Friday, November 30, 2018

A Month In The Life: November 2018

What a month! When you work in politics, Novembers in even years are always big ones because of Election Day, and then there's the beginning of the holidays, and I'm actually on my way to my annual girls' trip with my high school besties right now! Busy end to the year around here.

In Books...

  • Seduction: I've been a longtime fan of Karina Longworth's podcast, You Must Remember This, so her book on Howard Hughes was one of my most-anticipated for the year. And it didn't disappoint, I totally loved it! The usual reliable research, insightful analysis, and solid storytelling...a must for fans of Old Hollywood!
  • In Defense of Food: I'm always skeptical when the premise for an argument is that the science in the given field is very conveniently means that you never have to prove your assertions. So while I do think there are some good ideas in here to consider, as a whole, I never quite bought in. 
  • The Gathering: The quality of the prose in this book, about a large Irish family coming together for the funeral of one of the siblings, is exquisite. But it's so busy being gorgeously-written that it forgets to tell a compelling story, and the whole thing feels very self-conciously "literary" in a way that I found off-putting.
  • Everything Under: This debut novel was written by the youngest-ever author to be shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. And while the modern-day take on the Oedipus legend is solidly good, lushly atmospheric, and clearly the product of a very talented writer...I never got hooked into it the way I hoped I would. There were a couple of things that didn't quite come together for me, and kept it from greatness. 
  • Uncle Tungsten: This memoir focuses mainly on author Oliver Sacks' deep love for chemistry during his childhood, and honestly I hated chemistry in high school (sorry, Mom). But because it's Oliver Sacks, it's written with such warmth and humor and understanding that I rather enjoyed it. 
  • Dark Places: This novel explores a woman deeply damaged by the murder of her entire family when she was just seven...a crime for which her brother was convicted mostly on the strength of her testimony against him. When she becomes hard up for money, though, and agrees to investigate that night further for a local true crime enthusiast group, it throws everything she thought she knew into doubt. Bad people abound, including our protagonist, but they're interestingly bad and the novel is compelling.
  • The Possibilities: At first I was a little worried that this novel about a mother mourning the loss of her son, who connects with the girl her son was dating shortly after his death, would be too similar to Paint It Black, which I read only a couple months ago. Turns out, it's mostly similar to Kaui Hart Hemmings' own The Descendants, which shares its themes of families processing grief but does it better. It's fine, it just wasn't any more than that. 

In Life...

  • Election Day: When you do campaigns, this is a big deal. Months and months of stress and planning and work go in behind the scenes...and this year was a great one, because all our candidates won! I truly believe in our candidates and am thrilled they'll be in office!
  • The holidays began: Started off the holiday season with a nice long weekend, trying out a new dessert recipe for pumpkin bars, and a tasty dinner hosted by my in-laws. Thanksgiving weekend wasn't all good news though...both my husband and I watched our favorite football teams lose their rivalry games so that was a bummer. 

One Thing:

I'd seen both the masterpiece Judy Garland version and the kind-of-terrible Barbra Streisand version, so I had to round it out by finally seeing the Lady Gaga version of A Star Is Born this month. It's a familiar story, and Bradley Cooper's never been my favorite actor, so I was a little skeptical, but I really liked it! Cooper's never been better, Gaga was winning, and the songs were legitimately solid. I'm glad that I actually managed to see an awards contender before Christmas, and I'd honestly recommend it, it's very enjoyable!

Gratuitous Pug Picture:


  1. Congratulations to your candidates! I hope they make some positive changes in the government. Mmm, pumpkin bars. I ate pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, but I’d happily eat pumpkin in almost any form. Happy December!

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

    1. Thanks! And I am 100% with you on pumpkin food season being the best season!