Currently: December 2018

Hello, hello!

Long time, no see, dear friends! It’s been quite a while since I last checked in on this little site, but I hope you’ll forgive me. This fall semester was a doozy, and I feel like it’s only now – post-finals and post-holidays – that I’ve been able to catch my breath. Fortunately, my break lasts for a blissful few weeks, during which I’m looking forward to reading quite a few books, crafting up a storm, and catching up with my close friends from home. I’m hoping to blog a bit as well (I’ve missed it!), so to ease back into the swing of things, here’s a Currently post, summing up the little things I’ve enjoyed as of late.

Before that fun, tell me also: how has your December been? If you celebrate, did you have a nice Christmas? What have you been reading / watching / loving lately? I’m all ears.

The Favourite Movie 2018Watching: The Favourite | First, The Favourite lives up to its name: alongside Eighth Grade, it ranks as one of my favorite films of the year. Chronicling the relationship between Queen Anne, her advisor Lady Sarah, and newest employee Abigail, it’s dark comedy at its finest. Oliva Colman, Rachel Weisz, and Emma Stone are a trio for the ages, and though Lulu and I saw it last week, the last scene still has my mind whirling. The costumes and cinematography too are worthy of praise, immersing you fully in the world of early-1700s Great Britain. I imagine it’ll be in theatres through January, so there’s plenty of time to catch a viewing for yourself. Are there are any movies you hope to see this winter? (I have Roma on queue and If Beale Street Could Talk on my list!).

Sibylle Baier Colour Green{via}

Listening: Sibylle Baier’s Colour Green | We’ve had Christmas music on repeat and will for another few days or so – I could listen to Ella Fitzgerald and Nat King Cole croon for hours on end – but when I need a break from the holiday carols, I’ve been turning to Sibylle Baier’s album Colour Green. I stumbled upon it by chance but quickly fell for her wistful vocals and earnest lyrics, especially in the opening song, “Tonight.” I’m not the only one who was immediately enraptured with the fourteen-track album: Baier quietly recorded it in the ’70s, and it would have been left unheard had her son not discovered and reissued it in 2006 (you can read the full story HERE – it’s an interesting one!). It’s my current go-to while writing and baking, but I have a feeling it’ll be my studying music of choice once school starts up again as well.

Twenty Stories{via}

Going: Twenty Stories | When I walked into Twenty Stories, I immediately felt at home and at peace – call it the power of a good bookstore. Currently housed in the Hope Artiste Village in Pawtucket, RI, the shop can actually be found on the road in warmer months in a book truck; their mission is to “[mobilize] the literary arts” by offering a monthly curated selection of twenty books and literary magazines. The premise is a brilliant one, and I love their dedication to championing new and diverse authors. I’m hoping to fit in one or two trips more while I’m home (alongside visits to the Pawtucket’s Farmers Market, another Rhode Island favorite), and if I don’t leave with a new book in hand, I’ll certainly exit with a long list of titles to research. If you’re in the area, definitely stop in.

Christmas CookiesEating: Christmas cookies | The holidays offer no shortage of delicious meals, but what I look forward to most come December is the cookie baking, a staple activity in my family’s Christmas schedule. Numerous recipes and cookie boxes later, we’re finishing off the last few batches now (as well as eating the remnants of this yummy chocolate pudding pie), but if you’re looking for a New Year’s treat, here’s a sample of what we made: Shortbread Snowflakes, Gingerbread Men, Gingersnaps, Fudgy Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Toffee Bars. And of course, I can’t wait to continue baking and cooking while I’m home. In preparation, I’ve bookmarked recipes galore in my collection of cookbooks, but if you have any recommendations, do share – I’d love to hear!

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 2Loving: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel | Finally, since I devoured the first season last winter, I’ve anxiously been awaiting the release of more The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel episodes. I’m happy to say that Season 2 doesn’t disappoint. Amy Sherman-Palladino’s dive into 1950s comedy clubs and New York City high-society life is an utter delight, and star Rachel Brosnahan knows comedic timing like no one else (it helps that she’s supported by a stellar ensemble cast). I’ve listened to the soundtrack countless times through and eyed what seems like every item from Midge’s wardrobe, so needless to say, I’m a Mrs. Maisel fan through and through (related: the production design team, led by designer Bill Groom, is nothing short of genius).

Thank you, as always, for checking my little slice of the Internet. Here’s to a terrific weekend!

B

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Current Playlist, Part Three

Hi friends!

How are you? Is your August going well? Mine has been nothing but lovely so far, allowing for time with family and friends, many a wonderful performance, and, of course, good books galore. I move back to Brown in just two short weeks, so I’m trying to soak up all the summertime that I can before the school year starts.

Looking over my summer, it’s been marked by excellent reads, but so too has it been marked by great music. I love crafting monthly playlists with new-to-me artists, so, as I’ve done before, I wanted to share a few of the albums I’ve been listening to as of late! Do you have any music recommendations to share?

HadestownTo start, it should come as no surprise that cast albums regularly top my playlists. A recent favorite? The live recording of Hadestown, the acclaimed musical adaptation of Orpheus and Eurydice. Pitched as a folk opera, it originates from artist Anais Mitchell’s equally inventive 2010 concept album of the same name. Both are well worth a listen (or two!).

favorite tracks: Way Down Hadestown, Chant

WetIf alternative music is more to your liking, let me recommend to you Wet, an indie duo whose dreamy blend of R+B and pop has created many a fan, myself included! In their sophomore album, Still Run, artists Kelly Zutrau and Joe Valle have crafted a record of melancholy, romance, and honesty through soft vocals and catchy beats. In short: I like.

favorite tracks: Still Run, Love is Not Enough

Natalie PrassIn a recent interview, singer-songwriter Natalie Prass noted that she wants her music “to be for everybody.” She’s already well on her way with her latest release, a punchy but powerful album titled The Future and the Past. Her songs are a response to and an anthem for the current political environment, demonstrating the strength found in standing together. I could listen for days.

favorite tracks: Hot for the Mountain, Sisters

I See RiversUK-based trio I See Rivers popped up in my Spotify Discover tab just under a year ago, and it took only that first listen to make me an avid fan. The group describes their work as “float folk,” a fitting name for music that flits between different genres with ease. And while the vocal harmonies of the three singers are reminiscent of another favorite of mine, The Staves, their warm, gentle sound is distinctly their own.

favorite tracks: Play It Cool, I Don’t Know

Ólafur ArnaldsWhen I came across the music of Icelandic musician Ólafur Arnalds, I was instantly taken with his experimental instrumentals. As a fan of Broadchurch, I shouldn’t have been surprised I so quickly fell in love, as he composed the show’s elegant and immersive score. I’ve used his album, Island Songs, as writing music throughout the summer, and I suspect I’ll listen to it just as much once the semester kicks off.

favorite tracks: 1995, Raddir

US GirlsLike Natalie Prass, artist Meg Remy has turned to music as a source of catharsis. I’m all for her disco-pop sound and pointed storytelling, and if the reviews are any indication, I’m not the only one. At Pitchforkher latest album is said to speak “to a unified vision, one of spit, fury, and chuckling to keep from crying.” Isn’t that what we all need?

favorite tracks: Rage of Plastics, M.A.H.

Dirty BirdDirty Bird may have formed in 2016, but the harmonies on their debut album, Still to Be Ours, sound as if they’ve been singing together for decades. As seems to be the pattern of my playlists, I’m easily won over by folk groups with a sense of intimacy, and Dirty Bird delivers: their songs are well-written gems that are perfect for lazy summer afternoons. I’m already hoping for a record number two!

favorite tracks: Portrait, Lulu

Moses SumneyFinally, Moses Sumney’s Aromanticism came out last September, but it is a record so strong, it deserves yet another round of recognition. Combining soul, R+B, and pop, Sumney offers a thoughtful mediation on vulnerability and isolation. Between the lush arrangements and his soothing voice, I myself can’t seem to get enough (fortunately for me, his latest set of singles are just as good).

favorite tracks: Plastic, Don’t Make Out in My Car

Have a terrific Thursday!
B

Recent Reads / 04

Hi friends!

Happy Monday! How are you? Did you have a wonderful weekend? And perhaps most importantly: can you believe it’s already August? I certainly can’t – I’m home for just a few days before I return to the Cape for the last three weeks of my internship (!!!). We open our run of Sweeney Todd tomorrow before we round out the season with productions of Iolanthe and Cabaret. Needless to say, there’s a lot of fun ahead before the summer officially comes to a close – if quite a bit of packing too!

I’m also hoping to fit in a few more books before I head back to school at the end of the month. My July produced many a new favorite, so I have my fingers crossed August will be similarly successful (and while I’m home, you can be sure that a stop by my local library is on the agenda). In the meantime, however, I wanted to share the novels I’ve enjoyed most as of late. What are you reading?

Recent Reads 3[1] First, Everything All at Once is a book I have come to recommend time and time again since I devoured it last summer; author Katrina Leno won me over with her lyrical prose and skillful use of magical realism. Naturally, I was giddy with excitement when Summer of Salt, her latest book, came in at the library – and it didn’t disappoint. Following twin sisters Georgina and Mary during an unusual summer on their home island of By-the-Sea, it’s as empowering as it is atmospheric (and it deserves an extra kudos for its diverse cast of characters). It may be too early to say, but I have a feeling this will be topping my list of favorites at the end of the year.

 [2] Promises of a “fun, feminist, eccentric romp” had me delighted and so excited to finally get my hands on a copy of Everything Must Go, a 2017 debut by author Jenny Fran Davis. The contemporary epistolary novel chronicles the junior year of Flora Goldwasser as she transfers from her status-obsessed private school in NYC to the environmentally focused, Quaker-founded Quare Academy in the Hudson Valley. It took me a bit to settle into the novel’s sense of humor; if you run into the same problem, I urge you to continue with it, for you’ll be rewarded with a thought-provoking coming-of-age narrative. I’m itching to read it again, but until then, I have my fingers crossed that we’ll be hearing of the next Davis YA novel soon!

[3] I’ve enjoyed Kate Messner’s books in the past, but her most recent work, Breakout, absolutely blew me away. Another epistolary novel, it follows the lives of three middle school students after two inmates escape from their town’s prison. From the thoughtful attention to detail to the honest confessions of the characters, Messner leads readers through a tale of racial injustice, the acknowledgment of privilege, and the dimensions of trust. I suppose it’s no surprise that it comes from an author who is often considered a staple of middle-grade literature, as I imagine this will be finding a home on many classroom bookshelves in the fall. Needless to say, if there’s one MG book you read this summer, make it this.

[4] And finally, another author I adore is Morgan Matson, whose books have been consistent favorites of mine and hold a cherished spot on my bookshelf. It was no different with her latest release, Save the Date, an entertaining, family-centered romp that follows the ups – and downs! – of a wedding. While it wasn’t my favorite of her books, it still had all of the elements for which Matson is known best: an adorable, unexpected romance (it’s a relationship made for the movies), a plot chock-full of funny moments (there’s no shortage of potential disasters for the bride-to-be), and strong family and friend dynamics (can I be an honorary Grant?). In short: be sure to grab this one too!

Have a terrific start to your week!
B