57. No prior interest
What I’m up to
Our Philippines visit is coming to an end. We’ve done a lot, but honestly I don’t remember the last time I felt this rested. It’s been glorious!
We are flying back to Taiwan this Saturday at the crack of dawn. Then we’ll have 3 days of Covid quarantine, 11 days before Paul and I start work, and 23 days before school starts — but who’s counting?
What I’m reading
This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub. (I actually read this a couple of weeks ago during our Covid quarantine time, but I forgot to mention it here.) I read everything Emma Straub writes but don’t necessarily find her books particularly memorable. However, I really loved this one. She calls it a time-travel autobiography, a warm-hearted tribute to her father she wrote when he was seriously ill and she thought she’d lose him. Overall, it’s charming, poignant, and certainly memorable.
It’s taking me a long time to read Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead, but it’s not because it isn’t excellent. It’s just that all my downtime is devoted to playing with my nieces and watching Stranger Things.
If you’ve ever wondered how I decide what to read, I usually 1) put books on hold at the library as soon as I come across anything I want to read, 2) read books recommended by a handful of people I trust, or 3) pick up anything new by a favorite author. Even though I’m still working on Harlem Shuffle, I started Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin (a combination of all three of the above) because it just became available at my library. So far, so good.
What I’m thinking about
Stranger Things. Anna and I started watching from the very beginning two weeks ago, and we finished season four earlier this week. I had no prior interest in watching the show — monsters and a bunch of pre-teens? no, thank you. — but the season four hype finally got to me and I, of course, ended up loving it. I do not enjoy gore and horror elements but, like with Witcher, I found the relationships compelling and that kept me hooked.
I have really enjoyed depictions of father-daughter relationships in media lately. See: Hopper (NOT Brenner) and El, Geralt and Ciri, Emma Straub and her dad. I mean, I guess I can throw Love and Thunder in there, too, although I maintain the villain was the best part of that movie.
What I’m learning
We checked out Pinto Art Museum in Antipolo today on the way to visit the site where Paul’s great-uncle, a jeep driver in the US Army, was shot by Japanese soldiers in 1945.
Both the art (many of which make political statements about current and historical issues) and our discussions about WWII made me think again about collective memory and the Filipino burden of colonial oppression.
Several years ago, I started intentionally reading literature by Filipino authors. It was then I realized how edgy and anti-establishment so much of Filipino art is despite the dominance of conservative Roman Catholicism. At the museum, I was drawn to the pieces with religious references as well as pieces that layer historical subjects with disturbing elements like this one by Joven Mantis.
Anyway, the museum was incredible — I highly recommend checking it out.
What I’m doing
Attending a wedding via Zoom.
Stocking up on Sunnies Face lip products (highly recommend).
Soaking up our time with my brother’s family and my parents.
Still eating way too much.
What I’ve saved
I was first keyed in to the genius of Stranger Things captions by a fellow teacher in an AP Lit Facebook group, but I don’t think I would’ve missed it regardless. I adore the specificity and evocativeness of the captions. Here’s an interview with the caption writer and his editor. (Idea for a class activity next year: ask students to flex their vocab muscles by assigning them scenes to caption!) (Vulture)
I had never heard of Coffin Flop nor do I intend to ever watch it, but I stumbled upon this article after reading the one above, and it blew me away how much thought and intentionally goes into creative expression, no matter how inane. (Vulture)
This is a fun summer reading guide featuring paperbacks (i.e. backlist titles). (Fiction Matters)
Until next week,