What I Read in January

The theme of my January books was 90s in New York City. A classic that most women my age should read because they certainly consumed the television series and movies, a study on said series from inception to the movie sequel, as well as punchy memoirs from not one but two MTV VJs. One of which, I wouldn’t mind punching in a tit.

Sex and the City by Candace Bushnell

Granted it took me a solid twenty years post-watching the series to catch up with the source material. I had to get my SATC fix somehow while in Central Asia, as AJLT was not immediately accessible and I was experiencing the MO in FOMO. The next best thing was reading the original, which I did for the first time last year. Opening 2023, I re-read Sex and the City.

I still experience a sense of superiority to most women who are “obsessed” with Sex and the City and the sequel series. I know most women never read the source material, otherwise we would be quoting the particular phrases and passages that were ripped from the pages of Candace Bushnell’s weekly Observer column with more frequency.

On that note, the writers used Candace Bushnell’s words verbatim, but not in a lazy way. Sure there were columns included in the book that an entire episodes were based upon, specifically in the first and second seasons. However the writers were able to tease out fragments from Sex and the City to develop episodes around.

Certain characters – Capote, Skipper, Stanford, Amalita, Magda, and of course Sam, Charlotte, and Miranda – pop up in the column, ergo, pop up in the book. However, the series developed and changed the characters.

Sex and the City and Us by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong

I cannot read Sex and the City without reading an examination of the development from the original columns to the movies. I originally won the book via a Bradshaw Boys Instagram giveaway, which eventually led to joining the trio to chat about a third season episode on the pod.

I re-read this book for the third time, at least, while also reading Sex and the City over the course of the first week in 2023. Blowing through two books in one week was a byproduct of being out sick that week.

My favorite part was reading about the early development of the project. Sex and the City and Us discusses Candace Bushnell’s educational, professional, and social background. The latter of which positioned Bushnell to option her book which, much like the season 5 episode Unoriginal Sin, were handpicked from her column. Keishin Armstrong addresses into how Bushnell finally landed on selling her source material to HBO.

Confession: I tried watching Gutfeld! on AFN while on post in Kazakhstan. I was surprised to see that the very Kennedy of Alternative Nation was one of the guest personalities for the episode. Unfortunately, I could not stomach the show, the host, or the guests. Nevertheless, I re-read her memoir to try to find her humanity.

Her book is funnier than I remember from when I initially read it spring 2020. At the time, we were ankle deep in the pandemic and I was nursing and pumping around the clock.

I will say that while she frequently name drops (frequently) throughout The Kennedy Chronicles which is something I distinctly recall from the first read, she does not punch down. I caught more of her humor, often self-deprecating, this time around. I appreciate anyone who can make fun of themselves and doesn’t take themselves too seriously.

Like many other artists who I find questionable, I struggle with separating Kennedy’s memoir from her as a pundit. Being a closet Republican or Libertarian or Independent, and yet benefitting, being provided a platform, enjoying perks as minimal as wardrobe (Betsey Johnson, natch) and impactful as access from a television network which rocked the vote to the effect that some might say it broke the Reagan / Bush machine, seems like she sold out while internally shit talking the very machine.

In mid-2016 I was at a job I really was not enjoying. At the end of one week, I had finished my work and was waiting for deliverables from a consultant in order to move forward on my project. Rather than leave early, as I should have but did not because I was a new-ish employee to the company, I downloaded Party of One: A Memoir in 21 Songs by Dave Holmes.

That afternoon in my cubicle would be the first time of the now-six times that I read the memoir of the everyman VJ of the late 1990s. (I allow myself to read it once a year). As someone who took awhile to find her tribe, chosen family, and spouse, I especially enjoy reading about how Holmes comes around to self actualization about life solo.

What I got from the sixth read: I especially enjoyed his interludes this round. Don’t know what I am talking about? Read it.

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