What are you reading/watching/etc?

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I am halfway though Fleishman is in Trouble, a hysterically funny and smart book about being single in middle age that gets so many details right that it truly makes the mind reel. It’s by Taffy Brodesser-Akner, whose byline you might recognize from some of the best profiles the New York Times publishes (she did this killer one on Gwyneth a while back). It’s getting all sorts of hype and it deserves every ounce of it.

Another book that’s getting a decent amount of attention—and is next on my list—is Darcey Steinke’s Flash Count Diary: Menopause and the Vindication of Natural LifeThe book takes a pretty radical stance on The Change—that we can be empowered by plummeting estrogen instead of diminished—and I find that intriguing. You can read an excerpt here.

I haven’t seen Olivia Wilde’s directing debut Booksmart, but I keep hearing it’s fantastic.

And I adored season two of Fleabag, and implore all of you who are not Phoebe Waller-Bridge fans to jump on the bandwagon. Nobody creates more complicated and fascinating, flawed but lovable female characters (see also: Killing Eve, which I also enjoyed but not as much).

Finally, I loved the Garry Winogrand: Color exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum. Winogrand has long been one of my favorite photographers, but I always thought he only worked in black and white. Turns out that he did a whole lot of shooting in color, and the work is overwhelmingly affecting, unsentimental, and bold. I don’t think anyone has captured America quite like him. Go to this show—you won’t regret it. Now tell me what culture you’ve been consuming, please.

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60 Thoughts on What are you reading/watching/etc?
    Adrien
    1 Jul 2019
    3:21pm

    I’m reading Kate Atkinson’s new Jackson Brodie book, Big Sky. It’s really excellent so far, though I wish I’d re-read the series first because it takes quite a time jump.

    And oh, man, Fleabag season 2! Wonderful and devastating. Phoebe Waller-Bridge is just amazing.

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    Suju
    1 Jul 2019
    9:19am

    If you are in San Francisco or are going run out to see The Chronicles of San Francisco, a video mural by artist JR at the SFMOMA. It’s a free exhibit, too! Finally read Conversations with Friends and am currently reading and enjoying The Old Drift by Namwali Serpell, a Zambian writer. Then onto Normal People.

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    Mimi
    1 Jul 2019
    11:11am

    I finished and loved “Maybe You Should Talk To Someone” by Lori Gottleib, part memoir, part book about therapy by a therapist. I started Fleabag from the beginning of season 1 and have two episodes left in season 2. Wow! I liked “Dead to Me” but wonder why all these shows about grief? Now? I know I grieve regularly about the hideous DT administration. Is that translating into more personal grief that artists are expressing? I’ve just started Part Two of “Fleischman is in Trouble” but since I haven’t been single in 18 years I can’t believe the horny, sexy texts from strangers, while funny, are really how things are out there. I love her writing, ergo downloaded the book the day it was available. The HBO Central Park Five miniseries was well done but difficult to watch. Ditto “Chernobyl.” I’m halfway through “Gentleman Jack” on HBO, which is unusual and smart. I highly recommend. It doesn’t get dark till 9:30 where I live and the wildflowers are in bloom, yet great books and TV call to me.

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    Gablesgirl
    29 Jun 2019
    5:30pm

    Reading Almost Dead Things. Quirky, weird and so Florida. I’m a sucker for anything English so watching The Spanish Princess.

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    Kim
    1 Jul 2019
    8:21pm

    Just finished watching Ramy, about being young, modern and Muslim in America- so good and so funny. Reading the Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna, about a woman who keeps almost dying. I know, it sounds like a gimmick, but it’s really enjoyable.

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    Lenie
    4 Jul 2019
    4:56pm

    Following Olivia Coleman (had to after The Favourite!) came upon “Flowers” a very dark, eccentric English “sit-com?” that goes very sideways. Late to read Paul Beatty’s “The Sellout” a brilliantly funny perverse tale, in shortest telling (that does no justice to it) an African-American man in present day LA ends up at the Supreme Court accused of being a slave owner.

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    c.w.
    29 Jun 2019
    9:14am

    These posts are always so good! Just finished reading The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein––non-fiction and well worth the read. Next on my list is The Atlas of Reds and Blues by Devi S. Laskar which is getting major good press. Then The Reckonings by Lacy M. Johnson––a book of essays which is also getting tons of good press. Lacy M. Johnson posted daily Facebook postings on Hurricane Harvey when it hit Houston where she lives in the flood zone. I hope those some day go in a book because they will rip your heart out. Follow her on Facebook for brilliant insightful political (and otherwise) postings. She’s one of those people I wish I could meet and have dinner with because she is just so present in this world. And, yes, that article on G.P. and Goop is everything.

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    Jan W
    1 Jul 2019
    2:22am

    I am escaping into the fun seasons 1 of Succession and Yellowstone before starting into season 2 for both of them.

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      Mimi
      2 Jul 2019
      10:35am

      Where do you access season 1 of Yellowstone? And is it important to watch it before season 2? I owe my husband a series he’d like, and I think it might qualify.

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        Jan W
        7 Jul 2019
        1:54pm

        Yes, I think you should start at season 1. Yellowstone is on the Paramount channel. You can stream season 1 online. https://www.paramountnetwork.com/shows/yellowstone/iutiiw/season-1

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    Michele
    29 Jun 2019
    5:31pm

    Oh, oh, oh! I forgot to say when I commented above, I spent an hour last night looking up all of your books on Goodreads (I love Goodreads!). I already had a good couple few of them on my To-Read list but found some great new-to-me titles. So, thank you.

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      themis
      1 Jul 2019
      8:59pm

      I would be here for a GCA Goodreads group. I feed my Goodreads ‘Want To Read’ list directly in to my Holds list at my local e-library, so I often have something automatically being checked out and ready to read. I don’t always remember where I got a recommendation, but these kinds of websites give me the best point-outs. Smart, well-traveled women with varied interests can steer my tastes any day, thanks!

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    Mae
    30 Jun 2019
    1:53pm

    “City of Girls” by Elizabeth Gilbert was a delight.

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    Liz
    30 Jun 2019
    4:24pm

    I just started Fleishman is in Trouble based on your recommendation, and I love it. Her observations are right on, and I admit to loving her mockery of the upper middle class white lady with a penchant for stupid workout-themed sayings on t-shirts. I haven’t wanted to binge read a book this much since The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.

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    Ellie
    30 Jun 2019
    8:42pm

    Behind on Tana French, but just finished Faithful Place, which was excellent as always. For literary spy fiction lovers like myself, I really enjoyed Kate Atkinson’s Transcription (similar in superficial concept but much better than Ian McEwan’s Sweet Tooth). And rewatching Veronica Mars in preparation for the new season next month!

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      Jan W
      1 Jul 2019
      2:24am

      I loved Faithful Place!

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    Nik
    30 Jun 2019
    10:51pm

    I haven’t seen Booksmart but I went to see The Biggest Little Farm twice, it was THAT good. Just finished Save Me the Plums and I really enjoyed it and am now reading Little Fires Everywhere and enjoying it. My very favorite read this year has been Educated, though…that one has stayed with me.

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      Jan W
      1 Jul 2019
      2:29am

      I agree The Biggest Little Farm is fantastic. Wonder how they could afford it all, but it is so beautiful. The farm is giving tours this summer, sold out for June and July already.

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    Katrina
    1 Jul 2019
    1:22am

    Fleabag S2 was TV perfection. I have watched the entire season in full twice already, and I think I laughed more the 2nd time around. It still makes me giggle to myself when I remember random moments from the show. But beyond being funny, it’s a very intelligent, insightful, and thoughtful show. It was equal parts hilarious, heartbreaking, and, in the end, hopeful. Apart from the last season of The Americans (which left an entirely different emotional imprint), I don’t think any other season of a show has hit me so hard as Fleabag S2.

    I just finished The Chef Show on Netflix, and it was delightful. But fair warning, it will make you hungry and crave things like pasta, pie, brisket, and pad thai. So proceed with caution.

    I’m not sure a lot of people can relate with what I’m reading, Elizabeth: The Forgotten Years by John Guy. I’ve read A LOT of books on QEI but am still finding this an interesting read. I don’t know if that’s a testament to John Guy or to my obsession with everything Elizabeth I. Haha.

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    Krista Campbell
    28 Jun 2019
    11:02am

    I have a million things to do today and I sat here and read that article on Gwyneth because it was SO GOOD!!!

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    Liz
    28 Jun 2019
    11:09am

    Season 2 of Fleabag was so good. I was only kind of into Season 1 and thought the second season was way better.

    I saw Rocket Man and loved it. I’m not an Elton John fan, but the actor who played him was so charismatic and perfect. The last scene is hilarious and brought back a moment from my MTV childhood. It reminded me of Velvet Goldmine crossed with Jesus Christ Superstar.

    For fans of old and new garage rock and punk, there’s a great Spotify Playlist called Mottey’s Garage that is updated regularly. The person has great taste and I’m finding a lot of new bands through it.

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      Betsy
      29 Jun 2019
      12:37pm

      I read that Elton Johns production company is making a JC Superstar film and I am here for that.

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      AmyM
      28 Jun 2019
      11:16am

      I loved Rocketman, too. Once I found out Taron Egerton did all his own singing I had to see it again. He’s a huge talent. Can’t wait to see what he does next.

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    Hannah
    28 Jun 2019
    11:13am

    Booksmart is so good. I laughed so hard and cried toward the end. I would see it again!

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    Lynn in Tucson
    28 Jun 2019
    11:27am

    Booksmart is everything.

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    Emily Sinclair
    28 Jun 2019
    11:48am

    Are these book and TV recommendations new or did I just space out earlier posts? Either way, I LOVE them. Keep them coming!

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    Kirstjen
    28 Jun 2019
    11:56am

    Maybe I am weird, but I’ve looked forward to menopause ever since I got my first period. I’ve never thought of the ability to breed as an empowering thing… What’s wrong with me??

    I’m watching Ray Donovan right now. Love Killing Eve and Fleabag. Just finished reading The Gift of Fear. My next book is by Chris Hedges, Empire of Illiusion – The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle.

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      Lori in Toronto
      28 Jun 2019
      5:34pm

      I hit menopause overnight at 48 because of an ovarian cancer scare, and I have to say, I kind of love it…
      I’ll take a slightly declined sex drive for a life without cramps!

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    Jan
    28 Jun 2019
    11:59am

    Packing for vacation:
    The Burning Girl, Claire Messud
    The Witch Elm, Tana French
    Ohio, Stephen Markle

    Watching:
    Animal Kingdom (pulpy and ridiculous, but love a surfer bad boy/man)
    Baskets
    Big Little Lies

    In the queue:
    Stranger Things
    Mayans

    What can I say, it’s summer!

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    Caroline
    28 Jun 2019
    12:03pm

    Adored fleabag season two! I’d be all in with the foxy priest too;-)
    Just finished reading “Normal People” by Sally Rooney and really enjoyed it.
    Well written, slightly nostalgic and dark and also slightly smutty.
    Great beach read!

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      Debra K
      28 Jun 2019
      5:03pm

      I’m waiting on a copy of the Sally Rooney book to come in on my library waitlist! Looking forward to it

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    Wendela
    28 Jun 2019
    12:05pm

    Just finished Rebecca Makkai’s book The Great Believers, which I loved. I think you’d enjoy it.

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      Jen
      28 Jun 2019
      3:54pm

      Oh god, that book is breathtakingly good. Devastating too,and really stays with you.

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    Kathi
    28 Jun 2019
    12:37pm

    Putting Fleishman is in Trouble on my list, wondered about that book when I saw a very small blurb about it, thanks for the recommendation. Will also check out the second book, sounds intriguing. Reading Real Tigers be Mick Herron now, I like crime thrillers, mysteries.

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    Tammy Madsen
    28 Jun 2019
    1:01pm

    Finished Overstory by Richard Powers, and it’s one of the best books that I’ve read in years. I’m midway through Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff and Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs.

    The second season of Fleabag was so great. I binge watched and loved every second. The hot priest is everything.

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    Kathryn
    28 Jun 2019
    1:30pm

    Reading Orange World by Karen Russell watching Big Little Lies and Handmaids Tale

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      Kim France
      28 Jun 2019
      2:02pm

      Ooh ooh yes! I totally forgot about Big Little Lies when I wrote this post but I am loving it.

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    Beth
    28 Jun 2019
    1:34pm

    Fleabag season 2 was delicious. Foxy priest, Andrew Scott—Yes! I think I have a thing for the “unpredictable” male character (read: Adam Driver of Girls). Books: Swimming through The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and recently finished The Brain Body Diet by Sara Gottfried. Gottfired is a genius functional medicine doc who writes on women’s health.

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    EW
    28 Jun 2019
    1:37pm

    I recorded and am watching a John Varvatos 4-parter called “Punk”. Its a lot fun I think it ran on Epix channel. Good times….
    Also reading The Power by Naomi Alderman- I think it may turn into a tv series

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    Candy
    28 Jun 2019
    2:55pm

    Love these posts — I get so many good suggestions from everyone. For mystery lovers, the phenomenal Tana French’s latest book, The Witch Elm. Also, re-reading Mary Karr’s memoir The Liars Club, about her childhood in a small southeast Texas town. Just as wonderful as it was the first time I read it 2 decades ago when I was living in a small west Texas town.

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    Shannon
    28 Jun 2019
    3:00pm

    Can’t wait to read Flash Count Diary, after reading that amazing excerpt last week. Late to Fleabag, and can’t say I’m in the mood just now for TV written around terrible people. I get the well-done-ness of the writing, acting and production, but season 1 episode 1 left a little sour taste in my mouth. Enjoying “Dead To Me” and “Barry” though, and will get to see the HBO “Deadwood” movie this weekend. Psyched for that.

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      Kimbersam
      1 Jul 2019
      11:01am

      Am I the only person in the world that just didn’t get “Dead to Me”? I just rewatched S2 of “What We Do in The Shadows.” So funny!

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      Liz
      28 Jun 2019
      4:20pm

      I LOVED Dead to Me. Granted, I’d watch Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini in anything, but it was highly bingeable and surprisingly entertaining, considering the subject matter.

      You might like Fleabag season 2. I wasn’t really into the first season, either, but the characters aren’t nearly as terrible in season two (aside from the first episode), and the story between the priest and Fleabag is pretty damn hot.

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    Stephanie
    28 Jun 2019
    3:47pm

    Rebecca Makkai’s The Great Believers was one of those stop everything and sit down and read like your life depends on it books for me. I finished it yesterday. Makkai writes her main character Yale with such sympathy and respect and intimacy — the end of his story is one of the most beautiful and brilliant things I think I’ve ever read.

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      Jennyg
      30 Jun 2019
      9:46pm

      Beautiful description and spot on. I grew up in Chicago and was a teen in the late 80’s. This book was very nostalgic and our book club pick this month.
      Also just read Normal People and The Perfect Nanny.
      Audible: Where the Crawdads Sing. So good and just gorgeous imagery to listen to.
      Shows: Shrill. Forever : quirky with a kick. Pen15 is hilarious and cringe worthy. Don’t watch episode 3 with your teenager!!! Handmaids Tale. The Spanish Princess and PBS version of Les Mis was cool.

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    Laura
    28 Jun 2019
    4:18pm

    I am reading and liking Miracle Creek by Angie Kim, a courtroom drama and a whole lot more. I’m just starting More Fun in the New World by John Doe on audio, I really liked his Under the Big Black Sun, it’s about LA Punk bands.

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    D.Morgendorffer
    28 Jun 2019
    5:16pm

    Thank you for this post! I finished 100 Poems by Seamus Heaney and Alan Bennett’s Keeping On Keeping On. I’m about to start on a Philip Kerr omnibus called Berlin Noir and am vacillating with my non-fiction component of either portions of We Tell Ourselves Stories In Order To Live or the latest English translation of The Second Sex. (I like omnibuses; they give me a pantry-is-full feeling.) I just discovered on Amazon Prime this Australian series called Spirited: the writing is way more understated than a lot of tv shows and has this quiet eccentricity that you wouldn’t expect–as opposed to that hit’em over the head look at us being quirky. Plus, if you like bands like The Saints, you’ll definitely like the show’s soundtrack. Finally, as my literary good deed, I must mention a late, great author whose two books I’ve happily reread through the years, Carolyn Hougan. Shooting In the Dark and The Romeo Flag both have everything you’d want in a summer book, but the writing and the historical research are good enough for fall.

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    Debra K
    28 Jun 2019
    5:17pm

    Books: The Library Book/Susan Orlean, Save Me The Plums/Ruth Reichl (meh, thought it would be more gossipy), and I am going back through some Jim Harrison food essay/story collections – The Raw and the Cooked and A Really Big Lunch. Trying with all my heart to start the Robert Caro LBJ books but maybe they will be less daunting to read in the winter.
    Binging: Barry, Fleabag (the priest, sigh…), Better Things (LOVE Pamela Adlon), The Chef Show (Roi Choi & Jon Favreau – it’s really good, do not let the first episode having Gwyneth Paltrow in it keep you from watching, she’s actually kind of funny. The rest of the episodes are great.

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      Christiana
      1 Jul 2019
      11:15am

      I am late to the Better Things bandwagon but fell in love and binge-watched all three seasons in a row. I feel like Pamela Adlon is an archetypal Girl of a Certain Age!

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      Michele
      28 Jun 2019
      11:28pm

      I ran away from home once as a kid. I went to the children’s section of the public library and spent the whole day there. I also once left a soul-sucking day job at a magazine for lower pay at the blessed safe haven of working in a college library. The Library Book sounds fabulous 🙂

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        Mouse
        30 Jun 2019
        7:15am

        It IS!! As a trustee of our beyond tiny little local library in our beyond tiny little town in Maine I was fascinated. And somewhat reassured that librarians have always struggled with the issue of how to be useful and relevant……

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    Kelly Simmons
    28 Jun 2019
    6:23pm

    LOVED Booksmart. Want to see it again! And felt the same way about FLEABAG

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    Joannawnyc
    28 Jun 2019
    10:15pm

    I liked the 1st series of Fleabag a lot, have been waiting to feel like watching the 2nd. Have Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson and Severance by Ling Ma queued up and just read A Drinking Life by Pete Hamill. Really like the 2nd series of Big Little Lies so far and also watching another HBO series, Los Espookys, which is completely silly but I love it very much. It’s very 80s in its goofiness. I couldn’t have watched it then but it feels warmly nostalgic now.

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      Kim
      1 Jul 2019
      8:17pm

      Oh, I loved Another Brooklyn- enjoy!

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      D.Morgendorffer
      29 Jun 2019
      10:19am

      Oh my gosh, I’m digging Los Espookys, too. Years ago I read a novel by Pete Hamill that I really liked (North River) and often think I should check out more of his books.

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      Liz
      30 Jun 2019
      4:17pm

      Another Brooklyn is one of my favorite books in recent memory. The imagery is just so vivid. It’s really beautifully written.

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    Michele
    28 Jun 2019
    11:37pm

    You guys consume books the same way that I do! Most of my friends are readers but I’m the only one who always has 3 books going at once. Ahhh, my people! I’m re-reading, after many decades, James Baldwin’s Going To Meet the Man. He is hands down one of my favorite authors. Every single damned sentence is delicious. It’s bittersweet though, reading his 1948 descriptions of America, and race in America. We aren’t so different in 2019. If you’ve never read him, read The Fire Next Time. Blew me away.
    The other things I’m reading are meh but just finished The Glass Castle, which was devastating and wonderful. And, I Remember Nothing by Nora Ephron, which was charming and fun and funny and perfect, and more than a little bit about being a certain age.

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      Mamavalveeta03
      29 Jun 2019
      1:07am

      I’ll have to read The Fire Next Time which my youngest daughter just picked up & read when she was in the city on Monday. She loves Baldwin, too.

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    Mamavalveeta03
    29 Jun 2019
    12:53am

    Reading: Wayyyy too much political shit and it’s making my head spin. Also, a great essay in the Times by Brodesser-Akner about marriage and the TV show “Thirty-Something,” which I was once obsessed with because I thought that Hope and I had the same life (we didn’t). Also, I’m probably the last person in America to read All the Light We Cannot See and I’m enjoying it. Next on my list is Becoming Human by Jennifer Pastiloff, a very real and moving voice on the yoga scene who has a powerful story To share. Socially/Activism-wise, I attended a writing/listening workshop at Guild Hall to encourage us to use our own stories to be more effective allies for minority groups and women. It was encouraging to be a part of such a cool grp of women of all ages. I LOVED “Booksmart” and I’d highly recommend seeing it with a woman friend, mom, sister, daughter. My daughter and I laughed like crazy! Phoebe Waller-Bridge is a genius – I’d watch anything she wrote or was in.

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      y.k.
      29 Jun 2019
      1:09am

      I read that essay about “thirty-something” too! i was obsessed because i loved Melissa & Gary, Hope and Polly, and Hope’s house! (& remember Hope’s husband’s boss. Miles!)
      All the LIght We CAnnot See was fun.
      I am about to start Nana by Zola (book club pick). Just finished MoneyLand-the Inside Story of the Crooks and Kelptocrats who Rule the World, which is excellent but Infuriating.
      I’m adding both book picks in this post above to my list!

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Kim France

I was born in Houston, Texas in 1964 and have lived in New York City since 1988. I had a long career in magazines, working at Sassy, Elle, New York, and Spin, and in 2000, I founded Lucky magazine, which I edited for ten years.

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