Things I Love Lately

Miss Americana – I adored the Taylor Swift documentary.  Highly, highly recommend.  My favorite line is the one that’s been quoted everywhere: I want to still have a sharp pen and a thin skin and an open heart.

My Boyfriend, his Best Friend, and Me: A Love Story – I read this beautiful essay by Lily King with tears running down my face.  What a gorgeous evocation of what relationships – sometimes those that elude words – can be.  More on Lily King (whose writing I adore) below!

Olive, Again – I am halfway through Elizabeth Strout’s book and loving it.  Much like with Olive Kitteredge, I find the interwoven stories evoke ordinary life – in its grandeur, its terror, its heartbreak, and its monotony – in a spectacularly moving way.  I remember meeting Elizabeth Strout years ago at a conference, and I told her my favorite of her books was Abide With Me (it still is).  “Oh!” she exclaimed.  “That’s my middle child! (this was when she had written three books)  Nobody likes that one best!”

My most anticipated books of 2020 are: Friends and Strangers: A novel by Courtney Sullivan (I have had the good fortune of reading this and it’s WONDERFUL), Writers & Lovers: A Novel by Lily King, Cleo McDougal Regrets Nothing: A Novel by Allison Winn Scotch, and How to Be a Person: 65 Hugely Useful, Super-Important Skills to Learn before You’re Grown Up by Catherine Newman.

I write these Things I Love columns approximately monthly.  You can find them all here.

Things I Love Lately

Favorite books of 2019 – I have thought a lot about this (and I’m asked it a lot).  Think my two favorite books of last year were Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss by Margaret Renkl and The Overstory by Richard Powers. What about you?

Grief is my Side Hustle – This Facebook page gathers the writing of an old friend (by which I mean we have known each other for a long time, though are only recently back in touch) who lost her mother last summer.  She writes gorgeously about the experience of grief and with every post I learn something new.  Highly recommend, whether grief is a part of your day to day life right now or not.

Nothing to See Here – I’m reading Kevin Wilson’s hilarious, genre-bending book right now and it’s every bit as marvelous as everyone says.  So.  Good.

Green-ness – we finally started composting in 2019 and I don’t know why we waited so long.  2020 is going to be my year of reducing plastic.  Once you pay attention, it is everywhere.  I’m horrified.  I’d welcome any suggestions that have worked for you!

What It Means to be a Man – I read Peggy Orenstein’s cover article in the Atlantic with tears in my eyes.  I can’t wait to read her book, Boys & Sex: Young Men on Hookups, Love, Porn, Consent, and Navigating the New Masculinity, from which the article is excerpted. There’s so much about this topic that’s complicated, so much that’s new to me, so much that’s vitally important.

I write these Things I Love posts approximately monthly.  You can find them all here.

Things I Love Lately

Why I Wear Five Wedding Rings – I love Margaret Renkl’s piece (her book was one of my favorites of 2019) in the New York Times.  It reminds me of how my mother wears her mother’s and grandmother’s wedding rings, and of how I wore my mother’s when she was in the hospital several years ago.

Our Favorite Books that will Change the Way You Think about Parenthood – I’ve read almost all of the books in Motherwell’s wonderful, thought-provoking list, and have recommended and given many of them too.  Highly recommend.

Over the holiday I read The Overstory (magnificent) and For Small Creatures Such as We: Rituals for Finding Meaning in Our Unlikely World (wonderful).  Highly recommend both.

Two holiday gifts I love to give that support small business owners:

Nicely Noted – this stationery subscription delivers three letterpress cards a month.  I adore it.

Light & Pine desktop calendar – I love these calendars and keep them on my desk.

I write these Things I Love posts approximately monthly.  You can find them all here.


Things I Love Lately

Big Little Losses – Rebecca Pacheco’s beautiful piece about dropping her daughter off at preschool for the first time literally rang every bell for me.  Those preschool days are long ago, but the feelings I had there are still a part of my daily life.  “I see it all before me, and there’s so much I can’t see, and it’s all too much.”  Yes.  Yes.  Daily.

The Testaments: The Sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale –  I devoured Margaret Atwood’s long-awaited sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale.  The book is gripping and I couldn’t put it down.  Wonderful storytelling and I found it more empowering and hopeful than Handmaid’s, which remains eerie and unnerving in its prescience.

The Beauty of the Ordinary – Pico Iyer’s piece is a beautiful evocation of the ways that fall reminds us that life is beautiful precisely because of how ephemeral it is: “…but as we pass into a deeper season in our lives, we come to see that the season’s special lesson is to cherish everything because it cannot last.”

Unbelievable – I watched this whole series in a weekend and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since.  Powerfully told and alarming at the same time.

What are you reading, thinking about, watching, and loving lately?

I write these Things I Love posts approximately monthly. You can find them all here.

Things I Love Lately

The Great Believers – I was slow to read this book and I’m not sure why, but wow.  Much like The Heart’s Invisible Furies, which I read and adored last year, the novel is about a time and place I knew nothing about (in this case, the AIDS crisis in Chicago in the 1980s).  It’s thoughtful and beautiful and heartbreaking and engrossing all at once.  One of my favorite books of 2019 for sure. Highly recommend.

Forties Stories – I have mentioned this podcast before, and I love it.  It was an honor to be interviewed by Christy a few weeks ago!  If you want to hear a little more about my strange childhood (a tantrum about visiting the Berlin Wall, for example) please check it out.  I love all of Christy’s episodes and think the world needs more curiosity, more stories, and more empathy.  She’s contributing.  Give them a listen.

All-School Reads – I am fascinated by what schools choose as their All School Read.  I think it’s a telling choice in many ways.  Grace’s this summer is Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing, which I’m going to read alongside her.  Whit’s school doesn’t have one this year.  I’d love to hear whether your children’s school or college has a required book and if so, what it is!

The Handmaid’s Tale – I subscribed to Hulu just to watch this series, which I started after re-reading the book in March.  I just started the third season.  Wow.  I know I’m only adding my voice to the (deservedly loud) chorus but I think this is a must-watch.  It’s terrifying and prescient, powerfully acted, and scary precisely because there are ways in which this dystopian world feels believable to me. I don’t watch a lot of TV, but in my opinion this is essential viewing.

I write these Things I Love posts approximately monthly.  You can find them all here.