Book Rewind: 2015

Looking back on 2015 I wasn’t as successful as I’d liked to have been in regards to reading. I love reading. But in 2015, I didn’t read much. While I checked out a slew of books between the NYPL and BPL, only a handful captured my attention and stole my heart. Here are the books I managed to consume in their entireties in the past year:

FOUR QUARTETS by TS Elliot
A lovely little book of poems that after seeing Interstellar I thought I’d try my hand at. Totally worth it.

THE MOST OF NORA EPHRON by Nora Ephron
I’m still making my way through this book – had to buy because I wasn’t finishing it fast enough – but this cross section of her life’s work, I want to believe, captures the spirit the collective “we” lost too soon.

UNACCUSTOMED EARTH, THE NAME SAKE, INTERPRETER OF MALADIES, THE LOWLAND by Jhumpa Lahiri
Easily now my favorite author. Every sentence paints a story that could take a lifetime to dissect. Her words are simply food for the soul.

STIFF: THE CURIOUS LIVES OF HUMAN CADAVERS by Mary Roach
For a subject so taboo, terrifying, and mystical, Mary took me on a journey that I’ll never forget. Plus, the levity and comedy attached to such a realm of morbid oddities helps the digestion of this novel.

FUNNY GIRL by Nick Hornby
Read this. That’s all I can say. This was my first Nick Hornby novel and I’m scared to try his others as I feel they won’t be as relative, poignant, funny, or emotionally pleasing as this one. Cheers to you Hornby and thank you.

CAREER OF EVIL by Robert Galbraith
I see you JK Rowling! While always an uphill climb to get into the true meat of the mastery of her storytelling, I simply could not put the latest Cormoran Strike novel down. Can’t wait for the next installment!

REVOLUTIONARY ROAD by Richard Yates
Loved loved loved the film version of this epic masterpiece but words cannot accurately describe how much I lost myself in Yates’ prose. Despite the fact that I pictured Leo, Kate, Kathy, and the rest of the all star cast while reading this novel, it was like peeling back the curtain to look at the Wizard of Oz. The pleasure is in the details.

BROOKLYN by Colm Tóibín
Again, saw the movie first but was left wanting more as the cinema lights brightened to its full luminosity. While Nick Hornby may have written the screenplay adaptation to this novel, Tóibín whisked me away on an adventure from Enniscorthy to Brooklyn and back again in this charming novel.

Perhaps now I can manage to write a novel of my own!

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Poppyseed Lemon Cake

Deb Perelman never disappoints. My latest foray into her kitchen awesomeness involved Nadia and me recreating this Poppyseed Lemon cake. Emphasis on the poppy.

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In the end our cake turned out a little crispy (I shook my fist at the oven) but next time around I think I’d add more zest!

Harriet the Spy

In regards to children’s lit I’m still playing catch up to my friends who read such classics like Alice in Wonderland or The Secret Garden. This year I’ve already tackled A Little Princess (amazing!) and I just finished Harriet the Spy over the weekend. Where were all these spunky heroines when I was a kid?!

In elementary school, if it wasn’t a Civil Rights children’s book or something out of the American Girls collection I didn’t read it. And then middle school happened. I was suddenly reading the Harry Potter series, Michael Crichton’s fiction and non-fiction, Robin Cook’s medical thrillers, Tolkien, and Stephen King. Not sure what happened there transition wise…but I digress.

Here are some quotes I rather liked in Louise Fitzhugh’s Harriet the Spy:

Always say exactly what you feel. People are hurt more by misunderstanding than anything else.

And this one:

When somebody goes away there’s things you want to tell them. When somebody dies maybe that’t he worst thing. You want to tell them things that happened after.

Last but not least:

Another thing. If you’re missing me I want you to know that I’m not missing you. Gone is gone. I never miss anything or anyone because it all becomes a lonely memory. I guard my memories and love them, but I don’t get in them and lie down. You can even make stories from yours, but remember, they don’t come back.

The end!

MoMA

Took my Canon Rebel and my 35mm lens out with me for a Saturday adventure with Georger. I’d rather take photos of people, so when we went to the MoMA (my first time!) I turned my camera to the faces around me.

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I didn’t think I’d see an entire exhibit dedicated to Yoko Ono and one “performance piece” made me scream in fright. Elsewhere was Jacob Lawrence’s exhibit on The Great Migration, which made me feel bad about not getting through The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson, but seeing an first edition of Nella Larsen’s Quicksand was a real treat…

Oh July…

I can’t believe we’re already well into August. Just next month it’ll be fall – FINALLY!

Oh July, what I could do without your insufferable heat ;D Let’s see…well, I finally ready my first Nick Hornby book (Funny Girl), and tackled Yates’ Revolutionary Road (love!) and laughed sleepless nights away with Issa Rae’s The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl. Also, someone new on the block has a totally badass motorcycle that I swoon over every morning and every evening as I walk home.

Elsewhere, Krista, Alissa and I ventured out to Governor’s Island for a spell and I took to Brooklyn Bridge Park for some fireworks mishaps. I discovered that Little Cupcake Bakeshop is a nice stroll away (worth enduring summer sun for their Brooklyn Blackout Cake!) and I somehow managed not to melt during a weekend family getaway in New Orleans. The beignets were lovely.

And despite my usual attempts at street photography I somehow found myself at two OkCupid events back to back, standing on a Manhattan hotel rooftop as the sun set over the UWS and again in the rare books section of The Strand Bookstore as awkward men and women tried to impress one another…

Here’s to more adventures in August! Perhaps I’ll finally bring out my DSLR again. We shall see…

Fireworks in Brooklyn

I’ve always had a soft spot for the 4th of July. Nothing to do with Americana or patriotism, but rather the thrill of fireworks. I love feeling the quick boom of thunder rattle through my whole being, the mix of smoke and glitter filling the otherwise black sky, and the illumination of peoples faces around me, faces raised in awe…

But ever since moving to New York it has been quite difficult to replicate such an experience. Gone are the days where I can head out west and lay on a blanket in a sparsely populated field to take in the local fireworks display. Now I’m crammed, shoulder to shoulder with the city of New York, all of us hoping for a glimpse of the spectacular displays.

I took a bus to Brooklyn Bridge park and spent nine hours camped out in what I believed to the be the perfect spot. I weathered the gloomy skies, cold winds, and the petulant indecisive rain. Eventually the sun crept out between the clouds and the warmth of the summer day brought locals and tourists alike by the hordes. I preferred my quiet spot of grass in the rain over the crammed bodies that the summer sun provided. But what is one to do? Jess showed too, bringing a nice can of cool beer with her. I finished Revolutionary Road, she colored Abbi Jacobson’s book, and waiting for the display to begin we engaged in a game of Marry.Fuck.Kill. There was a particularly hard round that involved Bill Self, The Morris Twins and LeBron James ;D

And much to my dismay (but I didn’t dwell on it) the fireworks began out of sight. We heard them. We felt them. But initially we couldn’t see them and that is when we discovered I had picked the absolutely worst spot. The gaseous and fiery display of light exploded over the dense tree tops instead of over the Brooklyn Bridge. Oh wells. I still craned my neck to catch what I could I relished in each thunderous escape of the next one. Too, when I looked around I loved the expression etched on everyone’s faces – that childlike wonder and awe.

Establishing

Before the crowds came...
Before the crowds came…

Nature

JessColor

ColorBook

Mia

This couple was so adorable.
This couple was so adorable.

Fireworks