Category: Reading

Memoirs Over Men-moirs

Memoirs Over Men-moirs

My favorite stories are the ones people tell about themselves– their struggles, their joy, that one brief time they were in a sorority or met the president or found out their show was cancelled (Hi, Mindy Kaling), what makes them unique, their past, present, future: Memoirs. The past few years I’ve gotten really into listening to memoirs on Audible. Hearing someone tell me their story as I walk or drive around town feels like having them there with me. It’s a great way to remember people who have died, learn more about the people behind things you enjoy, or to explore lives unlike your own.

I definitely have opinions about what makes a good memoir. The key ingredient is vulnerability. Memoirs lacking reflection or emotional risk are, frankly, a little boring. But authors that don’t apologize for their choices, admit failures, poke fun at themselves, explore feelings– their stories can leave you changed.

Check out some of the memoirs I have really enjoyed:

Most recently, I finished Gene Wilder’s memoir, Kiss Me Like a Stranger. I was drawn to it because I always found his performances interesting, but didn’t know much about him. (And honestly, I really like his voice.) Listening to it, I was reminded of Bryan Cranston’s A Life in Parts & Jeffrey Tambor’s Are You Anybody? The way all of these men talk about women is very similar. (Spoiler alert: It’s not great.)

Jess from New Girls says,

They all comment on women’s bodies throughout, often introducing women in terms of their physical looks. Women are described as either extraordinary people to be revered (like their wives), or deeply flawed, broken individuals they tried to save or help in some way. And they all mention the pain of women in their lives (emotional or physical) in such a casual way, it really stood out to me.

The women in these men-moirs (if you will) are objectified in the literal sense. They are just parts of a man’s story and have no agency of their own. Their truth is secondary to how they fit into the lives of men. It’s striking, and sadly indicative of the deep roots of misogyny in our culture.

But! As Oprah said this year, a new day is on the horizon 🙂 ☀. There are so many other wonderful stories to explore, and many more to look forward to.

A Friday List #3

A Friday List #3

  • I’ve been doing yoga every morning, every day, since the new year started. (Full disclosure: I started my streak on December 31st, and have missed 4 days off, but that’s not bad!) Yoga with Adriene does a 30-day series at the start of each new year for anyone at any level, so that really helped me get going. By sticking with at least 20 minutes of daily yoga, I’ve noticed BIG improvements in my range-of-motion and all around fitness. It’s been harder to stick to this week, since I was busier than usual.
  • “Busy” is a word that can mean a lot of things. Sometimes it means that you aren’t prioritizing properly, or that you are feeling anxious even though there’s not much going on, or that there are suddenly a lot of things on your plate that you didn’t plan for. Somehow I managed to be all three this week.
  • I’m very much a “Yay, it’s Friday!” person today, as evident by a graphic from my Instagram stories today:

Graphic from Instagram reads

  • I’ve been re-reading Mindy Kaling’s first book, as I tend to do at least once a year. She’s honest, funny, unapologetic about what she likes, and just generally very great. (Plus, she predicted Ghostbusters 2017 AND that there would be an all-ladies Ocean’s movie, which she is NOW STARRING IN. I’m very impressed.)

Have a great weekend!

A Friday List #2

A Friday List #2

  • I recently started a podcast with my best friend after months of remarking, “it feels like we’re podcasting.” during our weekly FaceTime chats. It’s fun, nerve-racking, and a big learning experience. I love it. We have six episodes up so far on topics like bullet journaling, The Rock, aging, and TV.
  • Last week I started Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2002), a collection of diary entries by David Sedaris. I haven’t read much about Sedaris, so this has been an interesting introduction to his early life so far. And I’m a sucker for journals.
  • Wonder Woman is now the #1 DCEU movie, #1 summer movie in the U.S., and #2 superhero origin movie of all time. I’m kind of a nerd for box office numbers and this makes me very happy.
  • My one and only sister is arriving today for a visit! We have swimming, movies, snacks, pedicures, and sister-time planned. I’m excited.

Pop Culture Confessions

Pop Culture Confessions

  • When I was little, I thought Stevie Nicks, Carrie Fisher, and Princess Leia were two people. Related Carrie Fisher: This article by Courtney Enlow is a hard read but I’ve never heard family addiction described in a more accurate way.
  • I find Adam Sandler movies from the past decade, frankly, unwatchable, but The Wedding Singer will always be on my “desert island” movie list. I love it and could watch it on a loop forever. Other movies I hold undying nostalgic love for include Adventures in Babysitting, Maid to Order,  & Overboard. 1987 was a big year for me, apparently. (Probably the first year I remember watching movies.)
    Related: Tonight was going to be the greatest night of her life.
  • I’m about 85% through Bryan Cranston’s A Life in Parts (read by Bryan Cranston). I do not love this book. I would have stopped listening already but not having another audiobook picked out yet, and wanting to hear his take on the “Breaking Bad years” have kept me in it. He has a nice reading voice, and I don’t mind the company on my walk into work in the mornings. But most of this memoir reads like bullet points written by a friend of a friend. His internalized greatness as an actor is center stage. Rarely is any other “part” really examined to its root, exposing the why of this human… save for one story where he admits he came close to murdering an ex- girlfriend. (I’m serious.) Again, I’m not a fan. One thing he says a couple times that I do like and will take away from all this listening is, “You can’t fake letting go.” It’s a profound, timely reminder for me in terms of his book. He, of course, means it in terms of acting.
  • I recently binged Riverdale on Netflix and the ages of the main stars make me a tad bit… uncomfortable.
  • Photo Credit: Vulture
A Friday List

A Friday List

Despite feeling more tired than usual this week because ugh, it’s Daylight Saving Time again, I made it through the week alive. Here’s some proof:

  • I FINALLY saw Get Out. Yes, it’s that good. Yes, you should see it in the theater. As someone who has recently come around to horror movies, this was a perfect blend of social commentary and horror movie tropes. It’s entirely modern & classic. If you’ve seen it, I recommend getting some deeper podcast perspective: No, Totally and Black Girl Nerds.
  • Speaking of diverse voices in film: Rebecca Theodore on Diversity & Inclusion in Film Criticism.
  • I’m reading Papergirls & I love it. It’s written by Brian K. Vaughan who also writes my favorite graphic novel, Saga, plus it’s basically the answer to, “What if ANY of the many stories I grew up with as a kid in the ’80s about an unexpected group of children saving the day were about girls?”

Have a good weekend!