What I’m Into: December 2017

Point Pelee National Park

museum jars

snowflakes in a microscopeI am not a fan of winter.

And after spending one Christmas in the hospital with my very sick newborn son, living in a different city from my three-year-old daughter, the Christmas season has never felt quite as magical as it once did. I can take it or leave it. I actually spent Christmas day inexplicably, murderously angry at the universe. Grief is weird.

But we had some good times this December. One of the highlights for me was taking Lydia to the Detroit Institute of Arts and seeing the Ancient Egypt exhibit after having studied Egypt in our homeschool. And looking at snowflakes through a microscope. There is still magic around me; it’s just hard to find sometimes.

I’m a little late posting this, but here are the books and movies I enjoyed this month.


Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. This was an interesting experience: Woodson tells the story of her childhood, growing up as a black girl in South Carolina and New York during the 1960s and 1970s, in verse. It’s autobiography and poetry in one. It’s also the story of a girl discovering her vocation as a writer. Lovely and powerful.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. Another fantasy novel featuring an ass-kicking human heroine who falls in love with a dangerous, magical being. It was exciting and well-paced, but I never fell in love with any of the characters or completely bought the whole Faery world of Prythian.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. This was a very moving, powerful, and challenging read. This book is written a letter from the author to his adolescent son, and we get to listen in as he advises him on how to grow up in America with a black body. He tells his own life story and explores his awakening to the issues of race in his country. His writing is incredibly eloquent and his reflections are thought-provoking.


The Holiday

(The first three are older movies that I’d never seen before that everyone else in the world has already seen and formed a strong opinion about. I rented them and watched with Felix in the middle of the night. I want to have opinions, too.)

The Holiday – The Cameron Diaz/Jude Law story is meh (DON’T SLEEP WITH STRANGERS, GUYS), but Kate Winslet and Jack Black are ADORABLE. I never would have expected Jack Black to be a believable love interest in a rom-com, but he is surprisingly winsome.

Love Actually – Okay, I know this may be divisive, but I found this movie to be utter crap. I mean, it is filled with amazing actors, and I was absorbed throughout the film; but as the credits rolled, I couldn’t help feeling like I had wasted my time. And then I read this review (Ahem – major language warning) and thought, EXACTLY. “Colin Firth falls in ‘love’ with Aurelia at first sight, establishing Love Actually‘s central moral lesson: The less a woman talks, the more lovable she is.” In a movie that’s supposedly all about love, we don’t see anyone actually get to know each other. Most couples don’t have a single actual conversation before “falling in love.” The only couple with an actual relationship gets a sad ending. Thumbs down, guys.

Little Women – I’ve been meaning to watch this film since 2014 when I first read the book. It was good. Um, surprisingly, that’s about all I have to say. (I don’t think I’ll ever be able to fully appreciate these 20+year-old movies.)

Colossal – Okay. This movie is weird. It doesn’t fit neatly into any genre — it’s a mix of science fiction, horror, comedy, thriller, and romance. I had no idea what to expect from one minute to the next. But I was riveted, the acting is amazing, and it had a surprisingly satisfying ending. I’d say give it a try!

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  1. I had the same feeling when I first watched Love Actually last year! I can’t say I hated it, but all of the relationships were horrible.

    Here’s my post, if you’d like to check it out! http://newberyandbeyond.com/january-2018-small-goals-im/
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  2. Samantha P says:

    I must say that I have hated Love Actually for years! So many sad and deprsssing relationships (in my opinion). It’s nice to know someone agrees with me, since it is so well loved. Haha

  3. Angela Nunn says:

    There was a new, British adaptation of Little Women on tv in the UK over Christmas – it was brilliant. Worth a look if they release it on DVD.

  4. OMG, I had the exact same experience with Love Actually. My then-boyfriend (now husband) was soooo excited to show it to me, but when it was over, I turned to him and said, “What the heck was THAT?!” I also found a cathartic article to express my feelings :) https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2013/12/-em-love-actually-em-is-the-least-romantic-film-of-all-time/282091/

    I’ve been meaning to check out the DIA! We just moved to metro Detroit, and from all I’ve heard it sounds amazing.

    Happy January!

  5. I can’t stand Love, Actually. My sister-in-law has loved it since it came out and I watched it maybe a couple years after its release and I was appalled, especially at the porn parts. The movie as a whole isn’t very good. ugh.

    I’ve been wanting to read Brown Girl Dreaming. Love these posts by the way.
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