Hello friends. How are you doing? Here’s what I’ve been…
I’ve finally weaned myself off the comforting detective novels that were pretty much all I read over the past pandemic year. It was time!
- Daisy Jones & The Six – by Taylor Jenkins Reid
A novel inspired by the massive success and tumultuous relationships of Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac. I was obsessed with Stevie Nicks in the 80s and recently watched a couple of documentaries on her, so this was fun. There’s no narrator as such – the story unfolds in the style of an oral history, with characters providing recollections – so it’s quite unusual. You don’t need to know anything about the band to enjoy the novel.
- Sorrow and Bliss – by Meg Mason
Currently reading. You may have heard about this one – there’s been a bit in the press and it’s being made into a film. It spans decades and is told by a woman with mental health symptoms. But it’s not harrowing or depressing – in fact the narrator, while not especially likable, is smart and funny and I am enjoying her journey.
Do we still call them TV Shows when we mostly don’t watch TV anymore? A little pop-cultural koan to ponder in your next meditation session.
- Halt and Catch Fire
About a group of people trying to create innovations in the tech world (inspired by various true cases). You don’t need to know anything about computers to appreciate this story of people who have passion and vision and experience their share of life’s problems. I especially like the way it wraps up the final season.
Supposedly based on the Murdochs (the creator researched them extensively but says it’s not ‘about’ them). I gave up after three episodes – don’t like any of the characters and can’t find anything edifying in the story. Not even much in the way of fab clothes or sets, considering how much money these characters have. But it has great reviews, so perhaps I am missing something.
A fictionalised telling of (American poet) Emily Dickinson’s life. Although the costumes and sets are true to the period, the language and soundtrack are utterly modern, making it funny and charmingly original. I’m quite into poetry at the moment, and two episodes in, I’m loving this.
- Black Box
An acclaimed neuroscientist solves bizarre diagnoses while secretly battling her own bipolar issues. It’s kind of House meets The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat. So far, so good.
- Postcards from the Edge
It was one of my favourite novels by Carrie Fisher, whom I adored as a novelist, so I’ve added it to my list to re-watch.
- Bright Lights
A documentary on the relationship between Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. It concludes shortly before their deaths – Debbie died one day after Carrie, underlining the enmeshment you can see in the film. Because of my love for Carrie I had to watch this, but I found it sad.
Well, in my case it’s usually over-thinking.
- The difference between anxiety and fear. I like this, from Hilary Jacobs Hendel: Fear mobilizes energy for movement and anxiety pushes it back down. I’m becoming more mindful of the way resistance warps healthy feelings into anxiety – and getting better at feeling my feelings instead.
- Language and the way it evolves. Example… People have been saying laying when they mean lying for years (see also: Why Is Bob Dylan Serenading A Hen Called Lady?) But now I’m seeing this error in professionally edited books. (In Daisy Jones, mentioned above, it’s often misused, for example on pages 203, 207, and 265 of the mass market paperback). How long until the dictionary definition catches up to common usage, the way ‘literally’ has come to mean ‘figurately’ – and leaving us with no singular word to convey the meaning of literally? Ah language!
What about you? Please tell me!