The Week of Winter Weather

I took off two glorious weeks for the holidays, and spent the time reading, knitting, and cleaning what had become a very dirty house. I got back to work last Wednesday feeling organized and, if not energized, mentally fresh. Starting back to work mid-week was disorienting, however, and so although I should have written this post yesterday it did not really feel like the weekend. I just kept working through Saturday and Sunday. So here we are on a snowy Monday morning and I'm catching up on my weekend tasks.


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

I'm reading: The Yid, by Paul Goldberg. The caper at the center of this novel takes place in the days before Stalin planned to purge the Soviet Union of Jews, and it brings together an unlikely cast of an old Jewish actor in the Yiddish theater of Moscow, an aging Jewish physician, and a middle-aged black American ex-pat engineer who also happens to speak Yiddish. I'm enjoying it for its twist on the story of Black-Jewish solidarity, fresh for its setting in the USSR in the 1950s instead of in the USA during WWII or the Civil Rights Movement. That said, I feel like I should have reread King Lear before delving into this novel; I remember absolutely nothing of that play, and I am probably missing significant or humorous references. 

I'm listening to: St. Vincent's new album, MASSEDUCTION. I'm going to see St. Vincent in concert tomorrow night with friends, an experience which I am greatly looking forward to because I have heard she puts on a memorable live show.

I'm watching: A new season of the Netflix original show Ultimate Beastmaster was just released for the pleasure of the viewing public. I watched the first season the weekend after handing in my dissertation; it was the least intellectually-demanding TV programming that I could find. Ultimate Beastmaster can be summed up as an international version of American Ninja Warrior. It's an epic obstacle course competition pitting contestants from six countries against one another for the title of--you guessed it--Ultimate Beastmaster. The cons: the rampant nationalism of the commentators and contestants, including inadvertently racist comments by the Chinese commentator. The course also clearly favors men (and particularly male rock climbers). The pros: who doesn't want to watch displays of human feats of strength? The show brings the adrenaline, yet you can pay zero attention and still keep track of what is going on. 

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