I've been enduring a long stretch of perfectly fine, readable books that failed to move me. I failed to feel. Is it the book? Is it me?
So much of "good" art — books, film, paintings, music — is timing. When we are tuned in, when we are in time, art moves in us, through us. But when the timing is off, it's just a bunch of words, splotches of paint, a dull rerun.
But last week I hit the jackpot. I was moved by a novel, a television show, and music.
BOOK: A Little Life
a novel by Hanya Yanagihara
Everyone was talking about this book so naturally I turned away. I like an underdog. I wasn't going to cow to the crowd and read the latest big-deal book. But I finally did, and "they" were right. This is a brutal, beautiful, moving book. I read it in two days, with minimal breaks (my husband made me eat so I put it down, then scurried back).
Here's a tip: I didn't know anything about this book but the title and awful cover. No plot. No blurbs. No reviews. It was refreshing to enter a book without expectation or explanation.
TELEVISION: Good Girls Revolt
on Amazon Prime
This 10-episode show, inspired by the book by Lynn Povich, tells the story of the sex discrimination lawsuit filed against Newsweek magazine in 1970. Though soapy at times, the show captures the era and centers on the young women at the magazine who work alongside male reporters but are given none of the credit, opportunities or financial reward their male colleagues enjoy.
Sadly, the show has been cancelled and will run for only this one season — a decision that was reportedly made without any female input. Still, and again, it seems as much as we move forward, we always have further to go.
a visual album by Beyonce
I know, I know, Beyonce? I'm as surprised as you to discover I'm enthralled. Lemonade is both concept album and short film/long music video, and it's gripping. I don't like blockbuster movies or trendy tunes, and so I ignored the hype when this was released last year. Recently I heard an excerpt and the sound was haunting. Watching the film — an elegant and moody hour-long experience — reminded me of watching Pink Floyd's The Wall so many years ago. I didn't understand what it all "meant" but I was moved by the mood. Lemonade stirred me, in large part because of poet Warsan Shire, whose words stitch this album together to create a heightened state of love and ache.
What's moved you lately?