Every week, we choose five things to read, watch, listen to, or experience. Here are picks from producer Stephanie Curtis.
1) "Mary B", by debut novelist Katherine Chen, puts the plain, bookish middle child of Jane Austen's Bennet family in the spotlight. Jane is the pretty one of "Pride and Prejudice." Elizabeth is the lively one. And Mary is overlooked by everyone from her siblings to her parents to even the household help. A great read for Austen fans who identify more with the wallflowers at a dance and want more in life than a good match.
2) Anne Applebaum's new article about Poland, "Warning From Europe: The Worst Is Yet to Come," is an eye-opening view of how people — and even individuals you once loved — can sign on for a political agenda that leads to the erosion of tenets you believed were communally held.
"Poland is now one of the most polarized societies in Europe, and we have found ourselves on opposite sides of a profound divide," writes Applebaum, "one that runs through not only what used to be the Polish right but also the old Hungarian right, the Italian right, and, with some differences, the British right and the American right, too."
3) "A Simple Favor" starring Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick is part Hitchcockian thriller and part screwball comedy. The two actresses play diametrically opposed suburban mothers who strike up a friendship over martinis and shared secrets. When Lively's character goes missing, Kendrick becomes inextricably involved in the mystery and with Lively's handsome husband, played by Henry Golding of "Crazy Rich Asians." It's a fizzy concoction with twists and a great French pop soundtrack, which you can hear on Spotify.
4) Make sure you see the original "A Star is Born" with Janet Gaynor and Frederic March before the Lady Gaga version opens in October. The blend of romance, drama, and critique of fame was penned in part by Dorothy Parker and the one-liners still have zing after 8 decades.
5) I love the blend of the ethereal-voiced Lauren Mayberry and droning dad rocker Matt Berninger of The National in the new single from Chvrches "My Enemy."