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Nina Collins
June 2, 2022

Nina's Summer Reading/Streaming List

Here are 7 books and 7 shows that I consider musts for women over 40 this summer!

When I look to recharge and purely relax, I always turn to books and shows by and about women.

Summer is just about here, and I for one am so looking forward to at least a few lazy days on the beach as well as some quiet nights (crickets! fireflies!) of streaming and getting lost in the fascinating lives of others. For as long as I can remember, when I look to recharge and purely relax, I always turn to books and shows by and about women, and generally women my own age. I love to learn from the trials and tribulations of our cohort, and I’m grateful there’s enough content out there about middle-aged women to keep me endlessly entertained.

Here are 7 books and 7 shows that I consider must-dos for the months ahead:


  • Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez — debut novel by and about a status-driven wedding planner in Brooklyn grappling with her social ambitions, absent mother, and Puerto Rican roots. Sounds both glamorous and gritty, and it’s also Revel’s July Book Club pick!

  • Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus — first novel by a 65 year old woman (!), about a female chemist (opinionated, lighthearted, a great heroine) in 1961 who was born ahead of her time in more ways than one. 

  • French Braid by Anne Tyler — because she’s always a comfort, even when she’s writing about how unknowable we are to even our own families.

  • Tracy Flick Can’t Win by Tom Perotta — my one exception, a book by a man! Because, Election! Tracy Flick is back, now middle-aged and angling for a big promotion. Promises to be darkly funny and right on target about women in our cohort.

  • Memphis by Tara M Stringfellow — The NYT called this a “rhapsodic hymn to Black women.” Spanning 70 year, three generations of women in one city. Can’t wait!

  • True Biz by Sara Novic – a coming of age story set in the world of deaf culture. A Reese Witherspoon book club pick with rave reviews by authors such as Celeste Ng. I have a good feeling about this one!


  • I Love That For You —Inspired by true events, a hilarious comedy about a childhood leukemia survivor who chases her lifelong dream of becoming a home shopping channel host. Showtime.

  • Hacks — Very little on TV has been more satisfying lately than watching Jean Smart play an aging and still powerful comic. With an intergenerational female friendship twist. So good! HBO Max.

  • Borgen — I binged on this brilliant political drama (middle-aged female Prime Minister!) all through the early days of COVID, and now IT’s BACK! Nothing better than reading Norwegian subtitles and watching sexy Northern Europeans battle it out in the corridors of power. The BBC called it “the greatest political drama ever.” Netflix.

  • The First Ladies — I don’t know why this hasn’t gotten great reviews. It’s fabulous. Michelle Pfeiffer as Betty Ford! Gillian Anderson as Elewanor Roosevelt! And Viola Davis as Michelel Obama! It’s heaven on earth.  Now I’m dying for season two. Showtime.

  • Conversations with Friends — Younger than I usually go for, but it’s Sally Rooney, and the adaptation of Normal People was so hot. Also this has great real estate, which I always love. Hulu.

  • Julia —  I’d watch Sarah Lancashire and Babe Neuwirth in anything, so even though I feel like I know the Julia Child story (loved Julie & Julia), this is high on my list. Also my BFF says it’s awesome. HBO Max.

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