Page 2 of 201

My favorite books of 2016

I’m sorry to report that I only read 12 books in 2016. Of those, 7 were audiobooks, and 2 were re-reads.

I’m going to go ahead and blame the baby, because it is her fault. In a way, though, she actually has me reading more than ever. I spend practically every free moment poring over the internet’s wisdom (or “wisdom,” in some cases) about pregnancy and parenting.

The good news is, over half of the books I read were diverse — in subject matter, authorship, or both. That’s a trend I hope to continue with all my future reading.

Here are my favorite reads of 2016:

The Girl from Everywhere (The Girl from Everywhere, #1) The Raven King (The Raven Cycle, #4) All the Light We Cannot See Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting

THE GIRL FROM EVERYWHERE features a halfie protagonist and was written by a fellow halfie, Heidi Heilig. I really enjoyed the lush settings and the sense of adventure.

THE RAVEN KING completes Maggie Stiefvater’s wistful and lovely Raven Boys series. Not perfect, but really magical. I aspire to write at this level someday.

Andy discovered ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE a couple years ago and urged me to read it. He said it was more like a work of art than just a book or story, and he was right. It took me a long time to read, but that time was well spent.

Technically I haven’t finished BRINGING UP BÉBÉ, but I’m enjoying the examination of different parenting styles, and I appreciate the practical tips.

Click here to see my favorite reads from previous years.

Like this:

1+

Adapting

The past couple months have been a whirlwind, both personally and politically. For better or worse, the personal has kept me from dwelling too much on the political.

In typical newborn fashion, my little IB demands nearly all of my time, energy, and attention. It’s a big change, this shift from Person to Also Parent. And just when you think you’ve got a handle on it, the kid enters a new phase, throwing things out of alignment again.

“Every day is a different beast,” as my friend Ben said. (He has 5 children, so I assume he knows what he’s talking about.) I’m doing my best to adapt. Finding time for myself — and for my writing — in the spaces between IB’s needs.

One thing I’ve really been enjoying is capturing little moments every day. I’m compiling them privately in a sort of digital baby book for IB. One picture a day, accompanied by a few thoughts or observations. I might try something like that here too. We’ll see.

A new normal. I feel like we’re all searching for that right now.

Like this:

4+

Stuff worth reading

“Training Wheels: Learning How to Be a Mom” by me (!)

It made me think about my own aunts and uncles, and all the special things they may have done with me or for me that I had no memory of. It made me sad to think of how little I appreciated them while growing up. And it made me glad that starting in college, I’ve gotten to know most of them so much better, developing my own relationships with them that don’t depend on my mom or dad being there too.

“I Published My Debut Novel to Critical Acclaim — and Then I Promptly Went Broke” (a response) by Kameron Hurley

It gets to me sometimes, too, when it’s not just “Breaking in for a few years” but “Breaking in for a few decades.” Dedicating oneself to a singular purpose with that sort of passion and stamina is rare in any field. But in writing, as in any field, the longer you are in it, the harder you work, the more chances you have to break out, to get lucky. Writing a novel is still better odds than playing the lottery, but only just. If you are looking for your self-esteem in your sales numbers or the size of your royalty checks (if you get them) you are on a fast road to disappointment.

“What Will Your Verse Be?” by Julie C. Dao

I don’t know if I’ll ever be successful as a writer. But I’m starting to understand that I’m already successful when I’m being true to myself.

Like this:

0

Due date

Today is the day we were told to expect our little girl. But there are no calendars in the womb, and she decided to show up two weeks early. Surprise!

She’s tiny and amazing, and I am oh so tired. The whole universe has shifted. My heart grows every day.

She already has a dozen nicknames, most of them adorable nonsense. I don’t plan to blog about her a lot, but when I do, I’ll probably just use her initials, IB.

For now my life is lived in three-hour increments, in between her feedings. And I’m doing almost everything on my phone, or otherwise one-handedly. It changes the shape of things, even my words. It will be interesting to see what kind of writing comes out of this. If any. Have I mentioned how tired I am?

I’m still trying, though.

Because just look at that face, you guys. I want to give her everything. I want to make her proud.

Like this:

4+

Let’s talk about TV

I… don’t think I watch as much TV as this post makes it seem like I do? But maybe I’m in denial. I dunno. What I do know, is that I really enjoy TV — good TV, that is — because at the heart, it’s storytelling, and I am all about stories.

Here’s what I’ve been into (and out of) lately:

SPRING AND SUMMER SHOWS

orphan-black-season-4-finale

12552666_958683487542584_6019842995840505386_n 13332986_1211261405573203_3339721521629579515_n 13124658_1753794931533899_7772987483003337601_n 12743916_10153508807537734_8161301982084798315_n

Orphan Black is excellent, y’all. It’s character-focused sci-fi (my favorite kind) and features the incredibly talented and beautiful Tatiana Maslany as, like, a dozen different people. She’s so good that you will honestly forget it’s the same actress in every scene. (Hence, her recent Emmy win.) The show’s main themes are personhood, humanity, autonomy, and individuality, with nice streaks of feminism and family mixed in. I will say that Season 3 went darker than I would have preferred, but thankfully Season 4 returned to the direction and quality of Season 1. Part of me is sad that the upcoming Season 5 will be OB’s last… but I always think it’s better to have a planned ending than to just let a series ramble on indefinitely.

Girls is also coming to a close next year. I thought the most recent (5th) season was finally as strong as its first, possibly even stronger. The standout episodes for me were Shosh adjusting to Tokyo, and Marnie reuniting with Charlie.

Tyrant just got the axe after 3 seasons, which is unfortunate because, in spite of its flaws, I think the show was a very unique and significant offering. Basically: a well-to-do American family goes to the Middle East thinking they are superior in every way, and they get humbled — and they get changed — both for better and for worse.

UnREAL‘s 2nd season bit off more than it could chew, in my opinion. But it wasn’t terrible, and Shiri Appleby and Constance Zimmer are as captivating as ever, so I’m willing to see how Season 3 goes.

Season 6 of Game of Thrones was pretty fantastic (with one exception — that Arya episode, ugh) and I can’t wait to see what happens next, especially now that the show has caught up to the books (more or less), putting readers and viewers on fairly even footing.

NEW FALL SHOWS

pitch_keyart_web

Pitch is practically tailor-made for me. Sports + a woman of color in the lead + social commentary, all with a fairly feel-good vibe. Even Andy likes it! Granted, we’re only 3 episodes in, but so far Pitch is at the top of my must-watch list, along with…

930697-this-is-us_828x1104

From the creators of Crazy Stupid Love (a movie that I adored), This Is Us is mostly about the ties that bind us to the people we love — how lovely and how complicated they can be. But the writing is clever enough to make it more than just another family drama, and compelling characters and strong acting elevate it even further.

1000x563-q90_a3552818a0bcac4e2a74c13539ef5f00

Confession: I love Kiefer Sutherland’s glasses in Designated Survivor, and that is 1 out of the 3 reasons I decided to give this show a try. The other 2: an interesting premise, and Maggie Q. So far the show is entertaining but not exceptional.

atlanta_oabpgv

Featuring an entirely black writing staff, Atlanta is one of the most interesting, unexpected, and thought-provoking shows I’ve ever seen. It’s a “comedy” in the vein of Aziz Ansari’s Master of None, or even Girls, which is to say, it won’t necessarily make you laugh out loud, but it pokes fun at modern life in a subversive way. Atlanta also has a streak of surrealism to it that’s hard to explain but fascinating to watch. And it co-stars Lakeith Stanfield, a brilliant actor who I first saw in the hauntingly wonderful film Short Term 12. All that said, I think I appreciate the show, from an artistic standpoint, more than I actually like the show…? But maybe that’s just a matter of semantics.

RETURNING FALL SHOWS

aov8rzjd_xk-market_maxres

14516338_1866007423631953_3813684273119072199_n 12342400_920873774626994_688098963364921000_n 11953197_1634517206797434_6465623475788335621_n 14390866_1316622135016587_4609745018935731575_n

Younger is a bit silly and not-that-believable… yet still so totally delightful!

Actually, Jane the Virgin falls into that category too, but with the added benefit of featuring a predominantly Hispanic cast.

On a related note, I must admit, I watch Fresh Off the Boat in large part because of its Asian/Asian-American focus. It’s important to me, for obvious reasons, to support those stories. Don’t get me wrong, FOTB is fun/funny. I just don’t typically prioritize sitcoms on a weekly-watch basis.

The 100 has been a pleasantly nuanced surprise of a CW show. (Based on a YA book series, by the way! Very loosely…) Again, its character-driven sci-fi, but with some of the ruthlessness of Game of Thrones, and set in a much less familiar world than Orphan Black.

Saved by Netflix, Longmire is one of the more unique procedurals out there, thanks to its setting, which lends an Old West vibe and Native American influences. Longmire too has dipped into darkness a bit more than I wanted, but I’m still looking forward to binge-ing Season 5 when I get the chance.

SHOWS I GAVE UP ON

13882123_525983137598525_6565442423694493896_n 14141545_665536790279152_539425644745284577_n 14088589_10157557325800647_8470139786417036914_n 13529046_632726743541752_3791012434480411421_n

Season 1 of Empire was truly special, I think, but Season 2 lost the magic, and Season 3 seems to be continuing that trend, so I just let go. Sorry, Taraji. You’re still fabulous, and I will miss you.

Quantico was never great, but it was refreshingly diverse, so I tried to stick with it. Ultimately the melodrama and lack of substance wore me down. And worst of all, the writers seemed to think that misdirecting the audience week after week was the same thing as creating mystery. Um, no.

Grey’s Anatomy still has its moments, but I don’t think it will ever return to peak form (Seasons 1-3). Now I just read episode summaries from time to time to check in with the characters I still care about — namely April and Jackson.

For reasons that had nothing to do with the show, I stopped watching The Night Of shortly after I blogged about it, and I just never felt compelled to pick it up again. Then I heard about how the rest of it played out, and I was glad to have spent that time elsewhere.

Like this:

0

Page 2 of 201



Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén