The Week of Texts from Tokyo

I dropped my parents off at the airport on Friday morning and off they went to Tokyo. I confess that I miss them! They have been sending some nice updates from Japan, though, and I'm happy to see that they're enjoying exploring the city and the food and have (unsurprisingly, if you know them) already been to a jazz club.

This afternoon I decided to visit the Harn Museum of Art to see the newly-opened exhibit, History, Labor, Life: The Prints of Jacob Lawrence. I was actually unaware of the fact that Lawrence was prolific as a printmaker, since the sixty works in his magnum opus Migration Series are paintings. I also did not know that Lawrence did several series in the 1930s and 1940s, including ones on Toussaint L'Ouverture, Harriet Tubman, and John Brown. I found the final series particularly eye-catching, with sharper lines and brighter colors than the rest of his oeuvre. 

And then, of course, I had to head off for a beer and a snack. 


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

I'm reading: I'm still working on Lauren Groff's Fates and Furies and The Third Generation by Chester Himes. I'm enjoying the former so far. I'm still in the first section, seeing the marriage of Lotto and Mathilde from Lotto's perspective. Groff is masterful at moving the story along, giving the reader rich details but never lingering too long on any event or moment, but I also understand  people's critique that it's overwritten. Many, if not most, of the sentences are beautiful... but there are some sticky, saccharine clunkers every now and again. I'm looking forward to the second half of the book, because I've heard that there's a big twist when the book transitions to Mathilde's perspective.

What to say about The Third Generation? It hasn't been my favorite read of the year. It's a thinly-veiled autobiography, a fictionalized retelling of Himes's early life and his love/hate relationship with his parents. Perhaps I will write more about it next week, after I've finished the book. I'm two-thirds of the way through right now, though, and at this point I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. 

I'm listening to: Ray Brown, John Clayton, and Christian McBride's "Poppa Was a Rolling Stone." My dad has Sirius satellite radio in his car, and as I was driving home from the airport on Friday morning this song came on the Classic Jazz station. It was a perfect accompaniment to the sunrise.

I'm watching: Queer Eye on Netflix. Oh my goodness, I've cried during every episode! I started watching it for the design, fashion, and grooming segments, and ended up binge-watching six episodes because the stories that unfurled during the makeovers were touching and profound. I didn't expect to find such an interesting portrayal of contemporary masculinity and identity politics, but they manage to cover a lot of ground by making over men of different backgrounds, ages, and even sexualities. 

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