I took a hiatus this past year from the blog to focus on my personal life and some career changes (more on that later!) I also needed a break from certain people, places and things but now I realize I miss having a place to share all the little gems I stumble on in life; the books, films (television!), food and of course, beauty products and fashion, that inspire me on a daily basis. I’ve read some incredible books over the course of the past year, most recently Ruth Reichl‘s memoir, Save Me The Plums about her years as the Editor in Chief of Gourmet magazine. She has a magical way of blending a melancholy joyful nostalgia with food and recipes, which makes her one of my favorite writers, and if you were a magazine editor at Conde Nast in the days of “Si and the bottomless expense account” like I was you will laugh and cry in equal parts at an era long gone in the publishing world. Ada Calhoun’s latest book, Why We Can’t Sleep, explores Gen X women’s midlife crisis and is a thoughtful and relatable book. She makes a point of saying the book is focused on middle class women, leaving out race and sexuality, which for me are very relevant markers but I understand the need to narrow the focus and as they say, we all write what we know. As a woman born in 1972 I found much of it familiar though as a Jewish, immigrant, queer woman who decided not to have children there are a lot of things I can’t relate to as well. That said, I love this book for making me feel less alone in the process of life changes, as the writer herself concludes after talking to countless women ‘our age’. It’s reassuring that we are not the only ones crying and not sleeping and feeling an overwhelming anxiety about everything on a daily basis. Below are more favorites from the past year. The music and film list is coming soon too but since the Oscars nominations came out this morning, let me say loud and clear that there were countless women left off the nominees list, namely Melina Matsoukas and Lena Waithe for their phenomenal first feature, Queen & Slim, which even my 82 year old Russian immigrant mother loved (click on the highlights in my Instagram stories for her full review!), Alma Harel for Honey Boy, Lulu Wang for The Farewell , Marielle Heller for A beautiful Day in the Neighborhood and Great Gerwig for Little Women. We love you ladies! And “Congratulations to all the men!” -Issa Rae.
Back to the books. Lindsay Mead edited a fantastic book of essays, On Being 40ish, packed with writing from some of my favorite women: Meghan Daum, Jill Kargman, Kate Bolick, and so many more! A must read regardless of age or gender. She Wants It by Jill Soloway is another powerful read from a powerful female writer and creative. I loved reading her honest voice recount her personal and professional struggles. Three Women by Lisa Taddeo, Casey Legler‘s memoir Godspeed, and Mother Winter from Sophia Shalmiyev were all high on the list of women’s stories that need to be told and heard. Sophia’s book reminded me of the years I spent going back to Russia to search for the father I lost after my mom and I emigrated, which was a painful read. Although I found my father easily in the physical sense, I never really got him back emotionally and he passed away from cancer just a few years after we reconnected from our 15 year separation. Time passes quickly, you can’t live in the past and when it’s gone, it’s gone, so stay present. Except when reading great books!