Ever since I finally finished the edits on A Temporary Engagement, I’ve been feeling “lazy”, which means that I’ve had time to do a fair bit of reading. At the tail end of last month, I got sucked down the rabbit hole that is the Vanity Fair online archives, polishing off the Crime Archives and the Dominick Dunne Archives in quick successions. Long-form VF articles, particularly those that focus on high-profile scandals or prominent society figures, are one of my reading “comfort foods”; I devour them the way other people do, say, romance novels. Following from that, I ordered and quickly read Dominick Dunne’s Fatal Charms & The Mansions of Limbo (chapters of which are available for free on the VF archives, so I wouldn’t necessarily recommend buying it) and The Two Mrs. Grenville (fun, gossipy read), as well as Truman Capote’s Answered Prayers (a more literary version of Dunne’s gossipy fiction). I was tempted to buy The Swans of Fifth Avenue, a novel based on the lives of Capote’s “swans” (Babe Paley et al), but the hardcover was kinda pricey, and I decided to hold out for a good biography instead. If anyone has recommendations, I’m all ears.
Here are a few more interesting articles I found online recently. As a well-read, non-native English speaker, I have a constant, mild fear of mispronouncing words I’ve never heard spoken. It was reassuring to read that I am not alone, even among those for whom English is the first language. Yay! Personally, I struggle a lot with words that are common in both my mother tongue and English (usually borrowed from French) because I can never be sure if my inflection is correct in whatever language I’m using (it can differ). Like, I will never use “banal” in conversation, even though I’ll happily toss it around when I write, because my pronunciation inevitably sounds wrong to my own ears. But, quite apart from that, English pronunciation is bananas — just saying. Cholmondeley = Chumley? I mean, really! Share your mispronounced words in the comments … if you dare.
I was also intrigued by this article about maximizers and satisficers. I think I’m 80% satisficer, and the balance maximizer; my husband is the opposite. Somehow, we get along without wanting to murder each other (most of the time). For the record, if you can scroll to the mini quiz embedded in the article, the questions where I score high (i.e. have maximizer tendencies) are 6,8, 11 and 12. Needless to say, I’m a satisficer when it comes to clothes. I also thought it was interesting that research suggests that people tend to move more to the “good enough is good enough” camp as they get older. I certainly follow that trend, but I wonder how much of that has to do with becoming a parent versus other life experiences (in my case, I think the answer is “everything”).
Speaking of psychological “types”, I also dug into Enneagram typology after reading a comment from a reader. I was familiar with the Meyer Briggs system, but had never heard of this. I tend to approach these things in much the same way as astrological signs — pseudo-science, but fun to read about and debate with friends. I have to say that, of all the ones I’ve looked into, the Enneagram system is the most bang-on. I also appreciate that it can be used as a tool for personal growth, rather than merely pigeonholing people into rigid categories. If you’ve looked into this before, I want to hear what you think about it!
Last but not least, a reader sent me a link to this thoughtful article about thrift store donations, written from the perspective of someone who relies upon thrift stores as a matter of necessity not choice. Even though I’m a committed thrift donor (in additional to thrift shopper), I appreciated the different perspective, and learned some new things — such as the importance of donating, not trashing, my old Tupperware.