What I’m Reading, Watching, and Listening To (June)

Hello friends!
How’s everyone doing today?
You good?
You great?
You blah?
You feeling mad, sad, grateful, guilty, glum, happy, weary, stressed, inspired, tired, and hopeful all at once?


I thought I’d focus the Friday Favorites’ post (or let’s be real, a day that might not even be Friday) on some of the books, shows, podcasts and audio books that I’ve been consuming much like the Costco-sized bag of Brownie Brittle that’s disappearing in my pantry (another favorite, unless you are my jeans).

Since we’ve moved our home base to the lake for the summer and the weather hasn’t been optimal for doing lakey things this past week, I’ve spent some time on the deck reading (i.e., instantly napping — seriously, can anyone read more than like 15 pages without feeling like you just got hooked up to an Ambien IV?), going on long walks listening to Audible, and staying up way too late watching “just one more episode.”

Much of what I’m sharing is centered around racial injustice and the Black experience, which is something I’m continuing to educate myself on, but I also have some other genres in the mix as well. While I’m finding personal growth from broadening my understanding of the relevant issues at hand, I’m also just wanting moments of complete escape. (Don’t we all?)

Oh, also, ICYMI and ICYAI (that’s In Case You Missed It and In Case You Are Interested, FYI, which just, BTW, totally negated the acronyms) there’s a new tab up top that will lead you to my reading list — books I’m currently reading as well as favorites I recommend. It’s a list that will definitely be evolving, so check back often!

Okay, we done with the host-chat?
You ready for the favorites?



An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

I’m not sure how I missed this book a couple of years ago (I mean, look at the reviews — but not my freckled leg — below), but after seeing it on this Goodreads’ list of important black fiction books to read I ran down to our cute lake town’s local bookstore and grabbed their last copy.

I’m only about 1/3 of the way through, but am already gripped by the events and love Jones’ writing style (using letters to propel the story ahead five years was a refreshing use of storytelling). So if, like me, you were living under a rock in 2018 and let this one pass you by, download, borrow, listen, or buy this one now.

Happy and You Know It by Laura Hankin

Was I instantly hooked by this book’s fun title and dazzled by its fun cover dotted with darling, enamel pins? Did I buy it without even reading the sample on my kindle (something I always, always do first)?


And you guys, I can’t put it down! It’s one of those books that I put off reading so I won’t finish it. Based on the synopsis and the blurb that it’s “Sex and The City meets The Nanny Diaries,” you might think it’s too eye rolly (an expression that should totally be added to our vernacular), but Hankin, a comedy performer and writer for places like McSweeney’s and Huff Post, is absolutely hilarious and her dialogue and spot-on, clever observations often make me — #acronymalert — LOL.

This one will definitely be added to my list of Books I Love.
When I ever let myself finish it.

Beach Read by Emily Henry

Full disclosure: I haven’t read this one yet.
But in my defense I have read the Kindle sample and really loved it, plus have heard nothing but gushing reviews from people I trust … a.k.a. the #bookstagram accounts I follow. This is one I’m saving for next weekend when the weather looks a bit more lakey and I can read it by the lake which is sort of like (but nothing like) a beach.


Okay, before I tell you what I’ve been listening to on Audible let me preface it by saying I would have never, ever in a million trillion years entertained the idea of picking this book up — much less investing 12+ hours of my life on it — unless it hadn’t come highly recommended from a friend whose judgment I trust.

I was never really a fan of Jessica Simpson’s. Never really paid her much attention other than criticized her for wanting too much attention. I know she’s made me eye rolly on more than several occasions over the years when I’ve seen her interviewed. She’s honestly been a celebrity I gave zero shits about. So no one then, is as shocked as I am that I have been absolutely obsessed with

Seriously, my ass should thank her for making me add miles to my walks just so I could keep listening to her riveting story; one that is raw and vulnerable and honest, and yeah, full of pretty juicy deets. (John Mayer is a dog. The end.)

You guys, I’ve gone down a Google hell hole searching for photos and interviews she references and have listened to popular songs of hers (for the very first time) on Spotify. I spent an entire night watching Newlyweds on YouTube (I never watched it) and cannot believe anyone ever felt like Nick was anything less than a total dick to her. Seriously, she may have been clueless and a total, spoiled ditz, but he was just flat out emotionally abusive. #teamjessica

I’m only about half an hour from finishing the book and I have to say, I’ll kind of miss Jessica when it’s over. It’s okay, I now follow her on Instagram. Obviously.

White Fragility by Robin Diangelo

Not quite the Jessica Simpson memoir, is it??
This one, which has skyrocketed to the top of the charts for good reason, is not just educational (honestly, Diangelo gives actual history lessons) but just so thought provoking and is really causing me to pause and examine my own definitions, behaviors, and assumptions. I find myself stopping to write down full quotes often, and have had to rewind on many occasions to replay something powerful.

Also on my audible list (and one my daughter recommends) is How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

Rob Lowe.
All the time.

Wait. What?
I mean, you all know of my um, relationship with Rob Lowe, but now I’m just listening to him all day?
You. Are. Correct.
Robe Lowe, all the time.
If that’s wrong I don’t want to be right.

But really, I have been a bit inundated with Rob lately (I’M NOT COMPLAINING). Besides listening to his book Love Life on audible (full of great stories as usual, ROB), I recommend listening to his funny, delightful (yes, DELIGHTFUL) interviews on the Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend podcast (one of my very favorite podcasts) and Armchair Expert.

And guess what?!? Later this month — June 25th but not like I have it marked in Sharpie on their calendar or anything HAHAHA — he debuts his very own podcast called Literally, with Rob Lowe, which, SPOILER ALERT, is already my very favorite thing of the summer.


In the interest of time — yours and mine — and because selfishly I am really dying to go outside and read for 10 minutes before falling into a deep sleep where I’ll wake up an hour later not knowing what day it is or where the hell I am, I’m just going to give you a couple of excellent, painfully honest and enlightening shows we’ve watched this past week centering around Black injustice.

When They See Us (four part series on Netflix)
When They See Us Now (Oprah Winfrey special on Netflix)
Just Mercy (feature movie streaming free over Amazon Prime and other services)

Up next (haven’t watched yet but come highly recommended):
American Son (Netflix)

Let me know what you’re reading, watching, or listening to! I’m always a sucker for recommendations from friends!

Now I’ll leave you with one of my favorite moments from this past week — watching our lake’s loon family while out in my kayak one morning.
The world showing us some simple beauty in these dark times, and I’ll take it.


  1. Elizabeth on June 13, 2020 at 10:59 am

    I’m seriously gonna need to quit my job now. I clearly can’t do that all day and get all this reading/watching done. Thanks for the great recommendations! I, too, I am trying to do a whole lot more listening and learning – I really appreciate these ideas!

    • Michelle on June 16, 2020 at 2:10 pm

      It’s a big time commitment to keep up with all the great content out there right now, for sure!

  2. Karen Hawkins on June 16, 2020 at 7:47 am

    I do love your Friday Favourites! Always good suggestions. I tried An American Marriage when it came out a few years ago but could not get into it -maybe I should try again? It did take me two tries to get into Daisy Jones and the Six – and the second time I did so enjoy it – so there is something to trying again – maybe I was not in the right frame of mind the first time. I was riveted by the When They See Us series and you will love American Son – Kerry at her very best. I have the 13th and Just Mercy on my watch list…sometime soon. I have Beach Read on hold at the library – who knows when I will get it! I will definitely check out Happy and You Know it…I am in a bit of a book lull…stuck in the Chick Lit genre…I think it is all my brain can take right now… I just stumbled on the podcast “in Bed with Nick and Megan”..quite funny if you are looking for some comic relief . Keep writing – I so enjoy all of your posts.

    • Michelle on June 16, 2020 at 2:10 pm

      I’ve heard of their podcast and had forgotten about it! Thanks for the reminder! 🙂 So I finished American Marriage the other night and now, having read the whole thing, I will still say it is a fantastically written book that would generate great discussion in a book club, but it’s not in my top favorites. Still reading and loving Happy And You Know It — give it a try, I think you’ll like it! Oh, and I liked Daisy Jones but didn’t love it like most other people did for some reason. ??
      As always, thanks for chatting with me! Have a good week! 🙂

  3. Mindy Schroeder on June 18, 2020 at 3:35 pm

    So it was a sign, I just finished an audio book, read your blog, and “Open Book” by Jessica Simpson was on a “skip the line” borrow from my local library app. I have many of the same feelings – no interest in her, but man is the book good! Once you realize that who we are and what we all struggle with is universal (because I don’t fly my hairdresser in from New York and thanks to COVID I haven’t seen her in over 110 days — and yes I’m counting).

    I agree – American Marriage was a good read. A fascinating book I just finished was “The Alice Network” by Kate Quinn. Light beach read with a bit of suspense and mystery – “The Woman in Cabin 10.” I have “Maybe you Should Talk to Someone” on hold – can’t wait to read it.

    Thanks and greetings from Southern Minnesota – land of no lakes.

    • Michelle on June 28, 2020 at 8:01 pm

      “Land of no lakes” – HAHAHA. That’s great.
      So I now follow Jessica on IG and when she posts I feel like I know her. Like she just posted about it being a few days from her birthday and I was like, “GIRL. You have had some CELEBRATIONS” like I was there. (Facepalm.)

      Okay, so now that I finished American Marriage I still liked it a lot, but by the end wasn’t as enamored with it as I was at the beginning. I think it just got kind of depressing. However, I loved that she added the epilogue. (I’m a happy endings kind of a gal.) I have wanted to try The Alice Network and did read “..Cabin 10” a couple of years ago (agree — a quick read). I listened to the audible of “Maybe You Should Talk To Someone” and LOVED it!! In fact, I might listen to it again!

      LMK if you have any more suggestions. I posted another favorites post this week with more books, audibles, etc. 🙂

      Thanks for chatting!

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