We’ve missed getting recommendations from each other at the office, so we rounded up what the Public Works team is loving right now.
Allison: I spent last weekend binging Never Have I Ever, the new Mindy Kaling show on Netflix. It’s a coming-of-age show about a 15(ish) Indian American girl in southern California, and watching her grapple with friends and boys – all while attempting to recover from her dad’s sudden death – was a cringeworthy, heart-warming, and hilarious delight. At some points, she was so awkward that I had to pause the TV in sympathy. I’ve been telling all my friends to watch it. You should too!
Aurelia: My husband, Reilly, and I started watching Bosch on Amazon Prime. It’s six seasons and we’ve made it to season 3, so there are still plenty of episodes ahead of us. The show is set in Los Angeles, the city where I grew up and where nearly all my family lives. In addition to enjoying the show’s storytelling, pretty diverse cast, and focus on the work of the LAPD to solve crimes (I’m a huge fan of detective shows), my favorite part of watching this show is seeing the snapshots of my hometown and feeling connected to it during this time.
Bebe: I’ve been on a real history binge for the past few months. I started with The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt, by T.J. Stiles and then read The Island at the Center of the World, by Russell Shorto (I really recommend this one!). Both of these offered surprising escapes for me – reading about NYC’s history was strangely comforting and familiar, and it made me feel connected to the city even while I’m stuck at home missing it. I’ve just started These Truths, by Jill Lepore, which I’m hoping will have the same effect.
Celeste: Next on my list is Crossing the Blvd, by Warren Lehrer and Judith Sloan (W.W.Norton, 2003). Innovative in both subject and structure, Crossing the Blvd is an examination of modern America through the prism of the communities strung together along Queens Boulevard. Lehrer and Sloan conducted interviews, constructed historical narratives, and told stories to bring alive the exhilarating experience of living in the most diverse and vibrant borough in the world. I can attest to that, having lived there as well. The authors and book designers laid out the book as a “Talmudic narrative,” providing photos and commentary alongside interwoven stories to make the book as visually interesting as its content. It’s easy to dip into yet hard to put down.
Dan: I’ve been reading the book Severance, by Ling Ma, and couldn’t imagine a more perfect book for this current moment. This story centers on Candace Chen, “a quiet, dispassionate twentysomething who, in the years leading up to the apocalypse, lives in Brooklyn and works in Manhattan.” The apocalypse, in this case, refers to an epidemic brought on by a fictitious microscopic fungal infection, Shen Fever, which when contracted, turns people into mindless zombies seemingly stuck on loops resembling their typical everyday patterns. I recommend this book to all among us trying to maintain a sense of “normalcy,” but who also couldn’t help watching Contagion or Outbreak in the last two months.
Favio: I’ve picked up The Brother’s Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky for the third time, and I am determined to finish it. This (dense) philosophical novel is set in 19th-century Russia and touches on religion, love, free will, and morality through the relationship of three brothers and their father. It’s a good book, albeit a little bit of a task.
Jasmine: I recently started reading Real Food/Fake Food by Larry Olmsted after eating some weird tasting parmesan cheese and wondering why it tasted like that. After reading some articles, it turned out to be because it wasn’t authentic parmesan cheese. Almost all those articles referenced Real Food/Fake Food so I immediately got the ebook. I’ve been interested in the food industry’s underbelly since reading Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle in high school so when I learned this book existed I was excited to open my mind to more food-related disappointment. It’s not disappointing in the disappointment so far.
Jennifer: I’ve been re-watching some of my favorite shows like Derry Girls and Money Heist. Both of these shows transport me to another place/time, which takes my mind off of the current situation in New York. Derry Girls is a hilarious coming-of-age series about a group of teenagers living in Northern Ireland during the Troubles. Money Heist or “La casa de papel” is a heist crime drama set in Madrid following a group of thieves who take hostages and try to rob the Royal Mint of Spain. It’s highly addictive and leaves you wondering who the villains really are.
Naomi: I’m currently reading The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien. My son and I first read The Hobbit, and now we’ve started learning all about Frodo. It’s very uplifting reading these books with my 10-year-old. There are definitely some descriptions and passages that appeal to a young boy’s sense of humor.
Summer: Phyllis, Gloria, Shirley, Betty, Bella, Jill, Brenda! If you’re not watching Mrs. America on Wednesdays, what are you doing? This FX/Hulu show is rocking my family’s world every week in telling the story of the fight for (and against) the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in the 1970s. Not only does the show nail the ’70s wardrobes and interiors, but it highlights the complex politics of second-wave feminism and the equally complex narratives of its activists, brilliantly portrayed by the show’s well-casted actors. For me, this show is a sobering reminder of how far we have come and how far we have to go.