WORD.

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This month has felt SO. LONG. Thank god it’s finally the last day of January because I am SO ready for February aka BIRTHDAY MONTH!!!

Weekly Listens, #2

I listen to a lot of podcasts – a lot! – and so I started a series rounding up the most interesting episodes I’ve heard recently. I usually listen to a grab bag of topics, and this week was no different, covering feminism, the role of technology in mental health, the practice of tipping, and everyone’s favorite Mormon survivalist memoir, Educated by Tara Westover.

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Asymmetry – Lisa Halliday

Rating: 3/5

The NY Times listed this as one of their top 10 books of 2018 so I was immediately intrigued, but it turns out it didn’t do much for me.

The book is split into two stories that seem completely unrelated, but the connection is revealed by the end. Alice and Ezra inhabit the first half, and if I resort to cliches, their relationship is “flawed but beautiful in its own way”. Ezra is a famous writer (unsubtly modeled after Philip Roth, whom Halliday had a relationship with when she was younger) and much older than she is (think 65 to her 25), and while I loved seeing their interactions, it also struck a little too close to home because Alice is around my age and Ezra is around my roommate’s age – and not only that, but our personalities are also similar to these characters’. Even if we’re good friends, it’s just too weird imagining my roommate and I in a relationship 🙅🏻‍♀️🙅🏻‍♀️

The second half focuses on Amar, who’s the opposite of Alice – he’s brimming with words and thoughts and opinions, and it’s really interesting seeing these two narrators side by side. Despite the lovely writing though, I didn’t feel particularly drawn to any of the characters, and actually got kind of bored partway through.

P.S. I love the cover though; it reminds me of this painting by Leo Chun.

Educated – Tara Westover

Rating: 4/5

It’s impossible to love a book as filled with trauma, abuse, and violence as this one is, but nonetheless it was absolutely riveting. My jaw hit the floor over and over again as Westover kept revealing the next crazy scheme her father roped the family into, and I’m still coming to terms with the knowledge that there are still people out there who believe so strongly in fundamentalist survivalism that they refuse to go to hospitals and visit doctors, bury thousands of gallons of gasoline and other “supplies” underground for when the rapture comes, and think the government is out to get them at all costs, among other things. I mean, if you just faced a large, fiery explosion head-on and are suffering third-degree burns across your body and your face is literally melting off, go to the hospital! Don’t just wait for God and essential oils to work their magic on you!

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Snowy Saturdays

It’s a snowy and freezing afternoon here in NYC, and I’m so happy to be curled up inside where it’s warm! I lit a toffee pumpkin scented candle that’s making the room smell absolutely delicious, have a cup of peach green tea steeping, and the rest of my day is wide open – I’m super content and happy.

I just finished reading Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, and am continuing with Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener. Think I’ll read until the end of the afternoon, and then catch up a little on work, clean/organize the apartment, and do some general planning for the next few months.

Hope everyone’s having a good long weekend!

Weekly Listens, #1

I listen to a lot of podcasts – a lot! – and so I thought it might be fun to start a new series rounding up what I’ve listened to recently. In this first edition, a look into utopian societies throughout history, an interview with Andrew Yang on his platform as a presidential candidate, and jokes flying everywhere between John Mulaney and Conan O’Brien.

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Primates of Park Avenue – Wednesday Martin

Rating: 2/5

Let’s just start off by saying, the fact that the front cover has a quote by Amy Chua of all people basically says what you need to know about this book and its author. That is, if the zebra-print pencil skirt and cheetah-print curtain and matching cheetah-print Loubs didn’t already give it away.

Anyway, this book is NUTS! Here’s the good and the bad:

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Because Internet – Gretchen McCulloch

Rating: 3.5/5

I first heard about this book from an episode of the Ezra Klein show, but it wasn’t quite the book I expected going in – I thought it’d be more educational and that I’d learn more about how internet slang and memes and such developed, but it was more nostalgic and entertaining than anything else.

The book did a great job at putting into words things that an internet user already innately knows, but not so much at providing new information. For example, being a Full Internet Person, I already know the “anatomy” of a keysmash – usually starts with “a” or “asdf”, made up of the middle row of keys on a keyboard, doesn’t usually have the same letter repeated, if it doesn’t look genuine enough then people will often delete and do it again (that made me laugh, so real) – but I didn’t necessarily want to read about it. And the book is filled with instances like this. It was entertaining as a recap of things I totally do on the internet, but not as informative as hoped.