Category Archives: Uncategorized

2018 resolutions/general life goals

NEW YEAR, NEW SLIGHTLY IMPROVED ME!

PHYSICAL HEALTH:

  • Get to the gym at least four times a week.
  • Do a single goddamn pull-up.
  • Lose 15 pounds hahahahahahahahahahahahahah

MENTAL HEALTH:

  • Take an actual vacation.
  • Start meditating every day.
  • Figure out what to write about.
  • Focus on gratitude.

OTHER STUFF:

  • Give Mila a million kisses a day.
  • Visit my Dad more often.
Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

2017: A year in review: Resolutions

I think I meant to write down my resolutions for 2017, but it never happened. But guess what did happen? Writing down my resolutions for 2016! Close enough!

PHYSICAL HEALTH:

  • Stop eating candy for dinner. YES! I have done this.
  • Stop eating candy at work. YES!
  • Work out at least three times a week, and fit in a fourth workout every other week. YES! I get to the gym four times a week.
  • Do something physically challenging. Uh, no. I didn’t achieve any specific fitness goal.

MENTAL HEALTH:

  • Take an actual vacation. YES! We went to this insane all-inclusive and it was like being in heaven for six days.
  • Be more positive. Hmm. Sometimes?
  • How do I say this… Get right with death? Definitely not. I am still extremely scared and anxious about dying and living through the deaths of loved ones.
  • Start meditating for 10 minutes a day. I did this a few times, but I’m going to try again in 2018.
  • As always, write my novel. YES! Okay, no. But I’d like to? 

MOM STUFF:

  • Take Mila somewhere interesting and special once a month. YES! I think we do fun stuff a lot.
  • Be a good role model so that Mila thinks that being happy and healthy is the norm, not an anomaly. Sort of? Usually? Hmm.

ALSO:

  • Find my HG mascara. Still looking.

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

2017: A year in review: Books

First off, congratulations are in order, FOR ME, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

Since 2013 (!!!) I have been trying to read 70 books in a year, and this was my year, I finally did it, great jerb. (But seriously, I am very happy about this.)

More so than any other year, my reading fell into three camps: African-American history and the case for reparations; isolated young women and their female friendships/relationships; quasi-respectable thrillers/beach reads. Over the past few years, I’ve generally become less interested in male authors (although I typically make an exception for sci-fi/alt-history/apocalyptic narratives). I find it especially grating when men try to write with any kind of authority about what they think it’s like to live as a woman. I get sort of sad when I think about how much media I’ve consumed that was created by and for men, and how that’s assuredly shaped me in ways that I don’t even realize.

All that being said: here are the best books I read in 2017:

Homegoing — Yaa Gyasi (10/10)

YES, you read that right: ten out of ten. Tracing the history of slavery through a family tree, starting in 18th century Ghana to present-day NYC, this book is a powerful case for reparations. Right before I started reading this, someone told me this book is sad, and boy were they right! Sad, yes — and also a work of art.

Behold the Dreamers — Imbolo Mbue (9/10)

Pretty pretty depressing. If you are at all interested in a look at how hard it is to be an immigrant in the US, I think this book gives a realistic picture of both why people want to move to the US and how difficult it is to achieve a measure of success or happiness there as an immigrant. A timely book, given Trump’s insistence that immigrants are bad people (or however he’s erroneously describing them) (he is not smart).

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body — Roxane Gay (9.5/10)

One line that stood out to me from this book: “My body is a cage.” What a line. We are trapped in our bodies, but also, we ARE our bodies. Get it? You get it.

Similar books, in some way, that are also recommended: The Hate U Give — Angie Thomas (9/10); We Were Eight Years in Power — Ta-Nehisi Coates (9/10); Swing Time — Zadie Smith (8.5/10); The Underground Railroad — Colson Whitehead (8.5/10); Underground Airlines — Ben H Winters (8.5/10); The People Are Going To Rise Like the Waters Upon Your Shore — Jared Yates Sexton (8/10).

Marlena — Julie Buntin (9.5/10)

“Tell me what you can’t forget, and I’ll tell you who you are.” DAMN. What an opening line! (Would I literally kill someone to be able to write a line like that?) This was the best of the “lonely girl/confusing female relationships” books I read this year. Is the “Lonely girl” genre a precursor to the “suburban ennui” genre? Hmm.

Other lonely girl recommendations: Pull Me Under — Kelly Luce (9/10); We All Love Beautiful Girls — Joanne Proulx (8.5/10); History of Wolves — Emily Fridlund (7.5/10 — only recommending this because other people seemed to really like it); The Burning Girl — Claire Messud (7/10 — ditto).

Sweetbitter — Stephanie Danler (9/10)

Excellent, even when infuriating. The writing really captures what it’s like to be living on your own in your early twenties. It made me nostalgic for a time in a city that I’ve never lived in, which is some kind of magic. But also the main character falls for a guy who is so clearly terrible for her that it can be pretty eye-roll-y to read those parts. Also all the wine talk — that will never not seem super pretentious and terrible. SORRY!

Also about being in your early twenties and trying to “figure it out”: The Futures — Anna Pitoniak (9/10)

Little Fires Everywhere — Celeste Ng (9.5/10)

Okay, believe the hype — this book is great. As a point of reference, the writing (and genre) reminds me of Meg Wolitzer. Also, as I have said, probably too many times, suburban ennui is a fave genre, so this book really did it for me.

Class — Lucinda Rosenfeld (9/10)

Despite getting increasingly unrealistic re character motivation toward the end of the book, there are a lot of very sharp observations here about race, gender, and, yes, class. Have you ever mentally tied yourself in knots trying to make sure your reactions aren’t offensive? So has almost everyone in this book! And probably most people reading this book.

Also somewhat similar and recommended: The Nix — Nathan Hill (9/10); The Devil and Webster — Jean Hanff Korelitz (9/10)

 

Thank you, Jones Library! Thank you, 2017!

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

2016: A year in review: Books

These are the best 11 books I read in 2016:

All Things Cease to Appear — Elizabeth Brundage (9/10)

GREAT murder “mystery” book (not totally a mystery because you know who did it). A bit of a ghost story, but more in the sense of how what you don’t do in life will haunt you. Also very clearly about how women get trapped into terrible relationships.

Killing and Dying — Adrian Tomine (recommended)

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: suburban ennui is hands-down my favourite genre and Tomine is a master at catching the subtle expressions that go along with those exasperating relationship fights. I waited a long time to read this, and it was totally worth it.

Before the Fall — Noah Hawley (recommended)

Great suspense novel. A lot of the plot threads are familiar because they are straight from recent news stories, but Hawley weaves them together in a believable way. A really quick read!

Good As Gone — Amy Gentry (9.5/10)

I read this book in less than 12 hours because I wanted to know the ending! I literally just finished reading it at work by hiding it under my desk 🙊

The Lightkeepers — Abby Geni (9/10)

So well-written and subtle. Has a bit of a mystery that is ambiguously resolved. Plus I learned a lot about the Farallon Islands!

Smoke — Dan Vyleta (9/10)

This book was a bit of a heart-breaker because the first 200 pages are absolutely amazing and then things slow to a crawl and there’s no real payoff. The concept is so creative and the book could’ve delved into about a million different things, but it settled on an unfulfilling conclusion. Whyyyyyyyy!!!

Heat & Light — Jennifer Haigh (9/10)

If someone comes to your house and asks if they can frack on your property, say no. TRUST ME. The money will seems great, but it is NOT WORTH IT. Haigh captures why so many people agree to allow companies to drill on their land, and why they come to regret it.

You Will Know Me —Megan Abbott (9/10)

An extremely dramatic look at the world of competitive gymnastics. Or maybe it’s not that dramatic 🤔 and competitive gymnastics regularly involves DEATHHHHHHH 💀☠️👻

KING BABY — Kate Beaton (10/10)

Soooooo good and hilarious and Kate Beaton-y. Perfect gift for anyone, but especially for someone who is expecting, or just had, a second baby.

Loner — Teddy Wayne (9/10)

Great critique of entitled white guy syndrome (or at least, that’s how I’m choosing to interpret it — I’ve read reviews that said the author was sympathetic to the main character in the end, but I am choosing to believe that is a gross misinterpretation).

The Mothers — Brit Bennett (9.5/10)

MOTHERS!! No matter what, they will probably inevitably screw you up or impact your life choices in an outsized way!! Damn!! Okay, that’s a very superficial reading of this wonderful book by a first-time author and no I’m not jealous, thanks for asking.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Best books I read in 2015

In no particular order.

A Little Life — Hanya Yanagihara (9/10): Super depressing, but finishing it felt like I had actually accomplished something (but did I?).

California — Edan Lepucki (9/10): I will always read a good (or even middling) post/mid-apocalyptic story. This was a good one.

Station Eleven — Emily St. John Mandel (9.5/10): Similar to California, but I actually preferred this one.

Gut — Giulia Enders (9.5/10): If anyone ever wants to talk about poop and/or how your digestive tract is/is not working, I’m here for you. This book was basically written for me.

A God in Ruins — Kate Atkinson (9/10): I mean, Kate Atkinson, right!?

Missoula — Jon Krakauer (9/10): I mean, Jon Krakauer, right??

The Night Guest — Fiona McFarlane (9/10): Really surprised at how much I liked this one.

Bird Box — Josh Malerman (9.5/10): I don’t generally read “horror” novels, but this seemed like a good representative of the genre.

Honourable mentions: Why Not Me? — Mindy Kaling; Lock In — John Scalzi; The Girl on the Train — Paula Hawkins; Strangers at the Feast — Jennifer Vanderbes; Step Aside, Pops — Kate Beaton.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

2016 Resolutions/general life goals.

Do these have to start tomorrow (the 1st), or can they wait until Monday (the 4th)? Just checking. (I am TOTALLY dedicated to these.)

I know that resolutions/goals are supposed to be super specific in order to make them more likely to be realized, and I don’t think that all of these are specific enough, but oh well. INTENTIONS, right!

PHYSICAL HEALTH:

  • Stop eating candy for dinner.
  • Stop eating candy at work.
  • Work out at least three times a week, and fit in a fourth workout every other week.
  • Do something physically challenging.

MENTAL HEALTH:

  • Take an actual vacation.
  • Be more positive.
  • How do I say this… Get right with death?
  • Start meditating for 10 minutes a day.
  • As always, write my novel.

MOM STUFF:

  • Take Mila somewhere interesting and special once a month.
  • Be a good role model so that Mila thinks that being happy and healthy is the norm, not an anomaly.

ALSO:

  • Find my HG mascara.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The 7 best books I read in 2013.

I only read 50 books in 2013. These were the standouts:

Non-fiction

Behind the Beautiful Forevers — Katherine Boo

[Subtitled “Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity,” this book looks at the lives of some of the people who live in a slum by the Mumbai airport. As sad as you would expect it to be.]

Salt, Sugar, Fat — Michael Moss

[If you are interested in nutrition at all (and/or enjoy junk food), this book will tell you why and explain how hard snack companies work to get you to never stop eating their products. Their delicious, tasty products.]

Fiction

The Interestings — Meg Wolitzer

[I think Wolitzer is the best person writing about interpersonal relationships today. I have no idea why she isn’t at least as popular as Jonathan Franzen.]

The Reluctant Fundamentalist — Mohsin Hamid

[This is probably one of the best books I’ve read in the past 5 years.]

Life After Life — Kate Atkinson

You Are One of Them — Elliott Holt

A Tale for the Time Being — Ruth Ozeki

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized