April was quite the month. It was so filled with book reading, book clubs, birthdays, birthday dinners, and busy work that I now find myself in danger of failing my 2018 reading resolution. Rather than be defeated, I’ve decided to post twice in one day because there was no rule about the posts needing to be on different days in order to count. More importantly, I am the rule maker, and I say there are no rules other than twice a month every month during the school year, so this very much counts.
I love April. I love April because it’s my birthday month. In case you didn’t know, my birthday is my favorite holiday. Christmas is my second favorite holiday. If you want to explain to me that my birthday isn’t a holiday, save your breath your lies will fall on deaf ears. Presents are great, but just knowing there is one day in the year when you are celebrated simply for existing is pretty exciting. It’s the reason I celebrate all month long. Despite the month long celebration, April wasn’t a month of only ups. It was also a month of a few exhausted eye rolls, which is why I’m extending my birthday celebration into May. Why were there both ups and eye rolls in the greatest month of the year? Well, read on to discover the answer.
The Decidedly Delicious
I signed up for an online grad class through the Extension Program at Harvard. This means a few things:
I now have a Harvard email address, so take that my dearest darling
I discovered my new favorite poem by Frank O’Hara—I loved it quite a bit when I first read his message about the dangers of shielding children from the world, but I loved it twice as much when so many of my classmates took offense. I know. I’m wicked.
I’m totally going to find a way to mention Harvard on my resume. And at rugby practice. And to the three people who said that American Born Chinese lacks literary merit (I’m never getting over the fact that those words were uttered). Should I be worried that those three people could find this very blog? Worrying isn’t one of my strengths.
This class has legitimized the theft of the super soft Harvard shirt that I found totally abandoned albeit neatly folded, and worn the week before I stole it, on the shelf of the closet.
The narration of the Belles audiobook by Rosie Brown is a thing of beauty, which is fitting since Dhonielle Clayton’s debut solo novel takes place in a world where there is no beauty save a few young women blessed—or cursed—with the power to grant it to those with the wealth to buy it.
Emergency Contact by Mary Choi is the quirky book of my dreams. It isn’t a happy go happy tale, quite the opposite, but it has so much heart, incredible asides, and characters that are flawed, frustrating, smart, endearing, and hopelessly adrift, until. . . Read it!
I love English teachers. They are the protectors of the progressive! They never close windows. They never shut doors. They know their view of the world isn’t the only view of the world. Let us for now, for a few hundred words more, pretend this is true.
I saw Avengers: Infinity War twice. It was cool to sit in a crowded theater with an audience frozen and silenced by what it had just witnessed. Who said superhero movies couldn’t pack and emotional punch? Probably the same people who said a National Book Award finalist and Printz Award winner didn’t have literary merit.
Leah on the Offbeat. Is it wrong that part of my desire to read this book is because I get more Simon and Blue? I’m fascinated by the inner Leah too, but Simon and Blue are everything, everything.
Speaking of everything, everything. . . Nick Robinson has taken a role in an adaptation of Richard Wright’s Native Son. The time is ripe for a well done cinematic exploration of Wright’s problematic, heavy handed and in your face novel. Here’s hoping that the studio responsible for Moonlight and Lady Bird have plenty more magic.
My Reading Apocalypse seems to be winding down
The Why. The How. The What. The Who.
I was so excited in January when I signed up for my online grad class through the Extension Program at Harvard. A class connecting poetry, pop culture, and hip hop is like eating Whole Foods Toffee Pretzels for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I regret to inform everyone that I am not enjoying it. It feels more a chore than a joy. I’m slogging my way to the end with so little motivation that I’ve actually started calculating the lowest grade I can receive on the final essay and still receive and “A.” I’m not even ashamed of my behavior. You know a class is killing you when you don’t have anything to say about a poem by Langston Hughes.
Camille, the protagonist of Dhonielle Clayton’s The Belles, is disappointing me. She’s what happens when ambition makes you desperate and a coward. She may be “The Favorite” in the royal court, but she is shaping up to be one of my least favorite characters. Will she redeem herself? It’s going to be a long road, and I do not forgive easily. I especially don’t forgive when those that have done the harm are so self-involved as to wallow in their actions and label it regret. Camille deserves to suffer.
People Like Us is hands down my least favorite book of the year. You know what’s worse than a mystery with terrible characters? It’s a mystery where you have figured out the entire book in the second chapter. The second chapter! By the way, it also has completely unlikeable characters. The author could have killed every character and I wouldn’t have cared. Okay, not every character. The author could have killed every character except that one innocent, doe eyed and clueless wisp of a character. Guess what? She killed that one character. Also, you know what isn’t cool? Giving characters racial and ethnic identities by descriptions of their hair. You know what else isn’t cool? The classic all girls school we’re bored let’s experiment trope that an author tries to pass it off as being woke. You aren’t woke. You’re pandering. Ewwww.
I love English teachers. Some days I feel like we are the gatekeepers of the progressive when it comes to education. Some days I feel like we get it least of all. Our students are the best judges of what they can handle, so please get yourself and your hang ups and your fears and your judgements out of their way. You’re holding them back from possible. You’re closing windows and shutting doors because you can’t handle it.
Avengers 4 doesn’t come out until May 2019. Also, the trailer for Jurassic World 2 looks absurd. More absurd than outrunning a T-Rex in high heels.
Leah on the Offbeat audiobook. Look, I know that the Stranger Things “Justice for Barb” campaign was huge, and I know Shannon Purser is much beloved, but her audio narration of the Leah on the Offbeat sounds like she is bored by the book and possibly by her own existence. When audiobooks go bad they go so so bad.
Richard Wright’s Native Son is the book that almost broke me in high school and college. Not the content, but the discussion with my classmates. This was long before people realized they needed to be woke, and I still have PTSD from the problematic narrative of those discussions. Do you really not get it? Really?! I hope we all get it now.
My Reading Apocalypse along with my OwlCrate Apocalypse are still sucking air.