One of my favorite ways to avoid small talk - which I kind of hate - is to ask someone if they've read any good books lately or are listening to any good podcasts. And although I'm usually way behind on movies and definitely on television shows I'll happily talk about those at length instead of about the weather.
So to avoid telling you about the hot, hot, humid weather, here are a few recommended reading + listening + watching from my list...
+ Although I grew up watching (and rewatching) Anne of Green Gables I have only now at the age of 33 picked up the book (under strong recommendation of Sherrie). I laughed at the quote on the back: "Looking forward to things is half the pleasure of them," because that is nearly my life's motto. Clearly Anne-with-an-e Shirley and I are kindred spirits.
+ My very favorite way to read a book is to begin without knowing anything or any opinions about it. Can you relate? When I started A Piece of the World for the Girl Next Door Book Club discussion all I knew was that it wasn't a WWII book (I'm a bit burned out on them right now). The book had rich and complex characters and turned out to be historical fiction, which is one of my favorite genres, and explores the origins of this iconic painting. Now I'm dying to return to MOMA to see the painting with new eyes.
+ One of the very best parts of my full time job as a university science writer is interviewing smart and passionate experts. I had the delightful opportunity to speak with Jane Austen scholar Devoney Looser about her work and the ways Jane Austen intersects with her personal life. I'm so happy with how the piece turned out and my videographer colleagues shot a really fun trailer for her new book as well.
+ Wow in the World podcast. This NPR podcast for kids is so fun! It's co-hosted by Guy Roz of the TED Radio Hour and How I Built This podcasts. Each episode covers a couple science-y topics and teaches kids about something that is "wow in the world." It's a fun audio experience and there's lots of humor. I think the content is a little over Dash's head (he's 4) but he still requests it and Cedric gets excited to listen too. Sometimes Dash will ask me questions about a word he heard so even though he's not following everything it definitely has an impact.
+ Speaking of Guy Roz...How I Built This is one of my current favorite podcasts. I queue it up every Monday morning as I head to my 5 am Orange Theory class. On each episode Guy talks to a different person behind well-known companies and brands and gets the story of how their success came to be, and often how it almost didn't happen. Some of my favorite episodes feature Patagonia, Clif Bar, Spanx, Warby Parker, Kendra Scott, and Whole Foods but honestly they are all good. I'm wishing with all my might that Elon Musk will be a future guest.
+ Bedtime FM is a great story podcast for kids. Dash really loves the Elsie and the Witch story.We are constantly listening to audiobooks via Audible or story podcasts in the car. (P.S. You can buy single kids audiobooks via Audible on Amazon and then download them on the Audible app to listen. You don't have to have an Audible subscription.)
+ It's Been a Minute podcast especially the episode with an interview with Ann Helen Petersen. I loved what she had to say about feminism and immediately requested her book, Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud, from the library.
+ While in Austin, Chris and I snuck away for a movie date at the Violet Crown and saw Baby Driver, which is one part bank robbery action flick, one part love story, and one part homage to great music. We loved it.
+ I'm fascinated by the habits of other writers and creative people so discovering Writing Routines was a delight.
+ We currently don't have a television or any streaming subscriptions. But then my book club girl friends were telling me how much they loved Stranger Things. (Fully aware that we are a year late to this party.) I relayed the praise of "pitch-perfect 80's era sci-fi show" and Chris was already re-upping our Netflix account. We loved it and spent the next week fitting in episodes post-bedtime. Suspense is not usually my genre and I must admit I had to distract myself browsing Pinterest probably twice per episode but the show never left me feeling too scared to get up to pee in the middle of the night. You have to draw the line somewhere, folks.
+ Make a cup of tea and take an uninterrupted minute to read this lovely illustrated piece about the meaning of home. This was a spot-on share from my friend Feisty Harriet.
+ Perspective on creative work: "Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work."
+ A podcast about what President Trump can teach us about constitutional law. Every single one is fascinating and usually under 20 minutes; just enough time to water the plants/tidy the kitchen/run an errand AND learn about the constitution.
I'd love to know - have you read, listened to, or watched anything great lately?