joan didion

“it was the united states of america in the cold late spring of 1967, and the market was steady and the gnp high and a great many articulate people seemed to have a sense of high social purpose and it might have been a spring of brave hopes and national promise, but it was not, and more people had the uneasy apprehension that it was not.”—slouching towards bethelhem

image via @joanaavillez

to read or to watch bravo?

i watch the real housewives of everything but recently got a little disenchanted when every single vignette showcased the ladies doing things to impress their mayn. like carlton constructing a sex stage in her basement, or yolanda gifting grammy award winning musician david foster a book of artful nudes, both of which i guess are totally fine things to do, but, when presented back to back, just made me question what the hell i was watching. and then made me think about something nell freudenberger said at a fiction workshop at the 92nd street y, which is that her editor at the new yorker urged her to write fiction just as compelling and juicy as the sopranos, because that’s what she’s competing against for readers’ attention. which then made me think about other ways to be entertained, and spurred this list of everything i want to read in the next few months, in no particular order.

after watching vanderpump rules to admire stassi, i started yiyun li’s kinder than solitude. i highlighted ignobleness, to remind myself to look it up, and this passage: “like a river taking a detour, time that had passed elsewhere had left the apartment and its occupants behind, their lives and deaths fossils of an inconsequential past.”

good reads new/old

read an early copy of meg wolitzer‘s latest, THE INTERESTINGS, out in april. lots to love about it. 1. some of it takes place at a summer arts camp in ’70s new england. 2. some of it takes place in wealthy new york city of the ’80s and ’90s. 3. has a lifelong love story, of sorts. 4. deals with issues of talent, potential and class. ie addresses everything i care about in this world.

am a solid nine years tardy to the party on adrian nicole leblanc‘s RANDOM FAMILY, out in…2004. which deals with oh, absolutely everything (sex, drugs, class, place, race, prison, food, children, boyfriends, clothes, justice system) in crisp, neutral prose that still manages to be absolutely captivating.