Hi! As promised, here are some cultural experiences, described.
Lauren Oyler recommended Painting Time by Maylis de Kerengal in Bookforum and I immediately went out and bought it. It didn't sound exactly like "my thing" but that was why I wanted to read it. I had been overindulging recently in books that are hook-y above all else, as part of my Twitter detox. I needed to always have something on my phone that was RIVETING. I read The Woman In Cabin 13, which is about a woman who is trapped on a cruise with a cast of menacing strangers and The Guest List, which is about a woman who is trapped at a wedding in Ireland with a cast of menacing strangers. These books did the trick, but after one last plotty book, about a woman whose mother may or may not have faked her own death (spoiler of course she did), I felt like my brain was ready to read something that wasn't plot driven above all else.
Painting Time is not plot driven. To the extent it has a plot at all, it is a bildungsroman: the protagonist learns the craft of decorative painting, then becomes better and better at painting. Her tools and techniques are described in hypnotic detail, and not a lot else happens. She paints, and also lives her life, but the life part is really secondary. I can't really explain why this book works but it does. Fair warning: you will feel as if you might be qualified to paint a detailed faux-marble fresco after reading it.