Knitters, in lieu of self-care prescriptions, I present for your consideration two fine beach reads. You can take them to the actual beach, or to the back porch with your sun hat. Stay safe!
Obviously, I was launched into orbit the moment I saw the cover of this book. Millennial pink, flowy script, and—what’s that inky potion dripping all down the front? Looks like a signal that the contents have undergone a shift. And indeed, the satire of Self Care stays well away from all things calming, meditative and nutritious.
The action takes place at “Richual,” a social platform for wellness and the profits that can be made on it. “Foundresses” Devin and Maren, along with SVP Khadijah, are working to secure their second round of funding. Too bad they’re also dealing with multiple scandals, from careless threats on the life of the First Daughter, to accusations of abuse by a board member, to swag printed with tone-deaf slogans.
As they scramble to control the damage, it’s anyone’s guess who will end up under the bus, and who will be left driving. The cynic? The Kool-Aid drinker? The one with a secret? All we know for sure is: there’s going to be a crash.
Contains: the performance of self-care for profit, sexual misconduct, the Secret Service, body dysmorphia, cussing galore.
Read this book if you like: cynical satire.
In the MDK Shop
Here’s a sweet chaser to Self Care’s bracing tartness. Quan Barry’s second novel is set in late-80s Danvers, Massachusetts—once known as Salem Village, the actual site of the 17th-century Salem witch hysteria. (Only the trials took place in the present-day city Salem. After the trials, in a short-sighted PR move, Salem Village changed its name to Danvers, leaving Salem proper to corner the market on witch tourism.) Barry’s Danvers is also the home of the Falcons, the losing-est field hockey team in Eastern Massachusetts. And by losing-est we mean never not shut out. Maybe the girls could use a little supernatural help?
Ask and ye shall receive, Falcons! As they stack up one seemingly impossible win on top of another, it starts to look like Danvers High School could go all the way to the state championships, if only they can stay focused and in the good graces of their patron spirit Emilio Estevez. This will prove difficult, because the team also faces the challenges of parental conflict, casual racism, demanding AP classes, and tricky romance.
Contains: teen girl energy, rule breaking, coastal New England vernacular, overdetermined period hairstyles.
Read this book if you like: contemporary BIPOC fiction, wish fulfillment, Calvin Harris’s Acceptable in the 80s, real-life Quidditch, a ripping bildungsroman without any mean girls.
Without a local bookseller, I’m about to place a book order with Loyalty Books, so tell me: What’s on your time-out reading list? What are your recent faves? Please put your recommendations in the comments.
Image: L’Arlésienne: Madame Joseph-Michel Ginoux (Marie Julien, 1848–1911), 1888–89, Vincent van Gogh, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Bequest of Sam A. Lewisohn, 1951. Used with permission.
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