Shiny Objects

Why yes, I am easily distracted by shiny things and movies.

Why yes, I am easily distracted by shiny things and movies.

I know it’s the time of resolutions and new beginnings but more than anything, January puts me in homebody mode. Maybe it’s because of all the December festivities and noisy family holiday gatherings. Maybe it’s the cold weather. Either way, this is the time for me to hunker down and read books and watch movies (or go to the movies). Last weekend, we saw The Post (more on that below), and this weekend, I’m going to see The Shape of Water.

Do you see January as time to start anew or a time to burrow? What does January mean for you?

Oooh look at these shiny objects . . .

I’ve been reading . . . A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki and Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White. I finished both. I’m working on a separate review for A Tale for the Time Being so keep an eye out for that. (Hint: I really liked it.) And Charlotte’s Web, well, come on, that’s a no-brainer. My favorite all-time book, I read it every year in January.

With those two books done, I started Tell Me More by Kelly Corrigan, a nonfiction essay/memoir-ish book. Anyone who knows me knows I cringe at the word “memoir”—I tend to avoid that genre. Personal essays are a bit more palatable to me, and considering that I write those as well, I figured, I might as well read some, right?

I skimmed the book first to see if I would even like it, and I did. Kelly Corrigan’s conversational style—one I hope to emulate—and super relatable voice drew me in and kept me there. She writes about life in general and living in this life as a human being. She’s forthcoming about her flaws in a humorous and yet loving way, and I, scarily, have some of the same thoughts as her so it’s good to know I’m not alone in these thoughts.

In Tell Me More, Corrigan writes 12 essays based on the 12 important words or phrases she is learning to say in her life, such as “I don’t know.” Doesn’t sound like there’d be much to write about, right? Or at the very least, it would be all self-helpy, going on and on about the power of words. But it’s not. At least not overtly. At the core, yes, it is about how the right words at the right time can transform relationships, experiences, and your life. But the way she does it is like you are sitting and chatting with her—she’s not preachy or woo-woo. She relatable, and her content is intimate and meaningful in a way you can digest.

I’ve been watching . . . movies. Watched Beatriz at Dinner, which I do not recommend. It’s billed as a comedy-drama, and there is no comedy in this whatsoever. In fact, it’s completely depressing. Skip it.

We went to see the new Spielberg movie The Post, and I’m sad to say that it was a disappointment.

It felt like a movie slapped together quickly, and guess what? It was—at least in movie time it was done quickly: 9 months. Spielberg apparently wanted to get this movie out before the end of the year (read: award season) to make a statement about freedom of the press.

Now I’m all for freedom of the press. It’s an important right that we have. And that movie was done—it’s called All the President’s Men and that was an incredible movie. (If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it.) It had tension, great acting, an intelligent and focused story, and purpose. Unfortunately, The Post achieves none of these things. There was no tension. In fact, probably the most tense scene is when a Post reporter is talking to a source on a pay phone and drops his quarters and you watch worried whether he can get his quarters in before the call is cut off.

This movie needed to decide what it was. Was it a story about Katherine Graham and what it was like as a woman to take over a major newspaper? Was it a story about how the Post became a public company and how it grew to become a national paper? Was it a story about what happened when the Pentagon Papers were published . . . in The New York Times? It wasn’t The Washington Post that broke the story. So if it was about freedom of the press and publishing the Pentagon Papers, then the NYT should’ve been part of the story. In fact, both papers were taken to court by the government and it went all the way to the Supreme Court. Now that would’ve been an interesting story.

This movie could’ve been so much better, and I would expect better from those involved in making this film. It wasn’t horrible but it wasn’t good, and it’s disappointing that it’s getting award buzz—specifically a Golden Globe Best Director nomination—in place of other deserving films that are not getting acknowledged, such as Mudbound (in most categories) and Ladybird (best director).

I’ve been listening to . . . the list. Not as many this week because I kept listening to Shirley Horn over and over.

  • #132 Shelby Lynne, I am Shelby Lynne: The song “Dreamsome” is actually one of my favorite songs. It’s both sensual and sweet. Other than that song, I didn’t really listen to Shelby Lynne before. I kind of like this album and would listen to it again. Apparently this album was Lynne’s departure from country—she wanted to do something different and do her own songs. Some other good songs to check out: “Gotta Get Back” has a fun pop-like beat, and “Thought It Would Be Easier” is soulful with a little funk.
  • #131 Shirley Horn, I Thought About You (Live at Vine St.): I love, love, love this album. Listening to it, I felt like I sitting in a jazz club at a front table. Love Horn’s voice and style. If you like jazz, this is definitely worth listening to.

Have a wonderful weekend!


(Image found here.)

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