With the start of the school year now pushed back until after Labor Day, many Maryland families will experience a lot of togetherness this month. With that in mind, we decided to devote Bookmarked to parent picks this month. Escape into your own world for an hour — or five — with these books, podcasts, movies and TV. Next month, we will be back with some great suggested reads for your tikes.
Beach-worthy reads: Books
“The Answers: A Novel” by Catherine Lacey
Mary Parsons, riddled with mysterious illnesses and having only cents to her name, signs up for a “Girlfriend Experiment” to try to make ends meet. Mary is assigned the role of “Emotional Girlfriend” to egotistical megastar Kurt Sky, an actor trying to understand the perfect relationship by assigning a team of women roles a single partner might play. Thanks to her extraordinarily sheltered childhood, Mary has no idea who Kurt is, challenging his concept of ideal love.
“Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy” by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant
Two years after the publication of “Lean In,” Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s guide for corporate success for women, Sandberg’s husband, Dave Goldberg, died unexpectedly. “Lean In” was greeted with both rave reviews and criticism from women who felt the uber-rich Sandberg didn’t quite “get it”—not all women have equally successful and supportive partners like Goldberg to make life easy. In “Option B,” Sandberg faces those critiques head-on, exposing her most private grief and sudden widowhood. With psychologist Adam Grant, an expert in human resilience, the book weaves research and personal narrative, creating a guidebook on what it means to be resilient.
“Norse Mythology” by Neil Gaiman
Thanks to “The Avengers” and “Thor,” Nordic gods Thor and Loki have gained ground in American pop culture in recent years. However, there’s far more to Norse mythology than the Marvel iteration of the gods might have you think. Gaiman’s collection of short stories, based on Norse myths, attempts to create an anthology of ancient tales mostly lost to time. His retelling of stories featuring characters like Odin, Freya, Thor and Loki gives a voice to the lesser-known gods of the north. Not only are the short stories easy to read, you can listen to them, too—Gaiman recorded an audio book version himself.
Listen up: Podcasts
“The Hilarious World of Depression”
Nearly 17 percent of people will develop depression at least once their lifetime. John Moe, a radio personality and writer, hosts this podcast attempting to break down stigmas about mental health, specifically depression. Moe interviews comedians like Peter Sagal, Andy Richter and Maria Bamford about their depression and experiences dealing with the disease. Funny, poignant and refreshingly open, each episode sheds light on how mental illness can affect even the most seemingly cheerful people.
“Call Your Girlfriend”
If this podcast doesn’t inspire you to call up a long-lost best friend, nothing will. BFFs Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman (the Sow-Friedmans as they affectionately refer to themselves) gab for about 45 minutes every week, recording the results. Discussing topics as diverse as going braless, office candy dishes, and of course, Beyonce, the duo make you feel like you’re part of the catch-up session.
Catch a flick out: Movies
Sundance Film Festival darling documentary “Step” follows a group of seniors on the step team at the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women. In the wake of the unrest after the death of Freddie Gray, the girls—members of the school’s first graduating class—fight to be the first in their families to go to college. Meanwhile, the “Lethal Ladies of BLSYW” work to win first place at a step competition featuring teams from the region. Release date: August 4
“Brave New Jersey”
On the evening of October 30, 1938, as Orson Welles’ broadcast of “War of the Worlds” told of an alien invasion, the residents of Lullaby, New Jersey, come to believe the radio show is real. Thinking the end is nigh, the 506 people in the town considers how to spend their final evening on Earth. Starring Anna Camp and Tony Hale, the biting comedy examines the range of reactions to the jarring news that the world is ending. Release date: August 4
Watch from your couch: Television
The brainchild of “Big Bang Theory” executive producer Chuck Lorre and former “Daily Show” head writer David Javerbaum, “Disjointed” follows a woman who opens a cannabis dispensary. The Netflix series stars Kathy Bates as Ruth, a lifelong marijuana aficionado who’s finally living out her dream. With Ruth’s recently graduated son, three “budtenders” and a troubled security guard around to help, the 20-episode series is anticipated to be a binge-worthy delight.
Release date: August 25