The past few weeks on the blog have been a little rough for me. Between talking about spanking and sexism and racism a bunch of times, I’ve been dealing with the more unpleasant side of the internet, and I thought it could be time to have something a little more lighthearted.
First of all: Spotify has changed my life. I’ve been using Pandora since grad school, but once I discovered the brilliance that is Spotify I couldn’t turn back. There’s whole stations for celtic spa and indie Irish music, which makes me so very happy. I also bought Sara Barielles’ The Blessed Unrest, and while I think I still like Kaleidescope Heart better, I really love songs like “Little Black Dress” and “Brave” makes me cry every single time. Also, P!NK is everything. I bought a few of her albums for a road trip recently and tortured Handsome with pop music for a couple hours. And Queen’s A Night at the Opera is sheer genius, everyone. I’d never listened to the entire album start-to-finish before, and it is gold.
I’ve also been getting back into reading again — really reading. When I was in graduate school, reading fiction became part of my job, and it took me a couple years after I’d finished the program to really want to read for fun again. I’ve been reading a lot of religious and feminist non-fiction for the past couple of years as part of my “job” (blogging), and I hadn’t read any fiction besides Brandon Sanderson and L.E. Modesitt, Jr.
Anyway, I started going to a book club because I wanted to be able to talk about books with readers again, and my first visit was amazing. The format is interesting– everyone reads their own books, brings it to talk about, and then we borrow books from each other. I walked away with Bee Ridgway’s River of No Return, which I really enjoyed. It’s written by a literature professor, and what I loved best was that the characters sounded like they belonged in the time period of Regency England. They used pop culture references, they quoted the well-known poetry, they used biblical allusions … and it was all so natural and easy and I only noticed because I was neck deep in early 19th century literature all the way through graduate school.
I also picked up Elizabeth Moon’s Deed of Paksenarrion trilogy, and I didn’t want it to end. It’s pretty old-school fantasy in a lot of ways, and very character-driven. The books follow “Paks,” and while there is a single plotline that is threaded from the opening pages to the conclusion, it meanders along with Paks’ journey. The two main themes are religious tolerance (which is interesting, since she wrote a pretty gosh-darn Islamaphobic piece in 2010) and redemptive suffering– although that theme only really becomes apparent in Oath of Gold, the last book in the trilogy. I didn’t really like the heavy-handedness with the religious imagery at the end (she becomes a Christ figure), but other than that I really enjoyed the trilogy because it’s a medieval epic fantasy in a realm where it’s commonplace for women to become soldiers and thrones can pass to daughters and the heads of religious orders are women and it’s all just assumed that this is the way things should be. Take that, G. R. R. Martin.
For non-fiction I’m reading Generation Roe, The Bible Tells Me So, and Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution. All, so far, are pretty good.
I found a new YouTube-r that I really like because of her straight-faced sarcastic humor. She’s so on-point and I love these two videos especially:
And not funny, and possibly not interesting to anyone but me, but when I’m feeling really stressed and just done with the world GAH, I watch hairstyling and makeup tutorials. Don’t ask me why they’re so soothing, but they are. I discovered this stylist who makes me feel like I could do updos because he does things with brushes and bobbypins that I’ve never seen before and he makes it look easy. It’s probably not easy, but I’m going to try this one anyway:
[skip to 1:35 to miss the ridiculously long intro]
Anyway, these are the things that have been making me happy of late. What about you guys?