LISTENING

I’ve started Chinese New Year Break, so I haven’t been doing much new music. The week before I left on holiday, I downloaded the entire Marine Girls discography into a Spotify playlist and listened to it almost exclusively one day in Okinawa. I first heard about the Marine Girls through Expressway to Yr Skull. The Marine Girls were a minimalist (guitar, bass, vox, the lightest percussion) post-punk band from England in the 80s. They have some really good songs and a really good vibe. Kurt Cobain names their album Beach Party (the other one is Lazy Waves) one of his favorite 50 albums. Even though the music is over 30 years old, it feels like something I could find in an alternative music venue. But then it also sounds older than the 80s. Like it could be from the 60s. It’s another one of the bands that I would pick to build the soundtrack of a Wes Anderson movie. I suppose that means Marine Girls sounds timeless.

Anyway, something about the melancholy of the minimalism made it seem like the perfect soundtrack to a rainy, gray, overcast day in Okinawa.

Fave track:Honey.” A sweet sounding song that upon first listen thought was just your typical love song. But with lyrics like “I’ll love him every day, or at least until this feeling goes away” and “I’ll love him forever, or until I find another boy,” “Honey” proves to be much more interesting and complex, while still sounding awesome.

WATCHING

Been on holiday traveling so haven’t watched anything. But excited to get back to Taiwan and watch Netflix now that my VPN provider has comp’d me a stronger package after I complained about not being able to watch Netflix!

READING

I do my best reading when I’m traveling. I downright devoured Forsworn: The Last Oracle (Book 2) by Emily Wibberley (my friend and fellow Princeton Class of 2014 alumna). It’s YA (young adult fiction) and I haven’t read much YA so I don’t know if my comparison is apt, but it feels a lot different than the other YA I’ve read. I can’t quite place my finger on it… it feels way more feminist, which I appreciate. There is a love angle, and people withholding their true emotions, which gets annoying at times, but the mysteries and action kept me up late finishing it. Check it out (Book 1 first or else you won’t really know what’s going on!) if you’re into YA. Quick read and thoroughly entertaining.

I also started reading Toni Morrison‘s Beloved. I was supposed to read this book junior year of high school. But it was assigned to be read after the AP test. So you know no one read it. Our teacher even acknowledged that he didn’t expect us to read it, so if we wanted a college rec from him, we had to read it and do a good job on our report. Otherwise he didn’t care. It didn’t affect our grade.

Honestly that sucks because I think of all the books on the syllabus that year, Beloved was the only one written by a POC (person of color) and the second one written by a woman (we read Kate Chopin’s The Awakening at the beginning of the year and I found it… awakening). I’m pretty sure all the other novels we read that year were written by white, straight, cisgendered men. They were great books (Faulkner’s Light in August, Auster’s Oracle Night, Maclean’s Young Men and Fire). But I’m just saying, would’ve been nice to through a different voice into the mix. The best soups have more than one ingredient.

Also Toni Morrison won a NOBEL PRIZE and is a professor at PRINCETON UNIVERSITY. (Look at that, both my books this week were by Princetonians).

Anyway, I like Beloved so far. It took me a while to slip into Morrison’s prose. It feels like sentences can sometimes move between time and space. Perspective shifts withoit warning. It’s disorienting, but worth it for the atmosphere it creates in your mind. Just takes some getting used to. And the metaphors. So many beautiful metaphors: “Rainwater held on to pine needles for dear life and Beloved could not take her eyes off Sethe.”

What shocks me most is that it really is a ghost story. A magical realism story set in the American antebellum / reconstruction era. Check it out.

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