Your Reading List, Please

Hi, there – just a quick update. For the first time in ages I’ve put something new over on my Books and Music page–I’ve embarked on a mission to read “all the books I should have read by now.”

You’ll find a description of what I’m reading now, and what I’m planning to read next. But I’d like to hear from you about what books you think every grown-up should have read, or should read, prior to the demise of their senses and sensibilities – HA.

I confess everything on my current list is from the “canon” created largely by Dead White Males (with their grudging inclusion of Jane Austen, of course) and assigned in high schools and colleges of the middle part of the last century, so I’m particularly in need of suggestions of titles that provide broader and more diverse points of view. That isn’t to say that I’m not looking for more of the “classics” that I should have read by now, but I am also aware of the lack of representation of diverse voices in the classic lists of … erm, classics.

So have at it, readers (and you read blogs, so I KNOW you read books) and overwhelm me with the breadth and depth of your literary knowledge. Because one thing we all should have learned from this prolonged and painful pandemic is that time is precious and is not to be squandered on trivial things like reality TV. I make exceptions of course for binge watching great shows like Schitt’s Creek, Shameless (up to season 10, there), Regency costume dramas (but what was up with that pinched in waistline on on Lady Featherington and those bodices that cut busts in half on Bridgerton?) or pretty much anything Masterpiece.

If you’re not working in an essential job or teetering on the brink of insanity caring for cabin-fevered, home-schooled kids while also trying to work from home, I’m hoping you’ve spent some of your time sequestered at home through all this coming up with your desert island list of must-have books. Can’t wait to see the 10, 50 or 100 titles you’ll recommend! Throw you list in the comments and let’s get reading!

Until then, I remain,

your not-well-read-enough-yet-even-at-my-age,


Powerful Women in Painful Shoes

A slim majority of sanity and competence has returned to Washington: it’s time to put on some sensible shoes.

Among all the moving pageantry, the affirming speeches, the solemn moments, and, after the horrifying events of January 6, the enormous relief of January 20, one small, arguably trivial detail stuck in my mind: high-heeled shoes.

Why should Dr. Jill Biden have to walk down 15th street to the White House in pointy-toe, high-heeled shoes (and then wait awkwardly with President Biden for someone to open the door – they finally had to open it themselves – whoever fumbled that one is looking for a new job, I suspect).

Sure, the shoes were lovely, matching Dr. Biden’s stunning blue inaugural ensemble, but all I could think of was, “damn, her feet must be killing her.”

Ditto Vice President Harris, elegant in purple, perched on what appeared to be patent leather pumps with 4 inch heels.

And Speaker Pelosi, who has made a habit of high heels for as long as I can remember – this is a woman of mature, one might even say advanced, years, and yet somehow she still feels compelled to put on those painful, pointy, pin-heeled pumps.

I was never a fan of former President George W. Bush, but I always liked Laura. And leave it to a librarian to set the example of sensible, flat shoes.

To her credit, former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton appeared to be wearing low heeled, warm winter boots.

I couldn’t really get a sense of Michelle Obama’s shoes, but that pantsuit with the long coat was stunning–and sensible.

All of these women worked tirelessly for years to earn their degrees, their positions, and the respect they are owed for their accomplishments (in contrast to a certain recently-departed-from-Washington stiletto-wearing woman who seems to have gained her place primarily by allowing herself to be photographed being beautiful while dressed in not much more than stilettos–and for marrying an utterly repugnant man.)

Let’s celebrate brains, not bunions. There’s too much important work to do, and to do quickly, to waste any time mincing around on tippy-toe.

Plus, it’s hard to run for cover in heels. Here’s hoping that tragic shitshow never happens again.

Feeling fit and fine in flats, I remain,

your “embracing-my-“maturity”-in-sensible-shoes,