What I’m Into, July Edition

Reading

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Apparently this month was a nice split between more serious books and cozy mysteries. You all have seen me mention Donna Andrews before–she is one of my favorite cozy mystery writers and her books are always a treat to re-read. Otherwise this month I read:

Convictions: How I Learned What Matters Most by Marcus Borg. It’s part spiritual memoir, part easily accessible primer of sorts on progressive Christian theology, and an engaging read.

City of God: Faith in the Streets by Sara Miles. Sara Miles isn’t your average Episcopalian (or maybe she is, is there such a thing as an average Episcopalian, especially in San Francisco?) and in this book, she reflects on her experiences taking the Ash Wednesday services to the streets and giving ashes to anyone who wanted them. The book is a meditation on the limits of church buildings, the power of liturgy, and what happens when you broaden the confines of your community.

Found: A Story of Questions, Grace, and Everyday Prayer by Micha Boyett. I read Micha’s blog for years but put off reading the book because as a single grad student/non-mom of small kids, I didn’t think it would resonate. Well, now that I’m about to enter the cult of motherhood and am even debating staying home with the baby for a while (gasp), the themes resonate a lot more. Micha writes candidly about her struggle to feel like her life is “enough,” that she is enough, that God loves her whether she’s a missionary in Africa or a stay-at-home-mom in San Francisco. As someone who is always afraid she’s squandering her potential, I found myself nodding at a lot of what she wrote.

Watching

What do you do when you are too pregnant to exercise properly (the most I can manage are short walks, or on a really good day, a 20 minute swim) but miss it anyway? You watch sports documentaries on Netflix.

I have a weird fascination with Crossfit. Every once in a while I google boxes near me and debate whether I’d like it or not and should try out a class. And then I settle for reading about it and watching documentaries, like this one, Fittest on Earth: A Decade of Fitness, that follows a series of athletes as they compete in the 2016 Reebok Games, but also offers a retrospective of sorts about the explosive growth of the sport in the last ten years. (If you liked this, there’s also an earlier one that documents the 2015 Games, also available on Netflix.)

I do not have a weird fascination with golf, but really enjoyed The Short Game too. This documentary follows world championship-hopefuls, but here’s the catch: these are kids. They’re all eight and under, and the documentary talks about their love for the sport, the pressures of being a child athlete, but also the opportunities being a golfer has given them.

We also went to see Spiderman: Homecoming while we were in Seattle on our babymoon, in a theater that had the nice luxury seats but was way overheated, and I was dying through most of it. Still, fun superhero movie. Hated that it technically didn’t pass the Bechdel test, loved that it had two WOC playing lead roles.

Listening

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This is clearly the Americanist in me, but I loved this series. It tracks the rise of Oprah and the Oprah Winfrey Show. Utterly random and utterly delightful:

“In this new WBEZ podcast, Oprah Winfrey tells the behind-the-scenes story of her iconic TV talk show, along with producers, staffers, TV executives, and ratings rival Phil Donahue. The three-part series chronicles the show’s scrappy roots in Chicago, its rise to daytime dominance, and the powerful sway Winfrey came to have in American life.”

 

Tell me, what you have you been into this past month? 

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What I’m Into | November 2016

What I’m reading

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This month’s theme seemed to be calling stories and anti-hagiographies. I picked up Nadia Bolz-Weber’s Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People at the book store and finished it in two days. Sara Miles (of Take This Bread, one of my favorite finds of 2016) shows up in the book, and that didn’t surprise me in the least–the books aren’t the same at all, but there’s an undercurrent of surprise (of all the people you would expect to become religious in such specific ways, these are not two of them) and that really appeals to me. I also read Pastrix, the first book Nadia wrote. Then Jana Riess’ Flunking Sainthood, in which Jana tries and fails at all kinds of spiritual practices (the epilogue made me cry and I also felt a lot better at all the ways I fail, so thank you, Jana).

Lastly, one of my tutoring students was working on Toni Morrison’s Beloved, prompting me to read it too. It’s so intense, but so worth the read. The central questions (at least the way I read it) are: is there such a thing as an ex-slave? Can you ever escape your past? And what does it mean to be beloved?

What I’m watching

Besides the usual suspects (NCIS, NCIS LA, Hawaii 5-0, Scorpion, Criminal Minds (what a way to write Hotch out of the series..sigh), Brooklyn Nine-Nine):

Dr Strange, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and Moana.

I liked all three of these movies. We caught an early viewing of Fantastic Beasts (10AM on a Saturday), and it was a great way to start the weekend. (My main complaint? Johnny Depp as Grindewald. The thing about evil is that it looks just like you and me–Grindewald didn’t need to be Johnny Depp-ed, in my opinion.) I went into Doctor Strange without any expectations, but turned out to really like the movie, although I rolled my eyes at all the Orientalism. And Moana was great. They did a much better job with the Polynesian aspects of her life than I honestly thought they would, and although there are certainly some valid critiques to be made, I really enjoyed it.

What I’m listening to

Slate’s Working podcast is doing a series of interviews with people whose jobs are going to become so much harder under a Trump administration. Last week, they talked to an abortion provider, and this week, an immigration lawyer working primarily with children. Both episodes are well worth the time spent.

What else I am doing with my life

Christmas, apparently! We got our Christmas tree the weekend after Thanksgiving. It’s a tiny tree, partially because we didn’t want a big one, and mostly because we have a smart car and the tree had to fit in the car, so a tiny tree it was! We decorated it that weekend, and so far, the animals have left it alone. (Let’s hope that stays that way.)