Not really. Just Marcus Samuelsson, whose life experiences are similar to mine in the strangest and simplest of ways. I’ll be writing a formal review when I actually finish the book (46% currently; thanks for the ARC, NetGalley!), but since I have a feeling that review could quickly turn into just an ode to reading, I’ll do that now.
Reading is amazing when all of a sudden you find yourself in a book. I’m taking a course on developing collections for children this summer, and the other day my professor asked if we had ever read a book that really deeply affected us in a significant, life-changing way, and I really couldn’t think of that. I’m sure there has been something–I also have this problem when I consider whether or not I have any mentors or role models, and because I don’t think of things in those terms, I say no, but really I do have people who fit those roles in my life–but I racked my brain and could not call up a thing. Continue reading
My parents have been visiting, and I’ve been taking three different classes, and a fourth starts on Tuesday, hence not writing or doing anything, really. Aside from being crazy stressed about things, I’m actually really enjoying summer. It’s pretty amazing to be in a part of the country where summer means you can actually go outside and do cutesy, twee things that previously I only knew to be possible in books and movies. I have walked around MIT’s campus and around the Charles; I’ve sat on a swan boat in the Public Gardens; I’ve been to Newport, RI; I know where all the good bookstores are now; I’ve been to Concord and learned about the Revolutionary War; etc etc.
I’ve spent a lot of time saying I don’t like it here, and I still don’t want to make my life in Boston. But all of a sudden I’m again more open to just about anything in my future, and I’m a lot more comfortable with the idea that I currently live here. It’s like I needed my parents to see me living here and being a grownup and being okay before I could believe it myself. Continue reading
Like any girl who grew up in America, and like any girl who has an older sister she worships, my musical taste has changed, refined, and solidified as I’ve grown older. I had my middle school phase where I listened to anything that was on Top 40 radio, and there are still some things from the 1997-2003 time period that I will always love, defend, and unabashedly listen to, even if I know it’s absolutely terrible. And there are other things that are actually kind of underrated, like the fact that those manufactured pop groups like N Sync and Eden’s Crush were actually very well trained singers, just stuck in the bodies of fakely attractive people and forced to sing really terrible songs.
Anyway. My main genres when I was young were Motown, show tunes, jazz-pop standards, and pop-inflecting R&B. I could count on my sister getting me the latest Mariah Carey, Destiny’s Child, or Alicia Keys CD for each birthday and Chrismukkah. I listened to them extensively, and to this day, even in the age of iPods and playlists and listening to single songs and not albums, if I hear a song off of one of these ladies’ albums I know exactly which song should come next in the track listing.
But then I transferred from the very urban middle school I went to to private school, and then I discovered lots of other music, both that satisfied my ear and that spoke to the major angst I had. Also, it helped that liking music that my classmates liked helped me to fit in, since so much of the way I acted seemed not to do that for me. Continue reading