I’m having a California moment, to borrow a phrase (but more on that later). Or perhaps it is only a Spring moment.
Although the winters here are much less harsh than the ones at home (not as mild as you’re imagining, mind) I’m still feeling euphoric as the clouds have been swept away and the sunlight is dialling itself up (and up and up and up). The clocks sprang forward last weekend, which is always a nightmare for my body clock, but a dream for the coming months of longer evenings. Love a long day, me.
Another cause for good spirits is my birthday coming up on Sunday. Evan and I are taking a trip to Santa Barbara, where I studied abroad nine (NINE!) years ago, which makes me feel simultaneously ancient and sophisticated. It’s a stunningly beautiful place, and we’re planning on steaks and martinis, seafood and cocktails, walks by the beach, and generally stuffing our faces. You will notice that food takes up three out of four activities on that list. The weather is set to be glorious, and I can’t wait.
Meantime, enjoy these links and have a wonderful weekend.
INFRACTIONS & DISTRACTIONS
I happened to pick out 2 fun stories from Irish people this week, which I suppose is pretty fitting for St Patrick’s Day, so let’s put those first:
Politics have been characteristically crazy this week, but I had a good giggle at what happened when Amy O’Connor asked every TD in Ireland if they liked Beyoncé.
I also enjoyed Seamus O’Reilly’s Twitter thread about his dad, which starts on the subject on Rock, Paper, Scissors and goes somewhere else entirely.
Back in the Motherland, I’ve been absolutely rapt at this Guardian longread about Operation London Bridge: the secret plan for the days after the Queen’s death. There are many gems, but to top them all, “Some nations have a gift for ceremonial,” the Marquess of Salisbury wrote in 1860. “In England the case is exactly the reverse.”
Meet the woke misogynist by Nona Willis Aronowitz made me feel relieved that I’m not currently dating. She shares her experiences with men who seem to get it but definitely don’t. Weaponised solidarity is one hell of a minefield.
This week in downfalls: Thinx Promised a Feminist Utopia to Everyone But Its Employees. Ouch.
If you’re looking for your next read, check out the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction Longlist (The Lesser Bohemians was one of my favourite reads of 2016, and Mirror, Shoulder, Signal is at the top of my current wishlist) and the Wellcome Book Prize Shortlist (which includes The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss, another of my 2016 favourites).
Sorry for the delayed response. We can all relate.
(ALMOST) ON MY SHELF
I had a couple of books by Eve Babitz on my wishlist for the longest time, just waiting for a nudge from the right place at the right time to inspire me to purchase them. The first nudge came from herpickings, an Instagram blogger whose non-fiction reading tastes are eerily aligned with mine. She raved about Babitz’s books, so I dipped a toe in and bought Slow Days, Fast Company, which I thought was wonderful and effusive and messy – in a good way. I have a few reservations about the book overall, but loved her style, particularly because she’s portrayed as something of an It girl, but has some serious writing chops.
I’ve now had to place my order on her most well-known work, Eve’s Hollywood, which is somewhere between a novel and a memoir, after reading this sonorous piece from Larissa Phan in The Paris Review: Your Own Private Party. I can totally relate to having “a California period” – much of my early 20s were spent awaiting and then relishing in them.
It references a David Hockney view of California which, as well as being in contrast with my own The OC-led view on it, is a painting that Evan and I were admiring the other night. If I’d read this piece when I bookmarked it I’d have missed the reference. But anyway, I also didn’t expect to relate to this gem of a passage:
Lately, the passage of a day alone leaves me bruised. There’s simply too much of everything in the world. I feel as thin-skinned as a plum: quick to abrade and quick to bleed. To fight the feeling I’ve found myself living as though the world might end at any moment – perhaps it may — and I’ve found company in fellow party girl Eve Babitz, who understands that joy really only feels like joy because there’s so much around it that isn’t.
What’s on your nightstand?
TIL NEXT WEEK…
Your turn! Read anything good this week? Hit reply or tweet me, won’t you?
Have a lovely weekend!