monthly recap | may 2020.

may felt like it took a while. as the pandemic stretched through a third month and temperatures continued rising and our country felt like it was tearing itself apart, the days all started to run together. here’s a brief snapshot of how may looked that shows a small piece of the larger puzzle.

may reads.

this place feels like from a long time ago. it feels like it’s in the past tense.

red at the bone by jacqueline woodson. i read this for a cup of jo’s may book club and thought it was great. another brooklyn, another of woodson’s novel, was a favorite of mine in 2018, and this further cemented my love of her writing. she is very direct and to-the-point, and i appreciate how much she says with so few words. i liked her use of rotating narrators for this book so that we got to know all of the characters; considering how short it is, i feel i learned a lot about everyone.

if i had your face by frances cha. this one was the may selection for adventurous kate’s book club, and it was very good. narration rotates between four young women who live in the same apartment building in seoul and struggle to find their way. while i’ve read a lot of articles about the plastic surgery trade and the high suicide rates in korea, i had not read any books set there before this one, and it was definitely interesting. it took me a few chapters to get into it, but once i did it read very quickly.

the art of gathering: how we meet and why it matters by priya parker. i have listened to numerous interviews with parker and have been intrigued by her book since it released last year, so i decided to treat myself to a little quarantine present and order it. it seemed very fitting at a time when we were having to find new and creative ways to meet one another and stay in touch.

the lonely became larger than she could hold. she wished for someone’s voice, presence, touch, but wished more to protect her heart.

where the crawdads sing by delia owens. i honestly don’t know why it took me so long to read this, but i finally borrowed it from the library and flew through it in under 72 hours. set in coastal north carolina, this book touches on classism, racism, bigotry, small-town mindsets, and so much more. my heart broke so many times while reading, and i already know this is one i will come back to in years to come.

the far field by madhuri vijay. a book of the month selection from december 2018, i waited to read this one because i was afraid it would make me homesick for india. in some ways it did, but i also learned a lot about a part of india i have yet to visit. i am honestly still processing many of my feelings from this book because it’s made me realize some of my own misleading thoughts, but it is very well written.

uncanny valley by anna wiener. wiener’s insight into life in silicon valley during the tech boom was quite interesting. as a non-technical person and a woman, she was able to observe a lot without always being seen, and there are some great anecdotes in here. ultimately i’m still not sure what her point was with the book, but i’m glad i read it. it felt at the end like she din’t have a conclusion and so just ended it. and maybe that’s the point: the story still hasn’t concluded. but it’s written very well and it’s a fast read.

the child by fiona barton. i flew through barton’s the widow last year and did the same with her second novel featuring reporter kate waters at its center. barton manages to present a slow build in a fast-moving book, and the presence of multiple narrators has you turning pages so quickly it will be over before you realize it. i guessed at a few of the revelations, but there were definitely still some surprises in store for me. i believe there’s a third in the series now, so i’ll get around to that one eventually.

good talk by mira jacob. i’ve had this on my wish list since it released last year, and in light of everything going on in the states last week it felt like a good time to order it. my friend serrie agreed to read along, sarah listened to the audio book, and i sailed through this in under 24 hours. presented as a graphic novel, jacob shares conversations with her son about race in america, interspersing it with her memories of growing up indian in new mexico in the 1980s. there were a lot of stories i related to, having had similar experiences in helena, and there were a lot of feelings that validated my own. this is a fantastic book, and i think everyone should read it.

currently reading: austin channing brown’s i’m still here.

the best things i watched.

the bbc 12-part adaptation of sally rooney’s normal people was phenomenal. the roles of marianne and connell were so perfectly cast, their performances wrecked me in the best possible way. i am usually very critical of adaptations, but i sincerely say that this is one of the best ones i’ve ever seen.

i finished season 7 of brooklyn nine-nine, and it was great.

becoming doc. watch this if you have not yet done so. and then watch it again. and again.

my friends maggie and stephen are producers for pbs’ american portrait series, and when covid hit they began work on a special called ‘in this together‘. it’s incredibly well-done, and i am so proud of the work they continually do to amplify the voices of others.

well. i did it. i finished seinfeld.

i finally found my way back to peaky blinders, finished season 3, started season 4, and am trying to figure out why i took such a long break because it’s so good and i can’t stop watching.

the best things i saw on the internet.

holland taylor only gets better with age.

this guy ran a mile an hour over 24 hours to complete a full marathon while also doing a bunch of house projects, yard work, and making a film about the whole thing.

memphian to meet jared ‘jay b’ boyd. with a special shout out to bridge builders in there!

two examples of what great leadership has looked like during this pandemic.

adam grant wrote a great piece on introversion and loneliness while we are all staying at home.

a closer look at the bookshelves of famous people while they’re on virtual calls.

nikole hannah-jones won the pulitzer prize for commentary for her incredible work on the 1619 project. if you’ve not listened to the podcast from last year i highly recommend it.

a great photo essay of the residents of an apartment building in jamaica, queens, one of the neighborhoods hardest-hit by covid.

what work-life balance can look like after the pandemic.

black illustration packets.

more love for never have i ever.

what it’s been like to live in a usually over-touristed place during quarantine.


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