This month I put my focus and attention on making sure I dedicated as much of my reading time on more Jewish and Nonfiction reads. And I subsequently discovered a lot of noteworthy gems along the way.
In total, I read 13 books this month:
￼￼Books I haven’t stopped thinking about: Pumpkinflowers by Matti Friedman.
It’s been months and months since I had the experience of a book imprinting such a palpable reaction on my everything. I feel like I can reach out and touch the pain and hurt reverberating off Pumpkinflowers.
It was one small hilltop in a small, unnamed war in the late 1990s, but it would send out ripples still felt worldwide today. The hill, in Lebanon, was called the Pumpkin; flowers was the military code word for “casualties.” Award-winning writer Matti Friedman re-creates the harrowing experience of a band of young soldiers–the author among them–charged with holding this remote outpost, a task that changed them forever and foreshadowed the unwinnable conflicts the United States would soon confront in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.
No book has so drastically changed the course of my thinking in a single day as this one did. The intimate look at the soldiers’ lives hasn’t left me since. Avi’s story, in particular, hasn’t left me since. I got to know him gradually through his own letters, and I just can’t stop spinning back to how his surroundings rendered him aged beyond his years, yet simultaneously so full of youthful hope.
“It is said in their honor that they were prepared to sacrifice themselves for the rest of us, but of course they weren’t, not most—they just thought it wouldn’t happen to them, and the lucky ones weren’t given time to realize they were wrong.”
Ultimately, Matti Friedman carried out his novel with the utmost care and devotion.
On a lighter note, I rediscovered my love for one of the most hilarious shows with the most lovable cast of characters. As I mentioned in my review for Unqualified by Anna Faris, thanks to watching a bunch of bloopers of Chris Pratt’s character in Parks and Recreation, I decided to go back to rewatch season three (THE BEST!). Similar to The Office, which I finished binge-watching in April 2016, my favorite seasons remain the second and third.
Since I only rewatched season three in January, that’ll be the main focus of my rambling thoughts:
- April Ludgate and Andy Dwyer (or should I say Janet Snakehole and Burt Macklin?) are the only romantic couple I care about from now on.
My favorite episode of theirs has to be the one where they learn to adult, courtesy of Ben Wyatt because I LOVE domestic scenes. Going grocery shopping, doing laundry, going to the bank…my kind of jam.
- Ya Heard? With Perd! is such an unexpected favorite, but my heart sings whenever he puts his hand to his ear after the catchphrase.
- Speaking of side characters, Jean-Ralphio Saperstein shines as bright as ever. I’ve yet to meet a more fleshed-out, eccentric, and lively persona. Years after I stopped watching the show, he was the one that remained on my mind. He’s basically the male version of Ilana Wexler from Broad City (which I raved about in September).
- Whereas Chris Traeger is LITERALLY the most wholesome (and intense) character I’ve ever met. You know a situation is worrisome when even Chris can’t find a reassuring solution with his chipper outlook.
- Ethel Beavers. ETHEL MY ONE TRUE QUEEN. She shows up only once throughout the third season, but my love for her character returned in a second.
- And last but not least, the no-nonsense Ron Swanson who is one of the most irreplaceable characters on TV.
That was my January wrap-up, thank you for reading!