Your best book recommendations for a weekend of social-distancing

March 27, 2020, 12:45 PM UTC

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Good morning, Broadsheet readers! An author documents her time in Wuhan’s lockdown, Rep. Rashida Tlaib proposes minting two $1 trillion coins, and book recs to the rescue! Have a relaxing weekend.

– Quarantine reads. As we stare down another weekend of social-distancing, Broadsheet readers have provided relief by suggesting a heap of books well-suited for quarantine. Some are newer titles and others are throwbacks; hopefully you’ll find your next page-turner in this mix.

K.C. says A Woman of No Importance by Sonia Purnell is a can’t-put-down. The book about Virginia Hall, an American spy in World War II, is “a riveting biography of a woman with extraordinary purpose, intelligence, cleverness, and bravery.”

C.M. picked up her latest read—Sonia Johnson’s memoir, From Housewife to Hereticfrom the podcast Ordinary Equality, a series about the Equal Rights Amendment. The book itself is “a captivating story,” C.M. says, “about a Mormon woman who was excommunicated from the church because she advocated for the ERA.”

K sent in two recommendations: The Woman’s Hour by Elaine Weiss and Grand Canyon Women, Lives Shaped by Landscape by Betty Leavengood.Just because we can’t celebrate women and the vote in public or large groups….all the more reason to read about the amazing women of U.S. history.” You said it, K.

J.M. endorses The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance—What Women Should Know by Claire Shipman and Katty Kay. It’s “accessible, well-researched and a fountain of practical knowledge.”

R.H. sent in four titles that “have the ability to soothe, uplift, inspire or empower:” Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach, Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay, White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo, and Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens.

B.S. says this title might give you a “book hangover” (in a good way!): Red, White, & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston. “It’s a novel about a romance between Alex, the son of the U.S. (female!) president, and Henry, the “spare,” the second in line for the throne in England. A bit of enemies-to-lovers, but so witty and charming and funny!” In fact, Emma recommends this book too. “If you just need to escape the state of the world, there’s nothing better,” she says. Another Emma rec: Jessica Simpson’s dishy, yet illuminating memoir Open Book.

Kristen has a pick that speaks to the mental health challenge of the coronavirus crisis: “At a time when maintaining mental health is a top priority, the first book that comes to mind is Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, by therapist Lori Gottlieb. In it, Gottlieb shares her own experience going through therapy at a tumultuous time in her life—and dishes (in the most professional sense of the word!) on the struggles of her own patients she was seeing at the time. It’s sad, hilarious, relatable, and perhaps most importantly, filled with hope.”

I’m just a few pages into my latest read, Save Me the Plums, a memoir by Ruth Reichl, the former editor-in-chief of Gourmet. It comes highly-recommended, and I’m looking forward to diving into Reichl’s account of transitioning from food critic to head of one of the world’s top food magazines.

Happy weekend and happy reading.

Claire Zillman

Today’s Broadsheet was produced by Emma Hinchliffe


- Happy birthday, Madame Speaker! Yesterday was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's 80th birthday. Before the big day, she reflected on the "troublemakers" who fought for women's rights before her and being a "troublemaker with a gavel." Washington Post

- Diary of a lockdown. During the coronavirus lockdown in Wuhan, Chinese author Fang Fang kept an online diary chronicling each day of the experience. She penned her last entry this week in anticipation of the city lifting its restrictions. Quartz

- Minting money. Rep. Rashida Tlaib has championed a plan to mint two $1 trillion coins to pay for a coronavirus economic relief package. Fortune's Robert Hackett explains what that means and how it would actually work: Fortune

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: SAP SuccessFactors named Jill Popelka president. The Ms. Foundation for Women added Angela Glover Blackwell and Danielle Moodie-Mills to its board of directors. 


- Diversity report. Michelle P. King, former head of UN Women's Integrated Strategy for Gender Innovation & Global Innovation Coalition for Change, leads inclusion efforts at Netflix. In this interview, she says it's crucial to "disrupt denial"—specifically, denial among people who don't experience discrimination or exclusion that it actually exists. Fortune

- Abortion update. Northern Ireland will now allow unrestricted abortion up until 12 weeks; while Northern Ireland's Parliament decriminalized abortion in 2019, there was, until now, no specific framework for legal abortion. This Atlantic piece, meanwhile, outlines the anti-abortion efforts amid the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. 

- In the running. If more women designed running shoes, would they feel different or be more effective? Many sneaker brands use male "lasts," or foot-shaped molds, for all their shoes. That's a problem for women who don't just have smaller feet, but differently shaped feet, than men. Refinery29


How to stay married during a pandemic The Cut

You are your safest sex partner. Betty Dodson wants to help New York Times

What to stream: Blake Edwards's masterwork documentary of his wife, Julie Andrews The New Yorker

All the single ladies are fostering pets for company during coronavirus isolation InStyle


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-Writer Irina Gonzalez on how the "it takes a village" approach to raising a newborn changes amid a pandemic

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