The Week of Passover and Palm Trees

I flew back from Florida late last night, and unsurprisingly it is not as warm here in Pittsburgh. That's the only stain on what has otherwise been a banner week:

  • I launched Brisket...
  • Lady Parts met its crowdfunding goal and got the green light...
  • Swamp Head Brewery celebrated it's 10 year anniversary...
  • I finally met Rose, the five-month-old daughter of one of my oldest friends...
  • I spent Passover, a socially and ethically meaningful (if culinarily unenjoyable) holiday with my parents, sister, husband, and old family friends.
April 7, 2017

April 7, 2017

This all felt even more significant because yesterday marked one year since the day I officially handed over my dissertation and was certified for graduation. So in the midst of these celebrations of new endeavors and commemorations of past struggles, I spent a lot of time this week reflecting. 

This year was one of unparalleled growth. I have endlessly surprised myself by going after opportunities, experimenting with business ideas, and being open to new people. It's a bit mind- boggling to realize that I have 15 new friends and colleagues who I regularly turn to for advice and inspiration, all acquaintances I made since finishing my PhD. Moreover, since unburying myself from what can only be described as the "blah" of graduate school, I feel like my relationships with old friends and with my family have deepened. It's this connection and community that has made this year the best of my life, and out of all that I've accomplished this year it's what makes me proudest. So I have to thank you all for your trust in me as a friend and as a colleague.

Another really great development in my life since last April has been finding time to once again read fiction. Exactly one year ago today, I cracked open Nathan Hill's The Nix and lay in bed reading with a glass of wine. The books have changed over the past twelve months, but the venue and beverage have stayed fairly constant. 

April 8, 2017

April 8, 2017

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

I'm reading: more books at one time than I've ever read before. I'm still working my way through Adrienne Rich's On Lies, Secrets, and Silence: Selected Prose, currently enjoying her feminist reading of Jane Eyre. It's been about 15 years since I've read that classic, and I'm wondering if it's time for a second go at it. I'm also half way through a brand-new YA fantasy book by Nigerian-American author Tomi Adeyemi. Children of Blood and Bone is set in Orisha, a land where majis have been stripped of their magic by a king who was threatened by their power. It reminds me a lot of The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty, which I read earlier this year--but instead of being set in a world informed by Islam and by Arab culture, Orisha is clearly inspired by Afro-Brazilian religions and culture. So far I'm really liking it for its fast-paced plot and for the mellifluous Yoruba language that Adeyemi has incorporated into the story. 

I am also two chapters into I Hotel by Karen Tei Yamashita. This book has been on my to-read list since my husband's friend Adam Dalva reviewed it favorably on Goodreads. It's a novel that plays with form, which I generally like, and it's set in San Francisco during the Civil Rights struggles of the late 1960s and early 1970s. More updates on this one to follow.

Finally, I am also dipping in and out of Peniel Joseph's Waiting 'Til the Midnight Hour: A Narrative History of Black Power in America and Marie Kondo's The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. How's that for contrast? 

I'm listening to: another old favorite, Amadou and Mariam's Dimanche a Bamako, inspired by Children of Blood and Bone and Black Panther. 

I'm watching: The new season of HBO's Silicon Valley. I loved the first two seasons so much, but the third was meh. Last season recovered somewhat, and I'm hoping that season five is a return to form. The pilot delivered a handful of funny moments, but it remains to be seen whether the show can survive the exit of vulgar, narcissistic Erlich Bachmann. The pilot indicated that housemate Jian Yang will step in to fill the vacuum Bachmann left behind, which I think is a brilliant move (and I'm also looking forward to reading actor Jimmy O. Yang's new book How to American: An Immigrant's Guide to Disappointing Your Parents). 

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