Happy New Year! This is my first appearance on the blog since 2019 when I posted about some of the fun festivities I participated in at the end of last year. This has been a quiet year so far, and I have been much more reflective and slow moving considering the events of the last year, and the last decade even. As I’ve been thinking over the events and achievements of the last decade it’s triggered more mindfulness and a planning mentality for what I want the next decade to look like. The 2010s were a good time but looking back I see the drift that happened and how easy it was to float along. The end result has been largely satisfying but I want the feeling of directedness, of being at the rudder. Lots to consider there.
Last Month In Highlights, #January 2020
Though there was lots of introspection this year I did spend time interacting with Gayle on the podcast and friends over a limited number of outings (most of which took place in the last few weeks).
- The Readerly Report: January saw a total of 3 new episodes. My cohost and I chatted with best-selling author Katherine Center and shared our book superlatives for 2019, we shared a summary of our reading years, and we highlighted some of the books we are most looking forward to in the coming year in our Winter Book Preview.
- I had dinner with LT at Perry Street, the swank Jean Georges restaurant overlooking the West Side Highway and the Hudson River. The cocktails and the wine were excellent but I remember the food being much better on earlier visits. We had the salmon and the duck (which was a little tough), and a delicious salad. They asked me how the salmon should be cooked, which threw me for a minute. I had never been asked that at a restaurant before.
- One of my book clubs got so bad at reading that we turned it into a themed dinner club. We pick a theme and everyone reads or watches something appropriate to the theme and we all go around and share what we find. This has led to some fun and/or spirited discussions. We went to Fig + Olive Fifth Avenue which was so, so good. I highly recommend. Drinks, wine and food were excellent. Couldn’t tell you about the dessert since we were all way too stuffed to have any. The theme was rebirth and renewal. Next month will be tainted love!
- A word of advice. Don’t go to the museum on a rainy day! Everyone, city residents and tourists alike, will decide it’s a great indoor activity. I had already made plans to go with some girlfriends (we had brunch at Haven Rooftop in the Sanctuary Hotel beforehand (highly recommend) and then we wandered over. The next time I go, I would probably go to the museum first and then eat later so as to beat some of the crowds. We did the 5th and 6th floors before I called it. I have to leave some for another time. I loved the architectural cutouts with views of the city. This article in The New Yorker details the inspiration behind the remodel and new design aesthetic.
- I met my mom for lunch at The Carnegie Diner & Cafe on 57th Street and Seventh Avenue. We were running errands in roughly the same errand and had an impromptu meeting at the closest place we could find between us. The burger and fries I had here were great.
February Reading List
there are a few books that I definitely know that I’ll be reading this month due to gathering with friends, book clubs and the like. I also have my personal reading goals to consider. I’ve enjoyed three of Daphne Du Maurier’s novels (Rebecca, My Cousin Rachel, and House on The Strand) and I want to read more along with my goal to reread a book I’ve enjoyed every couple of months. I didn’t do a reread last month so I’m going to choose something. I’m leaning toward the book I’ve mentioned rereading ever other podcast. Or maybe this.
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadette Evaristo
In 2014 Bernadine Evaristo’s Mr. Loverman made the rounds on the blogs and though it piqued my curiosity I passed on reading it. An older black gentleman graced the cover, there was mention of humor in the description- it just didn’t sound like anything I wanted to read. Last year Evaristo’s latest won the Booker Prize (to my mind she criminally split the honors with Margaret Atwood, for which she felt honored and was so gracious in her acceptance of the shared prize). Girl, Woman, Other is about the different lives being led by a variety of black women in London. From what I have read so far Evaristo has a clever, poetic style. Fragments of conversation and thinly sketched circumstances reveal the interiors of richly lived lives refusing other’s marginalization.
You by Caroline Kepnes
I first heard about the audiobook of You. It’s supposed to be brilliantly narrated and beguiling in the way it forces you root for the deranged and stalkerish Joe. I watched the show with my mom in installments in its original incarnation on Lifetime. We are halfway through season 2 at its new Netflix home. I was shocked by how dark it was, and fascinated as Penn Badgley (the actor who portrays Joe) has had to admonish fans on social media that they are falling for a bad, bad man. My bookish club has a “tainted love”/love-gone-wrong them this month and this is the book/series we picked to discuss. I debated listening to the audio, but since I am already familiar with the series decided to read the book instead. I wouldn’t say the book is better, but it is even creepier and a much richer understanding of Joe’s inner motivations and workings.
Lot by Bryan Washington
I have been reading more essay collections this year and maybe expanding in that way has allowed me to consider indulging more short stories. The first story in Lot, which is centered on Houston, sketches the brief love story between ethnic rivals/neighbors who hide their relationship under the noses of family and friends until its abrupt ending. The next story features the dangerous relationship of star-crossed lovers through the choral voices of their neighbors.
+ It is crazy how much I wear this inexpensive dress I got on Amazon and how many compliments I get on it. If I never wear it again I have gotten my money’s worth ten times over. It comes with a belt but I have substituted wide brown and brown belts depending on the shoes I’m wearing. It looks good with or without a blazer. So versatile and so worth it.
+ I do more baking in February than I do in any other month of the year. These cookies are on my list.
+ I watched four episodes of Sanditon and it hasn’t been much watch for me. I love the clothes, but not sure if I will finish. I’m not rooting for any of the couples. Except the heiress and her forbidden beau.