in which I wrap up June
(1) Things which I have read and enjoyed.June has been a busy month and has featured a below average amount of reading (also, I’m still reading Proust at about a rate of a page a day - but he has been banned from being my Commute Book)
I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness - Austin Channing Brown. I picked this up after hearing a lot about it in the twittersphere and found it really helpful and challenging. Would definitely recommend.
The Leavers - Lisa Ko. This was London Book Club’s June book and we loved it. It’s really rich story about immigration and integration, but it also doesn’t shy away from the painful realities of life, and tells it’s story from a number of angles which I really loved.
The Female Persuasion - Meg Wolitzer. Wolitzer’s previous book, The Interestings, is a huge fave of mine, so I tried to make sure I went into this realistic about the fact that this book was not going to be that book. I liked this a lot, but didn’t love it. I felt it suffered from including too many perspectives. I would rather have seen everything through Greer’s eyes, and felt the pain of her learning and growing as she dealt with her mispercepctions and misunderstandings more and more, and felt that hopping out to other people’s perspectives lessened the identification with the main voice. But I know other people who felt like the multiple viewpoints really worked.
The Sacred Enneagram - Christopher Heuertz. The Enneagram has been coming up more and more around my world, so I thought I’d read this to learn a little more about what it is and how people think it can help personal and spiritual growth. I liked it fine and found it useful, but also it definitely drank the Kool-Aid and there were times I just wanted to slap it upside it’s metaphorical head and tell it to stop being so damn moony about the enneagram.
(2) Things which I have watched and enjoyed I made it to the cinema just once in June, but it was to see Ocean’s Eight. Neither the writing nor the cinematography were quite as slick as Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s… films, and clearly the plot was complete gubbins - though absolutely LESS gubbins than both Ocean’s Twelve and Thirteen (I rewatched Twelve on a plane this month and truly, its plot is a thinner than wafer made of nonsense). But the cast, ohmigossssh the cast, I am positively aquiver with delight over them. The film was totally entertaining bobbins, which is exactly what I wanted, with super-cool ladies being awesome, which is always what I want, and also, can I just say, CATE BLANCHETT IN THIS FILM IS TO DIE FOR.
At the theatre I saw Macbeth which I thought was fine but not revelatory and confirmed to me that me and Rufus Norris probably don’t get along as an audience member - director combo, as we are now 0 for 3 on me being wowed by his stuff at the National. I also went to see Translations at the National, interestingly the first Brian Friel play I’d seen that wasnt a translation…, and I loved it. It was funny and earthy and wise and sad and very very real, and I am enjoying Ciaran Hinds getting into his Grumpy Old Man phase.
(3) Things which I wrote A short classical music starter, inspired by a month of mainlining BBC Young Musician of the Year and the upcoming Proms
(4) Two pieces from a Year of Wonder One reminder: Khachaturian’s Adagio from Spartacus is gorrrrgeous. One new to me: Benjamin Britten’s Sally Gardens is a delight, and came in a month that had a lot of great stuff that was new to me, including Dowland’s Frog Galliard and Gibbons’ Silver Swan.
(5) A photo from the month gone by London was blazing in June. This is a shot from the last afternoon of the London Seafood Festival at Battersea Power Station.
(6) In the pile for July My bookclub book is Frankenstein, which, wildly, I’ve never read, and I’m also co-convening the London arm of Summer of Proust (join us on 18 July!), so I am continuing to work my way through Volume One of In Search of Lost Time. I mostly just really want to read Laurent Binet’s latest, The Seventh Function of Language.