It's overcast today in Gainesville, but you won't hear a peep of complaint from me. I'm wearing a t-shirt and a light sweater instead of a heavy coat and wool hat (and scarf and gloves and snow boots). The greatest frustration I'm currently facing is not how I will navigate from appointment to appointment in the freezing cold and slush--it's that the internet has been out at my parent's house for the past four days, and there is no end in sight. I've been spending a lot more time at Starbucks than I anticipated, but I also found a beautiful co-working space in East Gainesville (MindSpace Collective) that I would highly recommend to anyone needing a friendly, zen place to get stuff done.
Here's what captured my attention this week...
I'm reading: I'm a third of the way through Viet Thanh Nguyen's The Sympathizer, which several different friends recommended to me. It's about a Vietnamese double-agent who, while spying on the American-backed Southern Vietnamese military for the communist Northern freedom fighters, is evacuated to the United States and becomes a refugee in Los Angeles. I was pretty ambivalent about it for the first fifty pages, but now feel invested in the moral struggle of the protagonist. At what point does your loyalty to an ideology--the actions you take to support and maintain it--actually degrade the integrity of the ideology's values?
I also read and enjoyed Issue #7 of True Story, a mini-magazine put out by Creative Nonfiction. In "Take Your Son to Work Day," author Andrew Maynard describes his father's work as a pro-bono lawyer defending inmates on death row. Without ever being didactic, the story demonstrates why due process is so important to the pursuit of justice--even when a criminal is incontrovertibly guilty of a heinous crime.
I'm listening to: Alicia Key's album HERE, after enjoying her PBS Great Performances Landmarks Live in Concert special.
I'm watching: Last night I went with my parents to The Hippodrome Theater's production of The Royale and we all loved it. It is a timely and moving drama about the collateral damage that black communities endured as they fought racial discrimination in early-twentieth-century America, and this particular production was brilliantly staged. You can watch an excerpted scene from the play here, and I would encourage you to keep your eyes peeled for a local performance in your area.
What are you reading, listening to, and watching this week?