Weekend Reads #245

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Weekend Reads 5.6 | Climate Change and the City, Yuko Shimizu, 2013
Climate Change and the City, Yuko Shimizu, 2013

Weekend Reads 5.6

Who was Jordan Neely? Friends recall ‘sweet kid,’ talented performer killed in subway chokehold. (Gothamist)

How to find your people. (Vox)

Twenty years after country music canceled the Chicks, they have no regrets: ‘It set us free’. (Los Angeles Times)

Study shows the staggering cost of menopause for women in the workforce. (New York Times – gift article)

What do we mean when we say the internet is reading our minds? (Slate)

How two history-making congresswomen (and roommates) made it through 100 days in office. (Elle)

Investigation finds rogue Etsy sellers charging up to seven times more for products than on other websites. (The Guardian)

My taste is basic. So what? (Bazaar)

The Allure Readers' Choice Awards are out. If you enjoy learning about new beauty products or seeing which ones are the most popular right now, you may enjoy this list! (Allure)

Allergy season is getting longer and worse. (Axios)

If you're sorry it's okay to say it. (This Week-ish with ElisaCP)

The messiness of coming out later in life. (Gloria)

Two 21-year-old college dropouts just raised $5M to rival Ticketmaster with its live events platform. (AfroTech)

43-year-old used her life savings to open a bar that only plays women’s sports—it brought in almost $1 million in 8 months. (CNBC)

If you like the woven bag trend this season, but all the bags seem either too small or too expensive, a friend picked up this one and said it looks great and is a great size to throw over your shoulder and carry all your daily necessities.

When your neighbors become your overloads. (Vox)

How digital media pursued viral traffic at all costs and unleashed chaos. (The New Republic)

I really didn't want to go on the GOOP cruise. (Harper's)

Louisiana high school seniors say they discovered a new proof for 2,000-year-old math theorem. (People)

Psyched for my friend Anina Belle and her husband's feature in the Washington Post. I feel celeb-adjacent, I've been in that kitchen! Two French gourmets, one petite kitchen. Here’s how they make it work. (Washington Post – gift article)

And in seriously random news, if you choose this Pixies song to be your alarm for your google Pixel, it could cause you to be late for work. (Consequence)


Are You There God? It's me, Margaret.

Last Friday, my mom, sister, daughter, and I went to our local one-screen historic theater to see Are You There God? It's me, Margaret. My sister and I read the book when we were tweens, and I believe my mom read it at the same time. And when my daughter was 11, I had her read it as well (there is a new version that removes things like sanitary napkin belts and adds things like different races). For four women who loved the book and love all things Judy Blume, we were thrilled with how the book was translated into film.

Margaret with her parents Barbara and Herb
Margaret (Abby Ryder Fortson) with her parents Barbara (Rachel McAdams) and Herb (Benny Safdie)

For those unfamiliar with the story, it follows 11-year-old Margaret Simon, played by Abby Ryder Fortson. Margaret finds after returning from summer camp that her family was moving from New York City to the suburbs of New Jersey. Leaving behind her grandmother (played by Kathy Bates), her school, and all her friends, Margaret has to start over in a very different environment.

Are You There God? It's me, Margaret movie
We must! We must! We must increase our bust!

Immediately befriended by a neighbor, Margaret falls into a circle of friends and we travel with her through 6th grade. First kisses, bullies, periods, bras, and religion. As someone who hadn't read the book since she too was a 6th grade, the movie did such a fantastic job representing, it all came flooding back. A member of our party may or may not have been ugly crying through the film. And for those who saw it, did you catch the Judy Blume cameo?

Margaret bust measuring
I think most of us can relate to how you're feeling right now, Margaret

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret didn't do especially well on its first weekend in the theaters, but I think it's because the target audience isn't necessarily the type to head to the movie theater in 2023. This isn't a date movie, this isn't likely a movie that a bunch of young adults would all go to as a group. It's not really the kind of movie that in 2023 will draw folks out of their homes. This isn't the same world it was in 2019.

Kids buying sanitary napkins
The faces when you're heading to buy sanitary napkins and there's a teen boy behind the register

When I saw the film, the audience was primarily women over 45, the ones who are too damn busy raising children and caring for aging parents and working and helping in their community to gather their equally busy AF friends for a night sitting in a theater with a bunch of unmasked strangers while consuming stale popcorn. Once this film is available on a streaming platform, there will be groups watching it for grown-ass women sleepovers, multi-generational movie nights, discussions at schools, or girls' groups in the community.

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret cast

Don't let the low box office numbers dissuade you from seeing Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. It's a beautiful film with talented young actors that respects the original book that helped many of us navigate early adolescence. And you don't have to have read the book to love the film.

For Your Entertainment

screencap from Harry Styles Satellite

As you all know by now, if there is a new Harry Styles video I will be sharing it. Styles' latest album, Harry's House, is a year old but these songs I have heard a hundred times (I do live with a 14-year-old) feel fresh with visuals. And the video for ‘Satellite' is charming in a WALL-E sort of way. You'll never look at your Roomba the same way again.

A woman with curly hair wearing a plaid blazer holds a green fur coat over her shoulder on a city street.

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  1. I took my 11 year old sixth grader and 9 year old third grader to see Margaret. I read the book as a child, my oldest has read the book, and my second child is working on reading the book. We loved it. It was a little old for my 9 year old but I expected that. It was absolutely perfect for my 11 year old. I can’t recall the last time I enjoyed a movie so much.

    Our small town, small chain theater isn’t doing well. For opening night we had the theater to ourselves until two middle aged women came in about 10 minutes after the start.

  2. I love your weekend reads – they legitimately make me feel smarter and don’t just give me the pop psychology I seem to continually stumble on during the week. Just a note of appreciation that I wanted you to know that even if I’m not commenting – I’m appreciating!

  3. I really don’t know what internet magic you possess, Alison. I spend entirely too much time online, consuming what I think is smart S**t. And you STILL manage to find relevant, touching, and funny content that I haven’t read yet. For that? I’m ever so grateful.

  4. The article on Etsy sellers and fake “handmade” items is so true. Not sure what the consumer should do, as I don’t want to have to do a Google image search to find fraudulent listings, assuming sellers are dumb enough to use the same photos on all sites. I do know that many of the Indian block print cotton tunics, robes, kurtas, dresses, etc. that I love are also sold on Amazon, with cheaper pricing on Amazon. It’s such a ripoff. You think you’re paying for a quality handmade item that benefits the artist, when instead, you’re supporting shoddy global manufacturing practices and probable child labor. I confronted one seller who had identical listings on Etsy and Amazon, and got a guilt-free shrug — they could care less. Etsy is overwhelmed by the millions of fraudulent listings, so my personal solution is to stop shopping there.

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