monthly recap | september 2021.

september highlights.

hung out with stella the dog for 10 days // jen turned 40 // finally able to walk and run and hike again! // papa swami had a birthday // road trip to baltimore + a week with jane // impromptu day trip to dc + dinner with matt haygood and family

the books i read.

i got back on an audiobook kick last month, hence how i made it through so many books in september.

come sundown by nora roberts. this was a very middle-of-the-road nora roberts read for me. i felt like it was very predictable and there was a good bit of fluff, but at the same time it was an easy read. there were a lot of parallels with her previous novel montana sky which i liked better.

the bollywood bride by sonali dev. this is the second in dev’s series after a bollywood affair and was much of the same. i like it for the bombay nostalgia and the descriptions of indian aunties and how they band together through times of celebration and sadness, but the story itself was kind of meh. also it was weird to have the main male lead named vikram [my brother’s name, for those who don’t know]. but it was a quick read — i read it in a day. i might read her others in the future, but i have a lot of other books i want to read first.

a very punchable face by colin jost. i listened to jost read his recent memoir through the libby app, and i rather enjoyed it. i love listening to comedians read their memoirs because the timing and inflections are so perfect [see also: tina fey reading bossypants and amy poehler reading yes please], and jost was no exception. particular favorites were his story about why he loves his mother [keep a tissue handy for that one], his predilection for pooping his pants as an adult, and the time his leg was a host for a botfly. also i know i’ve talked about listening to podcasts at 1.5x speed before, but it also works for audio books — it dropped this 7.5 hour listen down to 5 hours, which i knocked out over the course of a few weeks while folding laundry, doing dishes, etc.

the invisible life of addie larue by v.e. schwab. this is one of those books that i enjoyed immensely but also have some critiques for. to start, i loved the premise and it has given me a lot to think about in terms of what i would do if i had the same curse as addie [can live for as long as she wants but will never be remembered by anyone who meets her]. all the places i want to see and the experiences i want to have and time to read all the books i want to read. but with that in mind, i was disappointed at how little of the world addie saw in the 300 years the book spans — much of her time is spent in her home country of france, with snippets in italy, germany, the uk, and the us. she mentions spain and portugal and budapest, but only in passing. my issue is that in 300 years she never visited asia, africa, or south america? she didn’t stow away on a ship to antarctica? she didn’t traverse australia and new zealand? she didn’t even get over to russia? she speaks 7 languages, all of which are from majority-white countries. that part felt unbelievable to me. again, solid writing and an interesting story that has given me a lot to think about, but with some tighter editing and a little more imagination i think it could have been really great.

the love hypothesis by ali hazelwood. i enjoyed this book a lot more than i initially thought i would. it was a book of the month selection for september, but i had three other books i wanted so i chose to skip this; the following week laura texted me to say how much she had enjoyed it. i had a break while i was waiting on my own selections to arrive, so i borrowed it from laura and read it in two days. there are a few bits that are problematic, but overall i really liked this story. i admittedly don’t know anything about how science grad programs work, so i cannot speak to the accuracy of those aspects, but i’m glad i read it. and i especially appreciated that the author’s bio on the back flap was a little tongue-in-cheek — i always love when authors don’t take themselves too seriously.

beautiful world, where are you by sally rooney. if you like sally rooney you’ll like this book, and if you don’t like her writing style then you probably won’t. i am the former, and i really enjoyed reading this. as rob and i recently discussed, we liked the alice and felix storyline and their characters in general much better than the eileen and simon storyline, but we enjoyed how it came together in the end. i agree it could have used some tighter editing, and i would have liked some way of differentiating between the narrative chapters and the emails alice and eileen sent back and forth to one another. rooney’s characters tend to be a little high-brow and i laughed a little reading their emails discussing the late bronze age and impressionist art, because i cannot imagine trading emails back and forth like that with someone. but somehow it worked for this book. i enjoyed it, and i will continue reading whatever she writes.

a lot like adiós by alexis daria. the second book in alexis daria’s primas of power trilogy focuses on michelle and her former best friend gabe. i really enjoyed their banter and the overlap of the storyline from their high school years and the present day. i am just about ready to declare daria my new favorite romance writer, and i look forward to a third book with ava in the starring role because she deserves it.

dear girls by ali wong. another audiobook which i very much enjoyed. ali wong reads the 14 letters she has written to her young daughters about how she met their father, how she has made it as a comedian, and the struggles she went through to have them both. her letters are interspersed with trademark ali wong humor, and hearing them read in her voice was hilarious. and if you’re not familiar with wong’s brand, keep in mind that this is very much not safe for work.

the night she disappeared by lisa jewell. earlier this year i read and loved jewell’s the family upstairs, and while i knew this one likely wouldn’t live up to that i still had high hopes. it was fine, but it wasn’t nearly as thrilling or as suspenseful as the other one. i also guessed pretty early on what some of the discoveries would be, so they weren’t as surprising as they happened. jewell is a fantastic writer, however, and i have a few of her others on my list.

the witches are coming by lindy west. listening to lindy west read this collection of her essays was a delight. none of them were particularly groundbreaking, but they were all interesting and insightful. from the ridiculous racism in a gear swap group in seattle to west’s confusion at adam sandler’s fame, these were some of west’s best essays. highly recommend listening to it as an audiobook.

currently reading: alka joshi’s the henna artist, christina lauren’s twice in a blue moon, and the midnight library by matt haig. next up is mrs everything by jennifer weiner.

the best things i watched.

sex education season 3 dropped mid-month. i pretended like i was going to take my time watching, and then of course i finished it in 3 days. it continues to be one of my favorite shows, and i am pumped it has already been renewed for a 4th season. netflix

alex and i saw shang-chi and the legend of the ten rings at the cinema, and it was fantastic. highly recommend.

brooklyn nine-nine officially came to an end last month. the final season was everything i have come to expect from this show over the years, and i love how they wrapped it up. at some point soon i will do a full rewatch from beginning to end. hulu

the wonder years reboot starring dulé hill premiered mid-month. i’ve watched the two episodes that have come out so far, and i think it’s going to be really great. live on abc; streaming next day on hulu

steph and pete’s youtube videos of their time in italy have been a joy to watch. i am loving following their adventures – they’re now in athens – and hope you will, too.

i’ve watched a few episodes of only murders in the building on hulu and am enjoying it. when i realized new episodes release each week i decided to let a few build up and i’ll watch them during my next dog sitting gig. hulu

to molly’s dismay until last month i had never seen an episode of the nanny. in an attempt to get back in her good graces i started watching it last month. it’s an easy one to have on in the background, and i’m somewhere in the middle of season 2 now. hbo max

the best things i listened to.

the education lost to the pandemic [the daily, september 1]. a very good listen about how the pandemic has impacted learning and what needs to happen to ensure students don’t fall even further behind.

how to receive feedback [life kit, september 1]. receiving feedback without becoming upset or defensive is a fine art, and there are some great tips in this episode about how to remain objective and respond when you receive feedback from others.

re-release: dan quayle vs murphy brown [you’re wrong about, september 6]. i remember watching and enjoying murphy brown as a child, but i didn’t quite appreciate what a ground-breaking show it was at the time. this episode deep dives into dan quayle’s criticism of the show when the lead character had a baby out of wedlock and how that impacted his future political career.

the lost summer . in shereen marisol meraji's final episode as a code switch host, she talks about her experience as a young journalist in the days immediately following 9/11. she has a way of telling a story that allows the listener to feel like they are right there with her, and this was a very touching episode.

when will hollywood stop stereotyping muslims [sway, september 9]. kara interviews riz ahmed about the history of how muslims have been portrayed in film and television and how he is working to push those boundaries.

rep. pramila jayapal on immigrants and america after 9/11 [vox conversations, september 9]. aarti shahani talks with pramila jayapal about her immigrant experience in america and how that changed after 9/11. they cover the history of immigration in the u.s., including who was and was not welcome, and how this particular topic has driven jayapal's professional and political lives.

the united states v elizabeth holmes [the daily, september 16]. great background info on trial of the theranos founder. if you are interested in further listening, i recommend the podcast the dropout.

olympic legacies [monocle 24: the urbanist, september 16]. a look at how important the olympic legacy is to the built environment. very interesting episode.

a friendly ghost story [invisibilia, september 16]. we often talk about being ghosted by a romantic interest, but we rarely talk about getting ghosted by a friend. this was such an interesting listen.

where should i send my kid to school? [call your girlfriend, september 17]. the current school year is unique for so many reasons, and this episode breaks down all of the factors that go into navigating it.

in the running [radiolab, september 17]. this episode was fascinating. it's all about how running became a coping mechanism for a woman who found out she has epilepsy, and how that interest led her to becoming one of the best ultra-runners in the world.

digital dating despair [ladies, we need to talk, september 20]. how to stay sane while navigating the world of online dating. it's tough out there.

group think [hidden brain, september 20]. very interesting episode about all the ways our group loyalties impact our lifes.

how to stop getting interruped at work [life kit, september 20]. great tips, especially if you are part of a marginalized group and often get overlooked or interrupted during meetings.

"i did it right the first time" with dr joycelyn elders [70 over 70, september 21]. dr elders talks about her time as surgeon general under president clinton, why she was asked to step down from the position, and all that she has done in the years since to continue promoting safe sex.

episode 457: hannah giorgis [longform, september 22]. hannah giorgis talks about reporting on all the different types of representation in hollywood and how she navigates her role as a journalist of color.

believing anita hill [call your girlfriend, september 24]. ann interviewed anita hill ahead of the release of her new book on gender-based violence, and it was a fantastic conversation. hill talks about the lack of data around the topic and how that has impacted policy and funding in the area. as she so greatly puts it, "if you don't measure it, you can't solve it".

"memory is eloquent" with lois lowry [70 over 70, september 28]. we don't deserve lois lowry, but i sure am grateful for her.

corpse, corps, horse and worse [99% invisible, september 28]. all about the weird pronunciations / spellings of english words translated from other languages.

the best things i saw on the internet.

i am both excited and not at all emotionally ready for the final season of insecure to start. elle via cup of jo -- contains spoilers!

the meaning behind significant tattoos. cup of jo

a real-life bromance book club. mens health via hitha palepu

loved this profile of dule hill ahead of the wonder years reboot. he's one of my favorites. ny times

this cover story on regina king. vanity fair

what young people around the world are taught about 9/11. nytimes

this profile of model quannah chasinghorse. vogue

great interview with my awesome friend, dacquiri. style blueprint

the brilliance of the male friendships on new girl. gq via cup of jo

priya krishna on the emotions evoked by reusing old food containers. ny times

happy october!


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