Welcome to the Friday 5ive, a weekly blog post featuring five things that caught my attention this week.
This week it was all about the inauguration of Joseph R. Biden Jr. as the 46th President of the United States.
1) I decided that I really need to up my coat game after seeing all the beautiful coats at the inauguration. All of the former first ladies- Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush and Michelle Obama- looked stunning, as did our new Vice-President Kamala Harris and new First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden. As I looked in my closet, filled with various shades of NYC black coats, it made me long for something colorful and lovely. Here is a link to an article from Insider.com about the stylish coats worn that day (and Bernie Sanders functional outerwear).
2) The highlight of the inauguration was Amanda Gorman's stirring reading of her poem, The Hill We Climb. I saw a story on CBS This Morning about her last April, and I was instantly enchanted and impressed by her. This is the story here. I know we will be hearing from this remarkable young woman for years to come. (Her inaugural coat and headband were gorgeous too.)
3) I joined a Zoom with Zibby Owens, host of the podcast Moms Don't Have Time To Read, interviewing author Jane L. Rosen about her wonderful book, Eliza Starts A Rumor. (My review is here.) The novel tells the story of Eliza an empty-nester mom who runs a Facebook moms group in her Hudson Valley home. When a new Facebook moms group becomes more popular because they have more controversial and intimate postings, Eliza anonymously posts a rumor on her own message board that creates an uproar. It's a terrific book about female friendship, and the discussion was interesting as well. You can watch Zibby interview Jane about Eliza Starts A Rumor here.
4) I watched the fantastic movie, One Night In Miami, on Amazon Prime this week. The movie, directed by Regina King (one of the best actresses of her generation), is based on a play by Kemp Power. It is a fictionalized account of the night Muhammad Ali (then Cassius Clay) defeated Sonny Liston, and then spent the evening with Malcolm X, NFL superstar Jim Brown, and singer Sam Cooke. It's a powerful piece, about life for these four famous black men in America. King does an impressive job directing, and the performances by the four actors, Eli Goree (Ali), Aldis Hodge (Jim Brown), Leslie Odom Jr. (Sam Cooke) and Kingsley Ben-Adir (Malcom X) are riveting, particularly Ben-Adir and Odom, who have been on many awards lists for their performances. This is a must-see movie, and you can never go wrong when Leslie Odom Jr. gets to sing.
5) I read one book this week, and it was a remarkable one. Nancy Johnson's debut novel The Kindest Lie, tells the story of Ruth, a young Black Yale-educated engineer married to Xavier, a Pepsi executive, living in Chicago. When Xavier tells Ruth he wants to start a family, Ruth has to face an incident from her past. When she was seventeen years old, she gave birth to a baby boy. Her grandmother gave the baby up for adoption, and Ruth soon left for Yale without looking back.
Now Ruth wants answers to what happened to her baby, so she heads home to the Indiana town and her grandmother and her older brother. She becomes attached to Midnight, an eleven year old white boy who lives with his grandmother after his mother died giving birth to his baby sister.
It's a heartbreaking, brilliantly written novel, one that tackles race, class, and small town life that depends on one industry and what happens when that industry goes away. I think many people can relate to this story, and the characters in it. There are many children being raised by their grandparents for several reasons. People make decisions that seem right at the time, and Johnson allows us see each side of the story here. The Kindest Lie will end up on as one the best books of the year for me, and I can't wait to see what Johnson writes next. READ THIS BOOK.
Stay safe and socially distant, wash your hands, and wear a mask. We'll get through this together.