Who is even running this blog? Not me, that’s for sure. I’m too busy being partially unemployed and, like, having panic attacks about the fuel pump in my car exploding. Automobile anxiety takes a lot of energy, though, so I’m taking a break from that by finishing this What I’m Into, which I started in March. As in the month of March. As in the one that was four months ago. Better late than never, right? You can read more WIIs over at Leigh Kramer’s blog, which is one of those obnoxious blogs where stuff actually gets posted more than twice yearly. You’re making us sorry plebian bloggers look bad, Leigh.
Every Shattered Thing, Elora Ramirez: Written in the vein of Eleanor & Park, this little novel follows Stephanie as she fights her way toward freedom and adulthood. This is a quick read but a meaningful story. And rumor has it there might be a sequel on the way.
Dune, Frank Herbert: The first word I can think of to describe this book is “esoteric,” by which I mean I had no idea what was happening between the lines. A lot of fantasy/sci-fi books (or any story that involves a lot of world-building) have complex religious and political systems that the reader only samples parts of, but this story left me feeling particularly … ignorant. Like those Bene Gesserit ladies — where is their power from? What exactly are they doing with this generations-long breeding scheme? Do they have allegiance to anyone besides themselves? Are they really prophets at all, or just planters of prophecies they know how to fulfill? And I know even less about CHOAM and Liet-Kynes’ plans for Arakkis, or even the general workings of the aristocracy. But despite my obtuseness or Herbert’s reticence, I enjoyed the story and am looking forward to the rest of the saga.
The Circle, Dave Eggers: I stayed up until 3 a.m. finishing this thriller. That’s something I haven’t done since, I don’t know, high school? Reading this story of the Internet-as-antichrist will make you question your technology use and, if you’re a privacy-and-solitude-loving introvert like me, be an exercise in anxiety. I wholly recommend it.
East of Eden, John Steinbeck: This was not the book I expected, but it has some beautiful sentences and poignant scenes. Months after finishing it, I’m still wrestling with its philosophy of free will. And wishing I had a Samuel Hamilton or a Lee in my life.
I Know This Much Is True, Wally Lamb: A beast of a novel, and absolutely worth every page. As detailed, rich, and raw as the best of memoirs, with a fiercely unlikeable (and sometimes alarming relatable) narrator, this story explores mental illness, loss, abusive family dynamics, the ways we feel sinned against — and how we can free ourselves from that resentment.
“Stay at Home Daughters” at Life in the Dollhouse: I was, thankfully, never fully a part of this movement, but my environment was heavily influenced by it; this is a pretty good read on its roots and implications. “Patriarchy is not something that feminists imagine is happening. It is not a ‘done and over with’ battle. It is a very real agenda aimed at controlling women who will produce ‘godly seed’ for the takeover of America someday.” I fully support women who desire to be housewives and mothers; but I don’t support housewifery as our only option, especially our only righteous option. Samantha Field also wrote about her experiences as an almost stay-at-home daughter recently here.
“Being a feminist makes me a better Christian” at Defeating the Dragons: Speaking of Field, this piece resonates with me. Over the past couple of years, feminism has been one of the sole and strongest ties connecting me to my faith. It is where I see kingdom justice being practiced, and it is where I have learned deep compassion for all people. “Feminism has shown me how to follow Jesus better. Feminism has shown me how to love my neighbor, how to show grace and compassion and empathy, how to defend those who cannot defend themselves.”
Bob’s Burgers: This dark horse has turned out to be my summer/life show. I’m trying to convince my roommates to be the Belchers for Halloween. I would be Tina, OBVI.
Fargo: Are we tired of serial killers yet? I sure am — even when Billy Bob Thornton is tackling the role, and well. But this television adaptation of the classic dark comedy managed to keep me interested with Lester Nygaard, accidental-ish serial killer. Lester is an average dude without any obvious prognosis; he’s not the affectless, scheming sociopath we’ve come to expect in murder serials — he’s a foil to that trope, and it’s intriguing. Also, Molly? One of the best female characters I’ve seen on TV in ages. It’s like she’s a person or something, despite being a lady!
Much Ado About Nothing: It’s good this turned out to be enjoyable, because I accidentally had it out from RedBox for approximately six days. Most expensive rental ever.
Her: This hipster disembodied robot-human romance is slightly creepy but deeply moving. It succeeds on the same level as Wall-E, nestling Big Questions About the Future of Humanity inside a darling love story.
Dichotomized, Emily Joy: This beautiful spoken word piece from the maiden issue of Swan Children Magazine is still resonating with me months after I first heard it.
STUFF & NONSENSE
Duckling chip wars: Sometimes you are lakeside fishing and feeding waterfowl Lay’s barbecue potato chips, and sometimes a group of baby waterfowl want all the potato chips at the same time as a group of teenage waterfowl want all the potato chips, and suddenly all the teensy ducklings and medium duck-youths are swarming you and squawking and fighting, and there are just not enough potato chips to go around, and this is a lesson in both economics and adorableness and why you shouldn’t feed the ducks, ever, because you will probably get bitten and catch water-rabies.
Out of Print softcover notebooks — I bought a handful of these beauts for Christmas gifts, but of course I kept a Moby Dick one for myself. Turns out the 5×7” one is the best notebook I’ve ever had. The line width and page size are perfect, it lies open flat nicely, the whiteness of the page is divine, the lines are literally made of teeny tiny words, and it has the White Whale on the front — if that doesn’t inspire good writing, WHAT COULD? I have become a megalomaniac about these notebooks and want to harpoon twenty-seven of each, but sadly it looks like they are selling down their stock. THANKS A LOT, UNIVERSE.
Pretending to be an artist: I’ve been painting some lately. But by “painting some lately,” I really mean: I’ve slapped a base color on a few canvases then realized I don’t know what to paint, so they are just sitting there on my easel, projecting a false sense of creativity and vision. But hey, van Gogh took, like, 178 years to complete the Mona Lisa, right? These could be masterpieces yet. I will keep you updated!
Adobe Suite: I’ve been doing design work for some Portland-area newspapers, and I get to use InDesign! This is exhilarating news, as I’ve been stuck with an old version of Quark for the past few years. I love Adobe so much, I just might marry it. #layoutnerd
Confused Cats Against Feminism tumblr: Feline parody is my favorite internet genre.