Hello everyone and welcome to Queerly Recommended the podcast where we recommend queer books, TV shows, movies and more. I’m Kris Bryant, a contemporary romance writer with almost 20 books about women loving women and queer books.
Mm hmm. And I am Tara, I review queer women’s fiction at The Lesbian Review, Lambda Literary and Smart Bitches Trashy Books. If you would like to support our show, we have a ko-fi link in the show notes, it’s a site where people can support their favorite content creators like Kris and I, whoo. If you want to, that would be amazing. If not, that is okay. If you can even just tell a friend that you think needs more queer media in their life. That’s also an amazing way to support the show. And we appreciate that every time too. We’re going to start with listener questions.
Yes, we love listener questions. So feel free to send us any sort of message, email, DM questions, we love them, we’ll answer them.
That’s true. And this first one we got from, there is another Tara out there. And she asks, “I want to ask for your recommendations of lesfic with butch femme pairings, but my 12 year old daughter just informed me that the reason I can’t find any is because I’m using the wrong terminology and should be searching for masc of center. So I apologize for antiquated terminology for my apparently antiquated ass. Rest assured I’m in the process of educating myself on new or unacceptable terminology at the time, but flat out refuse to use Tik Tok as a resource, much to my daughter’s chagrin.” Side note: I don’t blame you. I am not hoppin hard on the Tik Tok train either. I spend too much time on other places. And she says: “However, I would still love any recommendations you may have that do not include two ladies in dresses and heels.” Kris?
Well, okay. Butch/femme is still widely used in lesfic, for sure. I know that BSB has that pairng on the website. And I know that on the flip side, when I do Tik Tok videos, and I am a Tik Toker. I like to watch them late at night. I’ll scroll through for about an hour at night just to you know, relax. Yeah-
See what’s out there.
See super cute animal ones and stuff but the ones that I’ve actually created, I do put masc/femme, because I know that that is a growing hashtag. It’s a growing search engine sort of, but at the same time, butch/femme, you know, it’s for people who have been reading lesfic forever. They know what it is. So it should be easy to find, I would think.
Yeah, and even at The Lesbian Review, we have a tag for it with hundreds and hundreds of reviews because it is such a prevalent pairing in lesfic. And so my personal recommendations I loved Satisfaction Guaranteed by Karelia Stetz-Waters, I think I might have talked about this on the show before I might have recommended that one. Another previous recommendation. I think one of my first recommendations might have been my second one was Wrong Number Right Woman by Jae. Wonderful butch femme story. I especially love the butch representation in that one because she’s a fat butch woman, which I thought was really interesting and like even to the point where she made her own clothes because it was hard to find affordable clothes that matched how she wanted to present herself in the world. I also quite liked Spindrift by Anna Burke. I mean anything by Jenny Frame is great. And I mean, also like Radclyffe has written what like 500 all by herself?
At least. Yeah. And Rachel Spangler and yours truly.
That’s true. You have written some.Yyou don’t write that exclusively though. But you do. You do write a bunch of them.
I have decided to write all over the place. Butch femme.
Masc femme. Femme femme. Non-binary.
Non-binary. Oh, Kris, you’re teasing us what’s happening? What’s happening?
It’s just my version of The Bachelorette is coming out in May. It’s called Forever. And I can’t tell you anything about it because I don’t want to give anything away. So here we go.
I’m not talking to you anymore.
Okay. That’s not true. You are too.
I am. That’s true. I am.
We have another question. We had two questions. Jennifer C on Twitter asked, “What are you looking forward to the most?” And that was given to us two minutes before the podcast started.
So there was no time to ask for context and we are going to guess that Jennifer is asking what we’re looking forward to most with queer media because-
Right. Cause I would say world peace, for sure.
That would be nice. That would be fabulous. I mean, otherwise, I mean, I guess in terms of like other things to look forward to, like you’re probably looking forward to GCLS and Ptown this year.
That’s right. I am. I’m looking forward to both. And did I tell you have a plan for GCLS? What I’m doing?
No. What is it?
Okay, so my parents who are in their late 70s, they have friends that they haven’t seen in years, and the friends are 88 and 92. And they are in Alamogordo. So, I’m gonna pick up the raisins, put them in the backseat, strap them in, and I’m going to drive them down to Alamogordo.
And I’m gonna let them hang out with their friends for five days while I’m at GCLS. I’m going to drive up to Albuquerque, do my thing. drive back down to Alamogordo, pick the raisins up and take them home. So it’s like a road trip with the parents?
Uh huh. Um, how do they do with road trips?
Um, I don’t know, I haven’t been on a road trip with my parents in a really long time. But I feel like they would be incredibly grateful because that will- it gives them the freedom where they don’t have to drive and stress about it, because my dad has this thing where he likes to fall asleep all the time.
And, yeah, so and my mom doesn’t want to drive at all. Like, she literally got rid of the car. So she relies now upon my dad who just likes to fall asleep, whatever he wants.
Does he fall asleep while driving?
He doesn’t. And he actually- when he’s working, and it’s late at night, late, like eight or nine. And he’s like an hour or two outside of Kansas City. I’m like, “Dad, just get a hotel room. I don’t want to drive it in this”. So he’ll stop and get a hotel room. But this way, they’re so excited. So they’re pretty much going to do whatever I say, “Hey, guess what? We’re gonna listen to some, you know, hardcore music” and they’ll be like, “Okay”. I’ll do what they want. But still, it sounds like “Yeah, it’s my turn. I get to be the dad. Hey, if you guys don’t settle down. I pull this car over. I’ll give you something to cry about”.
That’s right. Oh my god. That’s so funny. All right.
Yes. So that’s my GCLS.
So what piece of weird media are you most looking forward to?
My- Did I not say that?
Oh, I thought I did. Okay, so I’m looking forward to My Policeman. And that is with Harry Styles. And it takes place in the 50s. Here, I think I have a little blurb up here.
I don’t know anything about it.
I think I have a blurb. I’m stalling. I’m stalling because-
Very cleverly. I would not have guessed.
Here we go. Set in the 1950s. in Brighton, a gay policeman named Tom marries a school teacher named Marian while being in a relationship with Patrick a museum curator. The secret they share threatens to ruin them all. And Harry Styles. What a gem.
Mmmmhmm. Is it just acting or will there be any singing?
I’m sure it’s just acting. I don’t know. It seems- it’s like a romance drama. I think it’s what they call it. They’ll put two words together make it any-
Exactly. So I’m excited just because of Harry Styles and what he’s done for, you know, queerness in last several years. So I’m like, alright, I’ll watch this movie because it sounds awesome.
Alright, I cannot wait for you to report back.
What about you? Oh I know. I’m excited. Go ahead.
So mine is called Mistakes were Made by Meryl Wilsner. This is their second book. And it is about a college senior who has a hookup with an older woman during family weekend. They are just tired of all the family weekend nonsense, go to a bar, meets this older woman, they bang it out. And the next day, it turns out this older woman is her friend’s mother. And when they’re properly introduced by the friend, they actually get along really well. So they start sneaking around and I am so excited about this.
That is a big age gap. This is like Harper Bliss. It’s a big age gap.
It has to be. I feel like the difference between this and- and so for people that don’t know what we’re talking about, go back and listen to the last episode. That was the episode that we were recorded live at The Lesbian Review Sexy Reads event. Kris recommended Seasons of Love by Harper Bliss. And I feel like the difference between this and that is that- well there’s a couple differences. One is that instead of like sleeping with your friend’s daughter, it’s more like-
You’re sleeping with your friend’s mom.
Sleeping with your friend’s mom. Yes. But the difference there is that like whereas in Seasons of Love, not only is the age gap huge, obviously, but we’re talking about like she was in the mother’s social circle. And in theory was probably watching this girl grow up, which Neil and I were talking this morning we were like, “Tha’s kind of creepy, actually, the more you kind of dig into that” and like “What if that woman had been a man?”
Oh, yeah, for sure.
I mean, first of all, like, no, we wouldn’t have read it because opposite sex pairing. But even like that part aside, I would be like “Eww, wait, was he grooming her?” Like, even though there’s obviously no grooming in that particular book, and it doesn’t happen, but like, the idea that she could have been her aunt, maybe, if they had been slightly close. I don’t mean like, sorry, I don’t mean a blood relationship kind of way. But like, our kids have, like some friends that Neil and I have that we refer to as like aunt and uncle. They’re not related by blood, but they’ve been around since they were born. And the idea of “No, no, no, no”. Whereas in a scenario like this, it’s not like that. Like that mother wasn’t around watching the other girl grow up. She’s meeting her now.
In all fairness. I mean, I think in Harper Bliss’s book, I think, I don’t know that she was around for the growing up part. If you do the math, and I think the only time they mentioned where she was around, or she said the last time she saw Joy or something was during the husband’s funeral.
When she was 13 at the time.
Okay. That’s not so bad then.
So I think that- I don’t think she was really around during the whole, you know, it’s kind of one of those maybe you know people who have kids and you don’t see them, but maybe once every 10 years, I think that might be a situation. Unlike the Woody Allen whole thing, you know, where you’re actually raising the child and don’t even get me started. I started it. I’m sorry.
That’s okay. We can end it. Kris. What have you been reading or watching?
Oh, okay, so get this. Yes, Killing Eve is back. Killing Eve is back. And I have seen a couple of episodes so far. And so far, I’m not impressed.
Oh, no. Why?
I don’t like the direction of this. It’s just, it’s too weird. They went down a weird thing. And, and I- I’m gonna stick with it, because I’m that person. So I don’t know how to explain it. It’s just not really-
It’s not hitting?
It’s not. Not yet. So I’m gonna watch two more episodes tonight. Because I have AMC plus, because I’m that person. And the reason why I have AMC plus, is because I have to watch The Walking Dead. And that is back as well.
Congratulations. And how is it?
Kind of the same. There’s really not a lot going on. And I really need there to be a lot going on. Because this is it. I mean, this is the final season. And they broke it apart into three different- I want to say three sections. Maybe it’s only two. Maybe we’re down to the last 10. I don’t know. But there’s not enough going on for me to be excited. But again, I’ve been with it since the beginning so I have to stick it, you know, stick it out. So I am and then I just started yesterday- Okay, so let me tell you a little story.
So I hurt my back. You know this, most of the people on social media know this, because I whine about it a lot. I hurt my back and I’ve been horizontal for two weeks. Except for now I’m sitting up and I’m gonna regret it here when we’re done. But I’ve had to watch a lot of TV, like more so than usual. So I watched- I binge watched the whole season of Love is Blind season two Netflix.
The whole thing. And actually, that started a couple weeks ago. And then they gave me like the first six or seven episodes. And then they dropped the last, however many episodes and then they had the reunion show, which I watched yesterday. So after that I started Pieces of Her, which is on Netflix with Toni Collette. It’s kind of a suspenseful thriller type thing.
And it’s a mini series. And I know there’s a second season, which in a way kind of pissed me off because I really want answers. But I’m not done with it yet. You know, there’s like 10 episodes this first season. And I think I’m on episode eight, because there’s only so many hours in the day. So that’s what I’m watching. So I’ll report back on that as well.
She’s so good.
She really is. She really is. I mean, I’ve liked everything she’s ever been in. And she does a really great job on this one too.
When I think even when you don’t necessarily like the film or the show, you still like her because she’s just such a spectacular actor.
Right? And she’s the reason why I started watching in the first place. I remember her from Muriel’s Wedding. Did you ever see that back when we were toddlers?
I don’t remember, probably because I was a toddler at the time. So if I did see I don’t really remember it.
Okay, well, it was pretty good too. But yeah, so I know that if she’s in something, then it’s gonna be good. What about you? What are you watching?
So I’m still watching all the Drag Races. By the time this episode airs. I think Drag Race UK might be over and I feel like this is the first Drag Race season I’ve watched where getting to the final four I literally don’t care who wins because I’m not invested in anyone. So Drag Race- Sorry, it’s UK versus the World. And it’s basically like an international version of All Stars, and the way All Stars works, is you don’t have the bottom two lip syncing at the end, you have actually the top two lip sync at the end. And whichever one wins, pulls out a lipstick that has the name of whoever they’re going to kick off the show. So it’s not RuPaul eliminating people, it’s contestants eliminating each other.
And so in all the All Stars, they always say, like, they go off the track record and whoever is the weakest get sent home and they say “No, I want I want to make sure that when it gets to the end that I beat the best, I want to make sure that I have beaten the best”. And in this season, they’ve been eliminating the strongest queens. Because they want to make it to the end. And so it’s a much more strategic game and is interesting in that sense, but it means that all the people I was rooting for, all the people who are interesting are gone.
And for me the hardest elimination was a couple of weeks ago and she was the contestant from Thailand. Her name is Pangina Heals. And the interesting thing for her, I can’t remember he said that in a previous episode or not. But she had never competed before. She was one of the judges.
Oh, yeah, you did mention that.
So she was one of the judges on Drag Race Thailand and she was spec-tacular. She was so good. So smart. Her looks were incredible. She was good at just about everything. And Blu Hydrangea eliminated her- Blu Hydrangea is a queen from Northern Ireland. And the way Pangina cried and they left the microphone on and they aired it and it was just this horrible, guttural sobbing. It was heartbreaking because for her, she felt like she was letting her country down. Because like Thailand, getting that kind of a stage. And then Blu is kind of like being a bitch the next week bragging about it and I was like “I don’t… Okay.” So we saw in the finale is the two UK queens and the two US queens, which are of course, the franchises that are the biggest franchises in the whole thing, the ones that RuPaul hosts and like I just- I just don’t care. I don’t care anymore. So I’m gonna hate watch the finale.
Well- Hate watch it (laughs). It sounds like it’s like Survivor where they get rid of the strongest.
Yeah, that’s what it’s starting to sound like.
Yeah, exactly. know. And it’s not that fun, cause then it’s like, “Oh, okay, so whoever wins is not going to be the strongest contestant from the season.” Which is what I like to see. I like the winner to be the strongest. Drag Race US though, thankfully, is still great. My top three favorites are still in it. There are about- it’s about halfway through. There’s going to be 95 episodes at this pace though with all these things they’re doing. But it is good. I still love Willow Pill, Bosco and Angeria. I can’t remember- Angeria has like four names. I only remember the first one. But it’s been like a really fun, good season to watch. But more than that, I listened to a book that you bought for me because you were tired of waiting for me to go to the library.
I was tired.
I listened to The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. And as you know, because I texted you through the experience. Oh my god, that book fucking wrecked me. If Kris hadn’t actually done it as an official recommendation, it would 100% be an official recommendation from me too. But I feel like all you lovely listeners deserve to not have repeats for official recommendation.
And it’s amazing. And I was at a book club, Albuquerque book club. We did a Zoom last weekend. And I told them, because I love this book so much. I said, well, the the book club was for one of my books. And then they had asked for recommendations. And I said, “You know if you haven’t read this, read this. And if you want to talk about it, I will come back on the Albuquerque books, book review, book club and we’ll discuss.” Because I loved it. Absolutely loved it.
It’s so good. And so for folks that have not actually listened to that episode or haven’t read the book yet and want to know a little bit more. The idea is that there’s this- How would you describe Monique? Kind of an up and coming journalist? She’s kind of a lower level.
I think she’s kind of a nobody.
Yeah, she has ambition, but she doesn’t know how to go about and get higher up in the ranks.
But she doesn’t know what- she has no idea and then all of a sudden, the idea just comes to her, not the idea but the opportunity.
The opportunity. And it sounds like she works for an equivalent to like a Vanity Fair or something like that. And this- I describe her as almost like, or I see her as almost like Elizabeth Taylor but blonde bombshell cause she’s roughly, she’s more of the Elizabeth Taylor era than she is of some of those other blonde bombshells in Hollywood.
You mean Evelyn? Is that who you’re thinking of?
Yes, yeah. Yeah.
I was still picturing Monique. Sorry.
No, no, no. No, Monique’s black so- No, Evelyn, reaches Evelyn Hugo, who was like kind of one of those gigantic film stars for many decades, reaches out to the magazine and says “I want you to do an article about me”. And she’s been like notoriously reluctant to do any kind of articles about anything but she said, “But you have to send Monique Jenkins to do the article”. And of course, they say, “Well, but what about these other seasoned writers?” And she’s like, “Fuck you. It’s her or it’s nobody.”
It’s her or nothing.
And so Monique gets there and she’s like, “Why do you want me to do this?” And she’s like, “I’ll tell you what the end.” And basically tells her whole life story going back- and it goes back and forth between like in the present where Monique is interacting with Evelyn and learning about her and taking in her story. And also like her marriage has ended and I just- and of course, going back, sorry, between that and the structure, I mean, the way they say The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, like it’s her life story, but it’s basically her life story going from husband to husband. So we miss kind of some of those in between bits, which is fine. And I thought the back and forth was really smart, and really brilliant. But at the end of it, there was so much that I loved about it.
I love how there are no perfect people in this story. Everybody is problematic in some way. Evelyn is a deeply flawed person who owns it and is proud of it. But all the people that she loves most in her life are also deeply flawed. And also have major problems. I loved how it plays with the idea of love of your life. And that if you expand that definition, beyond romance to like platonic love, and familial love, that there are many people who actually do end up being the love of your life, which is, personally for me was why I found the last…Oh, I mean, I was listening to it. So the last hour or two hours, I found incredibly gutting, because, you know, I don’t think it’s a big spoiler to say, she is an old woman, and she has no family left in her life. Because you find that out in the first like, very first chapter. She has an assistant, she has no husbands. She has no family around her. And so for me seeing what she’s done, and this person who kind of lives by that motto, “I’ll do what it takes to achieve my goals”. And that brings people into her life. But there are also consequences for it.
Right. And she like her goal was to get to Hollywood.
She wanted to be an actress, and she was going to do whatever it took. And she did whatever it took.
So I mean, you can look at it. Some people can say, you know, I mean, that’s part of her flaw, which obviously there is a lot of that, but at the same time, it’s also her dream. So her dream. I mean, I can’t even find the words. And it was a long time ago when I heard it. So it’s very good.
It’s so good. So basically all that to say, that is what I’ve been reading, or I mean listening to, because Kris kindly got me the audio book, firmly believing that that is the best format. And I don’t disagree. And I basically wanted to come back to say Kris was right, if you had any doubts, because I- here’s the thing, like listen lesbian, especially like lesbian romance twitter, tends to like somebody new finds that book every four to six months. And it just explodes all over again. And we haven’t talked about the queer content at all. But I think it’s safe to say that given that we both recommend this book, there is queer content, it’s definitely there. But the way people were gushing about it, I thought, well, like “It’ll be good. But I mean, I’ve just heard so much about it. It can’t possibly be like the best thing ever”. Then I read it. And I was like, “Fuck, they were all right. It’s the best thing ever.”
We’re all right.
I’m crying for two days.
No, you were a wreck.
I was a wreck.
You really were. That was awesome. I enjoyed it, you being wrecked for all the right reasons, not for the wrong reason. And I will say that, you know, I was talking earlier on the show about Tik Tok you know, just kind of scroll through Tik Tok. And there are a lot of young queer people who have rated that book, they give it about like three out of five, three and a half out of five. And I’m just like, “What?”
No. There’s one person who told me recently that they didn’t love it and the only reason I give that person a pass is that they are a former journalist who was talking about all the problems with how Monique behaves as a journalist and how for them it was like pulling them out of the story. I was like, “You know what? I can get behind that.” But otherwise, like anybody who is “iIt’s just okay”. It’s like, you might be too young- I actually think it is possible to be too young to read this book.
Yes. And that’s what I think is- I think that’s what is happening on Tik Tok for those who are, you know, reviewing it on Tik Tok. I just feel like, I just look at their little baby faces. And I’m like, “You know, you haven’t felt that yet”. That’s like-
They’re too young to fathom the kind of loss that Evelyn experiences.
And even just how it was to be queer in the 50s and 60s and 70s. And, you know, how whereas now, even though it sucks, it was still a shit ton better than it was back then.
So I think there’s also the history of it that they haven’t experienced as well.
Yeah, Ithink that’s true. I basically did an official recommendation there. And we still have official recommendations left to go. Alright, Kris, what is your official recommendation this week?
Okay, so my official recommendation is a movie called Supernova.
Mm hmm. Tell me more.
And I’m gonna read it. Okay. Sam and Tusker are traveling across England in their old RV to visit friends, family and places from their past. Since Tusker was diagnosed with dementia two years ago their time together is the most important thing they have. So I picked this movie because I like to mix it up for everybody.
And it stars- Yeah. Thank you. It stars Colin Firth.
Oh, that one..
Yes. And Stanley Tucci.
Oh, yeah. Okay, now
I know. So first of all, big names. It can’t possibly suck. Because Colin won an Academy Award, and Stanley Tucci has been nominated.
For this film?
No, no, no, just in general. You know that because of the past acting.
And, you know, it’s kind of funny because I was watching it. I’m like, “Alexa, how old is Colin Firth?” And then 61. “How old is Stanley Tucci?” 61. So it was funny because when I started it, I always see Colin as Uncle Jamie from Love Actually. So and then-
Oh. Not Mr. Darcy?
No, surprisingly no. Because I see love actually like 812 times.
Whereas I have seen that Pride and Prejudice mini series also 812 time.
So that’s- so it comes- and like a Stanley Tucci is Caesar. What’s what’s his name? Caesar Flickerman from The Hunger Games and also in Burlesque he played Sean in Burlesque. So Stanley Tucci, he’s all over the place.
Oh he is wonderful, he is wonderful in everything. Much like Toni Collette. He is the Toni Collette of men. Or maybe Toni Collette is the Stanley Tucci…?
So I think it works. And this movie is- it’s a slow paced movie because it just- because of the storyline itself, but this really relies on acting. Y`ou know, you have two really great actors. And it’s just, it’s just so- let’s start-
How was it?
What it is about.
So the trigger warning, there is discussion of suicide in this movie, because Tusker has, like, like I mentioned in the blurb that he has early onset dementia, and it’s starting to become more prevalent in their lives. And they go on this road trip, and he leaves his medicine at home. And Sam, who is Colin Firth, is like, “Why did you do that? I don’t understand. That’s, you know- it’s gonna help you.” And he’s like, “You know, it’s not helping, nothing is helping. This thing is taking over me. Let’s just enjoy this trip”.
And so ultimately, the trip is to go visit family and friends. But then Colin Firth is a musician. And so Tusker has set up a concert for him at the end of their trip so that he can play again, because he has taken time off to take care of him, to take care of his – I don’t know if they’re – I think they’re married, his husband. So what happens is, they’re now in the point of the illness, where if Sam is not in Tusker’s line of vision, like he’ll forget.
Yeah, so it’s really bad. But then you still see the love that you think that he’s fine, but he’s really not and so= and when it really comes to head is when they’re at a family house, and Sam just kind of wants to get away, so he goes into the RV and there’s this box that Tusker has and inside this box is his latest novel. He’s a novelist, and he’s also like kind of an astronomer but he’s writing this, you know, great book he keeps talking about.
And so Sam opens the book. And he’s like smiling. It’s like a journal, it’s handwritten. So at the very beginning, he’s reading and he’s smiling, he’s seeing all the notes. But then as it gets towards the middle, like the handwriting changes, and then there’s only a couple of words on each page. So that’s a sure sign, you know, that it’s really happening. And then also, inside this box, he kind of finds this, this video tape or- not a videotape, a little audio cassette, and he listens to it. And he, he finds out that, like, he’s actually- Tusker’s actually considering suicide. Because at the very beginning, when he was diagnosed, he told Sam, he’s like, “Look, I don’t ever want this to take to, overtake me, I don’t ever want to not be in control of myself”. And so it was a big struggle, you know, for them to talk about, you know, what’s going to happen at the end of all this, you know, and so, you know, it’s just, it’s, it’s a shorter film. There’s not a lot of people in this film, The leads are in their 60s, and, and letting go of someone you love has to be the hardest thing, you know, especially after you’ve been with them forever.
So why do you recommend it? Yeah.
I liked it, because it shows that you stick by somebody through thick and thin, you know, to love. And because I don’t know, a lot of people who would actually go through all of this. And, of course, the acting is great. And there are some funny moments. And the whole time I’m a lesbian, and the whole time, there’s a dog, they have a dog with them, Ruby. This cute little scruffy, old dog. And the whole time, I’m like, “Somebody let the dog out. Somebody take the dog for a walk. Where’s the dog in this?” You know, so the whole time I’m worried about the dog, but it’s just a very emotional, queer movie. And I was invested. So I thought, “You know what? I’m always recommending, you know, these cute movies, queer people, happy, which is great. But there’s also sadness that happens in life. And it’s not a sadness, like, bury your gay sadness. It’s just like, This is life. These are problems. This is death”. And so that’s why I’m recommending it.
Would you say it’s less sad than that other one that you recommended with Mark Wahlberg?
Oh, yeah, for sure. Yes, for sure. It’s less sad.
Because you know what’s coming. You know, what’s coming. Sort of.
I mean, it’s ambiguous at the end, but, you know.
I have to mix it up. I just-
Uh-huh. You gotta- listen, you got to be true to yourself.
I am. Exactly you have to be true to yourself. And I was the kind of person like, right after college, I thought I knew everything because I had like an English degree. And then I had a minor in art. And I thought I was just this really sophisticated person. And so I used to go and watch all the movies everywhere. And not like mainstream movies, I would go tto the artsy theaters and go see the-
-the movies that are, you know, the Canne Film Festival and things like that. So forever. I was doing that, just because I thought I knew everything. And I wanted to be that, in that kind of culture. And this was kind of that, that movie, it brought me back to a time when I used to watch nothing but these kind of, you know, one off type movies.
Yeah like independent films.
Almost like an indie. Yeah, indie films. Exactly. You know, and not all of them are happy. And guess what, not all of life is happy. So, you know, this was kind of good just to get good actors, and a situation where people are going to start seeing themselves or their parents in that role. You know, because I can tell that my dad is going to have dementia, or if he doesn’t already have some sort of Alzheimer’s, I don’t know. But there’s something there. Something’s coming. And so I think that’s true for a lot of us, with our parents or our spouses, significant others. So.
Anyway, what about you? What is your official recommendation? Enough sadness from me.
I am going to do something that I try not to do. I’m not sure I’ve ever done before, and I’m going to recommend a book that is not even out yet. But it’s coming out in April, so it’s not so bad. My recommendation is Truth and Measure by Roslyn Sinclair. I have been both excited and terrified to read this for about two years now. Because it is a rewrite of my favorite fanfic of all time. I mean, ever ever ever. So, for- and there’s like- I am in a Facebook group of Devil Wears Prada fanfic lovers, like people love this story, and I’m pretty sure it’s still the story with- I’m pretty sure it’s still the Devil Wears Prada story with the most kudos on all of Archive of our Own. Like 1000s of people have loved this story. And so for me, my fear was, well, how can it possibly live up? How is this going to work?
This is like if you ask me the books I’ve reread most in my life, I actually include that fanfic, because I’ve read it so many times, like I come back to it once every year or so. And I gotta tell ya, it lived up. But also- But first! But first! Just so that people know, when the fanfic was written, it was about 300,000 words. And so what’s happened is, I think about 100,000 words were cut in the rewrite. And it’s been split into two books. And so I’m only talking about the first half. I don’t have the second half yet. I hope to get it soon, because I got a wicked book hangover after reading the first half and was like, “But where’s the rest of it? I need it”. And instead, I’ve had to just start reading the first half again, I like literally I’ve gone back to to reading it again. Because that’s how much I liked it.
And so it takes place at a fashion magazine. Vivian Carlyle is the editor in chief. She’s this like, tall, gorgeous, statuesque, platinum blonde, bright blue eyes. And Jules Moretti is her assistant, and like very, very good at what she does. And so when it opens, they’ve been working together for a while. And so that’s actually one of the things right off the bat that I like about this and that I think is interesting and different from what I see in most romances, is that these are people who have an established relationship, it’s a working relationship only, because it’s, you know, it is a boss employee situation, but like they already know each other, they kind of have a sense of who each other are. It doesn’t- like I wouldn’t classify it as friends or anything like that. It’s highly professional. But in most romances, unless it’s like a friends to lovers, we’re talking about people who haven’t met. And so you see them meet and get to know each other. And that’s not the case here. So it’s almost like a “you’re just dropped right in to a day in the life of them at this magazine”. And their relationship starts to take a turn however, when Vivian finds out, she’s pregnant.
Now the big deal about this, is that she is in the middle of getting a divorce. So she and her husband had had sex a few weeks prior, for whatever reason, I guess, probably because they wanted to. But she ends up being pregnant because of this. And so Jules actually ends up becoming more embedded in Vivian’s life, she’s booking her, you know, doctor’s appointments, and then gynecologist appointments, and she’s going with her to the lawyer when she’s telling her husband that she’s pregnant and all this and she’s having to change the way she takes care of her to also take into account her health. And the fact that you know, she is pregnant. And you know, when people are pregnant, their bodies need different things. And so she’s changing, you know, the food, and she’s trying to rearrange meetings and all that. And somewhere along the line, this fondness grows, and how can that work, though? They’re still working together. And it’s so good, it is so good.
See, what I was afraid in the rewrite is like, would it still have that certain something because Truth and Measure to me was one of the most compelling stories I’d ever read. I first learned about it on a podcast that Jove Bell and Andi Marquette used to do and Jove Bell was just like, “You got to read it. Everybody just has to read it”. And I was like, “Okay, I’ll bite.” And then I lost like three days of my life, because like I said, 300,000 words is fucking long.
But I couldn’t put it down. There was just something so compelling about these characters and the chemistry between them. And I so love that it’s preserved. And like Vivian Carlisle is still definitely an ice queen, but like, not taken quite as far as Miranda Priestly was in the story. And the thing that I appreciated is that it keeps all of the stuff that I love. Like it’s maintained my favorite moments. Like, just as an example there’s a moment when they’re in London, and they’re staying at this townhouse that’s been rented. And Jules can’t sleep one night. So she gets up and she’s reading this book about like, she’s basically reading a pregnancy book. She’s reading up on pregnancy, because she’s having to like order meals and shit. Right?
And she falls back asleep. And when she wakes up, Vivian is looking at her and it’s this look on her face that she can’t quite understand. And I always loved that moment in the fanfic because that’s the turning point for Miranda/Vivian. That’s the point at which they realize, “Oh, this person genuinely cares about me” and is kind of where things sort of start, it’s just- so it keeps everything I love, it dumps all the shit I didn’t care about. Vivian doesn’t have kids, wonderful. I didn’t care about Miranda’s kids in the fanfic. At all. I’m sorry, kids are wonderful. I love my own. But like I didn’t need to read about these two. And it adds in some new things that are really special and really lovely. And I was just delighted, I stayed up way too late reading it. And not only that, I did make myself stop because I recognize that I’d be like a complete mess the next day at work, but instead of doing my workout the next morning, I woke up and I read for another hour. Like, that’s not- I don’t do that.
That’s not a Tara thing to do.
Yes, I love it. So Truth and Measure is being released in April. It is currently available for pre-order on the Ilva website. It is not available for preorder anywhere else yet. But I believe it’s wide release date is late in April. And then the second half – they are really not standalone, they truly go together to create like one complete story – is being released in May. So keep an eye out for that one. I love it. So much.
I saw your little cry out, your “Please. Oh, please. I need the second half.”
I do need the second half. That’s the other, if I can- also if I can say one thing, preorder the first half. But don’t read it until the second half is available to get.
Yeah. Right, because you’ll want to read it all in its entirety.
You will want to read it on its entirety for sure. I had such a hangover. Like I had a massive book hangover getting to the end of this and just felt like at a total loss. For me it was different from other book hangovers. Like I had a wicked book hangover with Evelyn Hugo. Like I would be trying to talk to Neil about it the next day and would start crying again. It was stupid. I know, right? Embarrassing. But at least with that one it was because I knew the whole story. I knew how everything resolved. And part of it was how it resolved that was making me cry and all that.
In this case, I had a book hangover, and I didn’t know how everything resolved. And I still don’t know for sure because there’s enough that’s changed. Like yes, okay, Vivian and Jules will be together. It’s a romance. I know that much. But like, how are they going to get there? What’s that going to look like? Because enough has changed that I’m not 100% sure what that’s gonna look like so yes, perhaps wait to read it until you can immediately turn to the next one. If you can’t help yourself, I don’t blame you. But just be warned that you’re going to have a book hangover and you’ll be at a loss for what to do about it for two more weeks.
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