Welcome to Read This Book, a newsletter where I recommend one book that I think you absolutely must read. The books will vary across genre and age category to include new releases, backlist titles, and classics. If you’re ready to explode your TBR, buckle up!
Well, folks. After two and a half years of masking, social distancing, vaccinating, and taking so many precautions, it finally happened: COVID hit my house last week. I was fortunate enough to only feel kinda blah and continually test negative but my poor partner was down for the count. It was a rough week, and some days I really only had energy to listen to something. Today’s pick proved to be the perfect sick week listening that was funny, chaotic, and not too serious! (Don’t worry, we are all on the mend now!)
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You might know Lindy West from her searing and hilarious essays about culture and politics, or her adaptation of Shrill, but before she wrote about serious topics, she used to be a film critic. (Her take on Love Actually has made the Internet rounds for years!) In this book, she returns to those roots in a hilarious and irreverent review of a truly random selection of movies—everything from The Fugitive (the only good movie, apparently) to American Pie, Titanic to Lion King. Her commentary is hilarious and she gives enough of a recap so even if you haven’t seen the movie, it doesn’t matter! Just enjoy the ride.
I will say that I think this book will probably appeal most to millennials—most of the movies West focuses on are big hits from the 90’s and early 2000’s, when she was a young adult, and the essays manage to balance a hint of nostalgia with some appropriate reflection and also a healthy dose of calling out problematic material. But even when she’s pointing out problematic tropes, toxic masculinity, racism, and other questionable elements, these essays are still fun and they delight in the absurdity, making this a surprisingly reflective and insightful book about society and the movies that influenced us! I also found myself excited to turn to a new chapter to see what movie she’d tackle next. Bonus: Lindy reads the audiobook, and as always with her work, you want that experience!