Many bloggers do a regular “Currently” series to share what they have been reading, watching, doing, thinking... Let’s try it!
Just like last year, I pledged to read forty books in 2019. We’re less than two weeks in and I have already finished three: one that I think I’ve read before (The Piano Shop on the Left Bank — It wasn’t too memorable the second time around either), one that was more of a workbook and not terribly innovative (The Curated Closet), and one that was overhyped, predictable advice from a self-absorbed, preachy cheerleader (Girl, Wash Your Face).
I used to read one book at a time, but since rediscovering my public library and its digital collection, I put holds on several of the books on my To Read list and I never know when they will become available. Sometimes, like right now, I have to juggle several books at once — what a wonderful problem to have! Here’s my current stack:
The Baker’s Secret - Yes, I know, another historical fiction set in WWII France with a female protagonist, but that’s kind of my thing (The Nightingale, All the Light We Cannot See, The Alice Network …)
Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris because I am a life-long student of the French art of living well.
We just finished season 2 of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon Prime. The dialogue is so fast-paced and witty — just what you’d expect from Amy Sherman-Palladino, the creator of Gilmore Girls (which I confess is one of my guilty pleasures). The costumes and sets epitomize New York in the late 1950’s: Upper West Side apartments, gritty Greenwich Village clubs, department store make-up counters, full skirts, great hats and shoes and purses, and even a summer holiday in the Catskills (it’s Dirty Dancing redux and Midge is Baby)! I’ve loved Midge’s style since the first episode, but this season, my eye has been on Rose, especially in — *spoiler alert! — the Paris scenes! It’s been a long time since a show has captivated me like this one. I can’t wait for season 3.
While we wait for more Mrs. Maisel, Eric and I have been searching for another new(-to-us) series to binge. Last week, we finally landed on The Americans. This show is set in Washington DC in the 1980’s. Philip and Elisabeth Jennings are KGB spies masquerading as typical suburban parents/travel agents who just happen to live across the street from an FBI agent. We do seem to gravitate toward 20th Century period pieces, don’t we? Is it wrong to be a little nostalgic for the Cold War? Now before you get all political, I’m simply stating that spy dramas were so much more intriguing when we feared the Soviets. Let’s face it, James Bond movies really haven’t been the same since. I have to say that I could do without the gratuitous bedroom and torture scenes though.
OK, yes, I did watch the new Netflix series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, and, if you know me, that shouldn’t be a surprise. I read Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, a couple of years ago. Rather than transforming my life, it was really more of a validation of what I already do. I am definitely not a sentimental saver. I do believe in a place for everything and everything in it’s place. I really love having a capsule wardrobe…BUT I’m not Zen enough to thank my unwanted clothes for their service and I know that not everything in my house truly “sparks joy.” Some things are just necessary. As with most books, I don’t think that the KonMari method translates well on screen. Marie, who relies heavily on a translator, is a cross between a pixie fairy godmother and a Stepford wife. The families on the show were also a set of archetypes — empty nesters, burned out millennials, a widow, newlyweds, etc., and some of their comments really bugged me: “When I’m mad at my husband, I go shopping. I like to hit him where it hurts — in the pocketbook.” and “It’s my fault that our apartment is a mess. I’m the mom. I should be able to do it all.” Eek! I think my life will be tidier without this show.
After a month of Christmas music, we immediately turned to our old friend, Jimmy Buffett. Songs about summer, sailing, and boat drinks are the perfect antidote to a post-holiday malaise.
Movies have also influenced my music selection recently:
I have been on an ABBA kick since seeing Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again. Eric is not a fan, but I think ABBA (Aha, Ace of Base, Roxette…) is in my Scandinavian DNA.
And when in doubt, it’s always cool jazz — George Winston’s Linus and Lucy or Vince Guaraldi Radio on Pandora.
I guess since I’m confessing all of my guilty pleasures in this post, I’ll admit that I loved listening to Shaun Cassidy on Pat Francis’ Rock Solid podcast. Is it weird that the 10-year-old girl in me swooned over the music of her childhood while the 51-year-old woman felt oddly proud of how intelligent, thoughtful, and authentic Shaun Cassidy has become? Anyhoo… I know I’m late to the party, but I think I’m finally getting into podcasts. Do you have any suggestions?
PLANNING: Another trip to Paris in February! In 2017, I went alone and did just want I wanted for seven glorious days. In 2018, I shared the trip with a fellow movie-loving, book-devouring, francophile who reveled in my cinema and literary tours and immediately fell madly in love with the City of Light. This year, I’m traveling with Eric’s mom and her best friend who are both discovering Paris for the first time. It is such a fun challenge to plan for travelers with different interests while satisfying my own need to reconnect with the Paris that I know and love. I seriously think I might like to do more of this — customized tours for women, couples, art lovers, book lovers, movie lovers…pourquoi pas?!