July Favorites

 

Books

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

29780258-_uy400_ss400_I’m a fan of Trevor Noah’s standup and his work as host of The Daily Show, so I knew to expect the same intelligent wit in his writing as well. But while this book definitely has a comedic undertone, he mixes in some seriousness as he discusses his childhood growing up during apartheid in South Africa. Born to a white man and black woman, he was literally “born a crime.” The book takes the reader on a journey through Trevor’s childhood, never being allowed outside due to the illegality of his existence, to his high school experience, not being able to completely fit in anywhere due to his ambiguous identity.

Above all, however, this book is a love letter to his mother. In his anecdotes, Trevor paints a picture of his mother’s strength, bravery, and faith. He tells readers how she raised him alone, striving to give him the life she didn’t have. He recounts how tough she was on him, but insists it was that tough love that made him who he is today. And her relentless faith in God ultimately saved her life in a miraculous way. If you’re looking for a feel-good summer read with a hint of comedy and inspiration, I highly recommend checking this book out.

Music

Funky Wav Bounces Vol. 1 by Calvin Harris

There’s not much to say other than this album has the perfect songs to blast all summer long. My favorite tracks are Slide ft. Frank Ocean and Migos, Rollin’ ft. Khalid and Future, and Faking It ft. Kehlani and Lil Yatchy.

Ctrl by SZA

I’ve only recently started listening to SZA, but her vibe drew me in and I’ve been loving her debut album. My favorites include Love Galore and The Weekend (of course), but also Pretty Little Birds.

American Teen by Khalid

I’ve been loving this album for a while now, but I recently saw Khalid in concert and it made me fall in love with his music all over again. His voice is incredible—he sounds just as good live as he does in the studio, if not better. Plus he’s an awesome performer and his energy is infectious. Some of my favorites are Coaster, Keep Me, and Young Dumb & Broke.

Entertainment

The Bold Type

Based on the women of Cosmo, this series follows 3 women working at Scarlet magazine. Jane was recently promoted to a writer’s position and she’s thrown for a loop when her boss encourages her to write on some pretty personal subjects (stalking your ex and orgasms, for example). She’s scared of becoming a fluff writer, but we see her take these topics and turn them into something completely her own. Kat runs the magazine’s social media and sets out to interview an out-and-proud lesbian Muslim woman named Adena. This encounter forces her to come to terms with her sexuality, which never becomes an issue with the other girls, who are completely comfortable discussing her attraction to women and don’t let it change the dynamic of their friendship. Sutton is an assistant, but Jane’s promotion makes her realize how disconent she is with her current position. She dreams of working in fashion and struggles between risking it all for her dream or going for a realistic, well-paying job in ad sales.

I find Sutton’s plotline most relatable because she represents the issues a lot of people in their early 20s face: feeling pressured to have it all figured out and feeling helpless when postgrad life doesn’t turn out the way you plan. But the other girls, her boyfriend, and even her boss support her in her career aspirations, pushing her to go after her dreams instead of settling for less. That, and her hard work ethic, are so inspiring.

Overall, this is a show of female empowerment. The main characters are women who completely support each other — they never compete and they’re never catty towards one another, even when you’d expect them to be. The show touches on sexuality, religion, politics, women in the workplace and, of course, feminism. They’re only 4 episodes in, so you can catch up on Hulu and tune in every Tuesday night on Freeform.

To The Bone

(Trigger warning: discussion and visuals of eating disorders)

As someone who struggled with an eating disorder several years back, this was hard to watch. And after the controversy with 13 Reasons Why, I was apprehensive to watch another Netflix representation of mental illness. Then I heard that Lily Collin, who plays the main character, dealt with an eating disorder herself and the movie is partly biographical of director Marti Noxon’s life. Given their experiences, I trusted they would give a realistic rather than romanticized depiction of what it is like to have an eating disorder. While I did not agree with everything in the film, I found it to be a raw representation of what it’s like to be in that mindset. It includes people of different genders, sexualities, ages, and other backgrounds to show that eating disorders can affect virtually anyone. And there’s some humor as well, which keeps the deep subject matter from getting too dark.

I understand this isn’t the film for everyone, but if you’re interested, it’s worth the watch.

What are your favorites from July? Leave them in the comments below!

 

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