Short Recommendations For A Long (Easter) Weekend
If you’ve ever found my taste in pop culture, podcasts or books hard to pin down, I get it.
I, too, spend most days wondering whether I’m an eighty-five-year-old woman or sixteen-year-old boy – and you should keep that front of mind as you pour through this list of reading, listening and viewing recommendations for your Easter weekend.
I’d recommend easing into the long weekend with any one of Samantha Irby’s essay collections. I’ve read Meaty, Wow No Thank You (I think this one’s my favourite), and We Are Never Meeting In Real Life, and all three of them made me do that snort/cackle laugh thing, while simultaneously giving me second-hand embarrassment. Irby writes unapologetically about everything from chronic illness and bodily fluids to marriage, sex and aging. She suffers from depression (her latest book was dedicated to Wellbutrin), degenerative arthritis and Crohn’s disease. She openly hates outdoor music festivals and I’ve never related to someone more than when she said: “I haven’t ‘given up’, I’ve just loosened my grip.”
For something more gentle and intimate, you should read the soul-affirming Little Weirds by Jenny Slate, but make sure you have a pen handy to underline sentences like: “As the image of myself becomes sharper in my brain and more precious, I feel less afraid that someone else will erase me by denying me love.” Heaven.
Other books you’ll love are Luster by Raven Leilani, which Barack Obama named one of his favourite books of 2020, and Nadia Uwusu’s memoir Aftershocks which chronicles her nomadic life living everywhere from Kampala to London, adopting new languages and places to call home, since being abandoned by her mother at two-years-old and losing her beloved father when she was thirteen.
If you’re looking for a Netflix recommendation, may I gently peer pressure you into watching Last Chance U: Basketball – especially if you were a fan of the Netflix series Cheer, and double-especially if you have any affinity for a sporting underdog story. And if, like me, you were obsessed with the United States’ college admissions scandal of 2020, in which federal prosecutors charged over 50 wealthy parents for their elaborate schemes, including bribery and payments upwards of US $1million, to get their kids into top colleges, then you should watch drama-documentary hybrid Operation Varsity Blues, which uses re-enactments of real conversations obtained through extensive wire-tapping by the FBI, as well as interviews with key witnesses and prosecutors, to investigate the mastermind behind the scam, a guy called Rick Singer.
I recently watched the harrowing trailer for Four Good Days, starring Mila Kunis, after seeing a photo of the dramatic transformation she undertook to convincingly portray a heroin addict. I then fell down a rabbit hole and found the Washington Post article, “How’s Amanda?”, which is the true story on which the movie is based. The long-form piece is shocking and illuminating, and I’d highly recommend reading it before the film’s release later this year.
And for the long drive home, as the weekend comes to a close, please, for the love of God, plug in podcast mini-series Sentimental In The City, by Sentimental Garbage. Hosted by best friends and fellow journalists and authors, Caroline O’Donoghue and Dolly Alderton, this delicious and perfect mini-series unpacks each of the six glorious seasons of Sex & The City and it’s just absolute fucking heaven. Caroline and Dolly’s contagious laughter and the intimacy of their friendship is on full display, as is their intelligent and thoughtful analysis of the show’s major themes and character arcs, and whenever I’m listening to it, walking the aisles of the supermarket or standing in line for a coffee, I find a huge grin has spread across my face.