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What's got my attention this week

Things to read, watch and listen to this bank holiday weekend

Oprah Winfrey and Drew Barrymore talk menopause on Oprah Daily

Oprah has entered the building! Finally, menopause goes mainstream stateside.

Every month one Friday round-up is free to read – this is April's. I hope you enjoy it. If you're already a paying member, thank you. Your support makes this newsletter and The Shift podcast possible. Paying members get weekly newsletters, culture round-ups, access to the community and the full archive, and more. All for less than the price of a (large) coffee a month. Also, the prices will be going up at the end of April so, if you're interested, upgrade to paid now.

• Oprah Winfrey and Drew Barrymore (above) discuss menopause (Opens in a new window). If you feel like watching the whole conversation, you'll find it on Oprah Daily. (Opens in a new window)
• If it's advertised to you online, you probably shouldn't buy it (Opens in a new window)...
• Is female political representation (Opens in a new window) going backwards? In a week when Jacinda Ardern gave a stellar resignation speech (Opens in a new window) and Sanna Marin's party lost control of Finland, it certainly felt like it.
• On the other hand, Carol Vorderman (Opens in a new window) has taken a note out of the Gary Lineker playbook.
If this is what 80 looks like, sign me up! (Opens in a new window)

• "My husband was diagnosed with dementia (Opens in a new window) – and asked for a divorce."
• Is it me, or is everyone sick? (Opens in a new window)
• Love this piece about the mid-night watch. (Opens in a new window)
• The rise of the minimalist wardrobe (Opens in a new window).
• "54 years of living has taught me I can live through hard times – and also hard times pass." Cheryl Strayed (Opens in a new window).
• How far would you go in pursuit of happiness (Opens in a new window)? £
Dating after divorce. (Opens in a new window)
• It's time to mythologise women's sports. (Opens in a new window)
• In a surprise to noone, dementia care (Opens in a new window) still, largely, falls to daughters.
Deborah Levy can change your life (Opens in a new window). (If you know, you know.)
I misplaced my phone for 45 minutes (Opens in a new window), now I'm a mindfulness expert! 😂

(A note about the links: some links are behind a paywall, but almost all can be accessed free by registering your email address. The only publications this doesn't apply to are The Times, Telegraph and FT. These are marked £. However, the Telegraph almost always has a month's free trial going, and I use the FT Edit app (Opens in a new window), which is free for the first 30 days and gives you access to 8 articles.)


the UK cover of Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld

You know by now that I'm a Curtis Sittenfeld superfan so there was a lot of pressure on Romantic Comedy to deliver the goods! Happily it more than does. Sally Milz is a writer at a show not a million miles from Saturday Night Live and she can't help noticing that the funny-but-average male writers have a distinct habit of bagging gorgeous high-achieving women. Strangely, not so the female writers! Enter unexpectedly decent, decidedly hot, rockstar Noah. Funny, clever, warm, this is uplifting balm for the soul. And if you haven't read anything by Curtis yet, Romantic Comedy (Opens in a new window) is a great place to start, but so, too, is American Wife (Opens in a new window), her transatlantic bestseller about the wife of a US president 99.9% definitely based on Laura Bush. (Also look out for Curtis on next week's episode of The Shift podcast.)
• You'll find lots of other great reads to look forward to this Spring in this week's newsletter (Opens in a new window).


left to right: Ria Zmitrowicz Toni Collette Halle Bush in The Power by Naomi Alderman on Amazon Prime

The Power, amazon Prime
I've been a massive fan of The Power, the book by Naomi Alderman (Opens in a new window), since I judged the Women's Prize for Fiction the year it won, which was 2017, so I feel like I've been waiting for this TV adaptation for the longest time. I'm only two episodes in but, so far, teenage girls all over the world have discovered the power to create electricity, usually triggered in variously traumatic circumstances. It's no small leap from there to using this newfound 'talent' and from there, to using it to take power from the men who have been running the show. Like I said, it's over five years since this book was published and the TV adaptation doesn't feel quite so air-punchingly radical, but it's still gripping and thought provoking, so far. And Toni Collette, as Margo, the mayor of Seattle, is, as ever, the don.

Also catching up with:
• Daisy Jones & The Six (amazon Prime). I wanted to hate it. Really I did. But it's totally addictive. I can certainly think of far worse ways to lose a bank holiday Monday. Plus Daisy's wardrobe! Plus plus Billy's cheekbones!
• Magpie Murders (BBCiplayer or Saturday nights, weirdly). Cosy crime doesn't come any cosier than this. Lesley Manville is a book editor who turns sleuth when her bestselling (and obnoxious) author dies mysteriously.
• Rain Dogs (BBCiplayer or Tuesday nights). Not at all cosy. Daisy May Cooper is brilliantly challenging in Cash Carraway's pitch black comedy about homelessness, poverty, sex, class... you name it.

• A Very British Cult is the eight-part investigation into Lighthouse, released to much fanfare this week. Reporter Catrin Nye spent 18 months looking into the work and workings of the organisation that calls itself life coaching but looks a lot more like a cross between a cult and a pyramid scheme. Her conversations with previous members and their families and the sinister way Lighthouse fights back are totally gripping. (You can find it here (Opens in a new window) or on BBC Sounds.)

And on The Shift podcast this week...
...Sarah Knight, the creator of the No Fucks Given franchise, was way too big a gift not to invite on the podcast! But what was most fascinating was, in fact, the things she did GAF about and how she judges what's worthy. (Come here to learn how best to spend your "fuck bucks"!) We also discussed how to "grow the fuck up", why selfish isn't a four letter word and how to give yourself permission to make a change.

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