april was busy but in a good way, and i am excited for spring to continue springing.
continuing to make new friends // many, many job interviews // all the fun new york events // brooklyn botanic garden visit with sarita and family // eating my way around the city // hari anna was in town // more dog sitting // grizz playoff games // explored some new neighborhoods // buda besties reunion!
again, but better by christine riccio. i got this years ago from book of the month’s ya selections and finally read it last month. the bottom line is that this was not the book for me: the writing wasn’t very good, the main character / narrator was very annoying, and there are a lot of serious issues that are glossed over without adequate resolution. apparently the author is a well-known book reviewer on youtube and her followers knew some of the elements of the book that were a surprise to me; had i known those ahead of time i likely would have skipped it.
the broken girls by simone st james. okay wow. i needed a win after two very meh reads, and this one delivered. told in stories alternating between 1950 and 2014, this book had me staying up until 2am two nights in a row because i wanted to know what happened next. nothing was a huge surprise, but the story and the pacing were very good. i’m kind of annoyed at myself for waiting four years to read this, but at the same time it was exactly what i needed to jumpstart my reading again. great if you like a mystery.
the soulmate equation by christina lauren. i’ve read a number of christina lauren’s books, and i think this might be my second favorite behind josh & hazel’s guide to not dating. i liked both of the main characters, i thought the pace of the book was good, and it had some added emotional depth that i thought added to the story. quick, easy, delightful read.
the house with the stained-glass window by żanna słoniowska. this was the bank holiday book club selection for april, and it was a very interesting read. this was the first book i’ve read that is set in ukraine – specifically in lviv – and it definitely sparked an interest in learning more. as we discussed during our chat the narrator was the least interesting of the four generations of her family and often left us wanting more, but in general it was a lovely ode to a city that has held many identities over the years.
time is a mother by ocean vuong. i picked up vuong’s most recent poetry collection on a whim when i visited the corner bookstore in early april and read a bit each night before bed. i’ll admit that some of the missives went over my head, but the pieces he wrote about his mother were very moving.
the charm offensive by alison cochrun. i was very intrigued by the premise of this book and felt like it lived up to expectations. i would have loved more on dev’s relationship to his indian identity [it’s only hinted at a few times], but overall i thought it was good and look forward to reading more books from this author.
you’ll never believe what happened to lacey written and read by amber ruffin and lacey lamar. i have had this on my list to listen to since it came out, so i finally borrowed the audiobook last month. comedian amber ruffin and her sister lacey lamar share all of the ridiculous and wildly racist things people have said to lacey over the course of her life in omaha. from art teachers not believing her nice crayons belonged to her to hr supervisors changing her statements to protect white employees, i spent so much time muttering “no no no no no” to myself while also cracking up listening to amber and lacey’s banter and wisecracks. i’d like to see the physical book at some point to see the photos they often referred to, but i am very glad i opted to listen to this one. as i told caitlin and corrinne: hilarious and horrifying in equal measure.
the man who died twice by richard osman. the second book in osman’s thursday murder club series was another delight. i love following the adventures of elizabeth, joyce, ron, and ibrahim as they get themselves into sticky situations and solve crimes along the way. as ellie and i were recently discussing, it’s very refreshing to have a series that centers people in their 70s and gives them active and full lives, and i look forward to reading more of this series as it releases.
2022 book tally to date: 25
the best things i watched.
i watched season 1 of the sex lives of college girls in one sitting, and it was fantastic. watching these young women navigate their first year of college and everything that comes with it was funny and cringey and heartwarming and frustrating and awkward and hard, and i loved it. streaming on hbo max
on a call at the beginning of the month someone shared this video of a speech tracee ellis ross gave about living for yourself, and i found it really powerful.
for april’s “momos and movie night” maggie and i watched the worst person in the world. this film has been garnering rave reviews at film festivals all over the world, and it was easy to see why. it’s not a happy or easy film to watch, but it is beautifully shot and the acting is superb. it’s often uncomfortable and the flaws of the main character are very much on display, and i appreciated the honesty of that. available to rent or buy on itunes
the criterion collection recently released a remastered version of mira nair’s mississippi masala, and maggie and i went to see it at the ifc center in the west village. i will never forget the feeling of watching this movie as a 9-year-old brown kid living in helena, arkansas, and seeing someone who looked like me in an english-language movie set in mississippi. it holds up incredibly well, and we were lucky enough to attend the screening that was followed by an in-person q&a with sarita choudhury. amazing night.
i also watched the most recent seasons of the marvelous mrs maisel [prime video] and bridgerton [netflix] and started watching woke and atlanta [both on hulu].
the best things i listened to.
‘titanic’ 25th anniversary with bill simmons and van lathan [the rewatchables, march 15]. i initially wasn’t sure i would listen to this episode, but i’m so glad that i did. it was so good that i’m even considering rewatching the movie, which are not words i thought i’d ever say.
you can’t hit unsend [hidden brain, march 17]. a reshare and an update on a 2019 episode about how a teenager upended his life with a social media post.
powerful photos that honor the lives of overlooked women | smita sharma . sharma is a photojournalist whose photos of girls and young women who are survivors of child marriage and human trafficking are incredibly moving.
tall stories 299: south park street cemetery, kolkata [monocle 24: the urbanist, march 21]. south park street is one of my favorite places in kolkata, and i loved this little stroll down memory lane.
lilly singh on youtube to late night [offline with jon favreau, march 27]. singh is making the interview rounds with the recent release of her book, and i have been loving listening to them. she talks candidly about the beginnings of her career, making the move to late night, and how she remains grounded.
the sunday read: ‘nurses have finally learned what they’re worth’ [the daily, march 27]. a look at how the pandemic shifted the travel nursing industry and what the long-term implications of that might be.
an intervention in the middle of kenya with zohran mamdani [going through it, march 28]. mamdani is the son of filmmaker mira nair and also my new york assembly member, and in this episode he shares insights that he gained during a road trip across uganda with his father and uncle when he was in college and how that trip shifted his life focus.
funny/not funny (with hannah gadsby) [you and me both with hillary clinton, march 29]. a wonderful conversation about identity and being true to yourself. and it was how i found out that hannah is coming to new york in may! very excited for the show next week.
empress sisi’s beating heart [noble blood, march 29]. i was mostly excited about this episode because sisi followed maggie, katie, and me around europe during our buda besties trip in 2018 and i was curious to see if this would fill in any more pieces to the sisi puzzle. it definitely did, and it also allowed me a few moments of nostalgia remembering all that we learned about her on that trip.
dolly parton is burning up, not burning out [worklife with adam grant, april 5]. a conversation between these two is exactly what your day needs.
nikole hannah-jones is built to serve [well-read black girl with glory edim, april 5]. great interview about what it was like to make the 1619 project.
kate mckinnon, and your questions for hillary [you and me both with hillary clinton, april 6]. this was a lot of fun to listen to in general, and i especially enjoyed kate asking hillary reader questions at the end.
the sunday read: ‘the battle for the mural — and the future of belarus [the daily, april 10]. this is a very, very long listen but it’s also fascinating, and i learned a lot about grassroots resistance movements in minsk.
how two friends beat amazon and built a union [the daily, april 11]. all the history and hard work that went into making that amazon union happen.
the likability dilemma for women leaders | robin hauser . the dilemma between competence and likability that women in leadership roles face.
an olympic champion’s unwavering advocacy for mothers in sports | allyson felix . allyson felix delivers a powerful talk about what she experienced as an elite athlete who dared to get pregnant and take on the brands who dropped their support of her as a result.
rethinking flexibility at work [worklife with adam grant, april 19]. very interesting conversation about all the different ways employers can offer flexibility to their employees.
how to get outside and enjoy nature — on your own terms [life kit, april 19]. i am a firm believer that there is no “right” way to be outdoorsy, so i very much loved listening to this.
the contact list [reply all, april 21]. emmanuel goes through and calls every person in his contact list on his phone. i have sometimes thought about doing this, so i found this fascinating.
finding power in reclaiming one’s name [consider this from npr, april 23]. as someone whose name often gets mispronounced, i related a lot to this episode.
the best things i read on the internet.
ukranian refugees share the most important personal items they carried with them. the cut via ann friedman
how writing a cookbook taught eric kim what home really is. cup of jo
this is what happens when there are too many meetings. derek thompson via the atlantic
there are so many articles about the indian representation in the second season of bridgerton; this one has come closest to echoing my own thoughts. teen vogue via anne helen petersen
black women at harvard law school react to justice ketanji brown jackson’s historic supreme court confirmation. nytimes
how residents in philadelphia, mississippi, are honoring their painful history. the atlantic
if literature’s “complicated men” were on tinder. this one made me chuckle. mcsweeney’s via cup of jo
what you find when you leave your job. the atlantic via aja marsh
when life happens in layers. caroline donofrio
i don’t have children, but i still loved this essay on mom guilt from lara bazelon. the atlantic
great interview questions for remote jobs . artisan talent via creative mornings
anne helen petersen on the expanding job. culture study
the privilege of having choices. nytimes via anne helen petersen
abby rasminsky on our chosen people. people + bodies
the case for muting your friends online. embedded
a long but fascinating read about vending machines. yes, you read that correctly. the guardian via ann friedman
looking back on 30+ years of mississippi masala. huffpost
why ‘third places’ are more important than ever in a world where home and office are blending together. the atlantic
what does an infrastructure of care actually look like? culture study
on the need for peloton to hire instructors with diverse body sizes. wendy robinson for culture study
are workcations the new normal? the atlantic
loved this piece on the ‘asian squat’. the atlantic
an ode to the subway. nytimes
two things: 1) the book links are bookshop.org affiliate links, meaning if you use them to make a purchase i and my local bookstore will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you, and 2) i recently got a subscription to the atlantic and will likely be sharing many of their articles going forward; recognizing that they offer a limited number of free articles each month, let me know if there is ever one you really want to read that you are unable to access