I’ve leaned heavily on all sorts of art mediums during the last few months. Because self-care takes many different forms, mine includes spending some time ingesting things that aren’t ALWAYS informative, but they can be. With some pure “fluff” thrown in for good measure.
Here are some of my indulgences from the last few weeks/months:
Everyone is all abuzz about the new Taylpr Swift album, “folklore”. I’ve been through more than half the album and it really does have some unique and interesting elements. I was most interested to hear her collaboration with Bon Iver, and it absolutely did not disappoint.
However, I’m still in “Lover” mode when I am in a Swiftie frame of mind right now. There is so much feel-good music on this album that it is a go-to when I’m feeling particularly blah.
I’m 38 and I like Tay Tay, okay? I also have a 16 year old daughter influencing my music right now, but I have mad respect for Swift and her ability to continually reinvent herself – one of the hallmarks of any artist with staying power.
There have been a lot of musical artists over the years that I didn’t love in their heyday and came to appreciate in later years. Swift is no exception. Her transformation and transition into pop music has drawn me in slowly over time. She really is a brilliant songwriter – clever, soulful, deep.
In short, I am not ashamed of being a Taylor Swift fan.
I have shared my previous three selections here on the blog, but right now I’m in the middle of two vastly different stories.
On audio, I’m listening to a recommendation from a friend:
When I found out Reese Witherspoon had acquired the rights to this one, I knew it would be good, in addition to trusting the recommendation from my friend.
Look, it’s not going to go down as classic fiction or anything, but for me, so far (I’m about 40% through it), this has been the quintessential summer book. It’s easy to follow, the characters aren’t super deep, and it’s about a huge con being played out on a wealthy couple.
You can’t take a book like this too seriously. It is sheer entertainment and fluff. And, quite honestly, I need both at times. It’s just suspenseful enough that, at 8 chapters in, I texted my friend praising it saying, “I’m already wondering, ‘What is this crazy b*tch going to do next?!”
On the flip side of this genre, is a dark and chilling read that I’ve been putting off for years. I actually downloaded it, thinking it was also audio, but it is only available as an e-book on Google, so I finally dove in this week:
I have never read this series or seen any of the movies. It’s pop culture references are iconic, and I’m definitely starting to understand why.
The second chapter explained the famous “horse head” incident and, let me just say, I was hooked from that moment.
I was a little afraid, in the beginning, it was going to be difficult to keep all the characters straight. But, as it turns out no worries were warranted.
When I was a kid, I could tune out every single distraction when I was reading, to the point that I didn’t even notice my own name being said. I don’t have that ability much these days, but when I can sit in the den while my husband watches television and not become distracted from my pages, I know I’ve hit literary gold.
Such is the case here.
These books and films were also some of my late grandfather’s favorites. He typically gravitated toward westerns – Louis L’Amour and John Wayne. For him to deviate from his usual preferences should have been an indicator to start the books sooner, but no matter. I’m starting them now. I just wish I could discuss them with him because that is something he and I never shared like I do with my still living grandmother – conversation over great books.
I have about 100 pages left in the first novel and I have a feeling the biggest shockers are left to come.
When I need an audiobook break or I’m just feeling the need for something different, I switch to podcasts during my commute.
Office Ladies is fun. Period. And I’ve learned so much about the background of one of television’s most popular and iconic series.
Listening to these two hosts and their guests that have included costars, writers and directors from the show, I have come to understand just how unique this series was for it’s time. How brilliant the minds behind it.
It’s like spending time with friends: relaxing, fun, and stress-free. If you’re a fan of The Office, it’s a must listen-to.
This podcast was recommended to me by my sweet cousin, Katie. The hosts, writers for various well-known publications, take a different event or cultural phenomenon from previous years and revisit what has been lost about the truth and facts behind it.
I have learned a lot from listening to this particular podcast, and I always love the humor and earnestness with which each episode is approached. Plenty of sarcasm and snark also, which is a plus when dealing with some of these topics that people have gotten so high and mighty about over the years.
It’s never too late to learn something you didn’t know.
Which leads me to:
My husband doesn’t recommend things for me to watch very often, so when he does, I pay attention.
A few weeks ago, we watched the 3 episode documentary on Ulysses S. Grant which aired on the History Channel.
I. Loved it.
All I’d ever heard growing up was that General Grant was a drunkard.
That was the extent of my “knowledge” about the man.
But these accounts were from people that are still pretty pissed that my section of the country lost the Civil War, so….
History has been spun so much since the War between the States, especially in the south.
My home state of Mississippi just in the last few weeks has stopped flying it’s state flag, the last in the country to bear the stars and bars of the Confederate battle flag.
I was elated at this decision by our legislators.
It seemed like a good time to open my eyes further and learn about some of the individuals in the Civil War that I knew nothing about.
Grant was a man. A flawed human being, just like everyone else in either a blue or grey uniform at that time. But he was a brilliant military mind, at the very least. I learned SO much from this series and enjoyed it, thoroughly.
Once we finished the documentary, we are now viewing the first of this series to air:
My husband has seen this one already, but agreed to rewatch it with me since I enjoyed the one about Grant so much.
All I can say is, “Wow.”
It ain’t all wooden teeth and Father of our Country, Martha! So much background info. This is also proving to be a fantastic series that I look forward to finishing.
When I’m invested in a series for pure entertainment value, these have been my picks of late…
I have had a fascination with the royal family since I was a little girl and fell in love with Princess Diana.
This series is so beautifully written and so much of it is taken from history, it is simply a delight to watch.
The first two seasons were my favorites, set when Elizabeth began her reign. Watching Matt Smith in his role as the Duke of Edinburgh was also a motivating factor because I love the man. His Doctor (Doctor Who) will forever be my favorite but I was excited to see what he brought to a role like this and he didn’t disappoint.
I’m almost through with the available episodes and anxiously await the release of the 4th season.
Finally, what I thought would be pure entertainment turned out to wreck me…
A limited series run on Amazon, Fleabag is raunchy, hilarious, and heartbreaking.
The cast is perfection.
But the writing? My god, the writing is beyond good. It is excellent.
This series is the very definition of “raw”. About relationships. Grief. Family. Sex. And just the experience of being a complicated human being.
I binged this series (only 2 seasons) quickly, but it left it’s mark on me, for sure.
So there you have it. My mix of informative and fluff, entertaining and educational experiences of the last few weeks and months that have kept me from losing my sanity and given me hours of immersion in other realities or my own imagination.
Would love to hear about yours in the comments.