Reading Watching Listening

Reading…

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. I shared his piece in Stanford Medicine, “Before I go,” several months ago. I suggest you read it now if you haven’t already. When Breath Becomes Air is just as moving as I expected it to be, but I was surprised by the genuine lyricism of his writing. I’m only about halfway through, and I’ve already been brought to tears multiple times. It’s the kind of book that I struggle to put down. It’s the kind of book I know I will read over and over, returning to it for guidance and challenge.

 

Watching…

Hawaii Five-0. The remake. It’s gooooood.

 

Listening…

I’ve been on a major Chuck Berry kick lately. “You Never Can Tell” is a favourite of mine. And, no, the Pulp Fiction connection really has nothing to do with my love for the song.

Reading Watching Listening

Reading…

Changing Guard at Buckingham Palace by A.A. Milne. While I was in London a couple months ago, I picked up a beautiful copy of this book to send my favourite tiny human for his birthday this month. It’s not totally age appropriate, but his parents can read it to him until he can read it himself. That’s how it works, right? (I’m child inept.) I definitely sat down and read through it before sending it off though.

 

Watching…

The live broadcast of the Branagh Theatre Company’s Romeo and Juliet. I have complicated feelings about this particular adaptation. Actually, no, that’s wrong. The adaptation is brilliant. Richard Madden played the least whiny, most emotionally powerful Romeo I’ve ever encountered (and with an injured ankle, no less!). Lily James played a hilarious, rebellious, teenage Juliet to a T. Having Derek Jacobi play a sadder, older Mercutio worked far better than I expected it to. I, however, have complicated feelings about the cinematic choices made in filming it for broadcast. I adore that I can go watch all kinds of live theatre and dance events at my local movie theatre, but sometimes it bothers me that my experience is mediated by filmic choices like zooms and pans and forced focus. This one was broadcast in black and white. Visually it was powerful and made sense. But I really struggled with it being a live performance broadcast in black and white.

 

Listening…

“Weak in the Knees” by Serena Ryder. Honestly, I’ve just been listening to the whole Is It O.K. album because it is ridiculously amazing.

Reading Watching Listening

Reading…

Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari. So far it’s more…scholarly?…than I expected. Super fascinating though. Still in the early stages of this one, so probably too early to form any real opinion.

 

Watching…

The Night Manager. I’m only about an episode and a half in, and it definitely requires actual attention, which is a good sign in a lot of ways, but also means it takes me a lot longer to make progress since I can’t really do other things at the same time. Brilliantly cast. Stunningly shot. Compelling storyline.

 

Listening…

This incredibly impressive cover of “Send My Love” by Kurt Schneider, Sam Tsui, Madilyn Bailey, and Alex G. I mean, I like to think I could do this, but the reality is that at this point in my life I would be lucky if I could manage either the singing or the clapping portion.

Reading Watching Listening

Reading…

Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley. I picked this up on a whim at a Chapters in Edmonton. It is endearing and touching and beautifully written and infinitely sad. I was not prepared for it to be sad. Like at all. I literally cried so hard for about the last half of the book that I had to stop reading it before bed because I couldn’t sleep due to the level of distress.

 

Watching…

UnREAL. In all honesty, I started watching this show because Mindy Kaling posted on something (Instagram? Twitter?) about being obsessed with it. She did not steer me wrong. This show is bonkers good. Shiri Appleby turns in an incredible performance.

 

Listening…

“Got Your Number” by Serena Ryder. NEW SERENA RYDER, y’all! So so so good.

 

Reading, Watching, Listening

Reading…

The Clasp by Sloane Crosley. I’ve already established on this blog that I adore Sloane Crosley’s writing, so it is no surprise that I was thrilled about her debut novel. Sadly, between picking it up and now, life intervened and it sat unopened on my to-read stack of books. I finally pulled it out over my recent trip to Alberta, and I loved every word. She has a particular talent for creating characters who feel real, who are both likeable and loathsome (often at the same time). The dialogue is alternately smart, witty, funny, and touching. And above all, it is believable. She is singularly skilled at capturing the bizarre stage of life

 

Watching…

House, M.D. Not that long ago I stated that I had “little interest in medical shows“. And, honestly, watching this show was probably a bad idea for someone with slight hypochondriacal tendencies. However, this show is one of the best episodic series to grace screens recently, so the slight increase in health-related paranoia was totally worth it.

 

Listening…

“Pot Kettle Black” by Tilly and the Wall. For obvious reasons (aka because it is amazing and good for every situation).

Reading Watching Listening

Reading…

Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not to Have Kids edited by Megan Daum. I previously posted a Read This about Megan Daum’s thoughts on this subject, which you can find here. A weird thing happened while I was reading this book. I found myself agreeing most whole-heartedly with the men who contributed essays. I think it is in part because I have never felt conflicted about the issue, never felt like I should want it, or like I wanted to want it. And I’ve never felt the need to justify this to myself (to others, yes, all the time, but to myself, no). It’s a fantastic collection, though. Props to Megan Daum for assembling a wide-ranging, thoughtful representation of the decision not to have children.

 

Watching…

Star Trek: First Contact. My friend and I discovered that this was on Netflix Canada the other weekend when I was staying with her, and it actually holds up.

 

Listening…

I’ve recently been spending a lot of time driving on highways with the music cranked, and Pentatonix’s cover of “Lean On” has been on major repeat for these trips.

Reading Watching Listening

Reading…

We Are What We Mourn by Pricilla Uppal. It’s easily the most interesting research-related book I’ve read for a while. Her writing is compelling, and her ability to synthesize historical arcs is enviable.

 

Watching…

What I Like About You. This show is so peak-2000s that Jesse McCartney guest starred in an episode I just watched and performed “Beautiful Soul”. Also, were we all engaged in some weird game of chicken trying to determine how short a rise we could have in pants before they just fell down? The show though, is pretty delightful.

 

Listening…

“Cake by the Ocean” by DNCE. This song, and the whole EP, is really excellent cleaning music. Just FYI.

Reading Watching Listening

Reading…

Grief is the Thing With Feathers by Max Porter. I actually read this a few weeks ago on the plane back from London. It’s moving and beautiful and I am still trying to work through everything it offers.

 

Watching…

Downton Abbey, season 6. Finally finished this one and am now going through some major withdrawal. I’m pretty happy with how everything shook out in the end though.

 

Listening…

Hubert Parry’s Songs of Farewell performed by Tenebrae. My fabulous hosts in England introduced me to this album and I’ve been recommending it to all of my friends ever since.

 

Reading Watching Listening

Reading…

Correspondences by Anne Michaels and Bernice Eisenstein. Yes, this is one of my dissertation texts (at least it is right now), but it is also one that I genuinely love.

 

Watching…

Modern Family. I finally got around to watching this show and it has rapidly made its way onto my list of “sitcoms I love.”

 

Listening…
Løvenskiold’s score for La Sylphide. I went to see The National Ballet of Canada’s production of La Sylphide last weekend, and it was stunning. The set, the costumes, the dancing…all gorgeous. I’ve been loving the score this week, and I’m thinking I need to include it on my playlist for my flight next week.

 

 

Reading Watching Listening

Reading…

Sylvia Plath. I’ve been in need of things that comfort me, things that feel familiar. Thus the turn to Plath this week after a turn to Keats last week.

 

Watching…

Broadchurch. I’ve been on a BBC kick lately. This series is compelling and fascinating and incredibly beautifully shot.

 

Listening…

“Summer Dress” by July Talk. I’ve actually been listening to the whole album on endless repeat in my headphones any time I’m commuting, but this is one of my favourites. I’m obsessed with Peter Dreimanis’s voice; it’s so gravelly and raspy and incredibly sexy and it doesn’t match his face at all. And Leah Fay has one of the most unique voices I’ve heard for a while, which I love.