It’s been a busy, life-changing month for me – but I still found the time to consume respectable amounts of media! The way I see it, reading and watching and listening is part of my job now. And what a wonderful job that is.
What I Read
Hellgoing by Lynn Coady
With all the (well-deserved) hype surrounding the Giller Prize Long List announcement, I decided to give the 2013 winner a try, and I’ve been thoroughly impressed. These stories at 13-36 pages long, making it the perfect “lunch break” read, and they are some of the most gripping short stories I’ve ever come across. Lynn Coady writes about the depths of various obsessions in a way that makes you feel the discomforts and joys of her characters. It’s literary enough that former English Majors will find themselves surprised and analytic, but not so high brow that the brilliance is a challenge. Mostly set in Canada, mostly about creative minded characters, and mostly an exploration of faith and faithlessness. Very highly recommend.
Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham
Sometimes I read books just so I can non-hypocritically “participate in the conversation.” This is one of those times. The book boarders on cliche often – yes we hear the run of the mill story of her first period – and I found myself wanting to skip past at least a couple of the many horrible, terrible, no good, very bad sex stories. Autobiographies, by nature, are self indulgent. And that’s the role of the celebrity sometimes – to share too much information to satisfy their fans. But, for me, including multiple uninteresting pages of a calorie intake journal from several years ago was just over the top.
Now I do have to give her credit: Lena Dunham has said in multiple interviews that the point of this book was to work away at the stigma against mental health issues, and I admire her for being so open about her obsessive compulsive disorder. I admire her discussion of feminism. That being said, I have a huge problem with her using the words “literally schizophrenic” as an attempt to deeply insult someone who has annoyed her. I have an even bigger problem with her glamorization of cat calling, stating that one of the reasons she loves NYC is that everyone gets catcalled. Portraying mental illness as an insult and street harassment as a compliment is not in line with the way she has marketed this book, and it’s not something I can get on board with. I guess this is more of a warning than a recommendation. It is funny at points, and it’s interesting to learn how the show Girls came about. But it’s not the empowering read about girl power and mental illness that you’ve been sold.
What I Listened To
Every once in a while a song comes around like Dangerous by Big Data, and I barely want to listen to anything else for a week. Big Data’s other songs, although not as popular, are very catchy. None have the same driving bass-line, but they’re all mesmerizing in the same futuristic way.
Where I Shopped
I’ve been living away from Waterloo for a year now, and 1 of the places I miss most is the delightful @VincenzosTweet specialty grocery shop
— Karissa Alcox (@karissadawna) August 3, 2014
I made a promise to myself in my final term of library school that with my first pay check I would buy myself some fancy cheese. And when I got jobs in the KW area, I knew I’d be getting that cheese from Vincenzo’s. While completing my undergrad at the University of Waterloo, Vincenzo’s became my go-to place for specialty ingredients. Mainly cheese and dips. Also fresh pasta, an amazing olive selection, fantastic cakes, and unusual spices and grains.
What I Watched
While working away at a weeding project in the non-fiction DVD section of the library I’ve checked out 6 DVDs (yes that affects their circulation statistics, and yes I have saved a couple from certain doom this way). Somm was a surprisingly intense and emotional documentary about the Master level Sommelier exam. The Future is Wild is a speculative documentary about what the world will look like in 100 million years. A group of scientists describe the possible animals of the future, which are animated for your viewing pleasure. At first felt like I was watching a bad science fiction movie, but as I watched I became more and more intrigued. Very imaginative. Very odd.
What I Burned
Danny’s family treated me to the coolest birthday gift: book scented candles. Frostbeard Studio’s Etsy shop sells the most interesting scents of candles – old books, book store, oxford library, and many more. All book themed! I have to say, I’m impressed by the accuracy of the mildew scent in the Book Cellar candle, but it’s not necessarily the kind of smell I want to spread around my room. Old Books and Sherlock’s Study though? Yes please.
What did you love this month? What did you think of Not That Kind of Girl?