I need a new winter coat, and of course, winter is no longer coming, it’s here. I had been content to run around in puffers for the winter, but this time I am looking for a more formal and polished coat, as well as the usual jackets and long quilted coats for the days when we’re on arctic blast. I’ve been wearing this hooded puffer (in red) while I look. It’s super warm with a roomy hood that keeps my head and face covered on cold, windy days. My boiled wool wrap coat also suffices on a cold day when I need something a bit more dressy. I pair it with a fleece to add an extra layer. With a hat, gloves, and scarf, it gets the job done on even the really cold days. One jacket I’m thinking of is this quilted Barbour for casual wear. This one is also distantly in the running. As for a dressier look, I am looking at something on the lines of this, this, and this.
Like Rapunzel, I’ve been craving those dark leafy greens. Mixing spinach and kale with whatever fruit I have on hand, plus slivered almonds and blue cheese. And while I usually make my own stovetop popcorn, this has been my quick and easy guilty pleasure of late.
Though I’m deep into any iteration of a 2000s playlist, I’ve also fallen hard for podcasts. Most have concentrated on history, current events, and true crime. Some of these podcasts of been excellent background for books that I’ve been reading. I’ve been considering writing a post outlining which podcasts provide history and context for which books. I’m definitely late to the game on some of these. A few are quite old but wonderfully done, and stand the test of time. The Hare Krishna Murders and The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment seasons from Wondery’s American Scandal, The City (Season 1 on the mountainous pile of rubble in a black Chicago neighborhood), and Cold (the tragic marriage of a young Mormon couple) have been recent must-listens.
Reading books (and consuming other media) that approach similar topics from different perspectives deepened my reading over the course of the year. I love the way books can circle each other with respect to place, time, and detailing of historical events. It makes for a more nuanced understanding of the books I’m reading and provides a building block for forays into future topics. Recent layerings and daisy chains are: Regina Porter’s The Travelers, which dovetailed nicely with Bridgett M. Davis’s The World According to Fannie Davis: My Mother’s Life In The Detroit Numbers, and rounded out by Jacqueline Woodson’s Red At The Bone and Emily Bernard’s Black Is The Body: Stories From My Grandmther’s Time, My Mother’s Time and Mine. I was able to construct a bigger picture of the great migration and black life in America more than I had previously.
I’m in a similar deep dive as I consider the implications of the Jeffrey Epstein debacle, how blatant and flagrant the abuses of power. How little respect and acknowledgment of consequences, because there would be none or that they could be easily circumnavigated. New revelations have reinforced the detrimental effects of worshipping the wealthy and the disposable nature of women in a culture that does. The most deeply abused and affected are usually impoverished, lack a strong support system, and may have already been exploited by either their own families or society at large. Even women from privileged backgrounds are not spared from sexual predation and violence at the hands of their families – fathers, neighbors, teachers (especially when/if they are emotionally vulnerable).
Weinman’s flawed but intriguing The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel That Scandalized The World details how deeply Lolita was misunderstood, and how a young girl’s narrative was misappropriated and turned on its head. The forthcoming My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell sees a woman reliving her sexual relationship as a 15-year-old with her high school English teacher, 30 years her senior. She deems the sexual relationship confusing (though consensual), and insists that she was a fully capable and willing participant. Another of his students comes forward alleging abuse allegations and wants her to speak out, but doing so would force her to revaluate the nature of their relationship and her power within it, and she is reluctant to traverse that path.
While sexual predation doesn’t factor in Casey Cep’s Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud and the Last Trial of Harper Lee, violence and murder do. Reverend Willie Maxwell for murdering several of his family members for the insurance money gives continued proof, and from a different time of the little value that culture places on women’s lives. He killed two of his wives, and a stepdaughter (he also killed his brother and nephew) before being murdered by another relative intent on stopping him. Change has to happen at the micro-level, along with macro support from our laws and cultural narratives before we can make more significant progress.
Most times I opt for reading when I have an extra hour or two but one thing I haven’t given up on is Grey’s Anatomy and How To Get Away With Murder. After so many years, Grey’s is more of a habit than anything else. I enjoy Amelia with Linc, still love Teddy but have never cared for Owen. I find myself longing for her to be with the asshole doctor, whose name escapes me (though in a recent episode he has seemed too forceful in his approach to knowing what is best for her). I tend to like the uncomplicated relationships where men don’t put you through drama. Owen has always been messy and I have long since left behind the theory that passionate love is always the right kind of love and that you’re not living if you aren’t with a partner that makes you feel riled up. Some seasons of Grey’s have been ho-hum, but I like the challenges of the new hospital, the super sweet and supportive storyline about mental health between the Karevs, Bailey’s geriatric pregnancy and eventual miscarriage. Good work is still being done on the show.
How To Get Away With Murder surprises me in its hold on my attention. At one point I thought it was too familiar, how many times can we see the same things over and over? A murder is committed and the core crew seems to come away from it mostly unscathed. I think the character dynamics are fascinating. The show handily demonstrates how abuse of any kind causes susceptibility to being abused or to abuse in other relationships. It drives you to act in certain ways. At this point, and after so many twists and turns in the plot, the relationships are so convoluted; but to see Annalise grapple with whether she should save others or to simply finally save herself, and to see her students tackle the same questions is never not fascinating.
+I’m always irrationally happy when my book club decides to read something that I already had my eye on.
+Since I won’t be finishing up my Popsugar reading challenge, a new booklist.
+Everything I’ve read in 2019 (so far).
+2019 Gift Guide – Part I over at The Readerly Report.