Friday, September 17, 2021

Links I'm Loving

Glass phoenix at Missouri Botanical Garden
Glass phoenix at Missouri Botanical Garden
Many cool books, shows, podcasts, albums and articles have roped me in lately. Here are a few recommendations of things I think you'll enjoy:

Friday, September 10, 2021

The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish

The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish
The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This novel is complex and breathtaking. It's simply a masterpiece.

It spans two eras, the story interwoven between modern scholars in London researching a peer of sorts who centuries earlier conducted her own forbidden scholarship. The story and the words Rachel Kadish so carefully chose to tell it is beautiful and engrossing.

I can't imagine the amount of work it would take to craft this novel, never mind the writing skills! It required a deep dive into the world of London in the 1660s, as well as the lives of Portuguese Jews who fled The Inquisition to Amsterdam, some of them eventually landing in London. Then a very deep dive into scholarship surrounding both history and philosophy. 

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

What to Watch September 2021

What to Watch September 2021

New fall shows are dropping like leaves, and I'm here to rake 'em up, y'all! The list of shows arriving in September is longer than that giant penis cake Kevin made on Below Deck! (Side note: yes, I discovered Below Deck this summer and am bingeing so hard I actually dream about the show.)

Some highlights on the way include new seasons of Sex Education, What We Do in the Shadows, The Morning Show, and The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City. New fare like Scenes from a Marriage, LuLaRich, Foundation and Ultra City Smiths (finally landing on regular AMC after a run on AMC+) are just a taste of what we can look forward to as summer slowly drifts into fall in September. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

The New Kings of Nonfiction


My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This collection of nonfiction journalism has a little something for everybody. I call it journalism because the collection's curator, This American Life podcast host Ira Glass, gives it that name. And it is, but that barely contains all that it is. It is reporting, but it's also essays, sort of. Or maybe you'd call it true short stories? Well, it's all of that, and more. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Matt Haig is a writer who has dealt with depression and finding ways to work through and past it, and the reader gets a sense of that internal struggle in his books. The Midnight Library is basically a tale of reasons why you should keep going, step back from the abyss, move away from the bottle of pills and its promise of eternal night.

It's a simple, lovely tale of exploring roads not taken, what really makes a successful life, why you shouldn't give up on living. At times, it feels a bit too basic and simple. But it works.

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Friday, August 6, 2021

Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner

Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Jennifer Weiner's writing is warm and welcoming. It pulls you in with an easy embrace and urges you to stay awhile. In the few books I've read by her, I've liked her writing style and her characters. I've liked her, too, from how personable I find her in interviews, to the person I imagine her to be when reading her fiction, to how she seems based on her memoir, Hungry Heart: Adventures in Life, Love, and Writing.

However, in every instance, something falls short for me in her books. It's not her ability to put words down in a way that invites me to continue, because she has that — in the early segment of her stories, at least. It's the way that, always, before the story concludes, aspects of the plot start to feel off balance, not quite making sense or simply not engaging. The tales in the end are ultimately unsatisfying for me.