Since my last post has a March date on it, I clearly haven't figured out how to say what pops into my head lately. A lot about America right now is just too much it seems. But also, I don't feel like the world is coming to an end. Being sad about everything is exhausting, but being happy about everything sounds tone deaf. And since I am somewhere in the middle, I feel stuck. I caught even the Memoji on my laptop sighing or rolling its eyes -- I feel you buddy.
I feel like I've written this post or had these thoughts a zillion times (see here, here and a 2020 classic, "Is Dumpster Fire Too Kind a Term?").
So how to (continue to) navigate this newest iteration of weird times? I brush past 24/7 news channels and many social media posts and turn to critical thinkers, like Nadia Bola-Weber. She has a great post called "If you can't take it anymore, there is a reason." Can you guess the date? Almost a year ago. Newsletters from The Skimm, The Morning Brew and the New York Times Morning Briefing are also less shouty ways to consume the latest news.
My other anecdote for weird times (or traveling, or traveling during weird times - ha!) is some engrossing fiction. Something between literary fiction and Harlequin romances. Fun characters, happy-ish endings, but not air-headed. There is a new (or new to me) wave of fab books that have much more diverse characters and stories, without feeling like what I am reading is "work," i.e., The Scarlet Letter or any other English-teacher assigned tome (apologies to my friend Rosie, who I am sure makes high school English way more fun that when I was a student).
Here are recent faves:
Flying Solo by Linda Homes - the second novel from a fave member of the Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast team. Her first book is great too. A return-to-your-small-home-town story that is much better than a Hallmark movie.
The Summer Place by Jennifer Weiner (really anything by her, but this is her latest). This one is about the bumpy road to a family wedding, and all the secrets uncovered along the way.
By the Book by Jasmine Guillory (check out all her books too! This one is slightly different that her other novels -- a modern take on Beauty and the Beast.
Get a Life, Chloe Brown, Take a Hint, Dani Brown and Act Your Age, Eve Brown, a trilogy of books about three sisters, by Talia Hibbert. Love, love, love series of books on siblings, and this trilogy of books is amazing. Definitely something to check out if you love England but the Regency era Bridgertons are not your thing.
Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston. What would happen if the Prince of Whales and the President's son had a fling? So interesting, and definitely appeals to those with DC knowledge and royal family curiosity (ok, that person is me :-)). Her other book One Last Stop involves time travel and found families - also excellent.
The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren. The Maid of Honor and Best Man who hate each other end up taking the honeymoon the Bride and Groom don't take.
Reading not escapist enough? Turns out the classic fashion show What Not To Wear, all TWELVE seasons, is on Discovery+. Even though the show started in 2003, it turns out their fashion advice is pretty timeless. Highly recommend!