Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Reading, Watching, Listening


I have been moving through books pretty quickly this past week or so. Sometimes it goes like that, I guess. I read Dear Fahrenheit 451 and then American Wife and then a middle grade novel called The War that Saved My Life (loved it) and then The Book of Essie and now I'm starting this mystery called The Dante Chamber that apparently features Christina Rossetti (the nineteenth century poet) as its main character and sleuth. I also checked out The Eyre Affair because I'm a sucker for metanarrative.

I liked and would recommend all the books I read. I was so absorbed in American Wife and then I felt weird because it's loosely based on Laura Bush and I kept wondering how loosely and I guess she has commented in interviews that she hasn't read the novel but I wondered how I would feel if someone loosely based a novel on my life... including some of the most heartbreaking aspects, but then inventing other controversial plot points. I'm not sure! I dunno, but Curtis Sittenfeld has risen up and up my list of favorite authors. I don't think she is everyone's cup of tea, but she is definitely mine.

Dear Fahrenheit 451 is a librarian's collection of letters to various books and then a long list of recommended reads and it's amusing and a quick read but I wanted to have coffee and chat with the writer rather than read more of it, if that makes sense.

The War that Saved My Life was the kind of book that spoke directly to my 10-year-old self. Loved the story of a girl and her little brother in WWII England. It hits all the perfect tween elements--abusive grown-ups, nice grown-ups, horses, spies, and new clothes. (Am I the only one who is a sucker for the description of fancy new clothes when a poor kid gets something nice for the first time? I still love a good dressing room montage in a film because I am super basic and I just can't help it. Sometimes clothes make you feel really good.)

The Book of Essie is about a young girl in a conservative religious reality TV family. It was not quite the story I expected, but it kept me reading. I wanted it to be a little more salacious but the scandal in the story is mostly just sad. Still, it was satisfying all together.


I can't stop watching Father Brown which is so comforting to me it's basically the dose of melatonin I take at bedtime. I can't explain how it is a compliment to the show that it puts me to sleep, but it is/does. It's not that the show is boring, it's just so perfect. Set in mid-20th-century England in a small village with more than its share of murders, a kind priest bustles about getting into everyone's business and putting them right with God, regardless of the justice system and the local sheriff. It's just brilliant.

David and I are also watching Outlander on Starz which is amazeballs. Who knew a ginger in a kilt could stir up such intense feelings for me? But Jamie is absolutely adorable. (It's the accent. But also the curls. And maybe the scars...) The show is violent and a bit gratuitous what with all the times Claire ends up with her boobs out (I mean, really), but I still love it.

We also started season 2 of Marcella on Netflix. I watched the first episode and feel a little bit like I have no idea what's going on, but I felt like that at first with season 1, too. It all unfolds a bit slowly, but I like it. The main actress is just fantastic and sometimes I want to cut bangs like hers but then I come to my senses.

And whenever I need a little pick-me-up (which, let's be honest, is just about daily right now), I like to watch season 2 of Queer Eye. I love the fab five and I love the guys (and one woman!) they fix up and the girls sometimes watch with me, too. Coco really likes Jonathan because he has long hair and she likes when he wears it up in a bun (lol) and Zuzu and I like Karamo (ummmm because he is super handsome).


I am out of my podcast habits because I don't have a 30 minute each way commute on the daily. I'm a couple weeks behind on Young House Love (like new clothes for poor children, I also love a home makeover) and I've been listening to Sorta Awesome which is totally a mom-podcast but it's like having coffee with your mom friend whose advice you always want to take and whose product recommendations you always want to try. The host, Meg, has the best radio voice.

I did make a drive to KC for the weekend and listened to the audio book Tell Me More by Kelly Corrigan. Listen. It's so good. Are you in a book club? Your book club should read it. There's lots to talk about, but it's also easy to get through. It's divided into sections each titled things people should say and it covers marriage, parenting, grief, and all the deep and superficial things involved in each of these things. The audiobook is read by the author and it's truly perfection. I was literally laughing and weeping as I drove I-70 between St. Louis and Kansas City.

(PSA: If you don't have an app on your phone through which you can check out free audio and electronic books, ask your public librarian how to get it!)


  1. (de-lurking)

    Oh my gosh, I thought I was the only one who loved the literal rags-to-riches scenes. For me it's not just new clothes, but when a character who hasn't been clean in a while finally gets a bath--the more luxurious the better!

    Ahh Outlander. It's definitely a guilty pleasure with all the gratuitous sex and violence, but Jamie is just so yummy. I thought they did a great job with casting him--a pretty tall order, since he's made out to be such a paragon of manliness and wit in the books.

  2. Thanks for all the recommendations! I've watched the odd episode of Father Brown... TV comfort food. ;) I loved the original Queer Eye, years ago, but haven't watched the new one yet. And I haven't watched Outlander yet, despite so many people telling me it's SO good... I want to read the books first, but there are a lot of them & they're long and I already have a gargantuan TBR pile. (Have you read or seen Poldark yet? -- also some good eye candy there, lol.)

  3. Have you watched Dr. Foster or Killing Eve?