Summer means time to consume media products. And that’s what I’ve been doing — along with a lot of adventuring.
But endorsing means putting your name and reputation behind something else….and here’s the media products for which I’m eager to do just that.
Yoona Park is a Portland lawyer. This is her version of a mommy-blog. And it is f-ing roll-on-the-ground hilarious. I am not a mommy; I do not love mommy blogs. But this has quickly become my favorite Google Reader lunchtime reading material. My favorite posts are on the ridiculousness that are Man Sandals (aka “Mandals”), the horrible fashion sense of her preschool son, and her incredible post on the wonderment of crappy mid-level malls. She also has beautiful style and adorable kids and did I mention she is REALLY REALLY FUNNY? Put this on your RSS feed right now.
They’re fabulous and opinionated. They write about fashion, they recap TV shows. But the very best thing they do is the detailed, shot-by-shot analysis of the fashion in Mad Men. (The ones that say “Mad Style” are style posts; the others are recaps). These two know their shit, and although Mad Men‘s over for the year, you’ll still revel in their breakdowns of the last few seasons. I went down a three hour rabbit hole the first time I happened upon the site.
Everything that Mallory Ortberg writes at The Hairpin is genius. I like a lot of writers on The ‘Pin, but no one earns my affection quite like Ortberg, who, if you’re a common reader, goes by Melis in the comments. Texts from Jane Eyre, Texts from Sweet Valley High, Texts from Scarlett O’Hara. I die. And if her humor is your thing — I realize it’s somewhat of an acquired (BUT AWESOME) taste — then follow her on Twitter.
Everything Molly Lambert writes. Lambert covers celebrity (and does some recapping and music reveling) for Grantland, and she consistently inspires me to be better, write better, think better when it comes to celebrity. My recent favorites: “About That Chris Brown-Rihanna-Drake Love Triangle,” “Lana, Taylor, Michelle,” “Hollywood’s (Excellent) Crazy Lady Boom,” “Talk That Talk: On the Two Rihannas,” and “Evening in America: Cindy Crawford and the State of Supermodels.”
If you liked Wolf Hall, or just like historical fiction, or like thinking of Thomas Cromwell as a man of wit and amazing intelligence, then read Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies, which was just long-listed for The Booker Prize.
If you like books that you can read in one sitting and stick with you FOR DAYS AND WEEKS afterwards, that are written from the perspective of an aging man looking back on his life, that are somehow half curmudgeonly but endearing and will make you think about memory and nostalgia in a completely different way, then buy Julian Barnes’ exquisite The Sense of an Ending. I can’t stop thinking about it.
If you love Downton Abbey and need a confection to hold you until Season Three begins, An American Heiress will satisfy you perfectly. Don’t mistake me: the writing is only okay. The plotting is not nuanced. But it is exactly what you think it is, and sometimes that’s exactly what you want for a long day laying in the sun on a towel in some corner of the world.
Everyone’s been telling me to read it, and you’ve probably read it or thought about reading it, but Tea Obreht’s The Tiger’s Wife is as good as they say it is. Truly beautiful writing, innovative plotting, a window unto a world I knew very little about. Plus Obreht was born in 1985. Mind blown.
I absolutely loved The Sisters Brothers. If you like Cormac McCarthy, spare Westerns, spare prose, and/or poignancy, you will too.
I’ve told everyone I know to read John Jeremiah Sullivan’s Pulphead. If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you know this. He writes essays on pop culture in the vein of Chuck Klosterman and David Foster Wallace, and is as good as both. Pulphead collects these essays — including pieces on Michael Jackson, The Real World, Christian Rock concerts, and my personal favorite, the Southern writer Andrew Lytle. If you don’t take my word for it, read this review in The New Yorker. JJS, as my students called him, is the real deal, and I can’t wait to see what he does next. (And if you’ve read Pulphead and liked it, then consider his first book, Blood Horses – a hybrid memoir/history of horse racing. I thought I wasn’t interested in the history of horse racing, but the beauty of JJS (or any gifted essayist) is how they convince you that you were wrong.)
Scandal. Late to the game on this one. I lost interest in Grey’s Anatomy a long, long time ago admit that Shonda Rimes is not my favorite showrunner. But Scandal is tightly-plotted, (for the most part) well-acted, surprised me several times, and has the best music of any mainstream show on television right now. It’s also only seven episodes, and cost something ridiculously low on iTunes. If you watched Michael Clayton (or have read any of my pieces on the “fixers” of Old Hollywood), you will love Scandal.
Hart of Dixie, Episode 8. This show is bad, even if the clothes are really good. But I miss Jason Street from Friday Night Lights and Summer from The O.C., so I gave it a try. It’s soapy, it’s stereotypical, it’s utterly implausible. BUT: there’s also THIS GUY. I’m just sayin’. Someone on Twitter called Hart of Dixie “terrifically uneven,” and I couldn’t agree more. But the great thing about unevenness is that sometimes everything seems to go right, and that’s what happens in Episode 8.
Sherlock, Season 2. Cumberbatch! The Hounds of Baskerville! Available (and only slightly overpriced) and iTunes! Get on that.
Thoughts? Additions? Feedback? Let me know in the comments!