Wednesday, August 30, 2017

A Month In The Life: August 2017

It's funny how the school year still feels so relevant even years after graduating from law school and with no kids. Like, there's no reason that the beginning of September (Friday!) should still have that feeling of anticipation and something new about to start. Of course, these are my own personal rhythms that I still feel the pull of: our local school district started classes about three weeks ago! But having grown up with the post-Labor Day starts, it's always this time of the year that I find myself thinking about the possibilities of what's ahead. Anyways, now that I've rambled on, here's what happened in August.

In Books...

  • Notes on a Scandal: This book features a Mary Kay Letournou-esque affair between a female teacher, Sheba, and her high school student, but that's only a secondary story. It's really about the way that an older teacher, Barbara, preys on Sheba in turn in a desperate attempt to ease her own loneliness. It's well-written and hard to put down.
  • Butterfly Boy: This memoir was a book club selection, and it was definitely a book I'd never have known about but for it being picked for us to read. Which turned out to be a good thing, because it's about growing up poor and Latino and gay and although there's some brutal stuff here, it's written beautifully. It definitely reminded me that I need to make it more of a point to read intersectionally.
  • Party Monster: This is kind of a memoir/true crime mash-up, given that it recounts author James St. James' experience as a part of the Club Kid scene in late 80s/early 90s NYC, and also the brutal murder of a drug dealer that brought it all crashing down. Turns out it's in large part a book about doing lots of drugs, which isn't actually all that interesting to read about, but St. James' voice is catty and witty enough to give it verve. 
  • Who Thought This Was A Good Idea?: This book has been pitched as "imagine that your funny, smart older sister was the Deputy Chief of Staff to Obama and was giving you life lessons" and that is an extremely accurate pitch. It's charming and smart and insightful and I really enjoyed it.
  • The Sense of an Ending: I tend to have relatively good luck with Booker Prize winners, and this book was more confirmation of that. A deeply average older English man is forced to look back into an emotionally charged period of his life (a breaking in a college relationship, followed relatively shortly by the suicide of a close friend) when he receives a mysterious bequest. I had issues with how the major female character was written, but the writing was incredible and the story is the kind that makes you want to turn right back to the beginning and start to read it again.
  • Charity Girl: This book was both interesting and not very good. It follows a young woman in the WWI era who sleeps with a soldier, contracts STDs from him, and then is forced by the government into a kind of detention facility for treatment and indoctrination, where she's held without charges for months. Her paramour is just treated and goes on with his life. WHICH IS AN ACTUAL THING THAT HAPPENED, which I had no idea about. 
  • Mildred Pierce: I'd seen the Joan Crawford movie a few years ago, but the book is a little different. The major themes, though, are the same. Mildred herself is a great character but the book is kind of meh, to be honest. It's fine but nothing special.
  • Stoner: This decades-old book got trendy a few years ago, but it was before I started book blogging so I was only aware of it after the fact. I can see why it has staying power,'s really a well-constructed, tightly edited, beautifully sad story of a deeply ordinary life. It was profoundly moving to me.  
  • The Idiot: This book was exceptionally well-written (I highlighted so many passages!), but I had a hard time getting into it. It follows Selin, a Turkish-American Harvard student during her freshman year as she has tries to figure out who she is, what she wants to do with herself, and how to talk to the senior she has a crush on. That makes it sound light and frivolous but it's not, there's a real depth to it. It gets stronger as it goes and by the end I was really invested in it.

In Life...

  • My mom came out to Nevada: My mom has been doing open water swims since I was in middle or high school, and so she came out to do one at Lake Tahoe last weekend! Living on the other side of the country from your family means not seeing them as much as you would like, but between our trip to Michigan at the end of July and her trip out here I've gotten lots of quality Mom time, which has been great. She finished first in her five-year age group and second in her ten-year one, which is pretty awesome if you ask me!  

One Thing:

I have always been a been proponent of the "if you find clothing you love, buy it in all the colors" line of thought. Even though it's still summer and still really really hot, fall/winter are right around the corner. This sweater from LL Bean is amazing...perfect to wear with leggings and cozy and now I own it in all the colors. That's not an affiliate link and I'll make no money if you click through, I just love the sweater.

Gratuitous Pug Picture:


  1. I liked Good Idea too! And have heard similar things about The Idiot...won't be picking that one up!

    1. I've heard that there are references in there to the Dostoyevsky The Idiot, but I haven't read the Russian one so I didn't get them even if there were. Overall it ended up being objectively pretty good but I had high expectations so I was disappointed.

  2. Cute pug. I’m glad you got to spend lots of time with your mom in August. Happy September!

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

    1. Thanks! Lord Stanley the pug is my favorite little beastie. And it was super great to see my mom!