ann arbor art fair – a summertime staple
I gave up my cable television several months ago because the only thing I tended to watch was the 6:00 news – I haven’t missed it. I’ve had a very lucky summer in terms of great books, podcasts, and original series on Prime & Netflix – so here are some of my favorites!
I’ve read several “just meh” books this summer (One Thousand White Women and I Was Anastasia spring immediately to mind) and yet in strokes of good fortune, these were balanced out with two of the best books I’ve read this year so far – Flat Broke with Two Goats and The Punishment She Deserves.
Going in reverse order, Thomas Lynley and Barbara Havers are back together in the most recent Elizabeth George British mystery series installment The Punishment She Deserves and they’re as entertaining as ever. Lynley and Havers never seem to get old to me – their interaction is comfortable and funny and also refreshing and touching, all at the same time. I love stories of men and women who work together, will never have a romantic relationship or sexual tension, but truly love and respect each other nonetheless – I think that’s a hard dynamic to write well. And Elizabeth George always does it. Add in a typically convoluted case, complicated by a colleague dead set on bringing down Havers while struggling with her own secret alcoholism – and you have a beefy, satisfying read that ticked all the boxes.
In a totally different vein, Flat Broke with Two Goats is a mostly-lighthearted true story of a couple who lost it all during the 2008 recession and moved to a ramshackle cabin in North Carolina to try to get their finances and lives back in order. I love homesteading stories and by the time they’d acquired their chickens and the titular goats I was hooked. This has led me on a homesteading book spree and I’m sure at least one in the current stack by my bedside will end up in a future post.
My Favorite Murder, Criminal, and Thinking Sideways are perennial favorites that I’ve mentioned here before, but I also want to recommend Slow Burn, which is a Slate podcast with Season 1 about the Nixon Watergate scandal. It’s amazing to listen to the total fuckery that was Watergate and hear how Nixon’s supporters defended him – much the same way 45’s supporters defend him – by deflecting criticism back to Democratic candidates. During a lunchtime walk, I laughed out loud on the woods trail around my office when a scratchy old recording caught an indignant Nixon supporter screeching, “WHAT ABOUT CHAPPAQUIDDICK?” the same way today’s Trumpster might be heard to screech, “WHAT ABOUT CROOKED HILARY?” Days or weeks before, of course, Nixon was forced to release his tapes and was proven beyond a shadow of a doubt to be a criminal. The more things change, the more they stay the same. This podcast is also equal opportunity! Season 2 will be about Crooked Hillary! (well, okay, don’t get all Putin Passionate on me, my conservative friends, it will be about Bill’s impeachment.)
In the same socio-political vein, The RFK Tapes has been fascinating, too – an in-depth look at Sirhan Sirhan and the response to RFK’s assassination. This one is a bit more steeped in conspiracy theory – why did the actual autopsy not bear out the statements of eye-witnesses? Who was the girl in the polka-dot dress? What role did the Rosicrucians play? Was Sirhan the original Manchurian Candidate? But equally enjoyable and educational.
And Karina Longworth is back with the new season of You Must Remember This – Fact Checking Hollywood Babylon. I love old Hollywood and this season, Longworth deconstructs Kenneth Anger’s book “Hollywood Babylon” to examine the roots of many Hollywood myths. Recently released (and the accompaniment to a couple of my recent short runs) – Fatty Arbuckle and Virgina Rappe.
street art by david zinn at the ann arbor art fair
My brother is famous for a few things – his hatred of crockpots, his affinity for chickens and Oreos, and his teenage confusion over states that start with a letter I, to name a few – and one of them is his propensity to drop into my life after a few weeks of radio silence to recommend a new series on Prime or Netflix that will ruin my life. I say “ruin my life” in a tongue in cheek way, meaning my productivity levels and desire to do anything except sit in front of the TV. He did this first with “Narcos” and I lost hours and hours of my life to Pablo Escobar. Then it was “Bosch”, and I am ignoring everything else from him until I finish season 2 of “Marcella”. Which is good, but she fucks up so much that it’s hard to feel a lot of compassion for her…except when you stop to ask why her ex-husband is such an intolerable douche. And I actually really love her style. Great sweaters, messy-hair-don’t-care-I’m-solving-a-horrific-crime, cropped pants and brogues, great coats…
Honorable mention in this category to The Forest on Netflix, which is originally French, I think, so the subtitles made it hard for me to knit to – but suspenseful and interesting nonetheless, they sold it a bit as a sort of foreign Twin Peaks – a girl disappears in the forest and to find her, all her secrets must be revealed. Not in the Twin Peaks category or even close, but an absorbing diversion.
I hope you are well wherever you are – here in suburban Elysia we received a lot of rain this past weekend, which put a damper on the 5k that B & I ran on Saturday morning (my running shoes are still squelching). It did not, however, spoil our trip to Ann Arbor’s Art Fair on Sunday, as evidenced by the photos above. B is back to Iowa for a couple of weeks, then he will be back with me for a long vacation and to wait for his next assignment.
Summer sweeps past. xo