JOE IDE’S IQ SERIES: IQ, Righteous, Wrecked, and Hi Five. Joe Ide’s wildly entertaining series about the unlicensed private detective Isaiah Quintabe reads like a love letter to the communities of Southern California that don’t often make it into print or onto the screen: small, ethnically diverse neighborhoods full of multi-dimensional people trying to make it through another day. The books bounce and flow like a low rider — and man, does Ide know how to tell a story.
ANYTHING BY CORMAC MCCARTHY: All the Pretty Horses, No Country for Old Men, The Road. I find McCarthy to be one of the most courageous writers I’ve read. His instinct to explore the darkest corners of our human hearts and guide us wherever that darkness leads never ceases to astound me.
RIDING GIANTS: Stacy Peralta’s 2004 documentary about big-wave surfing is a deep dive into the mythology and allure of surf culture, but you don’t have to care about surfing to find it fascinating. The ideas the film explores about creativity, risk, kinetic pleasure and our human relationship with fear are universal.
WHALE RIDER: Another one about the ocean. Niki Caro’s hypnotic film set in a Maori village in New Zealand tells the story of a young girl’s struggle between the patriarchal traditions of her community and her profound love for — and spiritual connection to — its most sacred traditions. The performance by 13-year-old Keisha Castle-Hughes earned her an Academy Award Nomination, making her the youngest nominee in history at the time.
FLEABAG on Amazon. I realize most viewers have probably already discovered the infinite pleasure of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s two-season tour de force, but for those of you who haven’t: What are you waiting for?
MUM also on Amazon. Stefan Golaszewski’s thoroughly delightful three-season British comedy series about a family plowing ahead in life after loss. Each half-hour episode plays in real time in the home of the title character, a widow played with spectacular humor and nuance by the brilliant Leslie Manville.
Susannah Grant '84, P'21 was an english major at Amherst. She is now a screenwriter, producer and director based in southern California. Her credits include Erin Brockovich, 28 Days, the Soloist, Confirmation and this year's Unbelievable, a limited series on Netflix. She lives in Santa Monica with her husband, dog and two children.