Saturday, August 31, 2019

A Month In The Life: August 2019

August always has that feeling of being The End of Summer. In Michigan, we always started school after Labor Day, which meant that the end of August was (basically) the end of our break. I actually liked going back to school because I was a nerd, but that feeling of August being the last hurrah has never quite left me.

In Books...
  • Money Rock: Journalist Pam Kelley tells the story of the titular North Carolina drug dealer...and through it, the story of Charlotte, drug policy, housing policy, and the consequences of incarceration. Smart, insightful, and very accessible.  
  • Marie Antoinette: There's a reason this is subtitled "The Journey", because Antonia Fraser skillfully traces the path the young Austrian archduchess took to become at first one of the most fashionable women of her time and eventually the subject of hatred so violent it culminated in her execution. The depth of research on display, without forgetting storytelling, is very impressive.
  • Calypso: I always enjoy David Sedaris's work. This collection was generally less funny and more poignant than I typically expect, but as with any essay collection, there were ups and downs. 
  • Bright Boulevards, Bold Dreams: You Must Remember This is one of my favorite podcasts, so when host Karina Longworth mentioned this book as a source for her excellent episode on Lena Horne, I was curious. It paid off! This book is as much about the social environment of Black Hollywood back in the day as it is about the movies, and it's a fascinating look at a time and place that still has relevance to the way our own world works.
  • Gilead: This is one of those books that makes me glad I don't DNF books, because it took until about 1/3-1/4 of the way into this for it to really grab me. But once it did, I was hooked. I was worried that this story of a minister looking back on his life would be a little more religious than I was comfortable with, but it was as much philosophical as anything and the beauty of Marilynn Robinson's language kept me rapt. 
  • The Forgotten Sister: My second straight month with an Austen retelling! This one is more traditional, focusing on the life of the middle Bennett sister, Mary. Sandwiched between two pairs of tightly bonded siblings, Mary often comes off as a bit of a prig in Pride & Prejudice. While Jennifer Paynter's tale doesn't erase those schoolmarmish tendencies, she gives context for why Mary turned out that way...and gives her a compelling love story of her own.
  • Death Prefers Blondes: It's been described as a heist movie meets RuPaul's Drag Race, and that's not inaccurate! Teenage heiress Margo Manning steals fantastic treasures along with her best friends...four drag queens. But when she experiences a personal tragedy, it's no longer for fun and profit, it's for revenge. It's silly, light, and enjoyable, perfect for a vacation or the beach, but don't expect anything special.

In Life...
  • Girls trip to the Bay: This year, I got to pick the location, and I chose to beat the heat of northern Nevada by heading over the hill to San Francisco. We got to do some things that I'd never done before (like the Alcatraz tour!), and just hang out in a super-cool city. I love getting to spend time with my best friends and had a blast!

One Thing:

If you've never heard the phrase "Imma let you finish...", you probably have very little interaction with anyone hip to pop culture. It's taken on a life of its own, surpassing the moment at MTV's Video Music Awards a decade ago that launched it into the world. But the impact of that actual moment has spiraled beyond what anyone might have expected, and this deep dive about it at The Washington Post is fantastic.

Gratuitous Pug Picture: 

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