Sure, flying can be a pain the neck. But it’s also one of the rare occasions where you can kick back and get a few hours of peace and quiet. Hence why it’s the perfect opportunity to catch up on that book you’ve been putting off reading, or that new show you’ve been meaning to watch. To get you inspired, we’ve put together a list of what to watch/read/download/ listen to this month. We’ve got Oscar-nominated films, cool new podcasts, just-released albums, and more!
"The Rules Do Not Apply" by Ariel Levy
Reading “The Rules Do Not Apply,” Ariel Levy’s darkly comic new memoir, is a little like watching a train wreck. You just can’t look away—even as the former The New Yorker writer captures in heartbreaking detail how she lost it all: her marriage, her child, and her financial security. And while Levy’s story is one characterized by dramatic loss and unimaginable tragedy, it’s also a gripping tale of resilience, and what it's like to be “a woman who is free to do whatever she chooses.”
"South and West" by Joan Didion
Joan Didion is perhaps best known for her musings on California, but in "South and West"—a slim new volume of excerpts from her old notebooks—the focus is on the American South. Specifically, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and the other states Didion and her late husband (the writer John Gregory Dunne) traveled through on a road trip in 1970. In typical Didion fashion, the writing is sparse and quietly moving, and her impressions of the Southern states are just as tinged with coastal snobbery as you might expect. See: “In New Orleans they have mastered the art of motionless.”
"Exit West: A Novel" by Mohsin Hamid
One of the most anticipated novels of 2017, "Exit West" is an astonishing love story that takes place “under a drone-crossed sky.” Nadia and Saeed are classmates and lovers who end up refugees when their country descends into civil war. Facing a terrifying and uncertain future, they decide to flee—but not by boat or by plane, but rather, through a secret door leading to a place far away. Blending magical realism and romance, it’s a hopeful, timely story about the human condition.
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Silver Eye by Goldfrapp
Our excitement for Goldfrapp’s seventh LP, Silver Eye, skyrocketed after listening to its hypnotic lead single, “Anymore.” Pulsating and synthy—and with a high-fashion music video to boot— it signals a edgy new direction for singer-keyboardist Alison Goldfrapp.
Crawl Space by Tei Shi
This is the first full-length album from Buenos Aires-born, NYC-based singer and songwriter, Tei Shi. (You know her as the artist behind the 2015 song Bassically—that sultry, club-ready song Grimes called “one of the best pop songs of 2050.”) Get a taste for all the electro-pop hits you can expect on the album by checking out a preview here.
Heartworms by The Shins
The Shins haven’t dropped an album since 2012, so it’s understandable why the music world is kind of freaking out over the upcoming release of Heartworms. What we know about the band’s fifth studio album: it’s partly inspired by Shins’ leader James Mercer’s two young daughters, and it explores “traditional pop themes.”
"Fire at Sea" (Fuocoammare)
Hundreds of thousands of migrants have landed in the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa in recent decades—the subject of director Gianfranco Rosi’s powerful, life-affirming new documentary, —the first nonfiction film to ever win top prize at both the Venice Film Festival and the Berlin International Film Festival. Chronicling the refugee crisis through the eyes of the families who inhabit the island, the film employs careful use of drama and gentle humor to depict the ongoing crisis.
"20th Century Women"
Director Mike Mills’s "20th Century Women" is a heartfelt coming-of-age tale set amid the cultural shifts of late 1970s California. Annette Benning plays Dorothea, a tough-willed, Birkenstock-wearing single mother who enlists the help of a rebellious high schooler (Elle Fanning), and a twenty-four year old photographer and punk music enthusiast (Greta Gerwig) to raise her adolescent son. Watch it for its strong female performances, gorgeous coastal photography, and one of the most awkward family dinner scenes we’ve ever seen.
Director Paul Verhoeven (Basic Instinct, Turkish Delight) is considered one of the most provocative and controversial filmmakers of his generation. His latest release, Elle, centers on a high-powered female CEO (Isabelle Huppert) who seeks revenge after being raped. Thrilling and twisted, this one will have you on the edge of your seat.
Music lovers, this one’s for you. The cool new podcast interviews popular contemporary artists (think: Solange Knowles, James Vincent McMorrow) about the process behind one of their hit songs. You’ll learn what inspired the tune, the real meaning of the lyrics, how it was mixed, and much more. For your first listen, tune into Nicholas Britell, the Oscar-winning composer behind "Moonlight," talk about the film’s score.
You don’t have to be a lawyer to geek out over More Perfect, Radiolab’s new podcast about the rarefied world of the United States Supreme Court. Each episode features a different Supreme Court case—on rulings ranging from marriages to elections—but instead of diving into the arcane details of the case, the focus is on the minds of the Supreme Court justices. You’ll get the dish on political clashes and ideological feuds between the justices—plus, the inside scoop on one case that pushed a Supreme Court justice to a nervous breakdown.
A scripted series with a star-studded voice cast, Homecoming is taking podcasts to a whole new level. It’s described as “an enigmatic collage of telephone calls, therapy sessions, and overheard conversations,” and centers around a caseworker (Catherine Keener) at an “experimental facility” and her boss (David Schwimmer) as they try to reacclimatize recently-returned U.S. soldiers. Listen to a trailer of the innovative new series here.