Entries Tagged as 'Reading List'

The week in review

November 23, 2014

Winter boots

This week, I learned that anxiety looks like spending five hours trying to find the perfect winter boots online, which is what I did last Sunday. Apparently I’ve forgotten how to cold weather? Or (more likely) I just didn’t want to deal with packing. I ended up going with a pair from Sorel after basically everyone on Facebook and Twitter recommended the brand. I feel like I’m wearing actual snow tires on my feet and am not sure if this is going to realllllly be necessary in New York. (I don’t remember the 2008-2009 winter being that snowy.) But whatever; it’s done.

After that anxiety-fueled shopping experience, I cut myself off after about 60 minutes of shopping online for a winter coat and just went with one from Land’s End. It was on sale. It looks warm. It’s not a life or death decision. It’s going to be fine.

Other highlights from this week…

Eating

I re-discovered avocado toast a couple weeks ago and it’s been giving me life. (I usually put a fried egg on one slice.) The toast plus Panera Bread’s new hazelnut coffee pods for the Keurig mean I am very happy with my breakfast situation.

Avocado toast

Also, these are the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever made.

Reading

Like everyone else, I’ve become completely obsessed with Serial. Like, I check Reddit at least once a day for the craziest new theory. This also led me to two fantastic/outrageous older articles that everyone should read: The Innocent Man in TexasMonthly and Trial by Fire in the New Yorker. Interestingly enough, both cases have been in the news again recently; the first because the prosecutor in the case will actually serve jail time for his wrongdoing, the second because it could be the first case in U.S. history where we know an innocent man was executed. (Also of particular interest to me: the trial in the first story was in the courthouse where Eric and I got married.)

More good reads from this week…

A Modern Guide to Thanksgiving Etiquette, Bon Appetit. This has seriously great tips/advice. (It’s for guests and hosts!)

So You’ve Finally Started Wearing The Right Bra Size, The Toast. SO funny.

Two well-written posts on Bill Cosby: Art or Humanity: Thoughts on Bill Cosby by Roxanne Gay and The Cosby Show by Ta-Nehisi Coates.

Abortion Clinic Protesters: “Sidewalk Counselors” or “Sidewalk Terrorists”? on Cosmopolitan. I damn near had a rage stroke reading this article.

A Rape on Campus: A Brutal Assault and Struggle for Justice at UVA by Sabrina Rubin Erdely for Rolling Stone. A horrible subject, but great reporting and a worthwhile read.

Why Were Three Teenage Rape Victims Bullied Out of School in Oklahoma?, Jezebel. Warning: you may actually throw your phone/computer across the room while reading.

What It’s Like to Date a Horse, NY Mag. OK, I apologize in advance for this article. I was literally shouting about it as I was reading. Know that it gets worse before it gets better. I’m sharing it for the same reason people say, “EW this smells awful. Here, smell it.” I sent it to my friend Dallas after I read it last night and she had several similar reactions, which culminated in “a pox on your house.” And…I deserve that.

Buying

ALL THE THINGS, it feels like. We sat on what felt like a million couches (because our 3-year-old couch is a piece of shit and is falling apart) but we’re not pulling the trigger on one until we’re in New York. But after sitting on an unexpectedly amazing teal velvet sofa at Dillard’s last weekend, I sort of began a love affair with jewel-toned furniture. (The things you zero on in when you’re freaking out about big life changes…) We picked out a new headboard for the apartment from Joss & Main; it’s blue velvet and very sexy and I’m pretty pumped about it.

ASOS has a pretty strong holiday sweater game; I bought this one. (It runs a little small! I normally wear a small in tops; I got the 4 and it’s totally fine, but it’s just a bit more fitted than I normally wear sweaters.) I also got two plaid scarves, bringing my plaid scarf total for the week to three. (I’m…not keeping all of them.)

I’m not the only one in need of some additional cold-weather attire; I made Chuck’s hipster dog dreams come true yesterday with an American Apparel dog hoodie.

One thing I did not buy? An AMAZING mega-oversized Christmas ornament from Home Goods. It was completely impractical on every level.

Writing

19 Things That Are The Literal Worst

This Sweater Is Big Enough For You And Everyone You Know

21 Foolproof Ways To Bring Cheer To Your Warm-Weather Christmas

The week ahead…

Phase 1 of the move to New York is this week! I’ll be spending the rest of my day today running errands packing, which I’m not looking forward to at all.

Also, Thanksgiving! Eric and I will be in New York with basically no furniture and no lives, so I’m leaning toward doing this

“The coffee that tastes like a candle”

October 13, 2014

I have been loving “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” lately, and his new segment on pumpkin spice lattes is no exception.

(I actually would love to drink a cable knit sweater spice latte.)

In other timely-segments-from-John-Oliver-news, How is Columbus Day still a thing?

VQR: The Price of Black Ambition

October 7, 2014

“I am thinking about success, ambition, and blackness and how breaking through while black is tempered by so much burden. Nothing exemplifies black success and ambition like Black History Month, a celebratory month I’ve come to dread as a time when people take an uncanny interest in sharing black-history facts with me to show how they are not racist. It’s the month where we segregate some of history’s most significant contributors into black history instead of fully integrating them into American history. Each February, we hold up civil-rights heroes and the black innovators and writers and artists who have made so much possible for this generation. We say, look at what the best of us have achieved. We conjure W. E. B. Du Bois, who once wrote, ‘The Negro race, like all races, is going to be saved by its exceptional men.’ We ask much of our exceptional men and women. We must be exceptional if we are to be anything at all.”

— Roxanne Gay in The Price of Black Ambition for VQR. This essay is on point and deeply moving; I was in tears. But then I pulled it together and did something I’ve been meaning to do since August: went to Amazon and bought Gay’s book Bad Feminist because I need more of her in my life.

Gone Girl (the movie)

October 6, 2014

After finishing Gone Girl last week, I decided I wanted to see the movie, so Eric and I went to see it on Friday night!

Thoughts and spoilers ahead…

gone girl

  • Overall, I liked the movie, but I felt it lacked the high-stakes thriller vibe of the book. The beginning of the book filled me with dread. During the movie, well…I’ve felt more intrigued watching episodes of “Dateline.”
  • My reaction to the book was that the first half of it was great, and the second went downhill. I felt the opposite about the movie; the first half was meh, but the second half was a lot better.
  • This is one of the most true-to-the-book movies I’ve ever seen. Since I had just finished it, a lot of the dialogue was fresh in my mind and I was super aware when it was coming directly from the book. Presumably it’s because Gillian Flynn wrote the screenplay herself; I liked that about it. 
  • More men going down on women in movies, plz!
  • I’ve read a lot of criticism about the way Nick’s and Amy’s stories were told in the movie. Amy’s is told with her voiceover so it’s always clear that it’s just her perspective. But Nick’s is told from the omnipresent POV, making him seem far more reliable, and also like less of a raging asshole. This is actually my main complaint about the movie: Nick was not made to look like the raging asshole that he is…which in turn makes Amy look like a “psycho bitch.” Which she is…but I felt like the best thing about the book was how it dug deeper into the stereotypes of the lazy, cheating husband and the shrill nagging bitch wife. This telling felt a lot less complex, and made it seem like Nick was not a saint, but a mostly decent guy who got wronged by his crazy bitch wife. And maybe that’s the reality, but it felt like the question surrounding that—of who was really right in this situation—was one of the most defining aspects of the book. In the movie, it felt like the question had already been answered for us.
  • I didn’t like Go in the book but I liked her a lot in the movie.
  • Tyler Perry, likable? Yeah, I couldn’t believe it either. And Missi Pyle’s Ellen Abbott was great.
  • Thanks for the side peen, Ben Affleck! (Eric thinks it was a body double; I don’t because it was such a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment, what would be the point?)
  • When I read the book, I didn’t really buy the Desi murder plot. But hot damn, I bought it when I saw the movie. It was so gruesome, but I thought it was the best scene in the movie; it was so perfectly choreographed and the music was on point.
  • I’m pretty sure the girls sitting next to me in the (packed) theater were drunk; they kept giggling throughout the movie and it was just so annoying.
  • Remember when I said the plot twist reminded of me Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None? Well, Refinery29 posted an article this weekend suggesting that Agatha Christie was the original “Gone Girl,” a theory I will now treat as fact.

Bottom line: the movie was pretty good, as far as book adaptations go, but I think it missed the vibe of the book in some critical ways. I’m really glad I read the book before seeing it.

Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl

October 5, 2014

Not That Kind of Girl

“There is nothing gutsier to me than a person announcing that their story is one that deserves to be told, especially if that person is a woman. As hard as we have worked and as far as we have come, there are still so many forces conspiring to tell women that our concerns are petty, our opinions aren’t needed, that we lack the gravitas necessary for our stories to matter. That personal writing by women is no more than an exercise in vanity and that we should appreciate this new world for women, sit down, and shut up.”

— Lena Dunham in Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s “Learned”…which—contrary to the expectation of New York Magazine—I started reading this weekend and happen to really, really like so far.

Gone Girl (the book)

October 3, 2014

So I finally read Gone Girl, just two years after everyone else did! It took me a few chapters to get into the book; initially, I just wasn’t crazy about the prose. I suppose it grew on me, or I was able to look past it. And then suddenly I was at that point where I couldn’t put it down. Because that shit. Was. Cray.

More thoughts (and spoilers) below…

gone girl

Here is my initial reaction, after finishing the book last night:

  • I read a bunch of commentary on the book last night and the overall takeaway seemed to be “Ugh, Nick was bad but Amy was worse.” I…never felt that way reading this. I hated him. Even once I knew he was being set up, I was just like, Meh. I have no problem with this. Don’t cheat on your wife, asshole. Maybe I need to read it again to see if I can muster some sympathy for him, because clearly plenty of other people did. It’s not that I was necessarily rooting for her, but I was rooting for her more than I was rooting for him.
  • In terms of the storytelling, I liked the two unreliable narrators and the way the narration kept changing certainly built up the intrigue.
  • While I knew there had to be some twist (we can’t just be building up to a big reveal that HER HUSBAND IS THE MURDERER! when it was being made so obvious, right?), it wasn’t what I expected. (When the twist was revealed, I basically screeched, “This is some Agatha Christie And Then There Were None level shit!!!!”)
  • I was not a fan of Go’s character. Not at all.
  • I love, love, love the digs at Nancy Grace and the way the plot utilized the missing white woman trope. And how we never consider that the sort of missing white woman who makes the national news could be anything but innocent. Could Amy have pulled this off if she weren’t rich, beautiful, and white? Doubtful.
  • The ‘Cool Girl’ monologue was wonderful. However, I didn’t initially read Diary Amy as a Cool Girl. There is one scene, when she’s out with her friends and their husbands, when she does the Cool Girl thing, but that was the only time I really picked up on it. I read her more as just…kinda pathetic. Which I guess was her intention? Again, might be worth another read.
  • I thought the book really went downhill after the twist. I didn’t like the parts with Ozarks Amy much, because her plan just sort of came apart after all that scheming, which just surprised me. 
  • Amy’s plan actually wasn’t too incredulous for me…but the way she wrapped things up, by killing off Desi, was. It actually took me a second to realize he was dead after she returned; I assumed she just was going to pit her word against his, and that she’d found a foolproof way to set him up too.
  • Related: Why does Desi’s mom always smell like vadge? Gross.
  • Thanks to my having seen the movie trailer earlier this week, I couldn’t get Ben Affleck’s or Neil Patrick Harris’ faces out of my head while reading the book. But I actually pictured Sarah Paulson as Amy the whole time because she basically played that character in an episode of “Law & Order: SVU” a few years back. (Season 11. “Shadow.” Watch it, it’s a good one!)
  • Like most people, I didn’t love the ending. I didn’t hate it, I just expected there to be another big reveal or shocking twist. It was unexpected but not in a good way. On the other hand, I didn’t have the RAGE reaction like a lot of people did. 
  • This book was DARK. Damn.

I wasn’t specifically reading the book so I could see the movie this weekend (I go to the movies, like…maybe twice a year); I really just read it so I could join the conversation that will inevitably surround the movie without worrying about spoilers. But now that I’ve read it, I do kinda want to go see the movie this weekend! Seems like it’ll be a real lighthearted romp, no?

Guernica Magazine: “It Will Look Like a Sunset”

September 10, 2014

This is one of the best—and saddest—pieces of writing I’ve read in a long time. Trigger warning for domestic violence, and cry warning for all humans.

“Two years after we moved, I started graduate school and finally made some friends, but it was hard to spend time with them. I had to lie: I shut my arm in the door. I tripped on a rug and hit my face on the table. I don’t know where that bruise came from. I think I did it in my sleep. I think I’m anemic. I just bruise so easily.

Once, Caleb said to me, ‘You probably wish that someone would figure out where those bruises are coming from. You probably wish someone knew, so that things could change.’ He said it with such sadness.”

Read “It Will Look Like a Sunset” on Guernica.

Reading list: On Ray Rice

September 8, 2014

Today in dude-fuck-all-y’all news, TMZ released new video of football player Ray Rice punching his now-wife in the head in an elevator (for which the NFL gave him a whopping two-game suspension). Here are a few of the articles about the video’s release that I’ve been reading/discussing today…

The Revictimizing of Janay Rice by Dave Zirin

Ray Rice’s elevator video and the denial of black women’s humanity by Luvvie

If You Care About Women and Still Support the NFL, You Are a Hypocrite by Erin Gloria Ryan

It’s good reading about a really shitty situation.

On the table: Seriously Delish

September 6, 2014

book signing blog

I first became imaginary friends with Jessica from How Sweet It Is wayyyy back in the day. Like, Shedding It back in the day. I remember going to her blog and then going some more…and then suddenly she had AMAZING professional-looking photos and all these readers and then I was seeing her stuff on Huffington Post? Every time I’d see her photos in the wild somewhere, I was like, “Santa! I KNOW HIM!!!”

(Yes, I am being a hipster right now. I was into her blog before she was cool!)

Anyway, Jessica’s first book, Seriously Delish: 150 Recipes for People Who Totally Love Food, came out this week! Her book tour brought her to Houston and we met up on Wednesday evening for the first time IRL to talk over the important things in life while enjoying ($3!) cheese fries at Grub Burger.

Side note: When I was waiting in line at the book signing on Thursday, I started chatting with some of the other gals in line and one thing led to another in the conversation, and I ended up mentioning that Jess and I had met up the night before. (Yeah, I was trying to keep the fact that I hang out with bloglebrities on the DL. Didn’t want to make a big deal of it, you know.) And the two ladies I was talking to were like “Oh! You’re the cheese fries girl!” So that is my new claim to fame: I got to eat cheese fries with someone who is famous on Instagram.

Anyway, our cheese fries friend date was really fun! If you read Jessica’s blog, you’re probably aware that she comes across as, like, the BFF who you totally want to talk about shoes, makeup, and Baby-Sitters club books over cocktails with. Well, that’s because that’s exactly who she is. (Though we didn’t actually talk over cocktails because she’s with child. Calm down, Internet.) I have always been so impressed with how hard she works and talking to her in person just reinforced that. Like, I think I work pretty hard and then I read about her process for writing her book and I’m like, um…never mind what I said about me working hard (before slowly moonwalking away). And I don’t mean that in a bad or insecure way at all; I mean it more in the way of Ann Friedman’s Shine Theory. Because I left our hangout feeling so, just…happy! It’s easy to say “I’m so happy for you” when something good happens to your friend, but I love those moments when you realize you’re truly happy for someone. (Like…so happy for someone you have to sit down and write 750 words about how happy you are. Ahem.)

Seriously Delish

I started reading Seriously Delish yesterday. Because, turns out, it’s a cookbook you can actually read! The book’s intro is several pages long, and, like her blog, each recipe has a semi-lengthy intro. For example, on the recipe for s’mores stuffed strawberries…
 

“If you haven’t had your head stuck in a hole since 2010, you may have heard of this little thing called Pinterest. I know. How pinteresting. The thing is that after a hot five minutes, Pinterest started stressing me out. I wanted to do, eat, see, and live All The Things. After browsing for a recipe, I’d lose two hours of my evening and not only that: I’d immediately need to paint my nails mint and white chevron, spend a good 35 minutes searching online for an ombre skirt I fell in love with only to discover it was from four years ago, be instantly ticked off that my summer vacation would not include a large house with a swing that swing me into shark-free blue ocean, and need to plan the perfect first birthday party for a child I didn’t even conceive yet. Really. It’s all just a bit much.”

You can skip all this, of course, and go straight to the drink recipes. I’ll admit that that’s what I did while standing in line at Blue Willow Books, but now I’m actually reading the whole thing. The recipes look great, and so far I’m most excited to try the roasted broccoli-Swiss soup, BBQ chicken chili, everything baked tortilla chips, hard-boiled egg and hummus chive toasts, raspberry rose sparklers, and the aforementioned s’mores stuffed strawberries.

On that note, I’m now going to stop gushing about Jess and her book and get back to reading it!

Writer, feminist, funny, pissed off, focused.

September 6, 2014

Those are the five words I’d use to describe myself, in response to this post.

Related: Labels I’ve Worn and Owned. (Also: I have since seen “Hot Coffee” and, yeah…I’m totally on the side of the burn victim now.)

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