I’m going to try and write a monthly recap for at least two months in a row – please don’t hold me too accountable. Links are identified by locale: (en) is English, (fr) is French. Sections include: personal update, reading (books & articles), listening (podcasts & music), going (places & events).
Officially bought my future home in the first week of April! Lots of down payments for the apartment, finishing up the kitchen design, and we started construction work on my apartment! I’m really excited for when it will all be ready, in June.
I’ve been more active than recently on Wikipedia, especially doing more work on the Une par pays project (one woman’s biography for each UN-recognized country on Earth). May will also be dedicated to judging the Wikiconcours. Haven’t done much on the Wikipedia admin side, which my mental health desperately needed – I think I’ll go for a one-year mandate (until August) unless something changes, and we all know nothing will change in Wikipedia’s culture, so, here we go.
Had a few drinks with good, old friends; saw my dad and had a good time; enjoyed every instance of going to the office, but not enough to not want to go full remote. If we had a Grenoble office, I’d happily go (almost) every day; unfortunately, Paris is just not for me, no matter how much I appreciate my colleagues and my office.
Did a bunch of swimming and running, with my 2 main achievements being that I ran 20 minutes nonstop for the first time (woo!) and that my «800m swimming, all breaks included» session got under 25 minutes for the first time (woo!). There are no small victories! My new approach to food (which includes not going to restaurants alone just because I’m too lazy and/or tired to cook) has also had an amazing impact on my wallet’s and my scale’s wellbeing.
And now, to my recommendations of the month.
24 books read in April, a good month, with a lot of fiction, a bunch of historical, queer & fantasy novels. My favourites include:
- (en) The Poppy Wars by R.F. Kuang. If anyone tells you this is Young Adult, they’re lying. This is very much adult literature. It’s very good but heart wrenching and has its fair share of
morally greyevil protagonists. I’m putting it as «en» even though the first tome has been translated to French, because the publisher decided to not go through with the other 2 tomes.
- (fr/en) Stone Butch Blues, by Leslie Feinberg. I cried a few times. It was as good as promised. (The French translation is very good, although the translators love footnotes a bit too much for my taste – if you have a basic grasp of US and queer cultures, you probably want to skip them.)
- (en) Happier Hour by Cassie Holmes, a nice «you can have it all» nonfiction book on time management and managing your priorities.
- (fr/en) The wrong end of the telescope, by Rabih Alameddine. I read it in English, but wrote my review in French here. I think this was my favourite novel of April 2023, and I wish we had more «grown-up» books with trans characters where transness is not the topic of the book.
- (en) Before we were trans: a new history of gender by Kit Heyam, an excellent read that goes further than the Western, white, cisnormative view we often have of gender to talk about «trans» (or not) people from all eras and places.
Just putting the title in there but I didn’t really save my faves from the month. You should read Comprendre et éviter l’épuisement militant (fr), though. I wrote it myself.
Also, if you’ve never heard of Un genre à soi (fr), now is the time to check it out. It’s a blog of happy news, stories, and cultural recommendations, by trans people.
- (en) The intellectual light web, with Nathan J Robinson, by Srsly Wrong. A podcast episode on humour in leftist circles and how we can make activism light and funny and encouraging.
- (en) Cancel Doom Posting with Katherine Cross, by Cancel Me, Daddy. A podcast episode on fearmongering about trans rights and its terrible consequences, and focusing on our fight rather than encouraging giving up. (Il est possible que je publie des notes en français sur cet épisode. Un jour.)
- (fr) Contraception interdite dans la France des années 1950, avec Danièle Voldman et Annette Wieviorka, de Paroles d’histoire, un épisode sur l’étude d’un «fait divers» des années 1950 qui a montré des approches à la contraception qu’on n’attendrait pas forcément, et une belle discussion sur l’accès aux archives.
- (fr) Backstage, de Arte Radio, 6 épisodes qui racontent la vie de régisseur·ses sur des tournées iconiques.
- (en) How Amazon reshapes small business to serve itself, with Moira Weigel, by Tech won’t save us. Truly an excellent episode on the fascinating backstage of retail on Amazon and how it changed the small business landscape before and during the covid-19 pandemic.
- (en) Carrot Quinn on Hiking, by Live like the world is dying. I love hiking, I love the Live like the world is dying podcast (anarchist, leftist, community survivalism. check it out.), and this episode was great, as most episodes are.
- (fr) Retraites : quelles violences excitent les médias ? par Penser les luttes de Radio Parleur. Une discussion comme toujours très intéressante.
- (en) Tone and intonation? tone and intonation! by Lingthusiasm, because when has a Lingthusiasm episode not made the list?
- (en) Stealing ideas, and why you should, by Radical Simple Living. I’m really enjoying this podcast series, by this English guy who lives in Sweden and treats me like his little nephew and talks about whatever he’s interested in, until his cats commit some random heinous act that makes him brutally stop the recording. Over the past 30 episodes this has become one of my favourite podcasts because it’s just so chill. (Also, trans-inclusive, which is a given usually but which I want to highlight coming from this «radical simplicity» middle-aged English dude. Thank you sir!)
- (fr) 10 bonnes raisons de te larguer, par RomComment ? Un des rares podcasts que j’aime suffisamment pour donner sur leur Patreon (j’ai eu des stickers ! c’était trop bien !!), parce qu’elles me font rire aux larmes à chaque épisode. 10/10, would 10 bonnes raisons de te larguer again. (En plus j’adore ce film.)
ALT BLK ERA are two British teenagers who redefine alt metal in a beautiful and angry way. I found out about them on Instagram Reels and really enjoyed it; I also found out about Gender Crisis, another British metal band (they call themselves «high-energy post-hardcore», specifically), because they played at a concert together. Angry and energetic – I haven’t listened to much music in April but have definitely vibed with them.
Have you heard of Grenoble?? Pretty cool place if you ask me. April included an evening picnic with my partner on top of the Bastille trail, a very easy and satisfying hike with a beautiful view on the city. No idea why I’m explaining this, everyone who’s ever been to Grenoble has been dragged there at some point.
Also, I forgot to keep a log of where I was going. This is my first monthly recap – I’ll try to do better next month.
Went to Le local autogéré in Grenoble to watch Truffaut’s Fahrenheit 451, which was really really good and had some truly hilarious (and other absolutely heartbreaking) moments. It was my second movie of 2023, which… well, at least the books are making up for the lack of cinema culture.
Voilà ! I haven’t really logged everything this month but wanted a good structure in place already. Hope you enjoyed this, will enjoy the recommendations, and of course if you have your own suggestions, remarks, questions, my comments & webmentions are open!