all, so hearing from so many of you was incredible.

If you didn’t read it, you can check out “Maybe in Defense of Ghosting” here.

 

4. White Lung, “Face Down”

 

 

5. I got into Silicon Valleythis week. The reactions I’d heard were definitely mixed, but I really like it. So, yeah. Give it a shot!

 

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Reading Week: Skirting the Law

Welcome back to Reading Week! I had to take last week off due to life “getting in the way”, I guess. (So much for that promise that this would be a weekly thing.) Actually, it’s probably better that I took a week off. I read The Secret History so slowly that I didn’t pick up a new book until earlier this week. And I ended up doing a lot of magazine reading (well, really, just back issues of The New Yorker) during this time as well, especially while I was away over Labor Day weekend, so I have plenty to share in that regard.

last call

I loved The Secret History, but I’ll wait to give you my full review. (It will be included in my quarterly review post next month). I had a hard time picking out my next book because I wanted to buy something new but feel that I’ve spent way too much money on books recently. So, I decided to find something that’s been sitting on my shelf for a while, unread. Originally, I thought I’d take a crack at Dombey and Son – the only unread, not-torn-to-bits Dickens book on my shelf – but I didn’t feel like spending weeks on another novel. Instead, I picked up Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, which has been sitting in my little non-fiction bookcase for at least a year. (It has been on my list forever and I’m embarrassed to say that I saw the Prohibition exhibit curated by the author, Daniel Okrent, earlier this year at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, before I ever opened the book.) I am only a few chapters in. And so far, so good! It’s super readable and full of enough witty asides that I’d tell even a non-history nerd to pick it up. (There’s still A LOT of history, obviously, but…you get what I’m saying.)

I read or finished reading two longer pieces on breakdowns in law enforcement and plain old horribleness happening in America right now. I had started Sarah Stillman’s piece about civil forfeiture in The New Yorker over Labor Day weekend, got sidetracked by drunkenness and finished it on Monday while sweating through my pants on a recumbent bike at the YMCA. Basically, it’s about how local governments are able to take money and property (cars, homes, etc.) from people who haven’t been convicted of a crime. The stories of the victims made me feel enraged and powerless – like, what would I do if this ever happened to me? – but also guilty, because I know that as a well-off, young, white woman, it probably won’t happen to me. So. Sigh. Also, this article namechecked a civil forfeiture case called “United States v. Approximately 64,695 Pounds of Shark Fins” and that made me laugh.

I also spent the last few days reading Reuters’ investigation of “private re-homing”, in which “American parents use the Internet to find new families for children they regret adopting”. Many of the children are adopted abroad and the lack of concern for their well-being on all sides (from the adoptive parents to law enforcement officials who discover cases of illegal transfer of custody) is shocking.

I also read some other things and not all of them are serious, but I’m really not kidding when I tell you that most of them are from old issues of The New Yorker. Here’s a brief rundown:

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle: I reread about half of this book for my book club meeting. It was very strange, as an adult, reading a book I read probably five-ish times as a child. But it was totally worth it to read it and see things I hadn’t before.

“O.K., Glass” by Gary Shteyngart (The New Yorker, August 5, 2013): Gary Shteyngart’s experience as a Google Glass Explorer is great.

“Trial by Twitter” by Ariel Levy (The New Yorker, August 5, 2013): An examination of social media’s role in Steubenville.

“Margaret Thatcher’s Revolution” by John Lanchester (The New Yorker, August 5, 2013)

“Poisoned Land” by Elif Bautmann (The New Yorker, August 12, 2013): A fatal kidney disease in the Balkans baffles the medical community.

Reading Week: Secret Histories

I’ve been ambivalent about writing about what I read here because a part of me feels like there isn’t a huge audience who wants to read about what I read, while another part of me feels like there isn’t a huge audience who wants to hear about what I read IRL (so why not just write about it and find some other people to talk about it with IRL?). But, after reading this piece by Adam Gopnik, Why Teach English?”, about why we have and need to have English majors, I realized I’m writing about (and should write about) what I read because I like it and want to share it. SO, here’s a little more of me sharing what I’ve been reading…

200 pages into The Secret History and I am now a convert to “The Cult of Donna Tartt”. I started it on Sunday and since then, I’ve wondered how I’ve never read this book before probably 100 times. Obviously, it has all of the things I would ever want in a novel, including a college campus setting, a murder mystery, and lots of Classical Studies discussions. I’m not nearly finished yet, so we’ll see if this lives up to my expectations. I’ve been enjoying this reading experience a lot more than my experience reading Seraphina, which I finished over the weekend. For a young adult fantasy novel that heavily features dragons, I was not as engaged as I thought I would be. However, by the end I was a little attached to the main character so I wouldn’t rule out reading the sequel when it’s published.

In terms of nonfiction, I read a lot of profiles this week. Here they are, in the order I read them, I guess:

– There was the New York Times profile of Mandy Patinkin from last week’s magazine. Thankfully, it included my favorite Mandy Patinkin story. (“During a Broadway concert, to highlight the troubles in the Middle East, he ended the show by propping Israeli and Palestinian flags on a table and singing the Israeli national anthem in Hebrew, followed by an angry version of “You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught” from “South Pacific.” Then the flags were knocked on their sides while the pianist slammed the keys to sound like an explosion. Patinkin followed that with “Children Will Listen” from “Into the Woods.”)

– Then I reread the New Yorker profile of Dr. Oz after that horrific accident on 6th Avenue. (In case you didn’t hear about it, he helped the victim of the accident.) I had forgotten how much he and his wife discuss reiki in this piece.

– I also read the New York Times profile of Li Na from the magazine this weekend because I was way excited about the start of the US Open and I was halfheartedly doing work at a coffee shop and needed a big distraction.

– And this wasn’t really a profile, but it kind of was, but there was an interesting piece called “Cooking with Daniel” in the New Yorker a few weeks ago that I just got around to reading. Bill Buford cooked three “classic” French dishes with Daniel Boulud. Boulud’s personal history, the history behind the dishes and the writing are all fantastic.

I also have been working my way through Stereogum’s ranking of every single Neil Young album. There are a lot of them and, yeah, some of them are shit. But I definitely identify with the author when he says, “I am, and shall always be, a Neil Young apologist.”

Friday Roundup

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RIP Ed Koch, who was the mayor of New York City when I was born in New York City. (Never fear. I can always find a way to make something about me.) I’m still working on finishing his 8-page obituary in The New York Times, but I think it’s great so far! I’m a HUGE obituary fan so, you can definitely trust my opinion on this one.

ANYWAY, happy February!

I started reading The Winners’ History of Rock and Roll columns on Grantland this week. Highly recommend, especially if you’re a person who likes talking about non-mainstream music.

I also spent a very large chunk of time reading/clicking on every single article linked in this Wikipedia article on Appalachian Music. (Did you know that in the Appalachian Hall of Fame lies the famed “Murder Banjo”?)

Also, I discovered that the Wiki article on Rockabilly is TERRIBLE.

It’s still the Year of the Fleetwood Mac Remix.

I’m so so so happy that I read What Made ‘The O.C.’ Great, Bitch this week. If only because I was once a 17-year-old who wished very hard that Seth Cohen were a real person. (We both were REALLY into The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay and Death Cab For Cutie, so.)

I watched all of Twin Peaks very quickly last year (and Instagrammed it – see above – for some reason), so this other thing in the same series on The Awl was also a good read for me.

Hillary: The Most Poisoned Baby Name in U.S. History might have been the most surprising/best thing I read this week.

Also, I am continually surprised by how much I enjoy reading about architecture, but I read two good things discussing Snøhetta, the Norwegian architecture firm redesigning Times Square:

1) The Psychology of Space (The New Yorker)

2) The Risk of Being Too Nice (The New York Review of Books)

Finally, did everyone see ‘Paperman’ this week?! <3333

Friday Roundup: A Few From the Vault

I caught up on a LOT of reading during the past week or so, mostly because of the Thanksgiving holiday. I spent the better part of two days reading every single magazine that I had missed during this very busy month and it was great. Anyway, just a warning that some of the below is kind of old…

– I loved this piece on the Grateful Dead and their legacy that was in The New Yorker last week SO SO much. (However, I assume that if you were never into them, this article probably won’t seem quite as wonderful as I’m telling you it is?)

– Also enjoyable, from the same issue of The New Yorker, is this thing on the work of Ryan Murphy. It really made me want to re-watch season 1 of Popular, but not season 2.(Also, HAHA “Queer Eyes, Full Hearts”.)

– OMG, also! If you still have the November 19th issue of TNY…please read Roger Angell’s heartbreaking (and relatively short) piece on what the dead don’t know. And the Kid Rock profile.

– Everyone should drink a ton of coffee, apparently. (The Atlantic)

– And here are the 10 Best Books of 2012, according The New York Times. (I have only read one, Bring Up the Bodies, and it was incredible and deserves all of the praise that’s been heaped on it.)

– On the heels of reading like 47 reviews of Andrew Solomon’s Far From the Tree, I read this NYT Magazine article on ‘The Autism Advantage’.

– Jenny Slate was on the Yo, Is This Racist? podcast this week so you should listen to it. Yay!

– This is fun: Susan Rice, Condi Rice…How Can Important People Have the Same Last Name? (The Awl)

– And finally, this important question was posed in laaaast week’s NYT Magazine: What Brand is Your Therapist? (Mine is NOT a digital-media navigator because if she were, I would be much better at blogging.)

OK, I’m done. Have a great weekend everyone!