A few reads and recommendations for the end of the year. Weekend Reads will resume in 2024 and I look forward to connecting with you! And if you have any recommendations on what to watch, read, hear, or see do share in the comments. I think many of us have a bit more time over the holidays to decompress and maybe get in a book or movie and your favorite may be just what another Wardrobe Oxygen reader needs!
Jezebel is back! (Jezebel)
The dressing-room encounter that made me get real about aging. (Washington Post – gift article)
Sinéad O'Connor Helped Me Find My Voice. (Oldster)
You're fatphobic, okay? (Medium)
Do elephants have souls? (The New Atlantis)
Tara Reid feels the love (Bustle)
Confessions of a wedding planner. (The Atlantic – gift article)
Flashes, shimmers and blind spots: Here’s what migraine aura looks like. (Washington Post – gift article)
What We Watched: A Netflix Engagement Report. (Netflix)
The Fate of Your Holiday-Season Returns. (The Atlantic – gift article)
Baltimore’s long-shot push for America’s first Black saint (The Baltimore Banner)
And it's Girl Scout cookie season! My daughter is a Girl Scout Senior and is selling cookies. This past year she earned her Silver Award; she and two other scouts in her troop revitalized a local little food pantry and created a program to keep it full through the year. This year she will be a delagate at the Girl Scout Annual Meeting and will soon be starting on her Gold Award. Your cookie orders support her troop activities as well as activities that support our community! You can order cookies to be mailed to your home at this link.
Leave the World Behind
I was sick earlier this week which gave me plenty of time to lie on the couch or the carpet bundled up, watching TV and I finally got around to watching, Leave the World Behind, a new film on Netflix based on the novel by Rumaan Alam. Starring Mahershala Ali, Julia Roberts, Ethan Hawke, and Myha'la, this is a story of what happens when life as we know it ends.
I went into this movie knowing little other than it was about some sort of “end of days” sort of situation, and a lot of folks were angry about the ending, and those who read the book said the film was surprisingly better. And I don't want to add any more than that to any of you who haven't yet seen it. Because I think I enjoyed this film because I went in not knowing much.
And I really did enjoy it. It is not a cheery topic, there is no pretty bow that ties up the story, but the acting is phenomnal, the concept is scarily realistic and possible, and this film has sparked so many discussions with my husband and friends who also watched this film. I personally liked the end, and wouldn't desire anything further but I'd love to read your thoughts!
And in case you also wanted to see more of the home where the movie takes place:
- This Home’s Unique Shape Is Designed to Capture Sunlight (Dwell)
- The Open Corner (The Up Studio)
- Leave the World Behind’s Apocalyptic Airbnb: A modern farmhouse in Old Westbury was just what the design team wanted for civilizational collapse. (Curbed)
I also had a chance to see Nyad, another film on Netflix. Starring Annette Benning and Jodie Foster, Nyad tells the story of swimmer Diana Nyad and how at age 60, after 30 years of not swimming, she successfuly swims from Cuba to Key West. The cast is phenomenal, I hope they win some awards for this film.
Diana Nyad is remarkable, but no one is going to describe her as likable. There are parts of the film that seem to drag, but just when you're getting exhausted of all the time of her in the water, it ramps up and the ending may leave you with tears. No matter what you think of Diana Nyad, what she did was effing badass and proof that age is but a number and the mind is the most powerful muscle in the body.
Benning and Foster were awesome, and I am always rooting for older actresses in roles of power and depth. These actresses brought it. I couldn't take my eyes off Benning, in stretched out t-shirts and messy hair, sunburned face with a google tan, played a strong, complicated, troubled, and proud woman. And Foster, oh just seeing her on the screen made me smile. She played Bonnie with such strength and warmth with such ease, it was beautiful to see. It's worth seeing Nyad just to see these amazing actors prove there is no expiration date on powerful women in film or in sports.
A Man in Full
A few weeks ago, I came home from the office and caught the end of a documentary K was watching about the author Tom Wolfe (Radical Wolfe on Netflix). I know who Tom Wolfe is; pretty much anyone Gen X and older knows Tom Wolfe, as well as many millennials, if just for his iconic white suits. Several of us may have read or seen Bonfire of the Vanities or The Right Stuff. But as someone whose English Lit major focused on contemporary women's literature, I didn't read any of Wolfe's. But this doc made me feel I should.
I need to go in person to renew my library card. My library is walking distance from my home, my morning walks occasionally pass right by it, yet I haven't gotten around to being there during business hours so my Libby is limited to what is available from the Maryland Digital Library. Tom Wolfe's A Man in Full, his second novel, which takes place in Atlanta, Georgia, in the '90s, was available in audiobook form.
I have listened to 25 hours and still have 10 hours to go. I just renewed my loan and plan to finish it before the year is through. I thought I would hate this, especially the almost robotic narration by Michael Prichard, but I can't stop thinking about this book and how it's almost an anthropological look at men and the patriarchy. And I think that is why I can't stop reading it.
The narrator, with his robotic, 20th-century newscaster voice, makes all of the Black pop culture references sound like jokes, especially since Wolfe, in creating fictional songs, hip-hop artists, and fashion, makes it all seem as though he, as the author, found it ridiculous and juvenile. I find myself disconnecting from the book each time a chapter focuses on the characters of color because they sound so problematic. I wonder if I would find it problematic if I were reading instead of listening. But I keep going, and I am engrossed. I can't believe this 35-hour book has me committed more than any previous audiobook I've listened to this year.
A Man in Full is not escapism, and the book is not without problems, but as a woman, it almost feels like research on how to understand better the men in this world who are so confoundingly aligned to an existence that benefits no one, especially themselves, for fear of looking small or weak or… human.
While looking for a graphic for this review, I learned that David E. Kelley and Regina King are producing a six-part series for Netflix based on this novel. (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
For Your Entertainment
Descartes a Kant is an avant-garde rock band from Guadalajara, Mexico, whose first album was released in 2007. The band's name came from a philosophy book that contains a chapter titled “From Descartes to Kant” whose opposing philosophical works framed the beginning of the modern era. They found it an analogy to the contrasts to the musical styles of their group. Descartes a Kant released their first album in the U.S. in 2017 and has opened for artists such as Sonic Youth and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
Descartes a Kant fuses elements of punk, metal, shoegaze, noise, and cabaret into their music. Their live shows are supposedly highly theatrical and unpredictable, often featuring elaborate costumes and choreography. Unfortunately, the only show scheduled for 2024 is on Slovakia, but I will be looking to see when they come to the U.S. to experience them live.