monthly recap | april 2020.

somehow, after the length of march, i kind of feel like april flew by. maybe it was knowing i would be quarantined for the full month of it, maybe it was feeling more productive at work, maybe it was rereading harry potter that helped it pass quickly. whatever it was, i’m grateful for its quickness.

this sight brings me so much joy. memphis, tennessee. april 2020.
happy place. memphis, tennessee. april 2020.
can’t believe how quiet it was on a wednesday night. memphis, tennessee. april 2020.
he’s started giving me daily hugs honestly they’re the best. memphis, tennessee. april 2020.

april highlights.

lots of virtual catch ups with lots of friends / the trails reopened / final bbclc meeting of the year via zoom / virtual bridge builder graduation to celebrate our seniors

i love friends who also love harry potter. memphis, tennessee. april 2020.
scenes from a morning walk. memphis, tennessee. april 2020.
favorite view. memphis, tennessee. april 2020.

april reads.

a full month of lockdown plus needing breaks from screens means i finished more books in april than i think i ever have in a month before.

harry potter and the prisoner of azkaban by j.k. rowling. forever my favorite in the series, this is always the one where i start taking the book with me everywhere i go and when i stay up far too late each night to read “one more chapter” that turns into three and then it’s 1am and i really have to go to bed. there’s something about the suspense and the way rowling crafts the story that hooks you in, and i absolutely love it.

march: books one, two, and three by john lewis and andrew aydin; art by nate powell. i have had these books for a while but only just read them, and i really enjoyed them. three graphic novels that tell the story of john lewis’ incredible career as a student, grassroots organizer, and protester, i flew through these in a weekend. there was so much about his life – and about the civil rights movement in general – that i didn’t know, and i appreciated how easy it was to follow.

differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.

harry potter and the goblet of fire by j.k. rowling. i think this one is my second favorite of the series, and i love all of the drama surrounding the triwizard tournament. i love meeting international wizards and witches, and i love that it pushes the main characters to grow in new and different ways. and picturing ron squirming at the yule ball never fails to make me giggle. 14-year-old boys are quite hilarious.

one day we’ll all be dead and none of this will matter by scaachi koul. this was one of my book of the month selections years ago and had been sitting on my shelf for far too long, so i decided this was a great time to crack it open. koul’s essays cover her experience growing up as the child of indian immigrants, including her never-ending battle against her body hair and the fact that no one actually enjoys indian weddings. she’s so relatable, and i found myself nodding along at so many different points. this one was a great sunday afternoon porch read.

harry potter and the order of the phoenix by j.k. rowling. i always struggle with this one, and yet i still love it. the longest book of the series, it’s a bit of a slog, but it’s also so important. harry spends most of the book being a put-upon teenage boy [i constantly have to remind myself his character is only 15], and i appreciate that hermione regularly puts him in his place. there are also some inconsistencies in the narrative that always jump out at me in this one, which i find distracting. but at the same time, “beyond the veil” never ceases to make me cry, and “the only one he ever feared” is one of the most enthralling chapters of the series. and i especially love that ginny has a larger role in order of the phoenix after being mostly nonexistent in goblet of fire.

harry potter and the half-blood prince by j.k. rowling. i went straight from book 5 to 6 without a break and was an emotional mess by the end of it. it’s so hard to journey with harry as he mourns sirius, especially while i also mourn sirius, but i appreciate how voldemort’s history is slowly revealed. because i now know all of snape’s story i am much more forgiving of him throughout the series, and especially at the end of this book, but i remember the first time i read this in 2005 i was outraged. i figured there was something larger at play, but that wound cut deep.

we would be thousands of miles apart from now on and we would go on with our lives and get older and change and grow, but we would never have to look for each other. inside each of us, i was pretty sure, was a place for the other.

the book of unknown americans by cristina henríquez. this book got me in my feelings in very unexpected ways. the book of unknown americans revolves around a group of latinx residents at an apartment complex in delaware; they have all ended up there from different countries and through different circumstances, but they have bound together to look out for one another. and at its heart are mayor and maribel, two teenagers who center each other when they both feel otherwise lost in their worlds. it provides a look at the lives of those “unknown americans”, the people we pass by each day without noticing, and it was very eye-opening without being preachy. i loved it.

we’re all human, aren’t we? every human life is worth the same, and worth saving.

harry potter and the deathly hallows by j.k. rowling. i still can’t believe i finished the final 5 books in less than a month, but at the same time when would have been a better time for it? this is the book i know least well, having only read it in 2007, 2016, and now in 2020 [plus an audiobook listen in 2010], but it’s amazing how vividly i remember it. i usually race through the first 400 pages because i find their wanderings in the woods to be a bit much, and then i force myself to take the final 350 pages painstakingly slow because i don’t want it to end. dobby breaks my heart, every time, and i will always be grateful for the lessons of loyalty and bravery he reminds me of. this is such a special series, and i will be unpacking my full reread soon.

currently reading: jacqueline woodson’s red at the bone for a cup of jo’s may book club.

such a good book. memphis, tennessee. april 2020.
besties reunited. memphis, tennessee. april 2020.
happy to be on the trails again. millington, tennessee. april 2020.

the best things i watched.

one friday i was talking to jeremy and somehow i managed to bring a league of their own into the conversation; right there and then i knew i wanted to watch it over the weekend. i still know 80 percent of the dialogue, and it is just as great as i remembered.

i have been wanting to watch scrubs all the way through, and the introduction of zach braff and donald faison’s rewatch podcast seemed like the perfect sign to get on with it. i am starting with season 1 and have watched the first 3 episodes so far. this one will take a while because i am following along with the podcast, so it won’t be a binge-ing situation.

parasite is now on hulu so i finally watched it, and it was a wild ride. i now get why so many people said they couldn’t say anything about it because i honestly don’t know where you would start when trying to explain it. but it was seriously good.

never have i ever, netflix’s new series produced by mindy kaling, was such a revelation. the main characters are not just south asians, but south indians, and it was so fun to see some of the quirks of indian families on screen. the cast is diverse, not just racially but also includes various sexual identities and characters with different abilities. my favorite episode was definitely the one about ganesh puja, because i could relate so hard to devi in that one. please, please watch this show so that they will continue it for many seasons to come.

socially distant family reunions. cordova, tennessee. april 2020.
oh, gus’s. memphis, tennessee. april 2020.
scenes from a morning run. memphis, tennessee. april 2020.

the best things on the internet.

as mentioned above, zach braff and donald faison have started a scrubs rewatch podcast, so obviously i am subscribed and fully into it.

giving other pep talks has a positive impact on you, too.

alt summit has reached out to many of their presenters to record their presentations from this year’s conference and are offering them for free online during the quarantine.

47 photos of keanu reeves, because why not.

the original cast of hamilton reunited on zoom to sing the opening song for a 9-year-old superfan and i watch it at least once a day.

this great visualization of how social distancing works.

this perfectly articulates why i find zoom meetings so exhausting. and this one, too.

these editorial corrections are highly entertaining.

a look at gender parity – or lack thereof – in animated movies from 2019.

happy may!


note: the book links are affiliate links, so if you buy through those links i get a tiny commission but it doesn’t cost you anything extra. thanks!

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