Sunday, February 19, 2017

My Reading Life

I'm still reading The Case for G-d by Karen Armstrong. It's enjoyable, but takes time to grok. I read A History of G-d in similar fashion several years ago. Appropriately for the times, she's creating an "alternate" history of G-d, choosing to focus on traditions of mysticism and spirituality, and elucidating the original meanings of "faith" and "belief," which she claims had less to do with literal belief than trust in the disembodied divinity of within and without. It makes a lot of sense to me, but it is certainly not something one can understand without thinking about--or with thinking about :-P

I finished The Magicians audiobook, just in time for season 2 of The Magicians. I love how the show plays with the events/characters of the book while managing to keep perfectly in tone. Lev Grossman is a creative consultant on the show, so that makes sense. The last episode...!!! I was flabbergasted by the last episode of season 1, since, despite the changes, I saw the plot going in a similar direction. Turns out I was right, sadly, it just took till season 2.The Magicians was a reread for me, but it's been some years, so it was nice to pick up on things I'd forgotten, like Josh's existence (he's not in the TV show) and the labyrinth leading up to the book's climax. I'd mainly remembered the book as "ruining" Harry Potter and Narnia, but it also parodies D&D in the labyrinth scene. Also, some of the funniest lines in the show ("That's basic Prime Directive!) were straight out of the book.


I've never read the later two Magicians books, but I'm motivated to read them now because of the TV show. While my first reading intrigued me, it also upset me on a deep level. Harry Potter and Narnia were integral to my childhood and what I viewed as their "corruption," plus Quentin's depression, were overwhelming. Now, I'm older and have more distance from that, and I just seem to be able to look at it from a different lens. Maybe audio makes it easier too. Just hope everyone else at the library doesn't have the same plans. I saw the third audiobook available this past week, but not the second. I got the Revenge Wears Prada audiobook as a holdover. Already not as good as the original, but it's interesting to see where the characters' lives went.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Magazine Reading and What I've Been Up To

This year, I decided to get a subscription to The Economist. It felt  important to me this year especially to stay on top of national and international events (although things have been happening faster than I could have anticipated...). In the past, keeping up with a weekly subscription has been too much for me, but I got the idea from Gretchen Rubin's Better Than Before that "we manage what we monitor," so I created an Excel spreadsheet to track my magazine reading since I couldn't find any on the interwebs.

Also, I've previously used this blog to keep track of my reading, but now I prefer to use it to reflect on my reading (and life). Instead, I've (finally) joined Goodreads to track reading. I wish one could track magazine, article, short story etc. reading as well--does anyone know of a website/app for that? Let me know if you find one!

Anyway, I'm reading The Economist weekly now and I feel much better informed about the world--I keep telling my fiance--did you know there were prison riots in Brazil? Did you know that the president of Gambia was ousted?--and he's just like, yeah, because he's a news junkie and knows everything, but whatever. Obviously, though, the biggest story here is our own new regime. I do seriously feel like I'm living in a dystopian novel. So, here are the reasons I haven't been updating:

This is the baby we spent about 7 hours with at the march.
Other women helped the mom hold and change her.

  1. I've been marching. I was one of the at least half a million people who marched on Washington the day after the inauguration. It was amazing. I woke up at 3:30 am and got to the stage around 6 am. I ended up standing/walking for 12 hours, including an hour on a broken down Metro train (and overall I thought Metro did a fantastic job, it was just too much), and I don't regret one second. I would do it again. And probably will.
  2. I've been on vacation. Last weekend, the fiance and I took a much-needed weekend off--and came home to everyone rightfully protesting at the airports. I'm glad refugees, immigrants, and lawful residents are getting through again, but this is unacceptable. This is not about protecting our country. We should be welcoming people who have already been thoroughly vetted and waited years to legally come to our country. I wouldn't be here today if my family hadn't been accepted as refugees from Germany in 1939---NO HATE. NO FEAR. REFUGEES ARE WELCOME HERE.
  3. I've been sick. It started Tuesday evening, and I've been a mess since. Constant fever, sneezing, sore throat. The symptoms are finally starting to get better, but it also kind of keeps going back and forth. I apparently don't have the flu, just a nasty upper respiratory infection, but the constant fever is worrying me. 
Still reading The Case for G-d by Karen Armstrong, and kind of wish everyone would read it. If everyone just read this book, I feel like they would finally understand that the Bible was never meant to be taken literally, Islam is not terrorism, and everyone should really just take a chill pill on the whole religion thing (I'm talking atheists and evangelicals alike). Also, feeling connected to the roots of what I've always believed Judaism to be--about questioning the texts and faith, but not letting that sever your connection to rituals, practice, family, or community, and about kindness to others, overall.