Welcome to October, friends.
Anthony and I are making our way through his annual 31 Movies of Halloween; we started in September so I can participate. First up were the classics: Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon. I’m getting a horror film education and I love it.
I’m also perfecting my Halloween Party playlist on Spotify, even though our Halloween party will just be the two of us (and Ernest) eating candy and watching Michael Myers kill some people.
And, um, that’s all, I guess. Stay safe out there. Wear a mask. Vote. Smash the patriarchy. Stand up for Black lives.
Okay, I haven’t read this one yet, but I am SO STOKED to read another memoir about weird body taboos.
What I read
Intimations by Zadie Smith: If there was anyone I wanted a collection of pandemic essays from, it was absolutely Zadie Smith. These are lovely, visceral pieces of the time capsule of March 2020 in the United States.
Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson: I just want to know how Jacqueline Woodson manages to write so many books and every single one of them manages to punch me right in the gut. This one, about a family and its secrets, moving backward in forward in time, is absolutely stunning.
“Guess that’s where the tears came from, knowing that there’s so much in this great big world that you don’t have a single ounce of control over. Guess the sooner you learn that, the sooner you’ll have one less heartbreak in your life.”
― Jacqueline Woodson, Red at the Bone, 2019
Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky: These are the guys behind one of my favorite guides on how to make your phone less inviting and addicting. They cover that, of course, and also the ways to change your mindset about time and tasks and living better. It’s a good, quick listen for a pep talk.
The Redshirt by Corey Sobel: A lovely debut all about the hyper-masculinity of college football from the eyes of a gay redshirt freshman on the football team. I got to review this beaut for Foreword Reviews.
Just a little rainy art in my lovely town.
What I loved
The new Bright Eyes album, “Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was,” because of course they put a new album out during a pandemic. I also love this interview with Conor Oberst, where he says he falls asleep listening to Moby-Dick.
What I wrote
Did you know it’s not normal to blackout every time you drink? I didn’t! I’ve taken a break from drinking for a bit and have been reading books about alcoholism and recovery to keep me steady.
I’ve been really into a lot of these COVID-19 books, so I had to share them with the world. Pro tip: Don’t read Albert Camus’s The Plague right now. Read these instead.
I dug into so much cool poetry from the Suffrage Movement; my favorite is this pamphlet of nursery rhymes turned into feminist chants.
Ashley Holstrom is a book person, designing them for an indie publisher and writing about them for Book Riot and Foreword Reviews. She also wrote an essay for (Don't) Call Me Crazy, an anthology about mental illness.