Weekend Reads #274

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Georgia O'Keeffe, Manhattan, 1932
Georgia O'Keeffe, Manhattan, 1932

Weekend Reads #274

Explorer may have found wreckage of Amelia Earhart's plane in Pacific. (Reuters)

Grant program for Black women comes under tough questioning in key anti-DEI lawsuit. (AP)

Millennials don’t know what to wear. Gen Z has thoughts. (New York Times – gift article)

Activists are organizing to combat generative AI and other technologies—and reclaiming a misunderstood label in the process. (The Atlantic – gift article)

So you want to be an artist. Do you have to start a TikTok? (Vox)

Everyone is trauma-dumping on a 3-year-old puppet. (Jezebel)

How menopause changes body scent. (Midi)

A chance encounter at N.Y. playground leaves a father asking, ‘What is justice now?’ (Washington Post – gift article)

Blood donations have fallen to catastrophic levels. Experts say young people need to step up. (NBC News)

Justin Timberlake’s New Song “Selfish” Is the Latest Turd in a Ten-Year Run of Sh!tty Music: Review (Consequence)

My fat liberation is not a trend. (Cosmopolitan)

Inflation has fallen. Why are groceries still so expensive? (Washington Post – gift article)

Williamsburg. What happened? A four-decade timeline of total transformation in Brooklyn. (New York Times – gift article)

DC-based Chef José Andrés, World Central Kitchen nominated for Nobel Peace Prize. (WJLA)

How to comment on social media. (Literary Hub)

They’ve lived 100 years. Here’s their advice about everything. (Washington Post – gift article)


cover of the book the second mrs astor by shana abe

Looking for my next book on Libby, I chose by popularity and then what was available and went with The Second Mrs. Astor, an historical novel about Madeleine Talmage Force, the young second bride of divorced J.J. “Jack” Astor. Written by Shana Abé, it tells the tale of how the two met, through how Jack died (spoiler alert, it was an iceberg, right ahead), and how Maddy handled being the very young newlywed pregnant widow second wife of the wealthiest man in America who died with the most famous ship in America.

madeline and JOhn Jacob Astor walking out of a brownstone in New York

I started this book and the overly dramatic, flowery, and descriptive style of writing threw me off. But soon it drew me in. I could envision settings, ensembles, smells and feels and could hear it in the style of the time period. I often paused reading to Google pictures of the couple and do a bit of research on names and events.

newspaper clipping from the January 1916 New York Tribune with a photo of the widow Madeline Force Astor and her "Titanic Baby" in her arms

I must say, after the Titanic sunk, I sort of skimmed the rest of the book. The press were a lot, Jack's son Vincent was a lot, her family were so supportive and loving, she had a baby, the end. That being said, I still enjoyed it and recommend it, especially if you are interested in New York society from that time.

the poster advertising the second season of the gilded age with 8 of the primary characters featured in an opera theater box

My friend and hair stylist Billy is super into The Gilded Age, especially season 2. I began watching Season 1 with my family and they were not into it. There is little time in the week where I am watching television or movies alone, so I ended up dropping the series. But The Second Mrs. Astor inspired me to restart the show on Max.

a scene from the gilded age where the characters are standing in a pew at church on Easter Sunday

My husband walked in at the end of episode 8 of Season 1 and said he wanted to watch. He's a history buff and knows a bit about that period in U.S. history. Since he had already seen the first episode, the season finale did enough to fill in most holes in the storyline before proceeding to the second season.

The Russell Family from the Gilded Age walking down a city street dressed up for Easter

The second season of The Gilded Age is better than the first; it's more spirited. And it has been a really fun accompaniment to reading The Second Mrs. Astor. We made sure to wrap up in time to watch FEUD: Capote vs. The Swans (Hulu) starting this weekend. I listened to the audiobook of The Swans of Fifth Avenue back when I had a commute to Rockville every day… it had to be 2016. I'm excited for some campy continuation of this New York society kick I'm on.

For Your Entertainment

The Warning Band

The Warning is a Monterrey, Mexico rock trio of sisters that gained fame a decade ago when at ages 9 through 14, their YouTube cover of Metallica's “Enter Sandman” went viral (even Kirk Hammett was impressed saying, “The drummer kicks maximum ass!” Ten years later, The Warning is still kicking maximum ass, perfecting their sound and touring through North and South America as the opening band for Guns N' Roses. Think HAIM but metal. I'm impressed and wish they'd have their own tour in smaller venues; it would be a blast to see them at the 9:30 Club in D.C.

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  1. The Warning is FABULOUS! My husband and I saw them at Summerfest in 2022, and they seriously rocked. I love the story of how they got their start too. Big fan right here!

  2. That song SLAPS!!! (Here’s hoping I didn’t murder a phrase I’ve heard my teen use in a positive way to talk about his fave bands.) Maybe we can start a campaign to convince them to tour here in DC. And now I know I need to watch Season 2 of The Gilded Age before I see Billy for my next haircut. Heh.

    Provocative reads, as always. Thanks!!

  3. The article about the man who was assaulted on a playground in NYC was thought provoking.
    At the end the question “what should her punishment be” was asked.
    I’m not a judge or familiar with the law regarding what seemed like a hate crime, but I’m going to say that the woman belongs in “Anger Management Rehab” in a major way, and some jail time to accentuate the seriousness of the actions would be in order! Unleashing your frustrations at a situation half a world away on someone standing around at a playground is out of control.

  4. I don’t THINK it was intended this way, but the NYT article was a parody of fashion that made me LOL. Further: I’d love to do a series where I interview random people on the street and ask them to define Gen Z, Gen X, millennial, and baby boomer. My guess is, there’s no one who actually knows the defining years. Why have these terms come into such wide usage??

    1. The media played these generational divisions up, in order, to sell clicks, ads, and help push more products. Divide and conquer.

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