Okay I know I know you didn’t deserve that pun but then again I didn’t deserve witnessing snow in mid-October, so! I mean, it didn’t stick, but honestly what the hell.
Anyways, before I get into the books, I wanted to share some breaking news, which is that I went to see the movie Alien  last night and, hot take: it’s a good movie! 10/10 recommend!
Lot – Bryan Washington
If you’re not sure if you like short stories but you do love narrative propelled by strong imagery you should definitely read this book. You should probably read this book anyway, as it’s an excellent debut story collection that tenderly celebrates the city of Houston (Washington’s home) while exploring the challenges of gentrification, natural disaster, and racism that the city struggles with. The stories alternate between the continuing narrative of one particular character and a variety of other characters (or, in a few incredibly skillful stories, the point of view of an entire pick up baseball team and neighborhood). These stories carry you along so smoothly that it’s extra-delightful when a particular image or turn of phrase stops you in your tracks. In an ideal world I would have taken either a little more time with this book or read it in one sitting; unfortunately I wasn’t able to do either, but at least that means I can verify it’s still great outside of those ~ideal circumstances~.
Lord Dashwood Missed Out – Tessa Dare
One bed! One bed! This book has one bed!!!
“One bed” is a trope beloved among readers of romance novels and watchers of rom-coms, and this short and sweet novella basically revolves around it. I read it in two quick sittings (I think it literally clocks in at about 100 pages) and would have read much more of it. Print romance novellas are a bit hard to come by, as a lot of the romance genre has shifted to e-reader exclusive, which I think is great in general for the world and annoying for me personally because they make my eyes hurt. So I was particularly delighted to find this quick jaunt by an author I’m already coming to adore, about a lady writer who finds herself thrown together with the man she wrote a fiery screed in response to his scorning. There are a lot of interstitials with characters from one of Dare’s other series, which I probably would have enjoyed more if I’d already read those books, but they were charming nonetheless.
Old In Art School: A Memoir of Starting Over – Nell Painter
After a long and prestigious academic career as a historian, this memoir starts when Painter decides to follow a long-held passion and pursue art. She begins with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and continues into a graduate degree, grappling with her own internal tension between ‘academic’ and ‘artist,’ her simultaneous enthusiasm over growing technical skills and frustration with the many conflicting messages she gets about technique and meaning, and the ways in which her identity as a Black woman in her 60s frequently separates her both from her classmates and the artworld as a whole. I really really enjoyed it; the book is informative and soothing and funny and reflective about craft and the many joys and difficulties of being passionate about making art.
This is one of those books that has been on my ‘to read’ list for so long that I honestly don’t remember how it got there, but it turned out to be exactly what I needed to read write now. I would imagine it might be even richer if you’re a person who knows anything about art (or better yet any sort of visual artistic skill yourself, which even the most cursory glance at this blog will tell you I don’t), but Painter excellently pitches it in a way that an engaged reader can easily understand (or look up) what they need to.
Okay that’s all for now! See you hopefully next week but more likely the week after that!