People Places Things

A list of things I’ve enjoyed lately. Some more than others.

BOOKS 

hunger: a memoir (of) my body by roxane gay 
A brutal memoir from Roxane Gay where she gives us such a naked insight to her life with abuse, trauma, pain and surviving. Gay, as a fat woman, thinks of her fatness as a shield towards the world. She discusses her very personal journey to where she is today. Some passages feels too raw; are we supposed to take part in such private information? The answer is yes; yes we are. We need stories from diverse people, to listen to their pain. To try to understand, to comprehend, that people are so much more than what meets the eye. This is not a “body positivity book”. The fact is, living in a fat body is not only happy bikini pictures on Instagram. There were chapters where I could relate so deeply with Gay, growing up as a fat woman myself and having really bad body dysphoria and a complicated relationship with food. The chapter where she discusses how chairs can be so incredibly important and devastating to fat people absolutely broke my heart.

our stop by laura jane williams 
What’s a good, modern word for ‘chick-lit’? A ‘summer read’, ‘pool read’, ‘commute read’ etc. It feels like all these words minimize the actual work of Williams. But! Our Stop is a lighthearted romance novel where Williams basically created the dream guy Daniel, who falls in love with a stranger on the train, Nadia. It’s a modern romance story, which is not usually my cup of tea, but I’m a big supporter of Laura on all social media platforms so it was time for me to invest in her work as an author as well. I really enjoyed the first half of the book, how she explored the different characters and set up the impossible meeting. The initial flirting and the suspense build up. However, around 70% in I was a bit tired of the pace and skim-read to the end (the end which in itself was a bit too romantic and “good-to-be-true”). Sometimes Williams written language mimics the language she uses herself when she talks in videos on Instagram stories for example, so much that it unfortunately takes me outside of the book; I’m constantly thinking of her writing the book instead of being in the book; in the narrative. 

TV SHOWS 

the big family cooking showdown on netflix 
Cooking shows are a godsend. Nothing is being discussed on cooking shows except personality traits and stories about the contestants and the food they’re cooking. That’s it. Cooking shows are therefore the perfect way to shut out the entire world for a little while. No politics, no scary future outcomes. This British family show has the perfect tempo for me and Andrew in the evenings when we just want to relax together. Entertaining and warm.

nanette by hannah gadsby on netflix 
I have no words to explain this genius and magnificent “comedy” special on Netflix where Hannah Gadsby is spilling her heart out; with passion, anger, laughter, softness and fierceness. Watch it. Just watch it, your life will be changed. 

FILMS

farewell by lulu wang 
Billi returns to China due to her grandma, the matriarch of the whole extended family, has been diagnosed with cancer and only has a couple of months left to live. As if that wasn’t complex enough, the family has decided not to let Nai Nai (grandma) know she 1) has cancer 2) only has a couple of months to live 3) the family are all there to say goodbye to her, not to celebrate Billi’s cousin’s wedding (which is a made up story fabricated so that Nai Nai won’t suspect anything). Billi opposes not telling her, but it’s not up to her so she is forced to play along with it. It’s such a beautiful told story about identity and family. Awkwafina as brilliant as Billi, but my heart goes out to Zhao Shuzhen who plays Nai Nai. She embodies so many grandmas we know and love, and her warmth and love to her family is just so heartbreaking. The film is also so incredibly funny. And beautiful. Did I say beautiful? Please watch this film. Major plus: it was written by a woman. It was directed by a woman. It was shot by a woman.

MUSIC

bon iver - i,i (album)
Ignore the very hipster title on this album. I’ve known Bon Iver would have a show here in Vancouver in September, but I don’t really listen to them anymore. And I’ve already seen them a couple of times, so I didn’t think it was worth the money. But then they released their new album, and I immediately - after one listen - ordered tickets for myself. My favorite song which I can’t stop listening to is Hey Ma. Recommend.

women of folk (playlist)
I love Spotify’s ready-made playlists. For the whole summer (and spring, and the winter before that) me and Andrew listened pretty much exclusively to Essential Folk and 70s Road Trip. I started to memorize the order of the songs on Essential Folk, so I knew I had to move on. Welcome to the stage, Women of Folk. Wow. I’m so versatile. But I know what I like so why bother trying to be cool for the sake of being cool. Again, recommend! Listen especially to Heart Like A Wheel by Kate & Anna McGarrigie.

chants d’auvergne: 2. bailero (song)
Obsessed with this masterpiece of a song that manages to encapsulate every single feeling in the world in six and a half minutes. Listen and weep.