What to Read on the Subway This Week: 3/5
This week, read a book-turned-blockbuster, vote on your favorite photo, laugh with the ladies of SNL, and curl up with some old-school comfort.
On Your Kindle
The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd
Even though the Oscars are over, I'm still on a fabulous-book-turned-fantastic-movie kick. This coming-of-age story, set in South Carolina in 1964, has themes that run vaguely akin to those of The Help. The protagonist, Lily, is the 14-year-old daughter of an abusive, negligent father, who constantly tells his daughter that she is the reason for her mother's untimely death. When Lily's only friend—her black nanny, Rosaleen—is arrested, Lily runs away from home to set her free. As the pair travels across the state and settles in with a group of quirky, loving black women who keep bees, they redefine the very concept of the word "home," the feeling of safety, and the pursuit of happiness.
With gentle, colloquial phrasing in a book that appeals to young adults and "grown-ups" alike, Kidd demonstrates the soft strength of women—even those women who face the greatest challenges. When you finish the book, be sure to check out the star-studded feature film, starring Dakota Fanning, Queen Latifah, Alicia Keys, Jennifer Hudson, and Sophie Okonedo.
On Your Smartphone
If you have a case of the Mondays, look no further than the landing page for the Smithsonian Magazine's Annual Photo Contest. Each year, the publication opens a contest among photographers, with categories of Altered Images, Americana, The Natural World, People, and Travel. The finalists for the ninth contest have just been released, and you can now cast your vote for the picture that will earn the title of "Readers' Choice Award." The photos are seriously amazing: full of color, detail, and life, and guaranteed to brighten up your commute. If you're a photographer, consider entering the 10th contest, open now.
On a Podcast
The Real Housewives of Disney, Saturday Night Live
In light of recent musings on Disney princesses, I was delighted to find this spoof by the hilarious ladies of SNL. The skit blends the fantastic (Disney princesses) with the absurd (Real Housewives) and adds a dash of host Lindsay Lohan to produce a laugh-out-loud fantasy/reality TV parody. It's great to watch funny females perform clever, sarcastic comedy—and this sub-five-minute laughtrack is the perfect start to your work week.
Anne of Green Gables, by Lucy Maud Montgomery
For me, this is just one of those weeks that already seems like it's gone on forever—and then I remember that it's only Monday. On weeks like this, I need nothing more than a good comfort book. Montgomery's eight-part collection is pure country comfort—her spunky, outspoken heroine (Anne Shirley), with a temper to match her fiery red hair, is a real, relatable character even now, though she was first imagined by Montgomery in early 20th century Prince Edward Island.
Big-ticket themes abound as orphan Anne softens the hearts of her adopters, who originally wanted a boy: the delight of being oneself, the sanctity of intelligence, the importance and strength of females, the value of loyalty, and—above all—the magic of imagination. I won't suggest that you read the entire collection (wait—ye,s I will), but if you feel like you need something comforting to come home to, do yourself a favor and start reading Anne's story.
Photo courtesy of Mo Riza.
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