Hapa Reads: Issue 005

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I’m obsessed with Tudor History, because let’s be real, that family was cray. Author Margaret George brings King Henry VIII to life in this fictional biography from young Henry, who was destined for priesthood to the King that would be known for his six wives (two of which he had beheaded). Those who loved The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory will get sucked into Henry’s world full of court intrigue, love, sex, and violence.

The Church of What’s Happening Now

(podcast) by Joey “Coco” Diaz

Matt Blank

Another few months gone by, another few months without having so much as picked up a book. With eyes dry and tired from hours spent staring at a computer screen and other hours spent navigating New York City traffic, I rely on my podcasts to jam any bit of extra information into my brain. My eyes can take no more, but the ears are always happy to listen to someone with witty turn of phrase, unafraid to bring “the real.” Joey Diaz is a comedian whom you’ve probably seen playing any number of gangsters or other Italian-American stereotypes, despite himself being a Cuban kid from New Jersey. His work on the equally-enlightening Joe Rogan Experience and the standup stage is a master class in raw honesty. Rogan refers to DIaz as the single most naturally funny person he knows, and Diaz’s long-format interview show is solid proof of this assertion. Just bring up a few minutes of him ranting on YouTube about any number of topics. Love, loyalty, pop culture, addiction, history, comedy… he can riff on just about anything, and it’s never anything less than enlightening. If the entire state of New Jersey got impregnated by a baked ziti and gave birth to a cocaine-addicted, obese, sweaty baby, it would be Joey Diaz.

When I saw a preview for the HBO series Sharp Objects based on Gillian Flynn’s book that stars two of my favorite actresses, Amy Adams and Patricia Clarkson and directed by Jean-Marc Vallée (Big Little Lies) I immediately ordered a copy. Flynn had me at Gone Girl with it’s delicious tension, character surprises, and masterfully delivered settings. Like Gone Girl, Sharp Objects is set in Missouri which tugs on a special place in my heart: he writing wraps me up in a total sensory experience as if these mysteries take place in my hometown (Springfield, Missouri) with its constant cut grass smell and humidity clinging to my skin.The narrator, Camille, a self proclaimed mediocre reporter from Chicago is sent back to her hometown in Wind Gap, Missouri to profile the gruesome murders of 2 young girls. There, she faces her own tragic childhood, her brutal mother, and a tiny town that glosses over its demons. In regards to her vicious leading ladies Gillian Flynn has stated, “I've grown quite weary of the spunky heroines, brave rape victims, soul-searching fashionistas that stock so many books. I particularly mourn the lack of female villains: good, potent female villains.”

I am a sucker for astrology and anything occult. In this book, instead of your general sign that draws personality descriptions from each month, each day of the year is expanded upon. The author went to Yale Medical School where he studied psychiatry and became fascinated by astrology and its relationship to behavior. This book is creepily accurate and gets very detailed, even suggesting daily mantras, advice and nutritional tips based on your individual birthday. It’s also a daily reminder that you are, in fact, one of a kind---there is nobody else in the world like you. We all need to be reminded of how special we are from time to time.

What’s not to love about about Julie Andrews? She’s a Broadway legend, IRL Mary Poppins, and one classy lady. Her autobiography Home is an easy enjoyable summer read. It follows her life, from childhood beginnings to 1963, just before she begins filming Mary Poppins for Disney. If you like history, vaudeville, biographies, and you’re a Broadway nerd like me, Home is a superb read.

This book is a fantastic read about one of the most influential fashion icons of our time: Coco Chanel. It tells us about how she was born poor and into a poor set of circumstances until she started designing hats for fun, and from there on she became an unstoppable force. As you read on, you will discover though her designs stayed practical and modest, Chanel had an eccentric life. Her philosophies and stories are both fascinating and inspiring.

Reader's Picks:

Nicole Pasquale (@nicolepasquale):  The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen Year-Old Boy with Autism by Naoki Higashida

Kathy Yamamoto (@yamadrama): Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi

Sarah Claspell (@claspy)The Princess Bride by William Goldman

Michael Cruz Kayne (@mjckayn): Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

Lilan Bowden (@yourfriendlilan): The Astonishing Colors of After by Emily X.R. Pan - about a hapa girl


What are you reading?

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