What to binge next: pop culture recommendations from Jully Black, Liz Trinnear and more

What to binge next: pop culture recommendations from Jully Black, Liz Trinnear and more

Photo courtesy of the subject

Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker
Recommended by Jully Black, musician and actor

“I loved Netflix’s miniseries about Madam C. J. Walker, who was the first woman millionaire in America and created hair care products for Black women. Inspired, I’m now running a full-on custom Covid-19 mask business with a charitable component. I’ve also partnered with my sister M.J., who discovered an ability to sew despite being born with a disability.”

Photo by Vanessa Heins

The End of Everything by Noah Cyrus
Recommended by Liz Trinnear, host, eTalk

“Don’t sleep on Miley’s little sister. Under pressure to succeed in an already successful family, she is carving out a path of her own, blending pop, country and emo. If you like Kacey Musgraves, this EP is for you. I also recommend The Dropout, a podcast about the rise and fall of the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire, Elizabeth Holmes. I listened to all six episodes in one shot. Whether you know her story or have no idea who she is, your mind will be blown.”

Photo by by Lisa Sakulensky

Ella Fitzgerald
Recommended by Lawrence Hill, writer

“I’ve drawn comfort from listening to the jazz that my late sister, mother and father all loved. The music brings me back to my childhood home in Don Mills in the 1960s and early ’70s, when my parents would put the LPs on their record player and dance in the living room. At the very top of the list are songs by the Count Basie band, like ‘Everyday I have the Blues’ with Joe Williams, and songs by Ella Fitzgerald, including ‘Cheek to Cheek’ and ‘Mack the Knife.’ ”

Photo by Justin Broadbent

John Prine Live by John Prine
Recommended by Donovan Woods, musician

“We lost John to this damn virus in April. This live album is not one concert; the songs are taken from different shows. Some are solos, some are collaborations. The uniqueness of John’s brilliance is on display here. It seemed easy for him to turn common language into profundity, common guitar chords into anthems. That rare ability even shines through in his banter between songs. I learned how to talk to an audience from this record: calm, controlled and funny. People just want to feel safe.”

Photo by Marko Kovacevic

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
Recommended by Catherine Hernandez, writer

Girl, Woman, Other, about 12 women in the United Kingdom over several decades, captures the cadence of dialogue and connection of thought in the intricate tapestry of the Black diaspora. My copy is dog-eared and highlighted. Crow Winter by Karen McBride is a page-turner that breaks down the experience of grief, one sensation at a time. It inspires me to write about the experience of mourning in masterful sentences.”

Photo by Leia Vita

The Knowledge Project
Recommended by Neil Pasricha, writer

“Shane Parrish is a former Canadian spy who lives in Ottawa and runs the popular Farnam Street blog, which focuses on learning, personal growth and mental models. His podcast is an array of conversations with big minds like psychotherapist Esther Perel, psychologist Daniel Kahneman and business author Jim Collins. I understand maybe half of what they talk about but always feel smarter afterwards. Good one to stir into a long nature walk when you’re feeling some sweaty pandemic listlessness.”

Photo by Jeremy Kohm

Gosford Park
Recommended by Sarah Richardson, host, HGTV

“We are spending the pandemic at our 100-acre, off-the-grid farm. It has a lot of great attributes, but strong Wi-Fi is not one of them. So we’re dialing in to the simpler pleasures in life like family cribbage and backgammon. We’ve also watched Knives Out and Gosford Park—somehow a good murder mystery is a great escape from the news.”

Photo courtesy of U of T

Jennifer Juniper by Jenny Boyd
Recommended by Meric Gertler, president, U of T

“I have a long-standing weakness for autobiographies of rock stars from my teen years in the ’60s and ’70s. The gold standard remains Keith Richards’s Life, with Robbie Robertson’s Testimony a close second. Next, I’m reading Jenny Boyd’s memoir—she was a fashion model who went on to marry rocker Mick Fleetwood not once, but twice. Donovan, the Scottish troubadour, composed his ditty ‘Jennifer Juniper’ as a tribute to her. And she got to hang out at the Maharishi’s ashram in India with the Beatles.”

Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Recommended by Scott Helman, musician

“As an avid lover of all things Tolkien, and having seen the movies too many times to consider myself normal, I’m now listening to some old guy read it to me via audiobooks. It’s beautiful and innocent, and reminds me of bright courage and simple, attainable moral heights—something I think we could all do with these days. I may or may not have some elvish tattooed on my side. It says ‘I give hope to man and keep none for myself.’ Or at least I hope it does.”

Photo by Yung Yemi

Recommended by Haviah Mighty, musician

“I’m late to Suits, but I’m into it. First off, although the show takes place in New York, it was clearly filmed in Toronto. It’s cool to watch it and recognize the buildings and businesses of our city. The show has a push-and-pull, up-and-down, revolving-conflict plot with many opportunities to ponder if each character is actually a good person. I used to want to be a lawyer and fight the good fight, but often, when you’re upholding the law, it’s not about the good fight. It’s about the win, and whatever you’re willing to do to get it.”