Morning <<First Name>>!
My Sunday winding down routine usually starts with skimming sites like Letterboxd and Storygraph to figure out what I should read or watch, all before actually reading or watching anything.
I like seeing how others are ranking and rating, but the problem is: there’s a world of really great art that you miss out on when you base your entertainment on buzz. Film critics are overwhelmingly white and male, book reviews have historically downplayed the work of writers from marginalized backgrounds, and the algorithms curating what’s “most popular” are biased.
The books, movies, and music that I’ve stumbled across and decided then and there to give a chance to are some of my favorites. A poem about a Klimt painting led me to Woman in Gold. I somehow missed Monsoon’s premiere but found (and loved) it while searching for something else last month. And my *most* fun facts come from the time I went to the Natural History Museum and they were playing The Million Dollar Duck — please, just watch it.
This is not about dismissing all the critically acclaimed media or giving in to watching any old mediocre thing (life is short and I believe in consuming good things!), but even better: consuming art when you don’t have all the data points around it. It’s trusting recommendations from new sources, understanding your own taste, and being willing to give something new a shot.
This newsletter is based on personalized recommendations, so… I recognize that tension! To be clear, I’m not against all the tools that can help you find what you’re looking for. The less time spent figuring out what you’re going to read/watch/listen to, the more time you can spend unwinding with it. Need a starting point for your next search? Here are some prompts:
Books: Look up the last book you loved here to find your next read.
Movies: Pick a selfie that you vibe with and watch that movie without learning anything about it first.
Music: Go to your favorite Spotify playlist, right click its name, hit “Create similar.” Now you have lots of new music to listen to!
Here’s to simpler Sunday nights,
Mary Anne Porto, Associate Editor at Girls' Night In
P.S. We recently caught up with Doree Shafrir, podcast host and author of the new book Thanks for Waiting: The Joy (& Weirdness) of Being a Late Bloomer in our first-ever Downtime Diary. If you'd like to receive these experimental emails and you're interested in sharing your feedback with us, sign up at your profile here.