Ah yes, managing to uphold my only non-resolution to still be late on posting here on this site. I’ve got to say life has really caught up to me, so I apologize if you’ve been seeking my monthly recommendations and I’ve fallen short. I promise, since it’s still winter in Boston, you’ve got plenty of time to catch up on these suggestions. Also I’m tired so I’ll add photos later.
Blind Date with a Book, Brookline Booksmith
A few weeks ago, I took on a great day hanging out with friends I haven’t been able to see in a while because of classes/co-op schedule nonsense. We went for a day over at Coolidge Corner, one of the more charming Boston spots. We warmed up with some ramen (my very first!) and then went book hunting over at the locally-owned bookstore down the street known for its incredible events with speakers and great collection of used and new books. Back in 2014, I met Neil Patrick Harris here, no big deal [read: it’s a big deal] and made him laugh. This time, Chelsea and I were downstairs looking for some John Edgar Wideman books when we stumbled upon a section full of brown paper-wrapped books with little handwritten notes on the wrapping. Small hints as to what the books were actually about. I dig, I dig. I went ahead and got a mystery book, to take on a blind date with a glass of cabarnet sauvignon in my room, and will be reading Swamplandia! by Karen Russell. Will review shortly.
Brick & Mortar, Central Square
Seeking a little ’20s in your life, sans racism with the added vibes of a speakeasy? Central Square has got it made. With no real indication that you’ve reached your location, this cocktail bar delivers on its promises to be fun, edgy, and hidden so only the coolest of the cool can frequent it for a night. And, Alison and I really got attached to its awesome playlist. You know a place is good when you’re waiting for the next song with serious excitement and every single one just makes sense. Like, where have you been all my life? Big fan, big fan.
We Gon’ Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation by Jeff Chang
The Asian American Center at Northeastern University hosted Asian American Heritage Week (#NUAAHW2017) and brought curator and hip hop enthusiast Jeff Chang to speak, all the way from Stanford, in conversation with Professor Sarah J. Jackson. All of us were so excited to grab a seat on the top floor of East Village [read: Northeastern’s new residence hall with express concierge service for events on the top floor that is as fancy as you can imagine] and listen to Jeff Chang speak on Asian American community and responsibility in current times. I’ve been so thankful to attend these kinds of events and be present in these kinds of spaces where we’re pushed to think critically about our role in society and our duty to break down issues within our own communities. His book is definitely worth picking up, for the deep descriptions of Asian American culture and a closing chapter on Beyonce.
What in interesting night this was. Alexandra and I had invitations to the Unity Ball, hosted at Harvard University in conjunction with the Mexican Consulate and FDR Foundation. We got to the Adams House with no clue what to expect and were met with inspiring speeches and Mexican music/dancing amongst a crowd of people on the Friday night of the inauguration. And then another incredible opportunity presented itself: we were able to get a tour of FDR’s student suite in that same residential building. There we were, standing in a space where one of America’s greatest presidents lived and studied on a historic day when one of America’s most poorly-rated presidents was inaugurated. I can’t say there was a better way to spend the day, but it was surreal for me to be thinking of his legacy on a day many had a hard time facing, myself included. It gave me the energy to stay up all night and hop on a bus to Washington D.C. for the Women’s March on Washington.
Long-form journalism is a pretty abundant gem. Every major paper has been experimenting with bringing back something bigger than an editorial but shorter than a formal essay, and I’m finding that I’m always itching to find the next big influential piece. Nikole-Hannah Jones presented at Northeastern this month, and I was given the opportunity to go out to dinner with her. In preparation, I read this piece first (one of her most well-known) and have to say that it’s one of those pieces that can wake people up to disparity that you all have a part in upholding. I went to a public gifted school from elementary through high school graduation. We were constantly protected from larger county-wide conversations regarding privilege and the sheer amount of funding we received as a school, as opposed to the other schools in the area. I rarely thought about the gripping impact of a lack of diversity in school (we always joked that we were diverse, but I could count the number of black kids in my high school on my hands). Given this thought, I do agree that housing segregation, still enforced in America and most likely in Florida, deeply contributes to school segregation regardless of school specialization. We saw schools in our county suffer while other districted schools, surrounding specific neighborhoods, thrived and provided more college-prep programs than the former ever could. Start thinking about this; if it makes you uncomfortable, then you’re doing it right.
The Lives of Others by Neel Mukherjee
I debated whether to include this here or not, but screw that – I’m a featured columnist for the Northeastern University Political Review! I’m writing on identity politics, ways identity could be treated under the new administration, and generally in favor of the intertwined nature of voting and organizing based on identity. I’ve been studying identity for the past few years, both in literature and anthropology, and really wanted to see where I could apply some of the theories I engage with in today’s issues. So, if you appreciate my writing here, get ready for another site to keep up with (if you’d like) in a pretty different style but a very important one.
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.