I’m always late to the party with TV shows. With this one I’m later than usual, though. Not that I’m converted or anyting– Lost has provided just what I needed this summer: a TV show with lots of seasons to watch while I’m working so as to avoid the dreaded half-hour-searching-for-every-two-hour-movie time suck that can so often happen on Netflix. I’m on Season 5 now so time is running out. I’ll have to find another marginally appealing show to pick up soon enough.
2. Tamsen Donner
After listening to a story on Fresh Air a few years ago and then catching an episode of American Experience on the Donner party a few months back, I ordered Gabrille Burton’s book, “Searching for Tamsen Donner” a few weeks back. It’s a memoir of being feminist traveling the Oregon and Donner Party trails with her family in the 1970s combined with a retelling of the story of Tamsen Donner, wife of Donner Party leader Jacob Donner. Tamsen’s strong personality comes through the the letters of hers that survive and the book is was such a fascinating read, I finished it in one weekend. I’ve already ordered Burton’s novelized telling of Tamsen’s life, “Impatient with Desire” and looking forward to starting it soon.
I probably list tomatoes as one of my favorite things every summer but it’s true: nothing beats a garden tomato. The squirrels have been doing a number on my plant this summer so we’ve only had two tomatoes to show for our yard, but luckily I have generous co-workers and friends with prodigious gardens of their own.
4. Orange is the New Black
The one thing I’m actually up on at the same time as everyone else: We’ve been watching Orange is the New Black over the past week and I’m so into it. I was a fan of Weeds but like that this show is a bit less ridiculous (though there are plenty of ridiculous parts) and the tone is just so great– a perfect mix of compelling character drama and humor. It’s also wonderful to see characters who are poor and working class and women of color portrayed as such well-rounded characters. Sure they’re mostly prisoners, but in the storylines that’s pretty secondary to the fact that they’re interesting and real people. (P.S. kind of on that point, this article talks about the show’s similarities to 19th century slave narratives, which is a pretty fascinating comparison to draw, and this one goes into Jenji Kohan’s discussion of how a white lead lets her tell the stories of women of color on TV.)
5. Raspados from Jam House
Jam House is a cute little cafe a few blocks from our house. I’d been a fan of their super fresh smoothies and recently got around to trying their specialty, raspados. Raspados are basically Mexican sno cones made with shaved ice and fruit jams and these things were a game changer. Shaved ice with a ton of fresh fruit and nut jams to choose from– it’s my favorite neighborhood discovery of the year so far.