Last week our lovely Vanessa came stomping into the office in a huff. Okay, she wasn’t stomping. But she was in a huff. She was complaining she had nothing good to watch/read/listen to and begged us all to give her some recommendations to fill those hot, lazy hours of summer when one can’t do much else other than be as still as possible.
Well, this is our team’s answer to Vanessa, and anyone else, who needs some material to consume on a porch, beach, or inside their perfectly air-conditioned apartment…
Sarah: My summer recommendation is Sharp Objects. I’ve read almost all of Gillian Flynn’s books (huge fan, also love anything that involves a good mystery/ especially murder mysteries — don’t ask me why) so I was super excited to see that this was turning into a TV show. I haven’t seen it yet, but it’s on my weeks to-do list.
Caitlin: Anyone who knows what a closet homebody I am knows I devour books in my downtime (we’re talking fun, easy reads, not Faulkner). This summer I’ve broken last year’s record with over 10 finished and tucked away on my Kindle “bookshelf,” with a few weeks left to go. Of those, I can say David Sedaris’s Calypso made me LOL (really), Things That Happened Before the Earthquake had me nostalgic for my own adolescence in LA (thanks for the rec, Laura!), and The Anomaly by Michael Rutger rekindled my love of sci-fi thrillers.
Jane: I was initially apprehensive to share this but whatever, I’ve been rewatching old episodes of the Jersey Shore on Hulu and it’s been the BEST summer guilty pleasure. If you find yourself feeling nostalgic about simpler times (a la 2009), you won’t find anything better than this.
Emily: I’ve become addicted to Esther Perel’s podcast, Where should we begin? The first two season are on iTunes and I’m listening voraciously; it’s been a brilliant cautionary tale as I get ready to take the plunge into marriage this fall. And Esther is a GENIUS (which we already knew after meeting her for Pardon My French).
Bogdana: I have to recommend the book, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. It’s not at all as boring as it sounds. And, if you ever thought of things like ‘why are there still wars’, or ‘why do I like cheese pizza so much’, you’re gonna find the answers to either. Harari takes a close look at the race issues, nature of homosexualism, roots of misogyny, and how such weak and helpless primates such as us, Homo Sapiens, became ruling species of the Earth. It’s not a light read, but in the climate that we’re in right now, it paints a somewhat clear picture of how we got here. This book was written in just 2014, but it certainly is even more relevant today. And, if you’re just collecting yourself from a long sweet yawn, here’s another happy nugget: there’s no purpose of life.
Veronica: I watch more stand-up specials than anything else in my life. So after Hannah Gadsby’s name repeatedly popped up in my miscellaneous feeds and conversations with friends, I decided to dedicate an hour of my life to her Netflix special, Nanette. Holy smokes. Within an hour she made me not only re-think my own die-hard love for comedy, but society’s reliance on it as a crutch to avoid the harder conversations, like acceptance of all people. She eviscerates men who abuse their power, including Picasso, while reminding us all that “there is nothing stronger than a broken woman who as rebuilt herself.” I beg everyone to watch her.
Christina: I’m very into podcasts these days (I live alone, so I like to have constant chatter in the background), and one of my favorites is the NYTimes culture podcast, Still Processing. Jenna and Wesley talk about culture in a modern, frank and really refreshing way. And they’re funny!
Carie: I have two things I’d like to recommend, both of which I consumed this last weekend and both seem especially relevant in this very weird and historically significant time we’re living through.
First up is Exit West, a book by Mohsin Hamid, which I devoured in almost one sitting. It’s about two young people who fall in love as their country is erupting in violence around them and follows them as they navigate survival and evolve together and as individuals. It’s beautifully written and really makes you think about a lot of things we should all be thinking about right now.
Next up is The Human Pyramid or La Pyramide Humaine, a French movie by anthropologist Jean Rouch. Without giving too much away, it’s about race relations between white and black students at a French school in the Ivory Coast and their participation in a social experiment. Super great and also everyone’s style is perfect.