Last December, we brought you our reading and listening recommendations for the winter break. It’s April, and we’re back to bring you a sampling of what we’ve been enjoying since the new year.
The High Low
I open my podcast app first thing Tuesday mornings to download the latest episode of “The High Low.” British co-hosts Dolly Alderton and Pandora Sykes call it a “weekly pop culture and news podcast,” but it’s really much more than that. They offer digestible analysis and excerpts of what they’ve been reading and listening to; weigh in on current events and the important (usually difficult) conversations they stir (e.g., the Michael Jackson documentary, what happened when Shamima Begum returned from ISIS); interview inspiring authors and share their approaches to personal and professional challenges. All with a fun sense of humor, sincerity and humility. I’m using this podcast to find things to read and listen to that feed and challenge me, similar to how you’d use Pandora to discover new music that both suits and stretches your tastes. An example of something “The High Low” turned me onto is Touré’s 2018 interview with Zadie Smith. It’s a gem, and I don’t think I would have found it otherwise.
Serial: Season 3
I’m not a big fan of the true crime genre, but when I heard that Serial’s third season explores Cleveland’s criminal justice system through “ordinary” court cases, I decided to listen because I like thinking about how systems work (or don’t). It’s a good piece of investigative journalism and much-needed coverage of the life-altering encounters people have with our law enforcement and legal systems. It’s almost unheard of for journalists to get this kind of access to courtroom proceedings. I was struck by the pressure defendants face to settle, how much power prosecutors have in the system and by how brazenly biased and condescending judges (who are usually white) can be toward defendants.
“Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup,” by John Carreyrou
My husband and I have developed this nerdy habit of listening to books together when we cook brunch on the weekends or right before bed, and we devoured this audiobook. I’ve been in the startup world for over a year now, and this book reminds me that even in well-funded startups with notable board members (e.g., Henry Kissinger and James Mattis), I have to ask questions persistently and raise my hand if something doesn’t feel right. “Bad Blood” reads like a soap opera, and I found myself wondering at the end of every chapter, “Wait, really? Did that actually happen?”
Adam Grant’s Work Life
This is my new favorite commuting podcast. I know what burnout feels like, and Grant’s podcast, as he puts it, tries to make “work not suck.” I especially enjoyed the episode, Become Friends with Your Rivals. Grant interviews competitive skiers and marathoners to uncover how peak performers can push to get to the next level in sport and life (I’m a sucker for all athletic references to business).
“A Place for Us,” by Fatima Farheen Mirza
At age 27, Mirza seems wise beyond her years in her first novel. I cried. Multiple times. The sibling, parent-child and community relationships are developed with so much emotion. I felt the regret, pride, fear, joy and love of the characters jump off the page. As a Muslim, I’m curious how the book might shift readers’ thinking about the religious community.
“The Tao of Pooh,” by Benjamin Hoff
Even before reading “The Tao of Pooh,” the physical book itself (published in 1982) brought me so much joy because I bought it used at a charming record store in Red Hook, Brooklyn, when I visited last fall. Author Benjamin Hoff breaks down the Chinese philosophy of Taoism through Winnie the Pooh’s calm, reflective nature. You learn a bit about the art of inner peace while enjoying snippets of Pooh and his friends. When it was published, the book spent 49 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. It’s a true joy to read.
“Taki Taki” (DJ Snake featuring Selena Gomez, Ozuna and Cardi B)
This banger of a song has been bringing me so much joy lately. By all accounts, “Taki Taki” is a word Ozuna made up that’s open to interpretation, but it might as well mean “sexy as hell dance jam.” If you see me on an elliptical, I’m probably listening to this song on repeat, picturing myself dancing up on a beautiful man as if it were the last time and teaching him my cool dance moves (those are basically the chorus’s lyrics). Flailing about like a wild woman to this song is also a great way to pump yourself up to leave the house.
“The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck,” by Mark Manson
Sometimes I need a reminder not to give a fuck, or as Emilie Aries of Bossed Up puts it, not to give 100 percent of myself to things I don’t care about. “The Subtle Art” offers a really good reminder that most things are truly not worth freaking out about.
The “Colors” episode of Radiolab
This might be weird, but I’d rather re-listen to or re-watch something I love than waste time on something I don’t like that much. I’ve probably heard this episode demystifying how we see and understand color at least three times, but it’s super compelling and one of my all-time favorite listens.
The “Middle School” episode of This American Life
This is a few years old, but if you haven’t listened to it, do. Brutal and real and awkward and oh-so-relatable.
(While we’re not sponsored for anything we write and recommend, we are testing out Amazon Affiliate links. So, if you like one of our book recommendations and decide to buy it by clicking on one of these links, you’ll be supporting our work here at The Juggle. Thank you!)