monthly recap | august 2022.

august felt both very long and also very short? something about the end of summer being imminent yet also seeming far away? regardless, here are all the happenings from last month!

august highlights.

sarah thankam mathews book release event at books are magic // lunch with alex thomas // delaware beach weekend with jane // work wife alex came to visit // india day parade // dinner with spencer and stephanie // quick visit from churst // quick first trip back to memphis // saw a strange loop on broadway

august books.

the spanish love deception by elena armas. okay. this book was *fine*, but i have some pretty big gripes about it. it was 150 pages too long. there was far too much inner monologue full of every cliché imaginable. it was clearly inspired by the hating game, which i also had many issues with — aaron is not as much of a stalker as josh, but he comes close. the dirty talk felt so forced and out of character and also kind of appeared out of nowhere. i really only finished it because i skimmed most of it because the writing wasn’t very good.

honor by thrity umrigar. well. this book blew me away. it was a recent adventurous kate book club selection, and while i wasn’t able to join that discussion i am so glad i decided to still read it. it covers some heavy topics, including hindu-muslim relations in rural india, the practice of honor killings, sexual assault, and more, and it’s certainly not an easy or light read. it also really walks that line of loving and feeling pride in india while simultaneously recognizing its flaws and being frustrated with how it operates, and it brought back a lot of memories — both good and not — from my years living there. tied for top fiction read of 2022 and going on the list as one of the best books i’ve read in recent years.

the power of regret:how looking backward moves us forward by daniel pink. a really fast and easily digestible book breaking down the different types of regrets and how harnessing those feelings can actually help you break down barriers and move forward. i’ve already brought up things i learned in three different conversations since i finished reading it.

my oxford year by julia whelan. i made some decisions after finishing this book. one, i need to take a break from the first-person romances, because all of the explanatory inner monologue bores me. two, i should have stopped as soon as i predicted the ending and saved that energy for other endeavors. and three, probably no more 20-something-year-old narrators for me for the foreseeable future. thanks so much, enjoy the rest of your day.

open water by caleb azumah nelson. i first heard of this during a bank holiday book club meeting and finally got around to reading it last month. it’s a beautifully written story of two young black londoners and their shared experiences of growing up black in a country that often doesn’t welcome them. it’s a short read but one i recommend taking your time with so that you can fully absorb it.

how will we learn about the world if not from each other?

sarah thankam mathews, “all this could be different”

all this could be different by sarah thankam mathews. it’s always wonderful when a highly anticipated book lives up to the hype, and this one certainly does. mathews is a wonderful writer, and this book is so full of beautiful prose and heartwrenching lines in each chapter. the story of sneha, a recent college graduate, touches on relationships and sexuality and what it is to be an immigrant and family dynamics and how scary it is to be vulnerable and so many other things, and i found myself both wanting to read it in one sitting while also hoping it would go on forever. this is one of those books that i will think about for many years to come.

2022 book tally to date: 47

the best things i watched.

season 3 of never have i ever was everything i expected it to be — funny, touching, heartbreaking, uplifting, nerve-wracking, and everything in between. i love this show so much and look forward to the fourth and final season next year. streaming on netflix

i also enjoyed:

  • season 1 of industry is stressful but also very good [streaming on hbo max]
  • bullet train was very entertaining and quite good fun [currently in theaters]
  • a strange loop deserves all the hype and more [currently at the lyceum theatre on broadway]

the best things i listened to.

bono, singer and songwriter [desert island discs, july 24]. shoutout to alex for this recommendation. each episode is an interview with a different person where they answer questions and also name the discs they would take with them if they were moving to a desert island. very excited to add this to my rotation.

what we lost when hotels stopped being housing [consider this from npr, july 27]. learned a lot about how residential hotels were used as flexible accommodation and how bringing these back could help alleviate some of the current housing market issues we are seeing.

how the us fails working parents — and what they need to thrive | reshma saujani . i love reshma saujani’s work on empowering working parents, and this is a great listen.

how a fake cricket league scammed online bettors [espn daily, july 28]. this is a wild story and one i think anyone will find interesting even if you don’t understand or even like cricket.

the sunday read: ‘inside the push to diversify the book business’ [the daily, july 31]. a reading of marcela valdes’ article on how the book publishing industry needs to continue to evolve to create space for more diverse writers, publishers, editors, and readers. one of my “if you only listen to one” august listens.

adele, singer and songwriter [desert island discs, july 31]. i realized as i was listening to this that i don’t think i’ve ever listened to an interview with adele before, and i loved it. i learned so much about her life and her interests, and her song choices were phenomenal.

the meaning of home — and the joy of traveling | pico iyer . i have long struggled with the question ‘where are you from’, and this talk from pico iyer so perfectly encapsulates why i don’t have a solid answer and why i don’t ask the question of others. another “if you only listen to one” recommendation.

lost in translation . stories of families communicating across linguistic differences. great listen.

episode 497: sam sanders [longform, august 3]. sam sanders is one of my favorite podcast hosts, and i loved this opportunity to listen to him being interviewed and sharing his thoughts.

how serena williams changed the game [espn daily, august 11]. a look back at serena's legendary career and all the ways she has impacted tennis and beyond.

the artists re-framing chicago [far flung with saleem reshamwala, august 11]. all about the artists who are reimagining spaces in chicago.

how do we face loss with dignity? [the ezra klein show, august 12]. ezra in conversation with mohsin hamid about his latest novel and what it means to lose a part of your identity that you hold dear.

a new way to think about racism in america [plain english with derek thompson, august 12]. great conversation between thompson and heather mcghee about the research she has done across the country on how racist policies hold us back from creating a more prosperous country. another "if you only listen to one" recommendation.

what is partition...and why do people need to know about it [partition, august 15]. i am so looking forward to this series diving into what led to partition and how it has had a ripple effect on following generations. sharing the link to the first episode here, and i recommend subscribing to the series.

the office is dying. it's time to rethink how we work [the ezra klein show, august 16]. a discussion with anne helen petersen and charlie warzel about their book out of office and the ongoing debate about how to restructure how we work as we grapple with the continued effects of covid. it's a long episode but well worth the listen.

trying to heal the wounds of partition, 75 years later [consider this from npr, august 18]. a look back at what happened when the british left india and how that legacy lives on all these years later.

the best things i purchased.

i needed a new pair of running shoes, so i went to fleet feet, looked at a few different options, and walked away with the same brooks ghost 14s in a different color. to quote cogsworth, "if it's not baroque, don't fix it".

the best things i read on the internet.

what counts as "the health of the mother"? the atlantic

have you seen this article about 10 women who matched with the same man on dating apps sharing their thoughts about him? the cut, probable paywall

what are you supposed to do with old clothes? the atlantic

living through india's heat wave. the new yorker

a breakdown of all the ways restaurants are incurring higher costs for supplies and how that is being passed on to diners. great piece. ny times

serena williams. enough said. vogue

loved this profile of mindy kaling. marie claire via the 19th*

the joy of swimming while fat. nytimes via cup of jo

this wisconsin bookstore created flowcharts to help customers select their next read. nytimes

why aren't smart people happier? experimental history via michael

why you should stick with never have i ever season 3. and a great piece about why the season 3 finale is so good. the juggernaut [second article contains spoilers]

an argument in favor of meal-sharing at restaurants. the atlantic

nora ephron's rules for middle-age happiness. the atlantic

i have long been a proponent of the post-vacation buffer day and am happy to see others vouching for it as well. washington post via alexa

how dan price used social media to hide and enable troubling behavior. nytimes via anne helen petersen

the perfect encapsulation of why i love watching movies on airplanes. the atlantic

maybe the best [most ridiculous] flight story i've ever read. all wit, no brevity

what happens when women decide to stop being so ambitious? elle via ann friedman

happy september!

xx

two things:

  • as always, the book links are bookshop.org affiliate links, meaning if you use them to purchase a book astoria bookshop and i earn small commissions at no extra cost to you
  • all of the nytimes and juggernaut links are gifted from my accounts, so clicking on them shouldn't count against your monthly article limits

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