[Handpicked: November/December 2016]

Sorry for the hiatus, y’all. It’s been a crazy end of the year for everyone! But here’s some top picks from these past 2 months [read: 2 for the price of 1?] for you to catch up on.

The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan

I absolutely love Marina Keegan. Her writing is fresh, believable, Joycean, and like listening to an old friend. She sounds how I feel when I’m reading her. I first stumbled upon her acclaimed essay “The Opposite of Loneliness” a few years back and was stunned as it nailed the feeling of college. I had to read her a bit more and picked up the collection of some of her fiction and nonfiction writings gathered in this book. It’s touching because of her personal story, yes, but more so because she’s an incredible writer. My favorite stories left me wondering how everything made so much sense, the way she described it, even though I wasn’t a part of her narrative. I’ve shared this book so many times with my friends that I feel she’s becoming a part of mine.

img_3103Celebrating Diwali/Eid

Our South Asian association on campus, UTSAV, celebrates quite a few fall holidays in one for our community over dinner with friends and the community. We learn about Diwali for Hindus, Sikhs and Jains while learning about Eid for Muslims over a catered Indian meal, this year from Mela. Even though our friends usurped our table (still mad at you guys) I had quite a good time celebrating with the only family I have here. Being away for the holidays is hard on everyone, but I love that we were able to be together to some degree. And there was a Photo Booth. Everyone loves a good Photo Booth. Really just appreciate the ‘moustache as bowtie’ look I’m trying to accomplish. I think it might be a New Year New Me kinda thing.

Trains to New York City

May God bless Amtrak. As a frequent bus-rider myself, I was so pleasantly surprised by my experience on the train that I honestly may never go back. On the way there, I really lucked out because I had a whole row to myself for 85% of the ride over. On the way back, I lucked out a little more because my friend Neel was able to join me. We had a nice dinner at Juniper before heading out, with a few other friends, and then stayed up the entire delayed train length back. I wasn’t even that bothered that it was delayed; the train is just so comfortable, cozy, and with a friend that much better.

img_3210‘Politically Reactive’ by W. Kamau Bell & Hari Kondabolu

This month, some of my friends and I went to see Hari Kondabolu’s newest standup routine at The Wilbur. He speaks for the Indian-American community pretty well (even though he shared our well kept secret in front of everyone). It was amazing to have some laughs in light of this month’s events. I felt comfortable in the front row because it really cheered up 4 brown kids struggling with the consequences of the election. Hari spoke to us and for us and made us have a good time. I’ve been listening to Politically Reactive, a podcast, since and it brings some cool players onto the show (Pramila Jayapal!) and gives me a perspective on politics that I need.

Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them

Is this happening? Is this real life? Another Harry Potter series? J. K. Rowling, what games are you playing with our hearts? I don’t want to spoil it too much, but this was incredible. I had to get the screenplay in its entirety, conveniently at every bookstore, just to understand its nuances. I thought i knew all the spells there were to know, and of all the wizarding world. Nope, there’s more there. Bless you J. K. Rowling (unironically, un-Southernly) for keeping these secrets up in your head and bringing them out now. And four more movies?! Christmas came early.

Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life

Did y’all think someone doing the Rory Gilmore Challenge wouldn’t have it marked on her calendar to spend the day after Thanksgiving exclusively watching this comeback? Foolish, I say. Of course I planned for this from the day of the trailer release. Everyone else who did definitely has an opinion on the show. I’ve heard it didn’t give closure to a lot (don’t worry, I don’t intend to spoil it here either), it was just right for some, and for others it was just nice to be back in Stars Hollow. I’m with the third, happily walking down those streets [read: watching those streets through a screen] with Lorelai and Rory. I’m happy they didn’t ruin it, because I’ve loved the show too much for that to happen. It was just a nice feeling to see them all again and get another storyline. As we all know, I just love stories. I’d encourage you all to watch it, even those who were worried this would ruin the original series for you. It probably won’t. If it does, email me and we’ll chat?

Thanks to global warming, it’s been a warm entry into December. Where I’d normally be ranting about the weather by now, I’m waiting for it to get real cold real fast in a few. Maybe it won’t get cold until January 2017? Maybe it’s wishful thinking? Who knows… I’ll be inside until then.

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