Wow– The summer is fully in swing! And whereas some people picture the perfect summer break as being full of outdoor excursions, beach trips, and picnics, mine includes being able to freely read, watch, and listen to more of what I love (among those other activities as well :)). So here's some of what I've been consuming, and some of my thoughts!
Godel, Escher, Bach (Douglas Hofstadter) : This is sort of a cop out since I started this during the end of the school year and I'm still not done reading it, but if you've ever seen this book, you'll understand why. A 700+ page book full of mathematical theorems, artistic rendezvous, and casual classical music history all bundled up into a fantastic intertwining of Lewis Carroll-inspired dialogues and longer descriptive chapters that try to create an argument for artificial intelligence. At least, I think. I still don't completely understand how everything is working to that end, but every page I read is a new revelation. Highly recommend.
Caravaggio: A life sacred and profane (Andrew Graham-Dixon) : This biography outlines the life and artwork of Michelangelo of Caravaggio within the context of a counter-Reformation Italy. I enjoyed getting to learn more about this period of time and this book definitely helped me fill in some gaps in my understanding of history. I am also in wonder at the life of Caravaggio, who was said to live 'as if there were only two seasons- Carnival and Lent". My only downside to this book is that some portions went (in my opinion) too into depth as far as all the proceedings of various trials, sometimes including entire pages just of quotations, which didn't feel necessary. But if you're willing to skim past that and you're interested in art, definitely worth reading!
Sidewalks in the Kingdom: New Urbanism and the Christian Faith (Eric O. Jacobson): I read this book for a class I'm taking from Fuller Theological Seminary on Theology and Art. Essentially, it speaks to how, contrary to popular Christian belief, the gospel is most accurately modeled in a city environment and the communities created by city living. Being a New Yorker myself, I found much of Jacobson's text gave me the language I needed to describe some of my own ideas. If you live in the city (or don't), please read this book.
Chance the Rapper's "Coloring Book": If you know me, you'll know I don't often listen to rap, but I this album is a masterpiece. Inspired by gospel and spirituals, songs like "How Great" and "Blessings" spoke to me in their juxtaposition of describing Chance the Rapper's persistent faith despite some of the realities of his life and how he grew up.
Pink Floyd's "The Wall": This is a classic and I'm surprised it took me so long to get into it. My father and I saw a Pink Floyd exhibit a few weeks ago at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and it absolutely blew my mind. Have a listen. Favorites within: "Another Brick in the Wall" parts 1 and 2.
Mozart (just generally): I have been listening to a lot of Mozart while reading or studying, and after reading the History of Classical Music, I have loved seeing some of the context I have learned at play.
The New Season of Doctor Who: It's amazing to me how this show has gone so long without making me feel like I'm watching the same plots over and over. I don't think this was my favorite season, and there were definitely some plot twists that seemed like cop-outs, but I think that the writers did a great job in exploring the vulnerability of the Doctor as a continuation but in a different way from the previous season.
La La Land/Beauty and the Beast: I finally watched these while on my flight back from the UK. I did genuinely enjoy both of them despite my assumptions coming into them. I will say however, one of these assumptions being that the singing of the main actors would be atrocious, I much prefer the La La Land production's choice to use "okay" voices naturally over the Beauty and the Beast's decision to auto-tune and pitch correct Emma Watson like crazy. She's joined by some phenomenal performances and that very much cheapened it.
Well, this is by no means an exhaustive list, but it's some of the media that has been in my mind. I'm excited for some of the books on my "To-Read" list, and if this post does well, perhaps I will do another post like this toward the end of the summer!
Remember, if you have some extra time, please check out my podcast! The episode that has just been released is one of my favorites; we talk about comfort and pleasure and how it shapes much of our life.
Click here to listen to "Treat Yo Self: Indulgences, Minimalism, Productivity, and Comfort ft. Nadia Iqbal"