Today would have been my Nana’s 80th birthday. We might have lost her this June, but we feel her looking down on us every day. I’ve felt her presence sitting in the courtyard at my Palo Alto office building and eating Thanksgiving dinner in St. Louis. Sometimes she appears as a little hummingbird; my mom believes she’s felt her spirit in the sprightly blue jays that visit our house from time to time. In honor of her, this Sunday Reads features stories I think she would have liked. My Nana was a news junkie who loved mysteries, crime dramas, and thrillers. When I was little, she would let me stay up late and watch TV with her, like “Walker, Texas Ranger.” (We would also make flavored ice, from lemonade or sprite, to go in our drinks.) She probably would have loved “How to Get Away With Murder.” Not one to be boxed in, she also loved celebrity gossip, vanilla ice cream, and “Dancing with the Stars.” Nana, this one’s for you.
Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving. As you may know, “Sleepy Hollow” is one of my favorite shows, so when I found out its dapper star, Tom Mison, had narrated an audiobook of the original novella, I downloaded it immediately. (I’ve listened to it thrice in the past 6 weeks). You can find it for free on audible here, or read it online here.
“Eykelboom” by Brad Watson. When I first saw the title, I thought it was a story about little elf-like creatures. “Eykelboom” just doesn’t sound like a person to me. Nevertheless, this short piece from The New Yorker is gloriously gloomy tale of a group of little boys growing up in a suburban wasteland, complete with “urchinesque” tomfoolery, mean fathers and a mysterious disappearance, it is oddly appealing in its lackluster sheen. Something about its bleak child’s point-of-view feels otherworldly.
Serial. Not a “read” per se, although there are scores of great articles on it, like this one in The Atlantic. The true-crime podcast that has swept the nation would have been my Nana’s cup of tea. She reveled in the details of cold cases and unsolved crime. Like her, and apparently a million other people, I have a strange preoccupation with the misfortune of others. And I can’t wait to see how the season ends. Binge-listen to the whole thing from the beginning here.
I had a great weekend in St. Louis with my family. We had a lovely time catching up and eating a lot of sweet potato souffle in my grandparents’ new house. A little snow dusted the lawn so on Thursday morning we had just enough winter wonderland, and not so much that we had to shovel anything. We saw a dozen turkeys in the backyard on Friday, presumably celebrating the survival of one more Thanksgiving. We were thankful. We were blessed. And we were well-fed.
Love and theatre,