My Quarantine Reading List

Anyone else getting through books like nobody’s business? Because same. Here’s what I’ve read so far, and what I’ve got on queue.

Little Fires Everywhere (also a tv show on Hulu with Reese Witherspoon!)

Katherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman

Wine. All the Time.

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat

The Perfect Child (this one I got for free with Amazon Prime’s book of the month club)

Little Women (such an amazing movie! Definitely a must see)

Just Mercy

Lincoln in the Bardo

Walking the Black Cat

Up next:

Valley of the Dolls

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

Ninth House

Good Omens (also a great show on Amazon Prime!)

The Goldfinch (also a movie available to stream via Amazon, although I have heard too many not-so-great reviews to actually spend the time watching it…)

Real Queer America: LGBT Stories from Red States

Untamed

To follow my reading adventures: Bailey Marshall on Goodreads

What’s on your quarantine reading list?

Mom, Are We There Yet?

This quarantine feels like a never ending road trip, only we’re not going anywhere cool, I’ve seen the same stretch of highway with the same trees a million times, and we ran out of snacks forever ago. It’s got me asking are we there yet?!

No. No we are not there yet. While states are slowly starting to reopen, we know there will be another wave of this come fall. And what do we do to prepare for long road trips? Snacks. Art. Stories. Music.

What are Americans eating the most of during the pandemic?

Not going to lie, I definitely have turned to comfort foods during this unpredictable time. Why? Because mac’n’cheese will never betray you.

Not exactly Bob Ross, but it’ll do.

The Providence Hotel has a free printable coloring book for everyone missing Paris (or travel in general).

MoMA is offering free classes! Skillshare is also opening up their archives for free for two months!

I’m currently taking a Walt Whitman poetry course through Harvard’s literature department via EdX – completely free and all at my own pace.

Why not make something for the Atlanta History Center? They’re looking for COVID-19 related artifacts to preserve!

Something to think about if you’re about to dive into Rachel Hollis’s audiobooks (which are great and I really enjoyed them! I just didn’t think about, well, I’ll let you read the article and figure it out).

Everyone always asks me how I have the money for all the audiobooks I listen to. I don’t! But I do have a library card. Here’s how to do that online.

In case you missed it – here’s my post about what I’m listening to during quarantine.

See you on the other side!

COVID-19 Update

You’d think with all this “free time” during quarantine I’d find the time to write a few blog posts here and there, but no. I’ve been studying for finals, taking finals, and preparing myself for my summer internship. I’ve done a lot in the past few weeks.

Finals are finished – I’m officially a 2L! Everything got moved online, and classes went pass fail. Most universities did the same. And it’s not like there’s a protocol or a how-to book on running a place of higher education. I think everyone is doing their best, only what “their best” looks like during this time is drastically different from what it was in 2019.

I’m excited to begin my internship sometime this month (or next, depending on how quarantine goes). Once I actually start, and receive permission to tell the internet what my position is and with whom, I’ll make a post about it.

That’s a wrap!

Music to Check Out During Quarantine

Remember back when I did weekly playlists? It’s been a while. Frankly, I stopped doing playlist posts because I felt that I had nothing to add to the conversation. My taste in music is pretty main stream, and I’m not the person to look to when trying to find new artists. Here’s my list of things to listen to anyways! Maybe you’ll find something new. Maybe you’ll rediscover something old. To each their own.

Wildflower – 5 Seconds of Summer

In Your Eyes – The Weeknd

Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia (album)

Adriana McCassim’s Quiet Sides (album)

I Love You’s – Hailee Steinfeld

Time – Childish Gambino

just a boy – Alaina Castillo

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard’s Fishing for Fishies (album)

COVID-19 Quarantine Party playlist

Little Things That’ve Helped

Here’s a short list of things that have helped me wrap my head around this pandemic. Hopefully they’ll help you too.

Penguins take a walk through the aquarium. See also: puppies visit the GA aquarium.

NY Times article about remembering the little spots of light in the darkness.

Rainbows in Brooklyn.

The Sudden Obliteration of Expectation.

What we’re feeling is actually grief.

Letter to all the UGA seniors missing out on spring semester of their last year of college.

Quarantine

How are we today? Are we doing okay? It’s okay to not be okay.

There have been a lot of thoughts swirling around in my head about how I wanted to write about the corona virus on my blog. I’ve had a lot of time to process these thoughts, and I still haven’t quite made any sense of them. And that’s okay. There isn’t much of a protocol for my generation when it comes to a global pandemic. I have nothing to look to for guidance, other than the Spanish flu. And I keep reminding myself that that’s okay. Not having guidance is okay. Not knowing what’s coming next is okay. It will all be okay.

I am very type A. My family and friends joke about my OCD tendencies and about how much of a control freak I am. This time has been incredibly hard for me because all my schedules have been disrupted, all plans cancelled, and all semblance of control has been thrown out from under me. I’ve been using this time to learn how to be okay when everything I use to stabilize my life (order, organization, schedules, events) is gone. This also means creating a new schedule, which looks a whole lot like “move to living room at 8:15 am for class; at 9:55 take a break to sit outside on the porch; at 10:45 come back inside for class; move from the kitchen table to the floor.” I miss the regularity of my law school classes. I also miss being with friends, even if we were stuck with each other starting at 8:30 am every day (I am not a great morning person…).

If you know me, you know I do not do well with change. This period of my life has been nothing but change, and that’s also been difficult. Leaving Athens, moving to Macon, starting law school, leaving all my friends behind and making new ones, trying to be comfortable with essentially “starting all over” with my professional life, and now the pandemic. Sitting here, counting all the major life changes that have happened in the past 10 months, brings an embarrassing amount of panic. I’m talking about it because I know there’s someone else out there that needs to hear that it’s okay to freak out a little. It’s okay to wallow in your discomfort for a little while before moving on; healthy, even, to do so. The important thing is to move on eventually. Keep moving forward a tiny bit each day. Take a step back if you need to, but always remember to keep stepping forward.

Change becomes comfortable with time, and right now it feels like we have an endless amount of time before us, but also a nagging fear that our time might be cut short. It’s a strange paradox to be in. But we’re in this together.

On Helping Others

I read an article from CNN on a Californian veterinarian who treats the pets of the homeless for free. I sent the article to my dad because we’d been talking about unconditional love on the drive home from dinner the other day, when we saw a homeless man and a dog crossing the street. The dog looked to his owner before crossing, during, and after. He didn’t stray more than a foot or two from the man. It was amazing to see the loyalty they had in one another.

Humans are social creatures by nature, and dogs are pack animals, so it makes sense to me that the two would stick together out on the streets. Dogs are, after all, man’s best friend.

Reading the article got me thinking about what I perceive other people need. I learned a lot about homelessness when volunteering in San Francisco, and my mom has taught me a lot through her involvement with Room at the Inn. If I were to pack a ziplock bag with things to give to someone living on the streets, I would pack a water bottle, granola bars or trail mix, socks, bandaids, sunscreen, and hand sanitizer or Lysol wipes. I’d pack that bag thinking of someone that functions like I would function: a mouth full of good teeth, conscious of my need for protein and carbs throughout the day, and always cold (hence the socks).

That’s not the reality of most homeless people. They don’t have access to good dental care. Some of them have never been to a dentist in their lives. If you don’t have good teeth, eating crunchy food is painful. And here I was, thinking that a granola bar or trail mix would be the best option for someone because of its fat to carbs to protein ratio.

Maybe bandaids and sunscreen would be helpful, but it’s barely even a dent into the medical care they actually need. As for socks? I hadn’t even thought about cotton versus wool.

Another thing I hadn’t taken into account is the need for companionship. I had seen people living on the streets with animals, most commonly dogs, but it never occurred to me to help them while helping their owners. Kwane Stewart, the veterinarian from California, saw and met this need when he set up a table at a soup kitchen after the 2008 economic recession. His mission is to keep people with their pets, rather than separate them and put the pet in a shelter.

For myself, something I need to work on when volunteering or doing pro bono work in the future is to ask “What do you need?” rather than assume. No matter how many social studies people run, no statistics can tell people what a stranger needs in that moment.

How do you go about helping others?

Meet Walter!

There’s been a running joke between my friend Zach and I that I am just like the main character from Fleabag and should therefore be the owner of a guinea pig. For those of you unfamiliar with the show, Fleabag is about a girl living in London who co-owns a guinea pig themed cafe with her dead best friend. Her life is a mess. She has a hard time making friends with people because she’s a bit of an acquired taste. Oh and the guinea pig’s name is Hillary. Personally, I think I am the main character’s older sister, who has a professional job, married an art guy (does he sell art? does he look at art? does he make art? TBD.), and has a very nice wardrobe that is mostly neutrals. Needless to say, Zach disagreed and I ended up with a guinea pig to complete the joke.

Walter is your average, run of the mill Petsmart guinea pig. He’s probably five months old. I say probably because the pet store misjudged his gender and he is actually a she but because I’ve already named him and he responds to him better than her, I am going to continue to refer to Walter as a he. And just in case anyone thinks I have offended my guinea pig by misgendering him, it’s okay. I have asked him. He is fine with it so long as I continue to feed him grapes.

Walter enjoys long naps, eating, and burrowing into my clothing so he can nose his way into my armpit and then bite me when I try and pull him out. His favorite foods are grapes, clover, hay, and his own poop. He’s a very classy guy.

He goes in for a second vet visit tomorrow, where I will be confirming his gender and getting him weighed again. So far, he is a chonker (which is perfect by guinea pig standards).

Good lord what do I even call this other than a weird rant

Before turning 21, drinking was this weird thing I considered very grown up, but also youthful. Alcohol was surrounded by a gauze of mysticism. How would it make me feel? Do I want to risk getting into trouble? How much is too much? How does one make a mixed drink? Honestly, before college, I thought a mixed drink was 50% vodka and 50% juice. Thankfully I have learned my lesson, and that lesson only took one “mixed drink” to figure out.

Now, almost all the social situations I find myself in outside of school and work have alcohol involved. Coming to talk at a law school reception? Grab a glass of wine. Going to a birthday dinner? Have a beer. Want to watch a movie with friends at home? Someone bring on the White Claws!

Having a drink in my hand when I’m standing around chatting has become the norm. I spent January making a more conscious choice of when I drank, what I was drinking, and with whom I was sharing a drink. Why was I reaching for a drink in a particular moment? Was it just to feel like a normal person and fit in, or was it because I really wanted a glass of wine? I found that most of the time I drank, I drank because I wanted people to think I was “normal.” Having a drink with friends while chatting about life made me less of a prude, or so I thought think.

While going through the notes on my phone, I stumbled upon a piece from Medium called The Unifying Theory of Alcohol. I remembered reading it about a year ago, and only clicked on the link to read it again because I’d just been to a Super Bowl party where a handful of people peppered me with questions about why I wasn’t drinking, if I wanted a drink, if I was the designated driver, etc. The truth was, I didn’t want to get drunk with them, but I didn’t want to say that because I didn’t want to sound lame. I also didn’t want people to continue to try and get me to drink. So I told them I was driving.

I ended up getting a drink an hour later, after relocating to another party with close friends. But I wasn’t drinking to get drunk or because I felt I had to. I wanted something sweet, so I made myself half a drink and nursed it all night long. The weird thing was that as soon as my group migrated back to the old party, no one there asked me about drinking. As soon as I showed up with a cup in my hand, the questions stopped. It was an eerie moment because it seemed like I had to drink, or get pestered all night.

Reading the article from Medium over again, I wished there was an easier way to say “I’m not drinking” that would get it through other people’s heads. “I’m not drinking” doesn’t mean “ask me again to make sure I’m sure” or “check again in a few minutes.” Alcohol is no longer mystical or weird. Sometimes it’s a burden. No one wants to explain their reasoning for not drinking a thousand times in one night (and by a thousand, I mean more than maybe once).

I guess what I really want is for society to normalize not consuming alcohol as much as it showcases drinking in any and all social situations.

I don’t care if you drink. I don’t care if you want to get drunk every night of the week. But I do care if I get asked about alcohol so many times that I eventually feel pressured to lie about being the designated driver or fill a Solo cup with water so people stop asking.

Perhaps I need more of a backbone. Perhaps I should just drink water and pretend to be doing what everyone else is doing. Perhaps I should just get over myself and have that glass of wine. Who knows. But I do know that The Unifying Theory of Alcohol really hit the nail on the head for me after that party, and it’s definitely something to think about.

What I Read in 2019

I am currently enjoying A Life in the Law: Advice for Your Lawyers, Legal Ethics Stories, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Supplement, Contracts…kidding. I’m definitely not reading those for fun. But I am ~technically~ reading them for school. But that’s not why you’re here. You’re here for the juicy romcom, sci-fi, young adult weirdness that my Goodreads account is usually full of.

I hit my goal of reading 15 books last year. Usually I read close to 30, but there was no way I was going to have free time to read as prolifically as I usually do during law school. I set my goals lower and hit them, with help from a few audiobooks at the tail end of December.

Here’s a list, and rating, of all those books:

And a few I didn’t finish reading:

What’s currently on my nightstand:

And what I’m looking forward to picking up in 2020:

If there’s any book in particular you’d like me to write a full review on, leave a comment with the title below!