You Are What You Read
Greetings and welcome to the Dead Resolution Edition of You Are What You Read. This week there were no Offerings and the Animal Kingdom is mercifully quiet. We hope that you are all dug out and that extra bread and milk purchased was put to good use.
Since it’s the last week of the first month of the New Year, I have been doing a lot of thinking on my new year’s resolution. I resolved that I would fret less about body image and focus more on being healthy and strong. But with the newly fallen snow accompanied by ice, cold and an early sunset, I have found it hard to maintain even the most basic of fitness routines. Here come what I have come to think of as The Winter Ten. The Winter Ten are those ten unwelcome pounds that start to keep you company in January and February. I have come to think of them as that family member that you are never really entirely happy to host and yet they inevitably appear at the door for their annual visit that is a week too long. They usually find their way through the back door in the guise of The Hellidaze Three. Sure! One more cookie! Sure! Sign me up for that nightcap before we all call it a night. By the time New Year’s Eve rolls around, most of us are determined that we are going to kick what has become The Hellidaze Three to the curb with diligent exercise and healthy eating. By the end of January, the cold has set in, there are usually dangerous ice and snow conditions that prohibit walking safely, the early onset dark is encouraging only to hibernation and the only comfort to be found is copious amounts of pasta. Imagine my delight when this week it was announced that we had a new role model in Curvy Barbie. Granted, early responders (six-year-old girls) do not find the new Barbie curvy. They merely find her, well, fat. But I say Fi to you six-year-old girls! Embrace the curves. You can read about Curvy Barbie and her new friends, Petite and Tall Barbie here. Listen, just 8% of people actually achieve goals set on New Year’s Eve. This Forbes article from 2013 explains all that and offers tips on how to be in that lofty company. Be kind to yourselves People! The winter is long and harsh enough without beating yourself up. Now pass the pasta.
This week we have hypnosis, gratitude, falconry, and porn. Lots and lots of porn.
You know The Playlist is here. Because it’s Friday at 5. And that should always have a playlist.
Let us begin!
Barbara M is listening this week. “I am listening to Colum McCann’s latest book, a collection of short stories and a novella. I am nearing the end of the novella, Thirteen Ways of Looking which is also the title of the book. Peter Mendelssohn, a retired judge, living on the upper east side of Manhattan reflects upon his childhood, his late wife, his children and rails against the humiliations he suffers because of his old age and deteriorating body. The story is good but would not be the gem it is without the author’s magical and lyrical use of language. Listening to it is wonderful as it is read by the author. Colum McCann’s Irish accent is hypnotizing.”
Pat T has just finished Gratitude by the late oh so great Oliver Sacks . “I read Gratitude and all I can say it is a very short book with a very powerful message! This book is a collection of four essays in which the author so eloquently reflects on his life and coming to terms with his own death which he realizes is ‘no longer an abstract, but an all too close presence’. In the essay, My Own Life, Sachs expresses his overpowering appreciation for a life well lived. Gratitude, the book,as well as a resolution, is a very positive way to begin this New Year! I look forward to reading his previous book, On the Move.”
Steph! Whatcha doing? “I’ve already broken most of my New Years’ resolutions, but I did keep one, I finally read H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald. And it was every bit as good as I had hoped when I pledged to read it! Macdonald, a writer and researcher, was devastated by her father’s sudden death, and impulsively decided she wanted to train a goshawk. Though she had trained falcons for years, she had never dared before to train one of these vicious and temperamental birds. This book tells not only her story of training her hawk Mabel, but also reflects on the experience of famous author T. H. White with a goshawk of his own. Words can’t describe what a beautiful book this is. Macdonald writes about nature in a unique and affecting way, and peers deeply into what it means to be human. Her sentences really have lives of their own. As with Joyce Carol Oates in A Widow’s Story, I am grateful for her ability to transform a deep and personal grief into art that speaks to all readers.”
I finished My Father the Pornographer a while ago. You all will get a chance to read it when it comes out next week. When Chris Offutt's father died there was no inheritance of his father's watch or any other sentimental keepsake. Instead the legacy left to Chris was the 400 novels of pornography that his father wrote during his lifetime. Chris embarks on a journey to understand his father and the choices he made. The writing is clean and spare and while the subject matter is salacious it is handled with a deft sensitivity.
DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from That State Up North with the final thoughts and The Playlist. What’s good Pats? “In between the political rhetoric of the week, I learned that Mattel would be producing 3 new Barbie shapes. FINALLY, the toy industry understood that women come in all different shapes, sizes and colors. Kids will now be able to play with dolls that look like their mothers who are tall, or their aunts who are curvy, or their sisters who are petite. Sorry, Ken. It’s not your time yet. This week the playlist is all Barbie.”
DL BARBIE GURLz 2016
You Are What You Read!
Greetings and welcome to the Full Wolf Moon Edition of You Are What You Read. This week’s housekeeping is as follows: There were no Offerings. Saturday’s Full Moon, the first of the new year, is known as the Wolf Moon and also as Full Snow Moon. I don’t like the sound of that one bit. Sorry. Wolves? Snow? No wonder there is panicked bread buying.
This week we have an intriguing Animals Run Amok. It would appear that if you are on the hunt for nearby Animals Running Amok that Queens is your borough. This past week the Fine Boys in Blue have had to capture a cow that realized just what that line of fellow bovine was all about and faster than you can say, ‘Peace Out Elsie‘ ran from the slaughterhouse at a high rate of speed (at least for a cow). And if that wasn't enough, a goat broke free from his Humans. Apparently this is not the first time this has gone down. In 2011 another cow also made the break for freedom. So should you be airport bound or just generally touring the boroughs of New York be on the lookout People! You just never know. You can read about all of them here. Enjoy.
If you are around this evening won’t you join us in the Art Gallery between 6 and 8 this evening for The Traveling Companion’s Art Reception? There will be cheese, wine, some really nice art, and a chance to meet Bill. If you all behave, there may even be some golf stories. You just never know with that man! He’s full of surprises.
This week we have a horse, a prize, alien invasion, some heart and soul, and broken trust.
Playlist? Are the planets in alignment? Then yes, yes we do!
Let us begin!
Laura enjoyed her latest read up to a point. “The Mare by Mary Gaitskill is a story of many people. Each chapter alternates from the perspectives of the characters. These inner dialogs develop the story, showcasing desires, fears, anger, misgivings that, with all good intentions, ride dangerously close to the edge of not only emotional cliffs but also a cliff of class. The story follows eleven-year old Velveteen Vargas, a Fresh Air child, who has to divide her time between the tough streets of Brooklyn, where her abusive mother, Silvia and younger brother, Dante, live, with the rural country home of childless artist and recovering alcoholic Ginger and Paul, her husband who is a philandering professor. They live across the street from a horse farm where Velvet finds a mare, Fugly Girl. She has scars across her nose and an ear ‘out of sorts’ and is set apart from the rest of the horses. The two embark on a journey of self-actualization, much to the consternation of the mother, the Fresh Air family, the trainers, and fellow privileged riders. My book group met last night to discuss the story and gave Gaitskill high scores in her ability to represent the strivings and expectations of economic class. Some liked the short chapters and the bouncing from one character’s thoughts to another, though, including me, I did find this tedious. But still a good read of sensitivity and insight.”
Kaitlin from the Rock is BACK. Here is what she has been doing. “Hiyo! I'm a little late to the party on this one, but I'm currently reading All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr. I was somewhat wary of this one at first, I was afraid I wouldn't love it after all the hype it received after winning the Pulitzer Prize. I'm about halfway through now, and I don't want it to end! It's really two stories about a boy and a girl in WWII, very beautifully woven into one. Each short chapter alternates between the points of view of Marie-Laure, a young blind girl who has had to flee Paris with her father once the Nazis invade, and Werner, a young German boy who was plucked from a foster home and placed into the Hitler Youth. I'm not quite sure where the story will go (I'm assuming they will collide!), but I can definitely see how it was deserving of some very high honors. I'm currently listening to the YA audiobook The 5th Wave, by Rick Yancey. I absolutely love it. It's a nice break from the comedic audio books that I've been listening too, and it's just a really exciting book to hear being read out loud (it's very War of the Worlds!). The gist is that Earth is under invasion from aliens, and their calculated attacks have come in "waves"--the power was knocked out, a huge earthquake/tsunami struck, a plague has taken over, etc. Are the aliens walking among us, disguised as humans? We don't know! I really can't tell at this point which way the story will go, and I have no idea who to trust. I'm not sure if I'll see the movie, but I'll definitely keep listening!"
Sweet Ann has just finished Jacques Pepin's Heart and Soul in the Kitchen. “I like to peruse cookbooks and this is one that I so loved, I bought it after I made a few of the recipes. I at first thought Mr. Pepin's recipes would be a bit difficult to follow but I was wrong. This is a beautiful book with pictures accompanying most of the recipes and interesting stories from Jacques. I have made the Black Bread and Butter Lattice. Don't worry that you have to bake the bread, you use a small cocktail pumpernickel bread that you slice and present a certain way after you have spread butter and horseradish on it. It is delicious served with smoked salmon. I have also made his Potatoes Rachel Ray, which he says his recipe was similar to hers, but hers were easier to make, so he has it in his cookbook...they were yummy. I am not a pepper fan but his Carrots and Chives ask for pepper and I made them that way and once again his recipe was quite good. I know there are still quite a few recipes I am looking forward to trying in the near future. I highly recommend this cookbook to look through or to try some of the delicious recipes."
The Always Delightful Pat S has just finished The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney. “This is a debut novel about siblings, money, dashed dreams, and unrealistic expectations, you know, family. Four siblings who have long awaited the payday from a family trust are shocked to discover that the oldest, Leo, has decimated it due to his unwholesome antics. Each of the four had spent years planning how they would spend this sum. Such was their reliance on this money that each was now in varying stages of financial distress. Leo has promised to ‘make good’ to all but will he? I am only halfway through the book but I can’t wait to find out. Told with a perfect balance of humor and poignancy, reading this book feels like spending time with old friends, -or family.”
Of course DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from Meat Chicken with the final thoughts of the week. What’s good Pats? "This week planets aligned. Friday evening, Winter Storm Jonas will hit the East Coast. Sunday evening we can once again watch the X Files and then out of the blue, my friend who swore she'd be #ForeverAlone, got engaged. Did I mention that the planets aligned and that they can be best viewed about an hour before dawn now through February 20th?
I think three out of four of these things deserve a viewing party! So if you see Jen at the Welcome Desk or on Ref, stop by gaze upon her finger and wish her and her Traveling Companion all the best. Congrats from our crew out here in the D, Jen! This weekend I hope you all survive Jonas winter blast with a load of good books, good food and family. A couple of snow days deserves a playlist. Happy weekend. Stay safe and warm.
DL PLANETS ALIGN 2015