On my radar: Lisa Taddeo's cultural highlights

The American author on rewatching Revolutionary Road, Connecticut’s finest sushi restaurant – and the joy of jigsaws

Lisa Taddeo is an American author and journalist. Her debut book, Three Women, describing the lives and desires of ordinary women, was a bestseller when it was published last year. Taddeo lives in Connecticut with her husband and five-year-old daughter. She will be in conversation with the author Hallie Rubehnold on 31 May as part of the Hay festival digital programme.

1. Film

Revolutionary Road

Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio in Revolutionary Road.
Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio in Revolutionary Road (2008), directed by Sam Mendes. Photograph: Evamere/Neal Street Prods/Kobal/Shutterstock

I’ve watched this three times in the past month, concurrently with reading the screenplay, because I’m working on some scripts. It’s so dark and frightening. It’s about a husband and wife, played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. The husband is happy in his job, but the wife, a stay-at-home mother, isn’t and wants them to move to Paris for a different life. He at first says yes, but he doesn’t really want to move because he’s comfortable. When she gets pregnant, she accuses him of knocking her up so they can’t go. It’s wild, and the note it ends on is shocking.

2. Music

Fiona Apple: Fetch the Bolt Cutters

Fiona Apple
‘Intensely emotional’: Fiona Apple. Photograph: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic Photograph: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Fiona Apple’s new album is startlingly raw, mesmerising and thumping. It really takes this pandemic into account, even though I’m pretty sure she wrote and recorded it before this all happened. It epitomises the female unrest that we’ve been going through with the #MeToo movement, but in a non-prescriptive, intensely emotional and gutting way. I’ve also been listening to Christine and the Queens; her and Fiona Apple have been huge for me.

3. Food

Norimaki

sushi
Sushi to go… Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

Every once in a while we order in restaurant food, as some restaurants in our town do curbside delivery at the moment. There’s this kind of draconian dance you have to do: you get out of the car, you put your mask on, you use your gloves, you wipe your hands. We’re in rural Connecticut so there isn’t a lot, but there are a couple of lovely ones open. There’s a sushi place called Norimaki. It’s one of the best sushi restaurants I’ve ever been to – and I’ve lived in both New York City and LA.

4. Book

Modern Art: A History from Impressionism to Today

Taschen’s Modern Art.
An education… Taschen’s Modern Art. Photograph: Taschen

I bought this book [edited by Hans Werner Holzwarth] and have been showing my daughter the pictures and asking her to try to reproduce them. Instead of drawing ponies and unicorns, I’ll try to get her to draw a Dalí or an Andy Warhol. It’s a combination of being able to see beautiful things and at the same time teaching my daughter about something that a couple of months ago we could have gone to New York City to see. I try to give her some Rothko and Georgia O’Keeffe. Not because they are easy, but so she can understand the way the colours work.

5. Puzzle

Charles Wysocki jigsaw

Jigsaw puzzle
‘It really takes your brain off things’: a Charles Wysocki jigsaw. Photograph: Buffalo Jigsaws Photograph: Buffalo jigsaws

I know a lot of people have been doing puzzles. I love folk art, so the one we’ve been doing is a jigsaw by a brand called Buffalo Games, and the artist is Charles Wysocki. We started on the 500 piece, have now moved up to the 750 and are going slowly up to 1,000. We spend half an hour a day on it, so it takes weeks to complete, but it’s super fun and really takes your brain off things. You’re focused on something that’s beautiful and that isn’t work.

Duolingo
‘One of the best out there’: the Duolingo language app. Photograph: PR

6. App

Duolingo

I’m obsessed with this app called Duolingo that teaches languages through creative repetition. There’s a little owl who cheers you on when you’ve gotten a certain number of questions right. My daughter loves the owl, and his approval, perhaps more than she needs or wants mine. I’ve been teaching her three languages on it, which is kind of silly because she gets confused, but it keeps us busy. I’m Italian so I want her to learn Italian. She’s also learning a bit of Spanish in school. I’ve also selfishly wanted to learn French, so I’m throwing that in there too.

Contributor

Kadish Morris

The GuardianTramp

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