*Image above via Del Pozo.
+I am *so* excited about Roxane Gay’s just-launched newsletter, The Audacity. If you’ve been around here for awhile, you know I am a huge fangirl of hers (one of her books changed my life). She is brilliant, thoughtful, clever, and observant in a way that reminds me of that quote from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: “to a great mind, nothing is little.” She could write about labyrinthine tax regulations or jigsaw puzzles (she has, actually, written about puzzles) and I would hang (and have hung!) on every word. I signed up for a paid subscription simply to support her but am of course eager to participate in her virtual book club. (So if you’re still hungry for something more appealing after my roundup of books to read right now, check hers out.)
+Um. Sarah Jessica Parker just announced a continuation of Sex and the City is coming to HBOMAX and I can’t. I can’t! Thank you, HBO, for giving the people what they want. We need this after the bleak start to 2021.
+My brother is teaching a literary theory course this semester and one of the first books on his syllabus is Bram Stoker’s Dracula. He mailed me a Broadview Edition copy that I’d marked up in graduate school and that he no doubt filched from my parent’s garage, an entire alcove of which houses boxes of neglected books from my studies, on some recent visit home. On the cover, in his familiarly tidy hand-writing: “Back in your hands again! Love ya, Tom.” Now I have to re-read it, of course, and jostle the rusted bits of my brain that used to think about things like “language/communication barrier — Tower of Babel” and “intercession of women” and “the rites of Catholicism” (all notes in the marginalia on page 35 of my copy, written in my own familiar, tidy hand-writing). I’m excited for the challenge.
+Do you remember I was idling over a bag strap for a little sherpa pouch from Alexander Wang that I own? I literally could not make up my mind and then found these much-less-expensive straps on Etsy (I got mine in color #5 because the bag is gray and I wear it with a red Canada Coat fairly often) and it felt like a much lower-stakes decision. It arrived and I am SO impressed with the quality! I think I will also order one of these in the baby blue or pale pink! I can’t find a sherpa pouch with strap loops like the one I have, but this sherpa crossbody would be darling gussied up with one of the bag straps I mentioned. And if you just want the flat pouch, look no further than this $29 steal!
+Did you watch Netflix’s “Bridgerton” series? Of course I did. It is lusty stuff (you’ve been warned, mom!), and I have found myself wondering over it as a future artifact or misrepresentation of fourth-wave feminism. At the end of the day (spoiler-ish alert), the show’s premise is that a man is controlling a woman’s desire to bear children. The key to resolving this stand-off? The female protagonist must take the time to learn about the man’s background, about why he is the way he is and how he has come to his position on this matter, and only then are they able to come to an agreement in her favor. (Hm.) I couldn’t help but wonder if the plot were configured in the inverse: the woman does not want to bear children, and the man does? What would the outcome then have been and what would be the implications? In some ways, the protagonist’s single-minded desire to bear children felt out of sync within the context of the show’s more progressive themes. (Then again, I realize the show takes place in Regency-era England and so there are some socio-historic aspects to contend with…but then again, the show made the interesting decision to re-write the racial history of the past many centuries, so it clearly had the imaginative wherewithal to re-draw the lines wherever it pleased. Because of this, I again return to the confusion over the plot premise!). There are other confusing moments along these lines, too — for example, the protagonist physically defends herself from a wanton villain despite the implied male hero’s arrival on the scene, and there is a fair amount of sex positivity in the show. Empowerment! Progress! But then again, there is the conflation of motherhood with fulfillment/success, the narrowness of focus on the marriage plot, the overblown, irritating, and titillating naïveté of the protagonist. All-in, a lot to digest. What say you, Magpies?
+My NYE dress is now marked down to $101 (orig $424). See it and other amazing Saloni statements on serious sale here.
+We just completed a really fun puzzle which for some reason is out of stock or marked up to like $50 on Amazon, Target, etc but that you can find on eBay (unopened!) here. It was fun because Emory owns many of the books displayed on it and really enjoyed working on it with us — because of the design (fairly easy to figure out pieces that go to each book cover), we were often able to hand her pieces for a specific book cover after working on some of the trim and she was capable of putting some of the puzzle together herself! I have really (!) enjoyed having a puzzle out for a few days of every month. It’s a lovely way to decompress while listening to an audiobook or just zoning out after a long day of parenting. I just ordered this puzzle to work on next (this one is also in my cart) — this brand is THE BEST. The pieces are much better-made and more interestingly-cut than most other name brands, and they do great reproductions of interesting artworks. They are also VERY difficult — like 5x as difficult as the 1,000 piece ones from Ravensburger, etc. (Also, I don’t know anything about this brand, but was drawn to the image!)
+The return of the tube sock! What a weird thing to be excited about, but wearing them over leggings really makes it much more pleasant to run in the low 20s. I found an Etsy shop that dyes Nike tube socks in cool colors. If you have small enough feet, these kids Nike socks have great retro-styling. And of course my Alos. They just came out with a pastel pink that I snagged as well!
+Currently reading Maggie O’Farrell’s Hamnet and it is delightful. It strikes me as profoundly truthful writing in the sense that (at least in the early bits of the book) O’Farrell really gets at what it feels like to be a young child, what it feels like to be feverish, what it feels like to be young and in love, etc. Currently listening to Barack Obama’s A Promised Land. The book is long (!) — I joked to Mr. Magpie that I feel like I’ve been listening to it for months now, which may actually be true (it is over 24 hours long, and when you listen to audiobooks in small 20-30 minutes increments…!) — but interesting, especially in the concise, sharp way he compresses complicated social, historical, and political narratives into easy-to-digest synopses. It’s been particularly useful in clarifying some of the international embroilments of recent decades and in framing the bitter and deep-rooted rivalry between political parties at the moment.
+New discoveries I am excited about at the moment:
OWLIVIA CHILDREN’S PAJAMAS — HAS ANYONE TRIED THESE BEFORE? SOME OF THE PRINTS ARE SUPER CUTE AND THE PRICE IS RIGHT!
NINA BLANC DETACHABLE COLLARS — OMG!!! J’ADORE
PRETTY VINTAGE ROYAL COPENHAGEN CUPS AND SAUCERS FOR MY AFTERNOON TEA ADDICTION
THIS DRESS OMG!!! CONTEMPLATING ORDERING IT FOR MY BIRTHDAY IN SIX MONTHS. PERFECT CELEBRATION DRESS!
ALL OF THE FUN CHIPPENDALE PIECES FROM THIS DAVID FRANCIS COLLECTION
SWEET GIFT FOR A NEW BABE (ALSO A GOOD COMING-HOME OUTFIT!)
P.S. It feels like a different lifetime that I wrote this post — so early into this pandemic. The piquant awareness of what we were “missing out on” has given way to a kind of plodding acquiescence to the way things are at the moment.
P.P.S. Great bath gear for little ones.