My reading month was all about collections, whether that be poetry, essays, graphic novels, short stories, or collections of illustrated random facts & dark fears.
In total I read 18 books in May:
I discovered the beauty that is Master of None.
On a complete whim I started watching the first season of Master of None because its following season had just released earlier this month. And it was everything I had anticipated Aziz Ansari’s Modern Romance to be about, before I started and realized it was actually a research book.
This Netflix series features an ensemble cast with diverse characters, including black and brown characters, LGBTQ+ characters, etc. while exploring thoughts and morals that really resonated. Each episode is set around a main theme, touching upon a wide range of evergreen issues, such as the reality of having children, adulthood, immigrant parents, Indian representation on TV and type-casting of Indian actors, religion, modern romance and its mayhems, cheating, exposing racism and sexism, spending time with the elderly… and so much more.
I have so many things spinning in my head right now about Master of None, so I think it’s best if I just write it down point by point:
- Some of my favorite moments: I loved the episode in the first season where the men used their privilege to listen and give women a platform to voice their thoughts and concerns, instead of snubbing and dismissing them. Also, the following chapter where Dev spends time with his girlfriend’s grandmother to hear her stories really hit me as well. It got me thinking of this quote from Too Much and Not the Mood that discussed a similar idea: “Most children grow up and plan to, at some stage, sit with a parent, a pad of paper, a voice recorder, and listen. Most children, despite good intentions, never make it happen.” And all this lead to me feeling inspired to finally take responsibly and call up my own grandmother more regularly, which goes to show just how impactful Master of None was in my eyes.
- Season two feels a lot more mature and developed, exploring different kinds of storytelling methods, from doing the first instalment solely in black and white, to an episode in the middle of the season leading from a stranger’s perspective, where “the lives of several ordinary New Yorkers intersect in subtle ways.” Speaking of which, the latter was probably one of my favorite episodes of the season. I can hardly think of anything more thrilling or exciting than hearing the stories of three seemingly separate people (features a Hispanic valet, a Deaf Black woman and a Rwanda-Rundi taxi driver) connecting at the end. And then continuing on that same level with dedicating a single chapter to my favorite supporting character: Denise – played by Lena Waithe – with her killer lines and outfits. She had me all the more enraptured in the show.
But circling back to her episode: Over a series of Thanksgivings from the ’90s to the present, Denise settles into her sexuality and faces the challenge of coming out to her family. Since I love character building backstories, especially if they’re about characters I cherish, this was bound to be a favorite part of mine. The narrative was just so wholesome and fulfilling. Like, we got to see Denise’s growth and acceptance of herself and her sexuality through the years, and I’m just tearing up thinking about the importance behind it all.
Also, getting to read this article about Lena Waithe, who plays Denise in the show, talking about co-writing the aforementioned episode really put things into perspective.
- The people surrounding Aziz Ansari’s character Dev Shah were right up my alley. I was always ecstatic to see more of his friends and family on screen. Speaking of which, finding out that the parents of Ansari’s character were played by his actual mom and dad – Fatima and Shoukath Ansari – left me positively glowing. I’ll never tire of seeing positive relationships between parents and children depicted on screen.
- Everyone in the show – from minor to major characters – were so well-rounded and fleshed-out that even the Token White Friend got some depth with each passing episode. Like, the growing friendship between Dev and Arnold is on a whole other level. They’re so supportive of each other and it’s incredible to witness. The fact that they’re always there for one another to provide sage advice or just be stupidly happy together is something I can wholeheartedly get behind.
- And as you can see with the above, the cinematography in this show is utterly stunning with its details and colors and everything!!! It was truly eye-bending in its beauty.
- This last one is a bit random, but I loved that one of the minor characters was H. Jon Benjamin, whose voice is that of Bob Belcher in the animated sitcom Bob’s Burgers. For some unknown reason I just love hearing him talk. And I could low-key listen to his voice all day.
All this goes to show that there’s simply so much to love about Master of None, and I’m so grateful I decided to give this show a go on a whim. It rings with hilarious truth while being both unabashedly nerdy and unsurprisingly on-point. What more could you want?
P.S. I love it even more for distracting my mind off of that disastrous Skam clip before its midseason hiatus announcement.
That was my May wrap-up, thank you for reading!