The Week that was Hard Fought

Looking back over what I've accomplished this week, I'm quite shocked. I completed two major projects for clients, volunteered with two different organizations, and taught two classes--one Living Room Learning session, and one class for teenagers at the JCC. I also networked, socialized, practiced yoga, and got my annual flu shot. 

Yesterday, then, was a well-deserved break. I spent it outside in the unseasonably warm, bright sunshine, first at a friend's sporting event and later at a neighborhood block party; it was an opportunity to soak up some precious vitamin D before the onset of the grey Pittsburgh winter and a chance to meet interesting new people, expanding my world ever wider. 

Flagstaff Hill, Schenley Park

Flagstaff Hill, Schenley Park

Here's what captured my attention this week...

I'm reading: I finished The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne--my Book of the Month selection for August, read only a bit behind schedule--and although I devoured almost 600 pages in five short days, I don't know that I loved it. It's the story of a man coming to terms with his sexual identity in mid-twentieth century Ireland, a time and place that was unfriendly to gay men (to say the least). The Heart's Invisible Furies reminded me of Hanya Yanagihara's  A Little Lifebecause both books tell the story of a character's life from birth to death in order to show how trauma and violence are passed from generation to generation. The suffering the characters endure was shared with them by adults in their lives, and in turn the characters pass it along to those who love them, replicating the cycle. Boyne's novel follows Cyril Avery, whose love for his best friend Julian causes him to flee Ireland in exile. Although Cyril eventually finds true love with another man, he continues to experience pain and loss as a result of being gay. The Heart's Invisible Furies ends on a lighter, more optimistic note than A Little Life, but by the time I reached the end I felt that Cyril had been reduced to his identity as a gay man. 

I'm listening to: Tom Petty's Wildflowers on an endless loop. I cried for the first time in months upon learning of his death, and I'm not one to get emotional about the loss of famous people. The Slate Culture Gabfest also had a nice segment about Petty's legacy this week, which made me feel less alone in my melodramatic response to his loss.

I'm looking forward to watching: the new season of the Kardashians, of kourse!

What are you reading, listening to, or watching this week?