22 Jul instinct’s culture corner
Luster explores the life of a young Black woman in America who becomes entangled with a wealthy white family, as she navigates sexual and racial politics and tries to find her place in the world. Sharp, confronting and darkly funny – you will not be able to put it down!
The Beach by Alex Garland! I actually read it every summer as it’s my favourite book, but it’s also such a good seasonal read. Don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t read it yet but it’s one of those books where you’re constantly thinking – this is what I want to do/the life I want to lead and then reality hits with a twist and you realise absolutely not.
American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld – described as the smart girl’s summer read – it’s SO good, a fiction based on the life of Laura Bush and how she became First Lady. It’s long but I never wanted it to end
The Underground Railroad by Colton Whitehead – Having read the book last year, the release of the Amazon Prime show this year was a perfect addition. Following the life of Cora and Caesar, two slaves living in the antebellum South during the 19th century, who make a bid for freedom from their Georgia plantation by following the Underground Railroad, a hidden rail transport system with safe houses and secret routes. Both heartbreaking and heartwarming, both the book and the series are a sensation.
This Way Up on Channel 4 – second season is out now.
BAFTA-winning comedy-drama starring Aisling Bea as Aine, a whip-smart teacher who’s trying to pull her life back together after a ‘teeny little nervous breakdown’. With Sharon Horgan
Podcast – This American Life – Each week they choose a theme and put together different kinds of stories on that theme. It’s mostly journalism, and has spawned off shoots like Serial, S Town etc. You never know what you’re going to get and it’s an insight into the many different layers of the American experience.
TV Show – Succession – It’s a drama about the biggest media mogul and his families fight to figure out who will take over Royco media. How can a show with so many horrible characters be so compelling?! I do not know, but I watched it through twice during lockdown.
Pieces of Britney is a sharp-witted eight-part BBC documentary, written and presented by Pandora Sykes. Released ten days ago, it instantly became the UK’s No 1 download. We’re here for you Britney!