july was a ton of fun and also very exhausting. lots of great summer fun, quick catchups with friends in and out of town, and continuing to figure out exactly what my job is.
momo birthday dinner // cookout and red hook adventures // dog sat for logan // minji and don’s wedding lunch celebration // reunion with akka // beach day with the boys // dinner with helen while she was in town // biryani sunday at home // ongoing adventures with alex and marcus
by the book by jasmine guillory. i love jasmine guillory, but this was probably my least favorite of her books. it gave me the boost i needed to get back into reading after a slow june — and it prompted some very interesting conversations with friends — but it didn’t grab me the way her others have. i know it’s part of a series of modern day romance novels inspired by various disney movies [this one was beauty and the beast] and there were likely parameters she had to stick to, but i was still hoping for more of the oomph she brings to her writing.
ikigai: the japanese secret to a long and happy life by hector garcia and francesc miralles, read by walter dixon. earlier this year my niece mentioned that she and her grandmother [my mother’s sister] were reading / listening to this book together, so i decided to add the audiobook to my libby queue. i listened to it when i was dog sitting and walked the dog in the morning so there were some parts i wasn’t paying as much attention to as i would have liked, but overall it had some good tidbits. at some point i’d like to get a physical copy so that i can take some notes. the audiobook clocks in right around 3 hours, so it’s a quick listen.
miss quinces by kat fajardo. this graphic novel about a young girl’s journey to her quincañera is a delight. it touches on identity and belonging and family dynamics and it’s funny, thoughtful, and has a ton of heart. and as a bonus, kat is a friend of maggie and molly!
memphis by tara m stringfellow. when i saw this spring that a new novel was coming out that was set in memphis, i was overjoyed. and even more so when i learned the author, tara m stringfellow, is from memphis. i finally read it last month and loved it. i generally enjoy books that jump around between narrators and time frames, and while there were a few chapters where i had to check when things were happening overall i think it worked. i especially love that it focuses on a north memphis neighborhood and that i could picture exactly where characters were based on streets and landmarks. great read, and i look forward to reading more from this author in the future.
the woman in the library by sulari gentill. to be quite honest, i am still processing my thoughts on this one. i flew through the first 90% of this book, loving the layers of the story-within-the-story-within-the-story. and then the last two chapters felt so flat to me. i wasn’t satisfied with the conclusion or how it was explained, and while i understand that the final line was meant to be a cliffhanger all it did was annoy me. i think gentill is a good writer and i have another book of hers in my libby queue, but the end of this one left me with a lot of conflicting feelings.
it was his way to ask many questions when he wanted to know someone’s mind.
pachinko by min jin lee. it took me the entire month but i finished it! it feels a little cliché to refer to this as a “sweeping family saga” but also that’s the best way to describe it. traversing nearly 60 years from korea to japan to new york and back, we follow along with sunja and her family as they deal with poverty, racism, classism, war, family secrets, and so much more. there were a few chapters that felt unnecessary because they involved characters who then never returned, but on the whole i thought it was great and i can’t wait for maggie to finish so we can watch the apple tv+ series together.
2022 book tally to date: 41, which is one more than my original 2022 goal!
the best things i watched.
i will be the first to admit that when i heard there was an upcoming elvis movie happening, i was skeptical. but then i saw the trailer and i was intrigued. when i was dog sitting for abi i decided to see it and the nice theater by her house, and it was well worth it. the movie is great and even made a semi-fan out of michael; i believe his exact words were “i almost said no because i don’t really care about elvis, but now i think i kind of care about elvis”. currently in theaters
maggie and i watched the bear and loved it. i have never worked in a kitchen / restaurant, but from what i have heard it is very realistic. at some point in a few months i would like to rewatch it more slowly so that i can have a little time for each episode to sink in, because it’s just that good. streaming on hulu
i finally watched fire island and loved it. joel kim booster and bowen yang were phenomenal in the lead roles, and i thought the whole thing was very well done. streaming on hulu
- moana [disney+ — gets better each time]
- ted lasso [apple tv+ — i convinced michael to start it so i watched the first episode with him; interesting how many easter eggs from season 2 i noticed just in the pilot]
- pizza mind, sasheer zamata’s most recent comedy special [amazon prime — quite entertaining]
- party down
the best things i listened to.
the 4 deadly sins of work culture [worklife with adam grant, june 21]. toxic workplaces are prevalent everywhere, and it takes so little to create changes to show your people you are listening to them and want to create a good work environment for them. loved this episode.
a holocaust survivor’s story [a slight change of plans, june 27]. an interview with edith eger, a holocaust survivor and psychologist who specializes in ptsd.
the poetry of nepal’s bridges [far flung with saeem reshamwala, june 30]. loved this history about the bridges nepalese people have created as a way to traverse the country.
jia tolentino and stephania taladrid on the end of roe v wade [the new yorker radio hour, july 1]. part of a longer conversation with these two about what comes next.
after jackie: what happened with baseball and black america? (encore) [espn daily, july 4]. how jackie robinson changed baseball and a look at why baseball didn’t become a majority black sport the way basketball and football have.
sad, mad, anxious? how to work through your ‘big feelings’ [hbr ideacast, july 5]. aunties liz and mollie talking about their book big feelings and how they themselves have worked through their own big feelings.
mxmtoon — mona lisa [song exploder, july 13]. a really great conversation and a new song i’ve added to my rotation.
jason reynolds [design matters with debbie millman, july 18]. i love jason reynolds, and this conversation with debbie millman was phenomenal. long but great listen.
why housing is so expensive — particularly in blue states [the ezra klein show, july 19]. very long listen but has some great information in it.
the world is on fire. here’s a realistic plan to save humanity [plain english with derek thompson, july 19]. going beyond the natural disaster headlines to look at the technological advances that could help us mitigate the impacts of climate change. a very insightful and interesting conversation.
who belongs in the cherokee nation? . i learned a lot in this episode about the history of black "freedmen" whose descendants have been denied their cherokee citizenship and how that impact is continuing to be felt.
the case against deshaun watson [the daily, july 27]. very thorough rundown of all the allegations of deshaun watson and a conversation about whether and now the nfl should respond.
the best things i made.
on the final sunday of the month i made chicken biryani and invited some friends over for a late lunch. it's a mashup recipe that i've curated over many years, and i was quite pleased with the results. one of these days i'll get around to writing up a proper recipe for it.
the best things i read on the internet.
an ode to indian fried chicken. eater
abby rasminsky on calling multiple places home. hi, people
the abortion movie scene all men should watch. humans being
dave eggers gets to the bottom of why his book was banned in one city in south dakota. washington post via ann friedman; possible paywall
hrishikesh hirway is launching a mini-pod called 'book exploder' and i am so pumped! accept cookies
christine pride on traveling while black. cup of jo
this piece on the role childless adults play in the lives of friends' and family member's children sums up so many of my own thoughts and feelings. and it also makes me grateful for those people in my own life. isaac fitzgerald for esquire via roxane gay
jordan calhoun on how the bear captures toxic work environments. humans being
how trips together help maintain long-distance best friendships. the atlantic
this essay from kaushika suresh, which included this amazing line: "i still think each acceptance from an iteration of beautiful white boy will give me permission to exist in this world." the audacity
jia tolentino on the repercussions of overturning roe. the new yorker; possible paywall [i had to read it in incognito mode]
my friend nick just opened a new convenience store in downtown memphis and i am so stinking proud of him. daily memphian; possible paywall
lots of great write-ups about the bear, so i'll share them all here: on its accurate depiction of restaurant trauma [bon appetit]; how it uses food as a language for love and grief [harpers bazaar]; and this great profile of show star jeremy allen white [gq]. all via roxane gay
this interview with jeremy allen white is also a great read. vulture
indian coming-of-age ceremonies have become as extravagant as weddings. the juggernaut
mira jacob penned a letter to millennials about to turn 40 and it is perfection. "can you imagine what we'd be capable of if we didn't feel bad about aging?" harpers bazaar
anne helen petersen on aging into your athleticism. culture study