The Reluctant Hometown Hero

The other day I watched Summer in Andalusia, an anime gem from 2003. It’s by studio Madhouse, but you would be forgiven for thinking it’s a Ghibli venture, since director Kitarou Kousaka worked on films like Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke. Nasu: Summer in Andalusia follows a Spanish cyclist, Pepe Benegeli, over one day in the Vuelta a España road…

My Favorite Books (this year)

Here are the books I read in 2021 that have stuck with me the most. They didn’t have to come out in 2021, just be read by me in 2021. Apollo’s Angels by Jennifer Homans Apollo’s Angels, by former dancer Jennifer Homans, is a dazzling achievement. It’s fascinating, comprehensive, and pretty much the only book of its kind. If you…

My Favorite Christmas Movies

I was working on a post about a character type I’m increasingly drawn to but I turned in a lot of grad school work and I’m tired, so this is something frothier. I am insanely, vertiginously into Christmas. I can’t even talk about how into Christmas I am. Like, all of it. There is nothing subversive or “a twist on”…

Bachelor Royale

A good friend of mine has taken it upon himself to consume all the death game media he can find. If it seems like there’s renewed enthusiasm for the genre, I’m sure it’s because of the Netflix smash hit Squid Game (which I have not seen yet). Despite some death game narratives becoming enormous hits, it’s still a niche. We…

Things I Just Read

My Body by Emily Ratajkowski When I went to buy Emily Ratajkowski’s essay collection My Body, Amazon autocompleted “Emily Ratajkowski book” in the search bar. The first result was the right one, but immediately underneath it was a possibly unlicensed 2022 calendar dedicated to the model, her name in bold letters barely covering her breasts. I think Ratajkowski would have…

Gift Guide Season

It’s November, which means I am already sad about how Christmas will be over. Ridiculous, maybe, but I think anticipatory sadness might be an essential part of the holiday experience. Christmas is my favorite time of year – very original I know! The first time I ever visited New York was in December. I was 11 and we stayed in…

The Brandy Melville website is so bad, and that’s good

We have killed a lot of words in the recent past: gaslighting, grooming, late capitalism, parasocial, liminal. Everything is liminal. Until I guess early 2020, I had never heard that word used very often except by my husband. Then liminality and liminal spaces were everywhere. It’s not hard to see the connection between the fixation and our moment in time.…

French Braids for the Soul

The first shot of the TV adaptation of Normal People is a french braid. It belongs to Marianne Sheridan, one of the two protagonists. I see this establishing shot as putting us in her perspective, entering her small town Irish high school as an outsider. But jeez, what an immaculate braid. Because of rewatching the show I have started wearing…

I went to the blog to live deliberately

For a year – I don’t know, years probably – I have felt addicted to and very depressed by Twitter. I’ve always told myself I should scale back or get off it entirely in the same way that I said I should really drink less when I was in New York. But I’m always depressed, there’s a pandemic, my husband…

The Burden of Dreams

In the first season of Babylon 5 Lieutenant Commander Susan Ivanova, a Russian Jew, is sitting Shiva for her recently deceased father. One of the memories she shares is that he was skeptical of space exploration, believing that humans needed to learn to exist peacefully on earth first. I was already more or less on board with the show, but…