I love throwing this question out to the Magpie community because I always reel in loads of perfect, “right now” recommendations:
What are you reading and watching right now?
On my end —
+Read and loved The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen, a twisty-turn-y domestic suspense set in D.C. If you’re looking for a thriller that won’t tamper with your psyche (it’s not that dark) but will absorb you in its drama, this is for you. I didn’t anticipate where it would land, and found it gripping and deliciously easy to read. Elsewhere, I described the novel’s style as “distinguished by its elegant pace. Imagine the vibe/aesthetic/interiors of a Nancy Meyers flick transmuted into a writerly style. The novel reads like marble countertops and manicured lawns.” I’ll be reading their other brain-child, The Wife Between Us, post-haste.
+Took my girl to the Taylor Swift Era’s Concert in theater. It was a glittering delight, and I was entranced by the production, which delivers both the scale of the enormous-packed-concert-hall experience (and Swift’s corresponding, outsized belovedness) and the up-close shots we all really want. It is long (nearly three hours) and while I’m sure the performance would fly by in-person, it was a bit taxing on a screen, and especially for two six year-olds, who were wiggling and distracted by hour one. (We ended up leaving at the two hour mark.) I think the concert will be great “getting ready for a night out” or “girls’ wine night” fare once at home: put it on in the background, tune in for the anthems you love, and then let it roll. One element I am still unpacking: the way Swift seems to slip in and out of her own mythologized eras? What I mean is: there are songs where she seems thoroughly engrossed in the song itself (“Don’t Blame Me” and “Tolerate It” come to mind), in performing its intimacies and lyrics, and there are others where she seems almost winking at a former version of herself, especially the earlier albums, nearly to the point of karaokeing her own music? It gives the concert interesting texture, as if she’s also along for the ride, also living out her own nostalgia for her discography. Also: I loved her glittery boots.
+Have you seen “Theater Camp”? It’s a mockumentary about, well, “theater people” streaming on Hulu and it’s the last movie in memory that made Landon and I laugh so hard, we had to pause and then rewind. It balances the laughs with real heart, and I found myself welling up during the finale song and feeling for the characters, who in some cases reveal surprising depth. I also love the meta-meta-meta-ness of this movie, in which we find layer after layer of performance and performance analysis, all drawn sharply, with a perfect and surprising balance of tenderness and humor. One review said: “This movie was clearly made with love by theatre people, about theatre people and for theatre people,” and that’s manifest — but it was also clearly made by theatre people who are not so absorbed in their own craft that they can’t poke fun at themselves. (And I always secretly like when a movie is clearly, unapologetically destined for a specific viewer: this one does not care if it is indulging in too much “inside baseball” on the theater front. It’s for theater people, and it does not apologize. This means the jokes and characters are richer and less cluttered by qualification.) Excellent performances, witty dialogue, and moving takeaways. Also — performances by children that were, unexpectedly, excellent (versus distracting).
+Am I the only person who didn’t enjoy the Beckham documentary? I tuned in one night when Mr. Magpie was out, knowing next to nothing and feeling very neutral about David Beckham, and turned it off thirty minutes later, liking him less? Unfortunately, the puerility of the opening scene, set in the Beckham apiary, has now replaced “Posh Spice’s husband” as my go-to Beckham touchstone.
+”Jose Andres & Family in Spain” is as endearing as its host, and ideal for the kind of night where you’re zapped of intellectual or emotional energy and in search of something non-demanding and light. Similar in format to Stanley Tucci’s “Searching for Italy,” Jose visits fabulous eateries in Spain with his two adult daughters, and his joie de vivre (he’d be furious I’m using French to describe him) is contagious. I’ve long loved Andres, who got his start with restaurants in the D.C. area. We had our rehearsal dinner at Jaleo back in its heyday, and I’ve admired him, his food, and his humanitarian work since.
+Nearly done with Lisa Jewell’s None of This Is True, which is creepy in a “what’s behind the door” kind of way, with dark and twisted characters and an overall sinister vibe. It feels like a book without a soul, though, and I’m kind of anxious to be done with it. You know how most thrillers are, in spite of chilling subject matter, exciting and fun to read? This lacks that buoy.
+I wrote about these earlier in the season, but two excellent horror movies we watched this year: “The Blackening” and “Bodies Bodies Bodies.” Both deliver incisive cultural/social commentary, but are also a thrill to watch — exciting, funny, unexpected, sometimes edge-of-your-seat. Both have a modern whodunit vibe. Excellent, excellent, excellent.
How about you?
+More of the books on my fall reading list here. Hoping to tackle something a bit more substantive next.
+What would you study if you were going back to school tomorrow?
+Do you take your own joy seriously?
+I wore this t-shirt to the Swift concert-in-theater experience and my daughter and I were tickled to see when the camera pans to a concert-goer wearing the same one! My daughter wore this tee and these boots. I’m actually really impressed with the boots — she’s been wearing them ever since and they look cute with little dresses and jeans!
+Perfect puffer at a great price. Has a serious Herno vibe, but $228.
+Shopbop’s tiered sale is still underway, and I noticed that my favorite off-white jeans are included. These are the jeans I’m wearing in like 90% of the photos I’ve shared over the past few weeks. I sized up for a looser/baggier fit. My short girlies can rest easy — these come with a raw hem so I just trimmed them so they weren’t too long. The contrast brown stitching makes these perfect for fall.
+If you’re lucky, you can still snag some of the fun Thanksgiving/autumn tabletop pieces from John Derian’s collab with Target, which launched on Sunday. I love Derian and have amassed a number of his little trays and dishes over the years. In this launch, I picked up these fun little appetizer plates and these children’s melamine plates and cups for the Thanksgiving table.
+In a similar vein – – how funky are these mushroom-inspired candles?
+Just reordered these pens for the millionth time. I am picky about pens — I do a lot of drafting and note-taking by hand — and was a Le Pen girl for years, but these take the cake. THE BEST. I love them so much, I’ve given them as gifts to friends!
+J. Crew has discounted most of their site. These fab suede tall boots are included.
+Love the unexpected color and details of this Baybala dress. In case you’re not familiar, Baybala offers beautiful pieces for the entire family, with lots of coordinating options. A great brand for family photos, holiday outfits, etc.
+If you’re a romance girlie, and are also invested in the Taylor-Travis dalliance, I’ve been hearing a lot of chatter about the Windy City series of books, which center around love stories with professional athletes.
+Fun patterned rug for a child’s room.