I can't tell you how many posts I've started and then deleted since that last one. I definitely do not want this to become an all-politics blog, as I'm already spending far too much time, energy, brain real estate, and sanity following "the news," as I will euphemistically call it. I'm making as many calls as I can (although I'm very lucky in that I don't need to call Elizabeth Warren, Ed Markey, or Joe Kennedy every single day the way some of my friends in red or purplish states need to call their members of Congress), protesting to show my opposition, signing petitions, spreading truth (as opposed to "alternative facts"), giving money to the ACLU, and supporting all Americans in every way I can. I'm on Twitter all day long—it really is where all the news breaks and even actually happens—but I've pretty much gotten off Facebook. I just can't do it all anymore. At first I joined every single online resistance action group, but I've narrowed that down to just a couple that do the job as succinctly as possible. I lie in bed every night unable to fall asleep because of fear and worry and anger. When I finally do drop off, I wake up just as upset—I don't even get that 10 seconds of fog I used to get when I'd wake up and not immediately remember why I was so distraught the night before.
So, you can file this under "rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic," which is how I feel about almost everything I do these days, but here goes....
Way back in November, I saw "Arrival" when it first opened. I loved it, and I still can't stop thinking about it. If you think it's not for you because you're not into sci-fi, let me assure you that although there are alien life forms, the movie is mostly about language and memory and love and loss and making connections and it is just so wonderful I can't say enough about it. Amy Adams was perfect.
I've finally started watching some of the "Chef's Table" series on Netflix, after much raving from Andy and Julie. Each hour-long episode is an in-depth profile of a world-famous chef. They're really well done, and I'm looking forward to catching up to the current season.
Let's see if I can remember what books I've read.... A long while back I read My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout. As you'll recall, I absolutely adored her other books, so I was really eager for this one. Unfortunately, I didn't love it. I found too much of the plot not really believable—for one thing, no matter how much your husband doesn't like hospitals, there's no way he will visit you only a few times in nine weeks! For another, the main character had a really terribly childhood, living in dire poverty. But too many other things started to be revealed that her parents did to her, and eventually I just found it impossible to believe that the narrator could be speaking about having anything like a normal adulthood after all that trauma. But the worst part was that the writing just didn't send me the way it did in, say, Olive Kitteridge. Strout kept using this one device where she'd say one thing and then turn around and say, "What I mean is..." It didn't feel genuine at all. I really regret that I didn't like this.
I also read Ann Patchett's latest, Commonwealth, for book group. We keep having to reschedule our meeting, so we haven't discussed it yet, and practically all I can remember about it is that I loved it! I adore Patchett's writing all the time, no matter what she's writing about. There were two families, two divorces, and one second marriage—hence, a bunch of step-siblings who are thrown together. The main drama turns out to revolve around who actually "owns" a family's story—and I found that part fascinating. (And I'm glad I didn't read the summary on the book jacket because I think it gives away too much—so take heed!) Definitely recommended.
Next up was The Diver's Clothes Lie Empty by Vendela Vida, and this one got two thumbs up, too. This is not a spoiler because it happens in the first few pages: A young woman arrives in Morocco and almost immediately her backpack is stolen—along with her passport, credit cards, cash, camera, cell phone, and laptop. She has nothing but a suitcase full of clothes. She gets several opportunities to reinvent herself, which seems to be something she wants to do—though we don't find out for a very long time why she's even in Morocco. It is really unlike any book I can recall—I couldn't put it down. My only complaint was that it was written in the second-person singular present tense: "When you find your seat you glance at the businessman sitting next to you and decide he's almost handsome." At first I thought I wouldn't be able to stand it, but I pushed on and soon enough was able to (mostly) ignore it. Really clever.
And of course I'm working working working—currently editing a huge cocktail compendium!
Thanks for sticking around.