A very dark comedy, absurdity in Paris, lemony fish with nori, and more.

Digest #32 - November 7th 2021

Hello lovely people,

I know you haven’t heard from me for a little while but it’s been a big two months! Friday was my last day at the GSMA, a place I’ve loved working for over five years. On Monday, I start a new role as Head of Communications and Influence at BFA Global, and I’m very excited! Though I have no doubt it will bring big, new challenges… On top of the other challenges presented by my MPA program and GWPI Fellowship... 😬 I jest, I’m learning a great deal and I’m intellectually stimulated, which is all I ever really want.

And on that note today’s digest is short and sweet, because I’d rather keep this project going than overthink it and paralyze myself! So here are seven things I’ve enjoyed lately, that I hope you will too.

Keeya


One

Queenie

I have to drive about an hour each way in traffic to get to my MPA class (state and local taxation) on Monday nights, and I’ve made that less painful by assigning it as dedicated audiobook time. The first book I finished using this process was Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams. It is a great novel, made even greater by the voice acting of Shvorne Marks. It became an immersive experience, with every character given life, and every joke having a more palpable sense of humor. Audiobooks feel like some kind of medium in-between literature and theatre in my mind, and this epitomized how well that form works when done right. Queenie is an extremely funny but dark tale about a Black woman in her mid-twenties navigating a break up, friendships, and her career in London. It explores interracial relationships, fetishization, sexual trauma, consent, female friendships, workplace norms and other complex topics in nuanced ways that at times felt uncomfortably real, which I think is the marker of great storytelling. If you have the stomach for a very raw, dark comedy, with important messages layered within, I highly recommend.

Pictured is an orange cover, and the side view of a woman’s head with no visible facial features. She has box braids piled atop her head in a bun, and piercings on her ear, with one large hoop.
The cover of the book. Pictured is an orange cover with the title ‘Queenie’ and authors name. We see the side view of a woman’s head with no visible facial features. She has box braids piled atop her head in a bun, and piercings on her ear, with one large hoop.

Two

French Exit

In September when I flew back to Atlanta from London, I watched this wonderfully weird film starring Michelle Pfeiffer, about a widow and her son who leave New York City for Paris, mired in scandal and out of money. At first it seems like a piece set in realism, but as it goes along it becomes more and more absurd, then hits a surrealist crescendo where all assumptions go out of the window. I can’t even really tell you what the takeaways were (especially without spoiling the plot), except that it was very out-there, and I loved it. Probably because Pfeiffer was fantastic as always, and I could watch her all day.


Three

Lemony fish with nori

Cold weather means warm food. That’s just math. Around this time of year when the mornings become frosty and I have to keep a down jacket by the door for morning runs to the mailbox, I shift all of my cooking efforts to producing comforting meals. Soup, ramen, stew, pasta - all the good things. This lemony fish with nori is a delicious addition to this repertoire. Super easy to make, healthy, and a little bit interesting. Delicious served over creamy mashed potato or rice.


Four

Lupin

My husband Alex and I really go nuts for a charismatic character who pulls off heists and has an agenda. Not since Neal Caffrey have we been so enamored with a character as we are with Omar Sy’s Assane Diop, the lead character in the French Netflix show Lupin. Assane is the son of a Senegalese immigrant framed (and murdered) for a crime he didn’t commit, who has become a master criminal set on finding justice and revenge. It’s full of twists, turns and reveals that make every episode extremely fun to watch. We are waiting with bated breath for the season three release date!


Five

Dorland v Larson

I read this buzzy NYT piece last month when it came out, and I keep thinking about it regularly. It’s very long, clocking in at 70 minutes if you listen to the narrated version, but fascinating and utterly worth the time. In a nutshell, it’s about a complex legal case, and a range of wild behavior, between two ‘friends’ - one who donates a kidney and another who writes a short story based on that idea. If do you read it (or listen to it), hit reply to this email and let me know what you think. There’s a lot to unpack, ethically, and people seem to land squarely on one side or the other… which in itself I find extremely interesting.

Photo illustration by Pablo Delcan. Pictured is a a woman (who looks like Dorland) inside of a display case, atop a pile of papers, beside a pen, on what looks like a desk.

Six

Somebody’s Son

Being a longer-term Tiwa Savage fan, I love to see this crossover into more mainstream pop music in this duet with Brandi. It’s a fantastic song, with a simple but beautiful video.

"Tired of getting it wrong. This won't be another heartbreak song. Somebody's son gone find me one day."


Seven

Sam Cotton

100% of this guy’s videos are funny, so I randomly chose one to make you smile. It might be a little too Australian for my international audience, so for context, ‘chips’ are thick potato fries we eat at the beach with salt and vinegar - and are constantly accosted by seagulls for. Also as a kid in Australia, whenever we saw a seagull with one leg we always assumed ‘a shark ate it’, as a kind of common cultural legend. Anyway, go laugh!

Screenshot from the video. Pictured is a seagull with one leg holding a sign that reads “spare chippies”, and below subtitle reads “can anyone spare some chippies for a seagull who’s lost his leg?”