Woman and her reflection

Illustration: Sari Cohen

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What Should I Try Today?
Adventurous suggestions from five folks in the know.

If you haven't had breakfast... Do! To keep it interesting, try the morning meals of other nations, says Lucy Walker. "I could live on Jamaican ackee with callaloo, which are a fruit and a green, respectively; Thai som tam, an unripe papaya salad; Myanmar's mohinga, a fish and noodle soup; and Japanese natto, or fermented soybeans—it resembles alien frog spawn, but I love it." (Of course, you can stick to eggs and bacon—but where's the fun in that?)

If you're heading out soon... Don't forget to accessorize. Dorothea Lasky has a suggestion: bangles, the janglier the better. "The poet Anne Sexton used to wear them—maybe a poet should make sounds even when she's not speaking. I wear as many as I can. And don't let gender stop you: Everyone looks good in them."

If you have a little time this evening... Indulge in a glass of wine. "Olivier Cousin's Le Grolle is one of the most unique reds I've tasted," says Sharon Van Etten. "He's a French farmer who plows his fields with a horse—a guy who doesn't play by the rules—and it shows in his wine."

If you have a little time before this evening... Enjoy two songs: "Night Owl" by Tiny Ruins ("they're a folky jazz group with such descriptive lyrics," says Van Etten) and the Beatles' "Golden Slumbers" ("I love Abbey Road," says Walker, but this overlooked track is "the one that makes me cry every time").

If you have an hour or so to listen to something... Put on a bluesy Lucinda Williams record, says Hannah Pittard ("Her music is like this pulsing vein") and Lasky ("I love her! I named my dog after her"). Or try out Iamamiwhoami's Kin, says Brittany Howard. "It's a badass electronic album that's elegant and thoughtful."

If you have an hour or so to read... An hour is plenty long enough to enjoy a few gorgeous poems. Start with Bernadette Mayer's, says Lasky: "She's a good gateway poet. She shows you all the things a poem can be about: baseball, corn on the cob—anything!"

If you have a few hours for a good book, try... "Susan Cain's book Quiet (2012) explores how we connect success with being outgoing," says Van Etten. "Reading it showed me that even an introvert like me can thrive." If you'd prefer fiction, don't miss Lorrie Moore's Anagrams (1986), says Pittard. "It's a masterpiece about the difficulties and dangers of being a woman. It leaves me clutching my chest for air."

Rather watch a movie instead? Try... "Metropolitan (1990) is a love story about rich, bored New York City teens during debutante season. But I promise it's funny and beautiful," says Pittard. Or if you're in a dramatic mood, consider Boyhood (2014). "[It] was filmed over 12 years, so you watch the actors grow up," says Van Etten. "Even at nearly three hours long, there's never a dull moment."

The Experts:

  • Lucy Walker, documentary filmmaker (The Lion's Mouth Opens, The Crash Reel)
  • Hannah Pittard, novelist (Reunion)
  • Brittany Howard, singer, Alabama Shakes (Boys & Girls)
  • Dorothea Lasky, poet (Rome)
  • Sharon Van Etten, singer-songwriter (Are We There)