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The Five: Patriotism, bad plastic surgery decisions, and sexy spycraft

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Becker (Alexander Skarsgard) and Charlie Ross (Florence Pugh)
Becker (Alexander Skarsgard) and Charlie Ross (Florence Pugh) in AMC's "The Little Drummer Girl."
Photo by Jonathan Olley/AMC/Ink Factory

Every week, senior producer Stephanie Curtis offers five suggestions to read, watch, listen to, or experience. This week, she looks at a book that digs into the meaning of nationalism, men going under the knife to improve their dating chances, and a podcast about what to eat on a desert island.

1) "This America" by Jill Lepore

"Nationalism" was one of Merriam-Webster's top ten words of 2018. The number of people looking up the word spiked 8000% after President Trump said, "I'm a nationalist, okay? I'm a nationalist. Nationalist. Nothing wrong. Use that word. Use that word." 

So what is meant by nationalism? And, for that matter, what makes us a nation? Jill Lepore's digs into our history and argues in "This America" that embracing patriotism is a necessity to counter nationalism. It's short! A weekend read. 

2) "The Little Drummer Girl"

AMC's "The Little Drummer Girl" rests on two silly premises: that Israeli intelligence would recruit a British actress to play a revolutionary to take down a terrorist and that Alexander Johan Hjalmar Skarsgard is a convincing Israeli. Florence Pugh, Park Chan-Wook's direction, and John Le Carre's twisting plot help you buy into the conceit. The show is delicious, addictive, and sexy. 

3) "Incels" going under the knife

The jaw-dropping read of the week is from New York Magazine. Alice Hines takes you inside the sad lives of incels with body dysmorphia who get radical plastic surgery to attract women. I kid you not; this is a thing. 

Here's one man's thoughts while recovering from surgery:

"I hope everything goes well and this will be a real change," he wrote on the forum. "But where do I need to begin? I need women, lots of women, to make up for my miserable life. I need a new social circle, a new identity, a new life. I've been thinking of leaving my country. I want to live in hotels in tropical countries and live a playboy life there, only fucking hot blonde European girls. I have the money, I have the freedom. I need to go and leave this goddamn rotten place, need to leave everything behind, my old life."

"I think you are expecting too much from just some jaw implants," replied another user.

4) Desert island cuisine

If you got stranded on a deserted island  (it could happen!) do you know what to eat? The Food Programme will help you set the menu. 

5) "Room Temperature" by Faye Webster

Atlanta's Faye Webster sounds a lot more Nashville on this track from her upcoming album "Atlanta Millionaires Club."