Quality Corona Time

In Which We Close the Social Distance, Digitally, Mind You


What a bananas week it’s been. I’m not going to rehash it all here, because we all lived it and are most likely holing up in our homes for the next couple weeks. So, since we don’t get to see each other IRL for the time being, I thought we could geek out over things to read and watch and fill our time with instead of pacing grooves of worry into our floors. So here’s what I’m reading/watching/writing. Let me know in the comments what you’re up to and we’ll have a fantastic stanning time!

What I’m Reading

IF IT MAKES YOU HAPPY by Claire Kann — Kann has catapulted into “Author I Must Buy Anything They Ever Write” status in my heart and soul! I freaking adored her debut, LET’S TALK ABOUT LOVE (which has fabulous asexual and biromantic representation), and in this follow up, I. Can. Not. Stop. Smiling! In IIMYH, we follow Winnie as she spends the summer working at her family’s diner (named after Winnie’s favorite Pokémon 😭) and is thrust into the local community’s Summer Royalty tradition that leads her to crushing on a cute guy while also trying to keep her relationship with her ungirlfriend going. I’m halfway through and this is the best escape ever.

THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL Series by Soman Chainani — I was shown the light about this series by my editor who has helped work on this project for years. In it we follow Sophie and Agatha as they attend the titular school for fairy tale heroes and villains. The narrator is darkly (sometimes extremely darkly) comedic, the characters are funny and vibrant and multi-layered, and the themes of what makes good, what makes evil and how we can all be shades of both really make this series sing. And each new book adds another layer of how you can look at good and evil (in regards to gender, age, birth, etc.). Brilliant! There are 6 of these total (I just finished the third), so this can really help pass that Corona Time!

RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE by Casey McQuiston — I mean the pitch for this alone is enough to sell it: The First Son of the United States and the Prince of England fall in love and build a relationship full of secret sexy rendezvous with the backdrop of a presidential election. Just read it right now. I’m sure you’ve already heard of this one, but in the typing, typing, typing time of writing/revising JAY, I never got to pick it up and I already miss not having read it because the thrill of turning each new page for the first time was just…titillating. On so many levels!

THE GRAVITY OF US by Phil Stamper — Here, again, is an out-of-this-world concept that is like, “I’m taking my rocket ship to the bookstore right now, because I have to read this”: Two boys fall in love while their parents compete for a spot on the first human expedition to Mars. I’m just saying I never expected to say the phrase, “That tension in the space flight simulator”, but here we are.

THE BELLES Duology by Dhonielle Clayton — This is my favorite duology ever. Ever, ever. Set in the outrageously colorful, French-inspired Orleans where everyone is born gray, these books follow Camellia Beauregard, a Belle who can use her gifts to control Beauty and make everyone Stun. Ning. We soon learn that obsessing over looks can lead to really ugly things, and I was so captivated by Clayton’s world-building and (perversely) ruminating over what I would have done if I had this power and, you know, corrupt forces weren’t behind the whole thing.

*If any of these books catches your eye, there are links attached to each title taking you to an IndieBound page. When having books delivered over the Corona Break, please consider ordering from your local indie bookstores because they are so hard hit by social distancing. Keep them afloat with a book order or two :)

What I’m Watching

Let’s start with things that will make us laaaaaaaugh since this whole week has been like, “This is a joke, right?” Here are the two shows I go to for actual jokes. They aren’t new, but they are my favorite comedies of all time and can lead to hours of good times:

Cougar Town — CT is Courteney Cox’s best role ever, the humor is zany, and the main cast pretty much only hangs out with each other on their cul de sac, so it’s like the perfect example of how to isolate yourselves with a small group of people and have fun (and drink wine). Courteney Cox, Christa Miller and Busy Philipps are a comedy trifecta. (Watch on Hulu)

30 Rock — Tina Fey’s brilliant brain child with the smartest yet most absurd comedy ever. It follows the behind-the-scenes goings on of a sketch comedy show. Maybe if enough people watch this over the break (perhaps that’s what we should call this so it’s more like an isolated holiday), we can get retroactive Emmys for Jane Krakowski and Tracy Morgan because they were robbed for seven seasons. (Watch on Hulu)

On to current shows that have me hooked:

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love love. Which, of course, led me to watch the Netflix reality show Love Is Blind about singles getting engaged to people that they’ve only ever talked to through a wall. Yes, it’s ridiculous. Yes, the whole time I was like, “This cannot work.” But I couldn’t look away. Watch it and tell me which couples you were rooting for! I was convinced only one would work out, but…I’m not going to say anything else until you DM me and tell me you’ve seen it and we can dish!

I dream an awful lot about being a fashionable, fabulous person in publishing, but then I look down and see my sweat pants and Little Mermaid spirit jersey with stains on it and I’m like, “Oh yeah.” So when I want to day dream about what it could be like to be a fierce, fashionable, feminine worker in publishing I watch The Bold Type. It follows a trio of best friends working at a Cosmo-like magazine called Scarlet that tackles not just clothes and relationships, but social issues in a smart, inclusive way. (Watch on Hulu)

9-1-1: Lone Star — I’ve never completely fallen for emergency response shows before, and I haven’t seen the original 9-1-1 that led to this franchise (although what am I waiting for because it’s got Angela Bassett and Jennifer Love Hewitt in it!), but this show had me hooked from episode freaking one. Starring Rob Lowe and Liv Tyler, this follows a team of firefighters and the other emergency responders they come into contact with as they save people from the campiest disasters out there (it’s nice to remember that other calamities besides pandemics can happen). The queer and racial diversity in this is everything. I have so many thoughts about the budding gay romance between T.K. and Carlos (and I’m freaking out that for the first time in my life I’m truly rooting for an emergency response romance…like, I love McDreamy/Steamy but I couldn’t really relate like I can to this) and well… I’m just gonna say it, T.K. has some serious work to do on himself before he’s good enough for Carlos. Watch this so we can discuss! (Watch on Hulu)

What I’m Writing

Doing some fine-tuning on JAY’S GAY AGENDA, and working on a new project that is totally inspired by the brilliance of Casey McQuiston and the “Wait this can’t be real, but why is my whole body rooting for it” love stories of Love Is Blind. Sexy, adult, dating show rom-com anyone?

Tell me what you’re reading/writing/watching! Or let me know what you think about any of the above books/shows. I need some socially distant interaction, people!


Jason June