- We Were Liars by E. Lockhart ~ I think I was one of the few people who was not in love with The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks. I did like this book – I found it very cinematic, and it was a fine airplane read.
- Winger by Andrew Smith ~ I liked We Were Liars, but I liked Winger more. It’s just such a lovely boarding school / rugby / first love / brotherhood kind of a book.
- Memoir of a Debulked Woman: Enduring Ovarian Cancer by Susan Gubar ~ I recognize the importance of Susan Gubar as a scholar and the importance of this work, but that doesn’t mean I could get through the whole thing. Maybe one day.
- Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns by John Green ~ Re-reads. They hold up pretty well. I liked Paper Towns more this time around, mostly because I kept picturing Nat Wolff as Quentin, which made the whole thing that much more delightful. I don’t think I’m emotionally prepared for the Sarah Polley film adaptation of Looking for Alaska, but I trust what it will become in her hands.
- All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr ~ Probably the best book I’ve read this year.
- Rise of the Planet of the Apes ~ Perfectly enjoyable. I really like these ape movies.
- No TV of the year has matched Playing House for me, so I just keep watching it. It’s currently available on USA On Demand, at least on my cable box, and here.
- In keeping with that theme, I’ve been listening to the opening titles song a lot this summer. Back Before We Were Brittle by Say Hi:
- My other favorite song of the sumer so far is Like a River Runs by Bleachers.
Favorite things on Internet:
- Price Peterson’s recaps of So You Think You Can Dance. Anyone who loves Cat Deeley as much as I do is fine in my book. He and Joe Reid, who contributes excellent parenthetical editorial comments, just get it:
Seriously, is there a more joyful show on television than this thing? The question is rhetorical, because no there is not. For two hours every week SYTYCD presents a total reprieve from the seeming nonstop darkness and cynicism of nearly every other hit show, reality or otherwise. It’s earnest, it’s unhip, it’s undeniably celebratory.
- Everything Allison’s been writing at Previously.TV. The Wheel of Murder is obviously wondrous in its own right, but it’s her recaps of The Fosters that kill me the most.
- WTF with Marc Maron — Jack Antonoff. My love for Jack Antonoff is well-documented. This is a really, REALLY good interview.
- An intensely wonderful essay about The Fault In Our Stars. I keep wanting to go back and read this again, but I don’t know if I can because it’s so beautiful it hurts to read it, much as Jordan Catalano was so beautiful it hurt Angela to look at him. But seriously. I’ve read a lot of things about John Green, and about this book. I’ve read mostly everything there is to read. I mean that in all seriousness. But this one is something special.
Best Food Eaten:
A very saucy First Descents friend came down to New Orleans, and we had a rather crazyballs delicious brunch, including bacon stickybuns at Dante’s, which is always perfect. And there’s a new pork place nearby, and I don’t know what has come over me, but I’ve wanted to eat all of it.
And this was God’s perfect cupcake at my beloved neighborhood coffee shop.
I flew to Hilton Head to visit my friend who moved there, and I’m here to tell you that Hilton Head in the summer is a beautiful thing. We biked on the beach, ate at Chow Daddy’s, kayaked in a creek, jumped in the warm waves, went to a low country boil, and I just kept thinking about how much Pat Conroy’s books meant to me when I was a teenager, never mind how cray they seem now, and about the Wingo kids rescuing the porpoise.
I went on a long walk one day with the boy next door and his dogs, and we stared up at the trees and sang songs and I will always be so grateful for my neighbors. The best baby of the month was his baby brother, who was born and is so yummy and delicious.
My sister and her family and our brother all came to town at the same time in July, and there was lots of swimming and eating, swimming and eating, and guitar strumming and fun.
I went to church one Sunday in July because my dad the deacon was giving the homily, and this was the second reading, and it struck such a chord in me that I whipped out my phone and took a photo of it right in the middle of mass.
Flowers, Plants, and Trees:
Crape myrtle season blazes on, and I trespassed on a walk one day into someone’s yard to take a photo of his lily, which I guess is a spider lily but I’m not 100% sure. I’m kind of obsessed with it, though.
Poem of the month:
God speaks to each of us as he makes us,
then walks with us silently out of the night.
These are the words we dimly hear:
You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
Flare up like a flame.
and make big shadows I can move in.
Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Don’t let yourself lose me.
Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousness.
Give me your hand.
–Rilke, Book of Hours