Credits

Watch Read Listen: September

Watch

The Bear (Hulu)
I’m a little late with this review, but just finished the second season of The Bear which aired on Hulu in June. While it’s listed as a comedy, I would say it leans heavily on drama! The series follows an award winning chef, who returns to his hometown to take over a family restaurant. The acting is excellent, the emotion is palpable, and it leaves you feeling all the anxiety, stress, and excitement that comes with family relationships, and the restaurant business. I highly recommend with the caveat that if you are averse to swearing, this may not be the show for you! (Catherine)
Check out our Hulu Roku to watch.

Before We Die, season one
I watch all the (dark) British detective shows; this one is exceptional. We know going in that the plot involves a murder, and even though I knew the outcome I was still on the edge of my seat through the first episode waiting to see what would happen. (Amber)

Reptile (Netflix)
Benicio Del Toro – that is all you need to know. (Elle)

Read

All Adults Here by Emma Straub
Eh…cute story of a family and what all is happening with its members in light of the death of a lady in a small town where everyone knows each other. (Deb)

Blind Descent by Nevada Barr
Do you like National Parks? What about tight dark spaces? In book six of the Anna Pigeon mystery series, my favorite National Park Service ranger encounters a murderer 800 feet below ground in Lechuguilla Cave at Carlsbad Caverns National Park. It just so happened that I read this book the month before my first caving experience, and I greatly enjoyed learning about caving terminology, tools, and techniques that cavers use. However, Anna’s fear of caving began to rub off me! As always, author Nevada Barr writes another exciting mystery. For additional fun, might I suggest pairing this book with a documentary about caves, such as Journey into Amazing Caves or Mysterious Life of Caves. (Tessa)

Delilah Green Doesn’t Care by Ashley Herring Blake
i love love love Ashley Herring Blake, but i also dislike romcoms, and i think my dislike of romcomcs was too powerful for me to like this very much. There were hints of how great she can write characters, but most of it feel flat. (Ash)

I Feed Her To The Beast And The Beast Is Me by Jamison Shea
Absolutely wild paranormal horror. A Black, queer ballerina makes a deal with an ancient demon blood river for power and reputation. (Renee)

Joe vs. Elan School (web comic)
A terrifying account of a Teen who was sent/kidnapped to a Elan School, a school for troubled teens in Maine. Joe’s story is one of physical & mental abuse, and how he attempts to get though the experience and live his life. (Todd)

Losing Hope by Colleen Hoover
Eh. No 17yo guy is as emotionally aware as Holder. Too many secrets for too much of the book. I think publishers went back and re-released her works from before It Ends with Us and It Starts with Us and the earlier works just aren’t as good. Ok, though. (Deb)

One of Us Is Back by Karen McManus
I enjoyed the previous two books in this trilogy, and was initially so disappointed with this, the newly released third book. Had I read the previous two more recently it might have been better, but there were so many characters and allusions to the other books that I felt a bit lost in the weeds. It improved, though! I ended up liking this one almost as much as the others. (Dana)

Simon Sort of Says by Erin Bow
Funny, sad, and surprising–I was rooting for middle-schooler Simon and his whole town! (Jen)

Wrong Place, Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister
Looking for a long weekend read, I picked this up on a whim and ended up hooked! It’s a murder mystery, with some great twists and a very unique plot line. The main character wakes up each morning and it is the previous day, creating a plot that goes back in time in order to solve a crime in her current time. While initially I thought this would be confusing, the author does a great job setting it up, and it was really fun to read! (Catherine)

Listen

Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver, read by Charlie Thurston
So engaging from Page 1!! Dickens’s David Copperfield meets 1990’s Appalachia. Reading Dickens isn’t required, but if you have, the parallels are plentiful. Could not wait to get back in the car & keep listening! I don’t have many 5-star reviews in 2023, so I’m grateful for this one! (Deb)

Layover by V
V’s (BTS) solo debut album is here! Contains more jazz and R&B than you’re probably expecting. (Casey)

Romancing Mister Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
Excitedly awaiting season three – book four of the Bridgerton series is (in my opinion) the best one! Absolutely love the story of Penelope and Colin!! Although, sadly, I don’t think the series will hold true to the book based on the season synopsis. Hopefully we’ll see come December! (Elle)

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin, read by Jennifer Kim and Julian Cihi
Not knowing anything about gaming, I wasn’t sure if this would resonate with me, but it was a really nice story. The characters were flawed but likeable and I came to care about what would happen next. (Deb)

August 2023

Summer isn’t over yet! Here’s what we’ve enjoyed in the last of the long, summer days.

Read

All Good People Here by Ashley Flowers
A decent mystery/thriller with twists and turns in mostly all the right places. I would have given it a solid 4 out of 5 stars, but then the ending made me feel physically ill. I kind of wish I could scrub this one from my brain. (Dana)

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
This book is about the love story between Celestial and Roy and the sudden twist of fate that changes their lives in an instant. Much of this story is told through the letters they write to each other. Beautifully written and incredibly sad. (Seana)

Blindsight by Peter Watts
A crew of astronauts encounter an alien lifeform so different from humanity that it raises disturbing implications about what it means to be alive. A cosmic horror story that is refreshingly free of H.P. Lovecraft’s influence, it ‘s a good read for anyone who likes their sci-fi to be scary. (Greg)

Camp Damascus by Chuck Tingle
My first 5-star read of the year. A young woman has grown up in a town whose economy revolves around a conversion therapy camp. It’s creepy and funny, and perfectly encapsulates the horror that is the reality of conversion therapy. (Ash)

Can We Please Give the Police Department to the Grandmothers by Junauda Petrus, illustrated by Kristen Uroda
I think the title sums it up – a picture books for children and adults to read and talk about. I loved the review by School Library Journal: “A reverie of a book, offering criticism delivered with honey about our current state of affairs. It’s not at all as far-fetched as it sounds”. (Molly)

The Comic Book Story of Professional Wrestling: A Hardcore, High-flying, No-Holds-Barred History of the One True Sport by Aubrey Sitterson and Chris Moreno
I wasn’t allowed to watch wrestling as a child, but I married someone who is interested in it. This easy to read nonfiction graphic novel has been enlightening on the art of professional wrestling- it’s part theater, part acrobatics, part fighting and 100% fascinating. (Liz)

The Five-Star Weekend by Elin Hilderbrand
This is one of her best yet – thoughtful storyline and more in-depth look at friendships through the year. (Kelly)

Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros
As Goodreads puts it, “Enter the brutal and elite world of a war college for dragon riders”. This book will have you on the edge of your seat from chapter 1, and has everything from nail biting action to much needed romance. (Karina)

From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks
This is middle grade fiction. I started reading the first chapter aloud with one of our middle school friends who had to read it this summer for school. I was instantly hooked! (And so was my middle school friend.) (Seana)

Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay (two reviews)
I found this because it’s the Teen book club pick. It was amazing and made me feel all the feelings. I’m so glad there’s more Filipino American stories out there! (Hazel)

This is Waltham High School’s summer reading selection, but it’s a story that can engage, entertain, and enlighten all ages. It’s brutally honest about the complicated stuff in life, like familial relationships and expectations, trauma and substance use disorders, diaspora, and the amorphous nature of our identity and our perception of the world as we strive to become our best selves. There are also sparks of love, friendship, and humor throughout! All of this AND insights into the ongoing socio-political saga of the Philippines. Patron Saints gives us a gripping insider look at Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte’s “War on Drugs” and how it has dramatically deteriorated human rights for many Filipino citizens today. (Lauren)

The Postcard by Anne Berest, translated by Tina Kover
The size of this book was pretty daunting, but having read it I’m amazed Berest was able to fit this story into only 464 pages. It’s the tale of her family, focusing on the bit starting in Russia in 1919 and ending in France around 1945. The book bounces between that history and present day, when Anne and her mother are investigating who sent a mysterious postcard listing the names of their family who had been killed during the Holocaust. It was hard to read in places, but is an amazing story of survival. (Dana)

Woman of Light by Kali Fajardo-Anstine
Fajardo-Anstine seamlessly weaves through generations and shows us that the past never dies – it just transforms. We are the product of our ancestors, and whether or not their stories were recorded on paper they live on in us – and if we are present enough to listen they will guide us. (Molly)

Watch

Babylon Berlin (Netflix)
Babylon Berlin is a gorgeous and graceful neo-noir television series set in Berlin during the Golden Twenties. It’s dark and twisted, but beautiful to look at. The mysterious plot trails a police commissioner who wrestles with shell-shock from his service in WWI and who is committed to investigating and dismantling Berlin’s biggest pornography ring. The story unwinds slowly, and in a delightfully confusing and dramatic way. (Lauren)

Heartstopper (Netflix, based on the graphic novel by Alice Oseman)
Great follow up to season 1 and Ace by Angela Chen makes an appearance! (Hazel)

Lost in Paris (Kanopy)
Fiona is a Canadian librarian who travels to France to visit her 88-year-old aunt who, it turns out, is missing. Hilarity and a whole lot of physical comedy ensue. (Janet)

The Summer I Turned Pretty (Prime Video, based on the book by Jenny Han )
I dont know how many times I said out loud (while watching it!) THIS IS SOO BAD – yet I could not stop watching it… (Elle)

Till
Till tells the story of the murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till and the activism of his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley. Incredibly well done and still incredibly relevant. Why this movie and its lead actress weren’t nominated for Oscars is a mystery. It’s really that good. (Janet)

True Detective (Max)
Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, the Louisiana bayou and occult murders? Sign me up! (Liz)
Check out our Max Roku to watch.

What We Do in the Shadows (Hulu)
A funny mockumentary about four vampires living on Staten Island and the poor human servant that has to deal with their crazy ideas. You’ll definitely like it if you like anything by Taika Waititi, and shows filmed like The Office. (Karina)
Check out our Hulu Roku to watch.

You Are So Not Invited To My Bat Mitzvah (Netflix)
Adam Sandler plays a minor role in this film that stars his real-life daughters and wife. I love finding movies that my daughters and I equally enjoy and this is definitely one. Funny, modern, and sweet, it’s a delight. (Amber)

Listen

American Heartbreak by Zack Bryan
Given that Zack Bryan is slated to play Gillette next summer (with Jason Isbell opening), I am late to the Zach Bryan party. Better late than never, I am obsessed. (Amber)

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner, narrated by the author
This had been on my TBR for quite some time after two years of consistent public praise. I have to say I was rather disappointed in it, not for Michelle’s storytelling (which was very well done), but for the story itself. (Elle)

Finding Me by Viola Davis, narrated by the author
Viola Davis is 1000% a storyteller! Less than ten minutes in I was crying. It’s heartbreaking, uplifting, relatable, hilarious, human. I am so glad I listened to the audiobook version to actually hear her tell her own story. Fun Fact: she won a Grammy for this audiobook narration! Yes – it’s that good. (Elle)

One Life by Megan Rapinoe, narrated by the author
For World Cup season I decided to read more about the people on the US National Team. I love the way Megan Rapinoe tells her story and uses her platform as an athlete for social justice. (Hazel)

The Retrievals (podcast)
This is not specifically a true crime podcast, but the experiences of hundreds of women at a Yale fertility clinic is nothing short of criminal. If binge listening is a thing, then that’s what I did. (Janet)

July 2023

The heat is on with our summertime choices.

Read

Black Rain by Masuji Ibuse; translated by John Bester
I’ve been meaning to read Masuji Ibuse’s sobering and acclaimed novel on the aftermath of the bombing of Hiroshima for years. With the film Oppenheimer coming out in a few days, I thought this would be a good time to start it as a reminder that the surviving people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki had to live with the brutal consequences of Oppenheimer’s creation. (Liz)

The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold
The story of Jack the Ripper has long held a macabre fascination for me, but this book blew me away. Rubenhold did an unbelievable amount of research to tell the stories of the women who are believed to be the Ripper’s victims. She also did an amazing job humanizing the women, and making me rethink the way the story has fascinated me. I highly recommend this book. (Dana)

Local Girl Missing by Claire Douglas
Eh… this was pretty one-note for 95% of the book. Everything happened in the last 20 pages. (Deb)

Lucky Red by Claudia Cravens
Looking for a sapphic western? You won’t be disappointed with this story of an orphan making her own way in the wild west. (Ash)

Moby Dyke: An Obsessive Quest To Track Down the Last Remaining Lesbian Bars in America by Krista Burton
Burton spent a year travelling to the last remaining 20 lesbian bars across across the country to document what’s left. I especially enjoyed reading about her trip to my hometown bar. (Ash)

Night Will Find You by Julia Heaberlin
A young woman returns home to help find a missing girl. With gorgeous words, Heaberlin writes a mystery/thriller that will keep you guessing until the end. (Ash)

Not On Any Map: One Virgin Island, Two Catastrophic Hurricanes, and the True Meaning of Paradise by Margie Smith Holt
So amazing to read an amazing adventure about a place, in the place, I love & visit often. (Deb)

Quietly Hostile by Samantha Irby
I’ve realized that I enjoy essay collections like this, but in moderation. While I loved most of Irby’s essays in this book, I did have to skip a few due to plain old lack of interest. But the best ones made me laugh out loud, which I appreciated. (Dana)

Secret Life: An Adaptation of a Story by Jeff VanderMeer by Theo Ellsworth
Surreal, creepy story paired with mesmerizing, terror-inducing art. Reminiscent of the themes present in the TV show Severance but with an abstract atmosphere that is profoundly unsettling. (Lauren)

Watch

A League of Their Own (Amazon Prime)
An endearing adaptation of the modern-classic film A League of Their Own, this series dives into beautiful queer-love themes and war-time foreboding that only briefly shimmers on the surface of the original. The extended one-hour series format gives the audience more time to soak in the period costumes and the tension of the times, with a heavy dose of bad CGI baseball montages! There’s the familiar fun and cartoonish ensemble cast, just as with the original, but in many ways, it’s a more profound and gratifying watch. (Lauren)

Barbie (currently in theaters)
An excellent film about men, the patriarchy, and what it’s like to be a woman on this planet. (Ash)

George and Tammy (Showtime)
Jessica Chastain and Michael Shannon are absolutely incredible as Tammy Wynette and George Jones in this, ultimately, very sad story. (Amber)

George Michael: Freedom (streaming on Paramount+)
This is a bittersweet look at the later period of the singer’s career. I’m not sure I realized at the time how much George Michael fought for an artist’s right to do what they wanted to do, rather than what the record company wanted. Worth watching if for nothing else but the story behind the best music video ever made, Freedom! ’90. (Amber)

1923
The next installment in the Yellowstone origin stories, this series has an extraordinary amount of gratuitous violence. Harrison Ford is woefully miscast as a cowboy; Helen Mirren shines. (Amber)

Wham! (Netflix)
Utterly fun pop candy. (Amber)

Listen

Beyond the Story: 10 Year Record of BTS by BTS
Originally announced by the publisher with the title and author hidden and an huge print run planned, my interest was peaked. When the author was announced as the popular K-pop band BTS, I wanted to see what it was all about. Listening to the audiobook has been a glimpse into the competitive K-pop industry and serves as liner notes to the 10 year career of BTS. Would recommend to curious pop culture fans with one warning: it can be a little tricky to follow the audio narrative, since there are extended quotes from interviews and un-introduced song lyrics interspersed throughout. (Kate)

The Collected Regrets of Clover by Mikki Bramer; narrated by Jennifer Pickens
In this novel you’ll meet Clover, who is a death doula in New York City, dedicating her life to ushering people peacefully through their end-of-life process. Interesting and well-written. Good characters. Chuckled a few times, shed a tear or 2. Insightful. (Deb)

Come On Feel the Illinoise by Sufjan Stevens
This album came out 15 years ago, but I’ve been spending a lot of time in my bluetooth-less car lately and wanted to listen to something mellow and familiar from my college days. This album is a 2000s indie classic. (Liz)

The Forest of Vanishing Stars by Kristin Harmel; narrated by Madeleine Maby
Where the Crawdads Sing meets The Nightingale. Seem like an odd description? Read it for yourself and see if I’m correct! (Deb)

The Old Woman With the Knife by Gu Byeong-mo; translated into English by Chi-Young Kim; narrated by Nancy Wu
Hornclaw is a “disease control specialist” who fears she may be aging out of her profession. This is a quirky story with violent scenes that are told so matter-of-factly that the gore almost seems comical. (Amber)

Someone Else’s Shoes by Jojo Moyes; narrated by Daisy Ridley
Wasn’t sure where this story was headed… one of the two main characters was deeply unlikable to start. In the end… a fun adventure with some laugh-out-loud moments. (Deb)

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird by Lisa See; narrated by Ruthie Ann Miles
Lisa See’s novels always immerse the reader in a new culture. This one is historical fiction surrounding hill tribe people of China and their traditions, tea farming and family bonds. Very enjoyable. (Deb)

June 2023

Our summer is in full swing!

Read

All The Dead Lie Down by Kyrie McCauley
YA sapphic gothic horror. Creepy house, atmospheric setting on the Maine coast, excellent twists you won’t see coming. (Ash)

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
I know this book is like 10 years old, but I never read got around to it. And shame on me because it was FABULOUS (which everyone already knew)! (Elle)

Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki
Heartwarming queer sci-fi in the vein of Good Omens! (Renee)

Lone Women by Victor LaValle
A Black woman named Adelaide is fleeing to Montana in 1915, where she can claim a plot of land for free as long as she agrees to cultivate it. All she brings with her is her trunk, and we immediately understand that the contents of the trunk are connected to the mysterious death of her parents, and that it must not be opened by anyone else under any circumstances. This novel was really atmospheric with some scary moments in the second half. I really enjoyed it! (Cathy)

Monsters: A Fan’s Dilemma by Claire Dederer
An honest and wise collection of essays on how we engage with the work of public figures who have done harmful things, and whether we should feel guilty for continuing to love their art. I felt both called out and validated reading this. Highly recommend to those interested in this topic. (Cathy)

The Night Always Comes by Willy Vlautin
Set over the course of two days in Portland, this fast-paced novel kept me on the edge of my seat. I have added all of Vlautin’s previous novels to my TBR pile. (Amber)

Unprotected: A Memoir by Billy Porter
Billy Porter’s memoir is an engaging read, expertly balancing his dark-and-profound experiences with a irreverent-and-effervescent constitution. He weaves time jumps throughout the chronology of his life story, offering unique reflections of his headspace at historical moments of contemporary U.S. history. Interesting, inspiring, entertaining! (Lauren)

Small Mercies by Dennis Lehane
A mother in South Boston is out to determine what happened to her teenaged daughter. Set in the 1970s, as the court-ordered desegregation busing is about to begin for the Boston Public School district. I couldn’t put this down and anticipate seeing it made into a movie or tv series in the near future. (Amber)
(Please be aware that this book contains racist language.)

Some Desperate Glory by Emily Tesh
Dark, gritty space opera about escaping a cult, unmaking mistakes, and how you can never know what the “right” thing really is. (Renee)

Watch

The Diplomat (Netflix)
Keri Russell has been my B.F.F. since our college days, so I am fully endorsing her for V.P. of the United States. And, yes, she only *played* a college student, and we’ve never actually met…but, these are trivial details. (Amber)
Check out our Netflix Roku to watch.

Gomorrah (Max)
Napoli’s answer to Baltimore’s The Wire. It is a complex, violent, and occasionally darkly humorous account of the Savastano clan within the Camorra crime syndicate. Each episode is a gripping experience, with many unexpected events and dramatic shifts in power. (Lauren)
Check out our Max Roku to watch.

Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies (currently not streaming)
Started out slow, but the sapphic storyline is great, and some of the songs are memorable. (Ash)

A Small Light (National Geographic / Disney+)
I think Molly recommended this last month: the story of Miep, the woman who hid the Frank Family, in Amsterdam during WWII. It was very well done, terribly sad, but incredibly inspiring. (Elle)
Check out our Disney+ Roku to watch.

Somebody Somewhere (Max)
I love this show so much and wish more people watched it. It’s a simple, quiet show about two middle aged friends in Kansas trying to figure life out. It’s big-hearted and so funny. Consider watching if you’re looking for something to lift your spirits. (Cathy)

Gomorrah (Max)
Napoli’s answer to Baltimore’s The Wire. It is a complex, violent, and occasionally darkly humorous account of the Savastano clan within the Camorra crime syndicate. Each episode is a gripping experience, with many unexpected events and dramatic shifts in power. (Lauren)
Check out our Max Roku to watch.

Listen

The Beaches
These ladies are a FORCE! (Amber)

The Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros
Instagram made me read it… and it lived up to its crazy hype!! (Elle)

Pageboy by Elliot Page
I’m sad to say that I was a bit disappointed by this memoir! It felt pretty rushed and disorganized. I wish he’d had a better editor. That being said, there are some powerful moments here and I’m definitely glad I read it and that Elliot Page got to tell his story. (Cathy)

Stick Season (We’ll All Be Here Forever) by Noah Kahan (iTunes)
Adding additional tracks to the already incredible Stick Season, these songs seem even more introspective and observant than the last. He is emerging as one of the best songwriters of our time. (Ash)

April 2023

April showers gave us plenty of time inside to watch, read, and listen.

Read

Cleopatra and Frankenstein by Coco Mellors
I had been waiting for this book for a long time, and when I finally got to it I was hooked within the first few pages. Cleo and Frank meet by chance, but she is in NY on a student visa that is set to expire in 6 months. Within that time they will marry and start a life together which will alter not only their worlds, but the worlds of their friends and family that surround them. (Elle)

Factory Girls by Michelle Gallen
Attracted by a “fans of [tv show] Derry Girls will love this book!” review, I grabbed this book expecting a humorous story of teenage girls living in the midst of The Troubles in 1990s Northern Ireland. I didn’t find much humor (unlike Derry Girls, and unlike the review blurbs on the book cover), but I did find an emotional tale of the Troubles. It was a little sobering to realize that I was a happily oblivious tween over here in Massachusetts while events like the ones in the book were taking place. (Dana)

Foster by Claire Keegan
This novella is beautifully written and quietly heartbreaking. I read it in one sitting on a rainy morning, and once done immediately requested another book by this author. (Amber)

Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano
One of the best works of fiction I’ve read in a while. A deeply moving story about the lifelong impacts of childhood trauma/neglect and the healing power of love, sisterhood, friendship – and forgiveness. (Molly)

I’ll Show Myself Out by Jessi Klein
I’m in the middle of this one, and quite enjoying it. Klein’s writing style is easy to read and makes me laugh. It’s always comforting/validating to read stories from other moms who’ve been in the same boat, especially if they can help you see the humor in it all! (Dana)

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
Strong female protagonist, falling in love, and a DOG! What more could you need? I had so much fun reading this book. I even picked up a few cooking tips. (Tessa)

The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi
Short & fun novel about saving Kaiju from humans. Funny and light! (Renee)

The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan
Absolutely gut-wrenching novel about a woman who loses her child after a bad day. Super haunting, this still keeps me up at night. (Renee)

Watch

Belfast
I was almost done reading Factory Girls (see review above) when I had the chance to watch this movie during a flight. That personal context made it extra fascinating to watch a film about the start of The Troubles. I thought the movie was excellent, a tear-jerker. (Dana)

Coriolanus
Coriolanus is not one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays; it is a Roman tragedy with no love story, little humor, and the plot revolves around war. I love Shakespeare, but I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this story. To my surprise, I was thoroughly impressed with Ralph Fiennes’s adaptation of the play. The film uses Shakespeare’s language, but at no point was I confused thanks to Fiennes’s clever directing choices, although I could have done without the shakey camera effect during the fighting scenes. Overall, I ended up enjoying the film more than the play adaptation I saw a week later. (Tessa)

Notorious
A Nazi spy thriller in true Hitchcock form. Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant star in probably one of the most beautiful pieces of cinema ever created. I didn’t want it to end! (Elle)

The Sopranos
Working my way through season 3. Body count: 20? (Elle)

Succession (HBO Max)
My favorite evil family is back, and I couldn’t be happier. Episode 3 of this new season was truly one of the most masterful episodes of television I’ve seen in recent years. (Cathy)
Check out our HBO Roku to watch.

Survivor (CBS)
I hadn’t watched an episode of this since season one, but I found my kids watching it one day and was surprisingly hooked. Jeff Probst hasn’t aged in 20 years, they recently changed the gameplay a bit, and I now find myself wanting to form alliances and vote people off the island in every day life. (Amber)
Check out our Hulu Roku to watch.

Truly, Madly, Deeply
Young Alan Rickman with a mustache! Need I say more? I’ve been meaning to watch this 1990 movie for many years and I’m so glad there was a DVD available in Minuteman for me to borrow. This is about a woman having a really hard time grieving the recent death of her boyfriend when he suddenly returns as a ghost! It’s one of those movies that has a somewhat silly premise but works because the actors are so great and fully committed. I enjoyed it a lot and it’s going on my list of favorite comfort watches. (Cathy)

Listen

Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano, read by Maura Tierney
I’m currently listening to this, and, to quote a friend, am waiting for this to become the amazing book the New York Times says it is. Maura Tierney, however, is an outstanding reader.

King of Battle and Blood by Scarlett St. Clair, read by Curt Bonnem and Austenne Grey
Vampires, witches, secrets and twisted fate! Finished it in a day. (Elle)

Pelerinaj by Erol Josue
Erol Josuè is an amazing artist and storyteller. This album truly takes the listener on a pilgrimage. (Molly)

Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin
This was my first Ira Levin book and I really enjoyed listening to it on audio – Mia Farrow does a wonderful job with the narration! Fans of the movie should know that it’s very faithful to the book – very few things were changed. (Cathy)


March 2023

We are springing forward with these recent picks.

Read

All Good People Here by Ashley Flowers
A winding whodunit with a hometown reporter asking all the questions. If you read this and like it, you can also tune in to a podcast called Crime Junkies by the author. (Deb)

All the Beauty in the World: The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Me by Patrick Bringley
This memoir is about Patrick Bringley’s ten years as a guard at the Met. Full disclosure: I was a guard at the Met for five of those years and Patrick is a former colleague, so I’m biased. But as someone who has always enjoyed behind-the-scenes stories, especially from the perspective of support staff, I think I still would have enjoyed this even without the personal connection. This book is an ode to the transformative and healing power of art, and also to the diversity of both the Met’s visitors and staff. (Cathy)

Book Lovers by Emily Henry
Cute. Light. Fluffy. Chick-lit. (Deb)

Bye Bye, Binary by Eric Geron
This is one of my toddler’s current favorites. He loves pointing and yelling “baby!!” as they pop out of a gender-reveal cake. (Dana)

Invisible Woman by Erika Robuck
Great WWII fiction featuring a real-life, strong female American spy working for the Brits in occupied France. (Deb)

Leeva at Last by Sara Pennypacker
Funny, smart and resourceful, Leeva is a character to cheer for. Perfect for fans of Roald Dahl and the Clementine series. (Jen)

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
Beautifully written, lyrical and devastating. This one is going to stay with me for a long time. (Dana)

Run Toward the Danger by Sarah Polley
I love when writers explore the concept of memory – how we remember formative or traumatic events in our lives, how those memories morph with time, and how they often stand in contrast to how others remember the same event. Sarah Polley examines all of this so movingly and wisely in this essay collection. Also, like Jeannette McCurdy’s I’m Glad My Mom Died, this book is a searing indictment of the exploitation and neglect of children in the entertainment industry. (Cathy)

She Is a Haunting by Trang Thanh Tran
Literary gothic horror (my favorite) explores themes of belonging and colonialism and a sinister horror novel. (Ash)

Watch

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (in theaters)
My first trip to the movies in a year (yay mom-life!). It was okay; sufficiently entertaining. (Dana)

Extraordinary Attorney Woo (Netflix)
I’ve been watching this Korean drama about a lawyer with autism with my parents. It’s extremely wholesome and endearing, while highlighting real issues neurodivergent people face. I would be curious to hear from members of the autism community about this show, because I feel the portrayal sometimes leans on cliché a little bit. But overall, the writing is very sensitive and thoughtful, and I’m really enjoying it. (Cathy)

Luther: The Fallen Sun (Netflix)
I don’t like to share bad reviews, but I feel I would remiss for not forewarning fans of the Luther series to skip this one. There’s no comparing this movie (Idris Elba and Dermot Crowley are the only returning cast members) to the well-done and brilliantly terrifying BBC series. (Amber)
Check out our Netflix Roku to watch.

Pamela, a love story (Netflix)
Although the book (Love, Pamela) is better, I can think of worse ways to spend 90 or so minutes. (Amber)
Check out our Netflix Roku to watch.

Perry Mason, season two (HBO)
Everything about this series is divine. (Amber)
Check out our HBO Roku to watch.

School Spirits (Paramount+)
A teenager is murdered during school, and wakes up as a ghost who can’t leave school premises. But who murdered her? I’m enjoying the mystery so far. (Ash)

The Sopranos (HBO)
It’s spring time, which means its time for my annual bingeing of television’s best drama. Get the baked ziti ready! (Elle)
Check out our HBO Roku to watch.

The Unseen World by Liz Moore
Favorite novel of the year so far – it kept me up till 2AM several nights last week! It is the most immersive and captivating coming-of-age novel I’ve read in quite a while. I loved the characters, structure, and slow-burn mystery element. Also, I cried at the end which is rare for me with fiction. (Cathy)

Listen

The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi, narrated by Sneha Mathan
Great story. Strong women in a culture that might be less encouraging of strength in women. (Deb)

Pop by U2
I revisited a favorite album from my teen years. It didn’t hold up. (Dana)

Taste: My Life Through Food by Stanley Tucci
Some parts laugh-out-loud funny. Some parts heartbreaking. Some parts made me very hungry. (Deb)

A Touch of Darkness, A Touch of Ruin, A Touch of Malice by Scarlett St. Clair
This trilogy is set in New Athens, where the Greek gods are alive and well ruling in a modern world. It follows the imagined love story of Hades and Persephone as she comes to terms with leaving her life in the mortal world behind and ruling with Hades in the Underworld. (Elle)

February 2023

We packed a lot of Watching, Reading, and Listening into the shortest month of the year.

Read

Africa Is Not a Country: Notes From a Bright Continent by Dipo Faloyin
Insightful, inspirational, and at times devastating, this book is worth reading for the overview of the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885 alone. It was during this meeting that European and American powers divvied up the African continent amongst themselves with no regard to language and ethnic boundaries, setting the stage for seemingly endless conflict and strife. (Janet)

Bailey’s Cafe by Gloria Naylor
So glad to have finally read a Gloria Naylor novel! Each chapter focuses on a different regular customer of Bailey’s Cafe, and opens with a monologue from Bailey about what he thinks about them. Most customers are down on their luck (to put it extremely lightly), and rooming at a place down the street that is impossible to find unless they’re meant to end up there. Recommend to those who like well-written literary fiction that is full of wisdom, humor (despite dark topics), and a dash of magical realism. (Cathy)

Black, Brave, First: 50+ African American Women Who Changed the World by Cheryl Willis Hudson; illustrations by Erin K. Robinson
Perfect read for Black History Month AND Women’s History Month. (Kelly)

The Bodyguard by Katherine Center
Cute! Light & fluffy. (Deb)

Call and Response: The Story of Black Lives Matter by Jennifer Harlan and Veronica Chambers
A call to action. (Molly)

Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver
Riveting. (Molly)

Dinner: The Playbook, A 30-Day Plan for Mastering the Art of the Family Meal by Jenny Rosenstrach
Great ideas for dinners; short and simple! I love this book! (Kelly)

How To Spot a Best Friend by Bea Birdsong; illustrations by Lucy Fleming
Adorable and charming, short and sweet. (Kelly)

How We Fight For Our Lives by Saeed Jones
This memoir was captivating, with Jones’s lyrical writing style. (Ash)

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
Good book. Interesting perspectives on both homelessness & domestic abuse (separately). (Deb)

Love, Pamela by Pamela Anderson
I took this with me on vacation and it was the perfect travel companion. I genuinely enjoyed this. (Amber)

Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan
A short but powerful book about a quiet hero in a small town in 1980s Ireland. (Janet)

Social Justice Parenting: How To Raise Compassioniate, Anti-Racist, Justice-Minded Kids in an Unjust World by Dr. Traci Baxley
This is one of the few parenting books I’ve actually enjoyed reading! Baxley’s writing style is very approachable, and I loved her idea of parenting through a lens of radical love. (Dana)

This Way Out by Tufayel Ahmed
Painful and heartwarming. (Deb)

3000 Degrees: The True Story of a Deadly Fire and the Men Who Fought It by Sean Flynn
This book provides a detailed, fascinating, and heartbreaking look at the Worcester Cold Storage fire, where 6 firefighters lost their lives in 1999. Flynn’s writing makes the reader feel like they’re right in the middle of the action. I remember watching the event unfold on the news and watching the funeral at school, and reading this book has been a pretty emotional exercise. (Dana)

We Will Rock Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins
We’re huge fans of Penelope the T-rex and her school adventures. Excellent books! (Kelly)

Watch

The Chronicles of Narnia series (start with The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe)
We’ve started reading the Chronicles of Narnia to my 6-year-old, and watching the accompanying movie after we finish each one. It’s hard to tell which format my son enjoys more…though the sword fights and battle scenes might give the movies the edge. (Dana)

Ginny & Georgia (Netflix)
My teen asked me to watch this with her, and although I was initially unsure about it I am now hooked. The show is set in the fictional New England town of Wellsbury, and clearly has a great fashion designer and music director. (TW: this show portrays self-harm and eating disorders.) (Amber)
Check out our Netflix Roku to watch.

How To Get Away With Murder, season one
A bit late to the party with this one. I wouldn’t call this show great, but it’s definitely fun. The young people in the cast do not interest me a whole lot, but I enjoy seeing how terrified they all are of the Viola Davis character, the unstoppable Annalise Keating! She’s great in this (obviously) and I’m so happy to have five more seasons to go. (Cathy)

The Last of Us (HBO)
Scary. Not sure I can formally recommend. (Kelly)

Limitless (Disney+)
Limitless is a docuseries featuring Chris Hemsworth, famous for starring in Marvel’s Thor Movies. The series puts Chris through various challenges to make him think about his own mortality and how he can maximize his health; thus living a longer and more fulfilling life. How examples of stress, temperature shock, fasting, strength, memory and acceptance can all shape the way we deal with aging and death. I found it eye opening, educational and entertaining all at once. My kids enjoyed it too!
Check out our Disney+ Roku to watch.

The 1619 Project (Hulu)
Phenomenal. (Molly)
Check out our Hulu Roku to watch.

The Woman King
Action-packed war epics are typically not my preferred genre for movies, but I found The Woman King to be compelling and enjoyable. The cast was great, especially Viola Davis! (I also have to give a shout out to Lashana Lynch, who played Miss Honey in Matilda the Musical which I watched a couple of weeks ago. So fun to see her knock it out of the park in two completely opposite roles.) (Cathy)

Listen

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
Almost as good as The Rose Code. Brilliant women, intrigue, romance, revenge! (Deb)

Blue Train by John Coltrane
A journey. (Molly)

Finding Me by Viola Davis
If I had known this audiobook’s very first chapter would make me tear up, I for sure wouldn’t have started it while waiting for the bus! I’ve read lots of celebrity memoirs, many of them great, and this is one of the best. I’m just in awe of Viola Davis, and this will definitely be one of my favorite books of the year. (Cathy)

The Girl in His Shadow (Nora Beady, #1) by Audrey Blake
Wonderful characters, wonderful history (albeit unfair). Looking forward to the next one! (Deb)

It Starts With Us by Colleen Hoover
Charming, empowering. Atlas seems too good to be true…to everyone: Ryle, Sutton, Josh…. (Deb)

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
What a great story! At first, I thought this was chick-lit meets Big Bang Theory but set in the 60’s. And it is a bit. And then I wondered if some of the meandering plot bits were really all necessary, but they all came together in the end! (Deb)

The Surgeon’s Daughter by Audrey Blake
Really great story! Glad we mostly don’t die from tetanus anymore. (Deb)

Wrong Place, Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister
SUPER intriguing writing! This story reveals itself backwards, essentially. Only one of my guesses turned out to be true. I love a book that keeps me on my toes! (Deb)

January 2023

Starting the new year by Watching, Reading, and Listening to these titles.

Read

The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel A. van der Kolk (Molly)

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
This was a gentle story with memorable characters. (Ash)

Parklands: Trails and Secrets from the National Parks of the United States edited by Robert Klanten, Andrea Servert, and Florian Siebeck
A gorgeous coffee table book – fun to read or just flip through. Also a good bedtime read if your kids like learning about new places! (Molly)

Rabbit & Bear series (Book One: Rabbit’s Bad Habits)
This fun chapter book is great for young readers! With silly humor and colored illustrations throughout, adults will enjoy reading it aloud to kids as well. I certainly did! (Seana)

Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers
I’ve been reading all of Becky Chambers’ books and this (Book #3 of the Wayfarers series) was such a heartfelt and hopeful way to start the year. Bonus rec for A Psalm for the Wild-Built! (Renee)

She Said by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey
This (very) in depth narrative from the journalists who broke the Harvey Weinstein case is a tough read, but an important one to understand how truly inspiring women can be. It was also just adapted into a motion picture that came out in November! (Elle)

Spare by Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex
So far, I am loving it! (Seana)
Available in print and digital formats.

The Undocumented Americans by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio
I may have found my favorite read of the year already. Part reporting, part memoir, this book is a response to our society’s tendency to focus on exceptional DREAMer stories when discussing undocumented immigrants in the US, rather than on their complicated humanity. Cornejo Villavicencio was undocumented herself when she wrote this book, so an impersonal, detached approach is impossible for her, and we see her form long lasting relationships with the people she meets. Reading this made me think about what journalism would look like if it was comprised of people who share the background and experiences of those they are writing about. (Cathy)

Three O’Clock in the Morning by Gianrico Carofiglio, translated by Howard Curtis
This slim coming-of-age novel recounts a teenaged boy and his father’s short visit to France. The author’s ability to evoke a sense of place is strong. (Amber)

We Don’t Know What We’re Doing by Thomas Morris
I resolved to read more short story collections in 2023 and I’m off to a very strong start with this one. If you enjoy short stories that are a bit melancholy, quite funny, and cathartic to read (but not in a heavy handed way), I recommend this lovely book about people stumbling through life in a small town in South Wales called Caerphilly. I particularly recommend to fans of Lily King. (Cathy)

Watch

Death in the Dorms (Hulu)
A very bingable true crime series. (Ash)
Check out our Hulu Roku to watch.

The Dragon Price (Netflix)
Highly enjoyable cartoon by the creators of Avatar: The Last Airbender, incredibly diverse characters and fun for all ages. (Renee)
Check out our Netflix Roku to watch.

Finding Your Roots
Fantastic series, very excited for season 9. I’ve been hooked since the first episode aired in 2012! (Moll

Firefly Lane (Netflix)
I love following Kate and Tully’s friendship through high school, college, and into adulthood! (Seana)
This series is based on the book by Kristin Hannah.
Check out our Netflix Roku to watch.

The Last of Us (HBO)
A terrifying and realistic twist on a zombie apocalypse based on the popular video game also known as The Last of Us. (Karina)

M3gan
I’m not a horror person so I can’t believe I went to see this. So glad I did. I can’t remember the last time I laughed this much at the movies. Don’t watch the trailer, which makes it look terrible. (Cathy)

White Lotus season two (HBO)
This show has pushed Italy up on my list of places I’d like to visit, particularly if I win the lottery and can stay at the Four Seasons where this was shot. (Amber)
The first season is available on dvd.

Listen

101 Essays That Will Change the Way You Think by Brianna West
Written more as affirmations, this collection of essays does truly encourage you to think about yourself and others in a myriad of ways to create better connections and communication. Its been a great book to start the year off with. (Elle)

The Final Revival of Opal & Nev by Dawnie Walton
If you enjoyed Daisy Jones & The Six, run, don’t walk! This is a similar premise – a fictitious reporting on the rise and fall of a famous rock duo in the 70s – but even better, partly because the duo is interracial which makes for a more complex story. With a full cast, this is one of the best audiobook experiences I’ve had. Just vibrant and dazzling. Also, theatre fans: André De Shields is one of the narrators! (Cathy)

Spare by Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex
Narrated by Prince Harry, this has been keeping me company on my commute. Coming in at over 14 hours, it’s not a quick listen, but it is does provide an interesting perspective on Harry’s life in the “gilded cage”, and his side of what happened when he met and married Meghan Markle. (Amber)

Yerimayo Celebration
Honestly, I’m listening to (and loving) anything by Baaba Maal right now. Looking forward to his forthcoming album Being. (Molly)
Other titles by this artist are available in physical and digital formats.

December 2022: Our Top Picks of the Year

Our favorite books, shows, and music from the year!

Read

All Souls Trilogy: A Discovery of Witches; Shadow of Night; The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness
I always pick up a spooky read for fall, and the All Souls Trilogy exceeded my expectations this year. I fell hard into Harkness’ modern world where witches, vampires and demons live among us warmbloods, and fell even harder into the second book when they travel back in time to the days of Queen Elizabeth and Shakespeare. (Elle)

Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver
One of the best books I’ve ever read in my life, let alone this year. Don’t let the size or comparisons to Dickens keep you away. (Amber)

Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands by Kate Beaton
Kate Beaton’s autobiographical graphic novel about her time working for the oil industry in northern Alberta, Canada is funny, sad and thoughtful. Beaton chronicles the challenges she faced living and working in the oil sands, where women are outnumbered by men 50 to 1, as she struggles to pay off her student loans. At times it’s a hard read due to the blatant sexism and misogyny she faces, including sexual assault, but Beaton’s signature wit shines through. (Liz)

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai
Another 5-star read from this year, deeply moving and an incredible family of characters. An incredibly humanizing story about the AIDS crisis and grief. (Renee)

House on Endless Waters by Emunah Elon
During a visit to Amsterdam, an Israeli novelist unravels his family’s tragic history there during the Second World War. Beautifully written, the work also showcases Elan’s extensive research, which provides insights into how the Netherlands lost a higher proportion of its Jewish population to the Nazi death camps than any other Western European country. (Janet)

How to Pronounce Knife: Stories by Souvankham Thammavongsa
One of those “I can’t believe this is a debut” books. I was pretty dazzled by this short story collection centering on the lives of Laos immigrants and their kids. The stories are just a touch strange, and very moving in subtle ways. I’m really looking forward to following this author’s work! (Cathy)

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
Best fiction book I’ve read in years. (Kelly)

Our Crooked Hearts by Melissa Albert
It has witches, it’s creepy, and I couldn’t put it down. (Ash)

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
Dragons, and sorcerers, and pirates, oh my! A long fantasy read with intense world building. (Karina)

The Round House by Louise Erdrich
This novel is about a thirteen-year-old boy named Joe and his attempts to seek justice after his mother is assaulted in their Ojibwe reservation in North Dakota. It’s powerful, moving, unexpectedly funny, and captures what it’s like to be a kid so accurately. Erdrich is becoming one of my favorite authors! (Cathy)

Things to Look Forward To: 52 Large and Small Joys for Today and Every Day by Sophie Blackall
This illustrated meditation on everyday wonders is a delight. (Jen)

Time is A Mother by Ocean Vuong
Poetry collection dealing with time, memory family and identity. (Claire)

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
This is easily the best book I read all year. I was a fan of Zevin when she was writing YA fiction when I was a kid and was thrilled to see her on the shelves again. The most lovable characters who will make you laugh and cry, and a wonderful story of how important and transformative love (ESPECIALLY platonic love) can be. (Renee)

Uprising by Margaret Peterson Haddix
I read this fictionalized take on the Triangle Shirtwaist fire in June, and still find myself thinking about it in December. The facts were well researched, the characters were dynamic and likeable, and the author really made the event come alive. (Dana)

Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McCallister
I can’t stop thinking about this book! The protagonist witnesses her son stab someone to death, and then each morning she wakes up, she goes back in time and tries to piece everything together. I couldn’t put it down. (Dana)

Watch

The Bear (Hulu)
A mind-bendingly good show!! A renowned chef goes home to run the hole-in-the-wall sandwich joint left to him by his brother. It’s stressful because they do an INCREDIBLE job of drawing you in — it felt like I was watching a documentary, or like I was literally in a restaurant kitchen. Last episode made me sob. (Renee)

Derry Girls (Netflix)
I’ve been loving Season 3 of Derry Girls this year. The misadventures and laughs pick up right where they left off! (Dana)
This show about a group of teenage friends living in Derry, Ireland in the 90s during the Troubles is one of the funniest and most charming shows I’ve seen in years. I’m currently watching the final season and I don’t want it to be over. Don’t watch this if you hate laughing! (Cathy)

1883
Sam Elliott is a national treasure. Tim McGraw is also fantastic in this Yellowstone origin story. (Amber)

Los Espookys (HBO)
A group of quirky friends use their love of gore and horror to start a business fabricating supernatural events. (Claire)

Midnight Mass (Neflix) (Liz)

Queens of Mystery (DVD and Hoopla)
I am not usually one for murder-mysteries, but this show has a good dose of comedy mixed in and the murders are not as graphic as in other series. (Janet)

Stranger Things, Season 4 (Netflix)
It is always hard for a TV series to top their first season, but Stranger Things continues to blow everything else out of the water. I watched Season 4 in one sitting because I just could not stop! Prepare yourself for thrills, chills and many, many tears. (Elle)

Wednesday (Netflix)
The humor is perfection, and I enjoyed it very much. (Ash)
So fun and clever! Jenna Ortega is brilliant in the lead. (Kelly)

Woke Up This Morning (podcast and book)
As a HUGE love of The Sopranos, I really loved listening to this podcast and hearing tons of stories from the cast and creators about filming, storylines, and Sopranos conspiracies. An added bonus: Michael and Steve also published a book expanding on the podcast. (Elle)

Listen

The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green
Really digestible, bite-size snippets of the human experience from John Green’s perspective. Will make you appreciate the important and small things in your life. I’m still thinking about the chapter on sunsets. (Renee)

Dear Child by Romy Hausmann, translated by Jamie Bulloch, narrated by Jane Collingwood 
Room meets Gone Girl is a PERFECT analogy! (Deb)

The Door of No Return by Kwame Alexander, narrated by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith
Narrator Kobna Holdbrook-Smith brings 11-year-old Asante boy Kofi and his family and village to life in this engrossing and heart-rending book, the first in a trilogy. (Jen)

Girl of My Dreams by Fletcher
For someone who doesn’t really like dance pop, I absolutely love this album. (Ash)

Hamnet: A Novel of the Plague by Maggie O’Farrell, narrated by Ell Potter
Beautifully original story focused mainly on Agnes, the wife of William Shakespeare. Ell Potter’s narration was also gorgeous. I did not want it to end. (Janet)

How to Be Less Stupid About Race: On Racism, White Supremacy, and the Racial Divide by Crystal Marie Fleming, narrated by Melanie Taylor
I’ve been reading a lot on race, equity and inclusion and this was BY FAR the most accessible. The audiobook was terrific and I bought a print copy because there were references and exercises that I wanted to refer back to when I wasn’t driving my car. (Deb)

Renaissance by Beyonce
Beyonce once again releases a ground breaking record and leaves no doubt in our minds that she is a visionary in the music industry. (Tessa)

The Rose Code by Kate Quinn, narrated by Saskia Maarleveld
War. Romance. Heartbreak. Intrigue. Royals. Brilliant, strong women. Excellent! (Deb)

Vide Noir by Lord Huron
Though Long Lost is this band’s most recent release, Vide Noir is one of my all-time favorite albums. I’m including it here because I was lucky enough to see Lord Huron live this summer. (Amber)

Wild Dreams by Westlife
Westlife’s newest album was in heavy rotation this year, as I got to live my own Wild Dreams and see them live for the first time! (Dana)

You Are Good (podcast)
If you love movies, I can’t recommend this podcast enough. It’s introduced me to so many movies and it’s also made me appreciate movies I already loved in new ways. Sarah Marshall and Alex Steed are such thoughtful, empathetic hosts that I’ve learned a lot from. This podcast feels like therapy in the best way. (Cathy)

November 2022: Giving Thanks

This month we’re taking a moment to express gratitude for these book, show, and music titles.

Read

Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden
Definitely thankful for the first book i ever read with a lesbian character. (Ash)

The Awakening by Nora Roberts
This is the first in the Dragon Heart Legacy trilogy (the last book comes out this month). It’s fantasy, love story, and action all in one. I find Nora Robert’s series such great escapism. I love her. (Kelly)

Dancing at the Pity Party: A Dead Mom Graphic Memoir by Tyler Feder
Beautiful, insightful work. This work had me reconsidering the experiences of friends and family members who had the misfortune of losing parents and siblings when they were young. I’m glad for that. (Janet)

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
This short book is the only self help title I’ve ever read that had a profound impact me and helping me become a calmer and more compassionate person. (Liz)

Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations by Mira Jacob
The author uses brilliant prose and powerful illustrations and photographs to expose the myriad challenges she has faced as a woman of color. Most touching are her conversations with her young son, who has a lot of excellent questions about race, many of which are not easily answered. (Janet)

I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jeannette McCurdy
I’m thankful that my mother and I have a good relationship, and that she never forced me into acting. (Dana)

In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado
I’m so thankful Carmen Maria Machado exists, and that she shares her brilliance with the world. I read this memoir in a single sitting over several hours. I don’t think I even took water or bathroom breaks! I’d never read anything like it – she completely reimagines the genre and also provides such an important contribution to queer archives, which she talks about in the memoir’s prologue. (Cathy)

Just Kids by Patti Smith
Patti Smith’s beautifully written memoir as well as her first album, Horses (I know I’m cheating by mentioning two things in one entry!), have given me courage at several points in my life and I’m very thankful for that. (Cathy)

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
This is by far the best book I have read in 5 years. I loved it. Don’t let the cover fool you; while there is a love story, it’s not a romance, chick lit novel. Don’t miss this book. (Kelly)

Olive Kitteridge by Etlizabeth Stout
This book has been around for a while and I see why it won the Pulitzer Prize. I love how the author mixes slow, meandering details with jarring twists and turns, all with Olive mostly in the background, until she is thrust into the foreground. (Janet)

Pig the Pug books by Aaron Blabey
The cutest, funniest, rhyming stories. This is everything a children’s book should be. Can’t go wrong with any of the series as a gift as well. (Kelly)

The Tiffany Aching series by Terry Prachett
Funny, clever and wise–I return to these books at least once a year! Start with Wee Free Men. (Jen)

Zorrie by Laird Hunt
So much packed into 160 pages and I love how the author devotes just the right amount of space to major life events in the world of the title character, Zorrie. No long, drawn-out scene setting here. I especially appreciated the nuanced examples of how members of a small town community come to each other’s aid again and again. (Janet)

Watch

Bluey (Disney+)
My 4 & 7 year old have been watching Bluey for about a year. It’s the best. Two sweet sisters and their family navigating life. It’s charming, positive and enjoyable for everyone. Plus each show is only 8 minutes! (Kelly)

Community
The first three seasons of Community got me through the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. The antics of the student of Greendale Community College never fail to bring me joy. (Liz)

The Crown (Netflix)
While I have some mixed feelings about The Crown, and while I think this new season is the weakest (especially due to the casting of Prince Charles!), I must confess that bingeing half of the newest episodes in a couple of days was exactly the escape from reality I needed this week. (Cathy)

Mock the Week
I’m thankful that this hilarious show existed, gracing us with silly takes on current events. (And I am so bummed out that it got canceled recently!) (Dana)

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
I’m thankful for National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. My family would watch this movie every holiday season. My father would joke that we were “the Griswolds” because my mother’s colorful antics always resulted in some type mayhem. If you have eccentric relatives or if the holidays always seem to end in a minor disaster (but still filled with love), you will appreciate this film. (Tessa)

Stranger Things (Netflix)
I love this show for many reasons: it’s smart, scary, set in the 80s, stars Winona Ryder. But I truly love it for giving me and my 12 year old many nights together with a show we couldn’t get enough of. (Amber)

Weird: The Al Yancovic Story
Weird Al is the only pure person in the world, and this recently released bio pic is a delightful and fanciful depiction of his career in the 80s. (Liz)

What’s Cooking
Directed by an Indian woman, who grew up in London, this film is about Americans of many different cultures and identities celebrating Thanksgiving. It’s charming, funny , and observant. (Ash)

Listen

The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars by David Bowie
This is the greatest album of the 70s! (Liz)

Sitting Pretty by Rebekah Taussig
A phenomenal memoir in essays in which Taussig shares what it’s been like for her to navigate society in a wheelchair. I felt changed after reading it. While I’m glad I listened to the audiobook, which is excellently narrated by the author, I really want to buy a physical copy and read it again. It’s a book I know I’ll keep referring to – there’s just so much there to reflect on. Also, it’s funny! (Cathy)

Six: Live on Opening Night
This is 80 minutes of pure fun! I saw this on Broadway with my daughters last year and we listened to the recording the entire drive home. It’s in Boston through December 31. Treat yourself to a fun night out if you can. (Amber)

Spectrum by Westlife
I am thankful that my favorite boyband from my youth got back together, and that I finally got to see them live! (Dana)

Stick Season by Noah Kahan
For fans of Mumford and Sons and The Lumineers, Noah Kahan is the New England equivalent. Loving his new album Stick Season. (Ash)

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