Happy Friday and happy May!
Today is May Day, which also makes it International Workers’ Day, so I encourage you not to cross the picket line as essential workers strike for better benefits and protection while their employing corporations reap in record profits during this crisis.
May Day is also a festival of spring, so enjoy flowers and spring cakes and little makeshift maypoles if you’d like.
We are also kicking off Asian Pacific American Heritage Month today. I’ll try to find some good reading for next Friday but in the meantime, try to consume something made by an Asian Pacific American this weekend. You don’t have to go watch Crazy Rich Asians but there are a lot of other good options, one of which I mention down below. You can also watch a Youtube video, read a book, read an article even. And of course, continue considering supporting Asian-American-owned businesses.
“Lockdown Productivity: Spaceship You” – CGP Grey
CGP Grey has long been one of my favorite Youtube creators, and this has become one of my favorites of his videos. He reframes our quarantine in a creative way – you are isolated in a spaceship above Earth, and before you can return to Earth, your mission is to return to Earth better than you left. It’s really worth a watch and can be really motivating if you’ve been starting to feel burned out and finding quarantine to be pointless and draining. He focuses on how important it is to maintain your physical and mental health, and the importance of having dedicated physical spaces to do so.
Bookstores are so, so important. They don’t just sell books; they provide a physical space for you to enjoy them, to discover new books that you might not otherwise have known about, and even to attend events with authors and other literary figures. Bookshop.org sells books through independent bookstores instead of the big corporations that prioritize number of sales over paying authors, allowing you to very easily find and buy books. If you’re interesting in buying new books, I highly recommend you take a look here before going to Amazon. The prices won’t be as low, but if you’re able to afford the difference, know that the money is going to local bookstores, authors, and publications.
Eve Ewing also did this thread about whether/how Bookshop helps independent bookstores that I think is worth a read:
TL;DR – While an independent bookstore makes less money on a sale through Bookshop.org than directly, because they take care of fulfillments, bookstores are able to sell a higher volume of books with limited operations during a time of crisis like now.
If you have a bookstore you want to support, ask them directly if they would prefer you to order directly from them or through another party.
“Missing Sounds of New York” – New York Public Library & Mother New York
The NYPL and Mother New York put together this lovely little playlist of sounds from New York City that many of us have been missing lately. It’s also available on SoundCloud if you don’t use Spotify. Just some ambient sounds to remind you of what we have to look forward to hearing when the city comes back to life.
Never Have I Ever on Netflix
I had kind of low-ish expectations for this show, which the trailer seemed to advertise as Booksmart with a South Asian protagonist. However, once I started watching, I was reeled in by significantly more compelling characters and relationship dynamics throughout the show. I was really pleasantly surprised by how nuanced the show is and how quickly I became invested in its emotional core. (I was weeping by episode 2, and not for the last time.) It’s ten episodes that are each less than 30 minutes long, so I highly recommend it for weekend viewing if you’re looking for a low-commitment watch.
Songs I had stuck in my head this week
I hope you all have wonderful weekends!