My Podcast Playlist

My Podcast Playlist

Although I’ve mentioned in previous posts of my love of audiobooks, I also am quite the fan of podcasts on my commute to work, while doing housework, on afternoon walks I take around the neighborhood, etc. Though my subscriptions lean toward the literary, I mix it up with all kinds of different topics. Here are just a few of my many favorites for you to check out!

(I’m not even going to mention some of the more obvious ones, like S-Town or Serial…we all know them, they’re amazing, go listen).

Book-Related Podcasts

From The Front Porch

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Ok, so this is the newest love on my list, but I’ve also binge-listened to these episodes like a madwoman because the hosts (particularly Annie Jones) are just so dang ENCHANTING. Which makes sense, as her life goal is to be Kathleen Kelly a la “You’ve Got Mail.” Which basically means she and I should be friends because Kathleen Kelly is my fictional idol and mentor. Annie runs a bookstore in Thomasville, GA, called The Bookshelf, and the podcast covers books (obviously), as well as life in the South. She and I are around the same age, both married to men who are heavily interested or involved in politics, and have similar taste in book preferences. Basically, we are the same person, or at least in my mind.

Annie is balanced out with the other host, Chris, who is a PhD student and hilariously sarcastic. They have a lot of fun themes in their podcast, including “Love it or Loathe it” and monthly reading recaps. Check it out if you enjoy a nice mixture of in-depth thematic discussions, tangents on life in the south and pop culture, and interest in the bookseller’s market.

All The Books! by BookRiot

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Hosted by Liberty Hardy and Rebecca Schinsky, two of the most prolific readers I’ve ever encountered. They discuss the latest releases each week from the book publishing world, with a special focus on indie booksellers and small print presses. My reading list always grows by another 10 titles with every episode I listen to.

The Reading Women

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I love this podcast for a multitude of reasons: 1) it focuses on female authors, which as a pageant-loving, mascara-wearing feminist, is my kryptonite 2) the podcast hosts are from Greenville, SC, and Atlanta, GA, both cities that are on my list of places I do (or have) called home, and 3) the book selections are excellent!  I love the balance of in depth discussion and off-subject humor these podcasts offer. I feel like I’m curled up in a chair next to these girls chatting over coffee or wine, and I seriously want to be friends with both of them.

Lit Up

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This podcast has in-depth interviews with authors, hosted by the delightful Angela Ledgerwood (Australian accent and all!). A writer herself, Angela knows all the incisive and perceptive questions to ask her guests. To be honest though, mostly I’m just mesmerized by her voice. Think of this as a literary version of NPR’s Fresh Air.

**Note: occasionally discusses adult/explicit themes and passages in books as well as occasional crass language**

 

Educational/In-depth Reporting

Radiolab

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 Love love LOVE me some Radiolab! Investigation in a different topic every week that centers around one central idea and unfolds the story around sounds and episodic vignettes, where science and culture and art all combine. They have an excellent episode on Henrietta Lacks, as well as “Juicervose” – a story about a family and their autistic son, and his journey from an isolated child to a communicating member of society (all the emotions).

…Anything NPR 

This American Life (for the story-lovers) , Fresh Air (for those who love a good interview), Invisibilia (for the science-minded), TED radio hour. (for those obsessed with self-improvement)… you name it, I probably listen to it.

 

Current Events/Political Podcasts

With Friends Like These

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I love this podcast because it brings together people of opposing and differing viewpoints and worldviews. Instead of obnoxious punditry like we get on cable news, these discussions are more about listening to each other than arguing.

**Note: at times explicit**

NPR News Now 

Five minute soundbites of the latest in news for a quick rundown after a long day at work.

Pop Culture/Entertainment

The Popcast 

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They talk about everything from celebrity news to emojis to Disney princesses. This is a fairly new one for me, but I’m already into it.

 

Reply All 

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“A podcast about the internet.” This is another one introduced to me a few weeks ago, but it’s quickly becoming one of my top 5 podcasts. Alex Blumberg gets informed on the internet trends of the week, because he usually doesn’t have a clue.  I loved the episode on #Covfefe.

Will You Accept this Podcast?

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My fellow Alabama Junior Miss sister and friend Mary Catherine hosts this hilarious podcast with her husband as they unpack all the drama from the latest Bachelorette episodes. To be honest, I don’t even watch the Bachelorette anymore…and yet I listen to this podcast because of its wit, humor, and legit in-depth analysis of the most ridiculous reality show of our generation. Check it out on her blog Deep Hunger, Deep Gladness (her blog is excellent too if you want to get sucked into a rabbit hole for the next four hours of delightful writing).

 

True Crime/Mystery

….my ultimate guilty pleasure, as I always have nightmares the night after listening to one of these shows. Some girls watch The Real Housewives, this girl listens to crime and mystery podcasts…

 

My Favorite Murder

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Two VERY west-coast girls talk about all the crazy murders and serial killers and mysteries, while also making you laugh out loud. People also phone or email in their hometown murder stories. It’s comedy, it’s gore, it’s Valley girl accents…what more could you want?

**explicit because, duh, murder. But also lots of crass language.**

 

Casefile True Crime

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REALLY in-depth research into some scary crimes. The latest on the Original Night Stalker has been giving me nightmares all week. BUT I CANT STOP LISTENING. Another creeptastic episode series was The Moors Murders (as in the English Moors a la Emily Bronte’s “Wuthering Heights”).

 

Thinking Sideways

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This one has more of a historical bent to it, and some non-scary stories (ex: an episode on the origins of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer), but they also had a fascinating episode on Jack the Ripper I really enjoyed. They cover everything from unexplained disappearances to petty crimes to serial killers.

Uplifting stuff, right? Don’t judge me.

 

Anyway, HAPPY LISTENING you guys!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roadtrippin’

Roadtrippin’

 

This weekend I’ve been reading a road trip story called The Last Days of California by Mary Miller. Although so far it’s been a fun rollicking story to read, this post is not a book review.

Instead, it’s about my own road-trip story. Reading the book has reminded me of all the adventures from that trip, though one rather creepy encounter sticks out the most.

 

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Continue reading “Roadtrippin’”

Literary Escapism with “Crazy Rich Asians”

Literary Escapism with “Crazy Rich Asians”

 

This week was not exactly a stellar start to the summer, now was it? Between the withdrawal from the Paris Agreement and yesterday’s London attacks, the world isn’t looking so sunny. I’m currently bed-ridden with a bout of a lovely strep throat/cold combo, and although usually I enjoy any excuse to read all day in bed, it’s been more difficult to concentrate on any book of depth while nursing a fever, aching limbs, and grieving and angry for a city I was lucky enough to call (for a short time) my home. Why does this keep happening? What can we do to put a stop to this violence? I’m way too hazy from my cough medicine to answer these questions with any semblance of wisdom, though no one else seems to be able to answer these questions either. The scariest part to me is how each attack becomes less and less shocking – we are becoming desensitized and grow jaded with the well-meaning Facebook flag pictures and the “Praying for London” tweets. I think I’m undergoing a short term version of a funk.

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That time in London I was THISCLOSE to the royal princes (Quantum of Solace World Premiere)
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Chasing West End celebrities with my fellow study abroaders
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Couldn’t resist the tourist pic of Buckingham Palace

 

 

“Rich People Problem” books are my go-to for whenever I’m having a rough week, when I just finished a rough semester in school, or whenever I need a palate-cleanser after reading an intense or depressing story.   So this weekend I needed something light and frothy, perhaps even downright superficial, to give me a temporary reprieve from the real world.  Fortunately, the novel Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan (published in 2013) fit at least two of these three characteristics, and took me to a completely different part of the world without having to leave my couch.

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What’s it All About? 

The international bestselling novel is the first in a trilogy (the sequel, China Rich Girlfriend, was published in 2015, and the finale Rich People Problems was just released this past month) and centers around 29-year-old Economy professor and ABC (American Born Chinese) Rachel Chu and her dashingly charming boyfriend, Nick Young. Nick is heading back to his home country of Singapore for his best friend’s upcoming nuptials, and he invites Rachel along as part of a summer-long tour of Asia. What Rachel doesn’t know is that her low-key PhD lover is actually a favorite grandson of one of the richest Singapore families…in other words, she’s about to be immersed in the world of some Crazy Rich Asians.

As she is interrogated and judged by various friends and family of the Singapore elite, Rachel begins to question her relationship with Nick and her place in his life. Will they survive the pressure?

Personal Thoughts

At first, I honestly thought I was going to loathe this book. The opening chapters that are narrated by Nick’s more sartorial-focused family members include an endless number of designer brand name-dropping and Michelin-star restaurant references that made me cringe and roll my eyes.  There’s a reason why I’ve never been tempted to watch the Kardashian’s or Real Housewives shows; even for me there are limits to how basic I’m willing to go (though I’ll never say no to a SoulCycle class or a glass of bubbly, so I’m still pretty far gone on the Yuppy spectrum).

…eventually though, I realized that the whole point of the book was to gently satirize this culture (although the author himself seems to genuinely love a good Gucci loafer, as much as he talks about them in the book). I blame the cough-medicine-induced haze on my delayed reading comprehension. Then I started really enjoying myself and got immersed in the world of Asian elite society, the clash between Mainland Chinese and Overseas Chinese, as well as the New Money versus Old Money tensions that are scarily similar to American society except on a grander scale – in Kwan’s depiction of Singapore, those that make a mere four million a year are absolute paupers.

I also surprisingly found myself gleaning little tiny peeks into Singapore and Chinese culture – the rituals and traditions, the mouth-watering cuisine that sounds like a mix of Indian, Asian, and European cuisine (I have been craving satay and coconut rice and laksa and chili crab for several days now, as well as many other dishes that I don’t even fully understand).  Also, did you know that Singapore actually gives dividends to its citizens when the economy is doing well? This island, and really this area of the world, holds so many secrets I was completely unaware of until this book. Unsurprisingly, I am now desperate to plan a trip to this part of the world.

 

Read this book if…

At its heart, this novel is a rom-com, albeit one sprinkled with designer dress names and private-jet trips to Indonesia and Australia. I do think Mr. Kwan brings a perceptive eye to this genre, so if you’re looking for a fun summer read with hints of character development and sly humor, while understanding that this book is definitely NOT going to change your life, this is a good pick. It will definitely make you smile on those rough days, if also feel a bit gross about how materialistic we all are.

 

(P.S. For those of you in the London area, you can offer to help victims in the London attacks via the Facebook Safety Check app, which has volunteer resources. If anyone knows how those of us in the United States or other countries can help, please comment below.)

 

 

 

Beach Reads for Memorial Day Weekend

Beach Reads for Memorial Day Weekend

Y’all, this upcoming holiday weekend marks the official start to BEACH SEASON!!! Summer is seriously my favorite time of year, and now that I’m finally living in the South again I am fully basking in the sweltering hot afternoons and blazing sun (with my liberal application of sunscreen, of course). Atlanta has been experiencing summer weather for over a month now, and I’ve got no complaints with keeping my car windows and sunroof open. Though my fellow commuters might, as they’ve had to hear my off-key rendition of the Hamilton songs as we all sit in gridlocked traffic.

Though perhaps not everyone is hitting the sand this upcoming long weekend, we can all benefit from some R and R – and by that I mean Reading and more Reading.

Continue reading “Beach Reads for Memorial Day Weekend”

2. Motherhood and Memory in The Joy Luck Club (California pick) + Bonus rec’s!

2. Motherhood and Memory in The Joy Luck Club (California pick) + Bonus rec’s!

Psst, this year I am attempting to read one book set in each state of America. To see the full list and what I’ve read so far, click here! Joy Luck Club is also a part of my list for Classics Club, click HERE for that list). 

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Happy Mother’s Day to all my motherly friends, family, and of course, my own beautiful mother and grandmother! Because of my mama, I know (among many other things) how to cook the most scrumptious cornbread and Red Velvet Cake in existence, the necessity of daily sunscreen for our porcelain (ok, pasty pale) skin, the understanding that a weekend spent on the beach can cure virtually any ailment, and – my personal favorite – the ability to make everyone in a social event feel included and comfortable. I could continue on with so many more reasons why my mom is the best, but in order to avoid sounding trite, I’ll simply say this:  I am beyond blessed to call her my mama.

Continue reading “2. Motherhood and Memory in The Joy Luck Club (California pick) + Bonus rec’s!”

Audiobooks for Amateurs

Audiobooks for Amateurs

Last week, a friend of mine asked how I tear through so many books a year. My secret to success is,  like most millennials, through my iPhone addiction: I listen to a whole lot of audiobooks.

Y’all, I spend a lot of time in my car. Last year, I commuted from Boston to my first “real” job as a dentist and on a good day, my commute was an hour and a half. EACH. WAY.  Now I live in Atlanta (the city of collapsing interstates) where I spend the majority of my free time sitting in a gridlock of honking cars.

 

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a typical day in Atlanta rush hour. Photo credit via fox news.
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From Page to Screen: What to Watch (and Skip) this Summer

From Page to Screen: What to Watch (and Skip) this Summer

Although I tend to choose my Kindle over my remote control, I still appreciate the fact that I am living during the Golden Age of Television. I am always looking out for the latest books-turned-movies or television series, and this year an entire treasure trove of stories are being released on HBO, Netflix, and, as always, at the movie theater.  Here are my thoughts on the shows and movies that have recently been released or are about to come out:

Continue reading “From Page to Screen: What to Watch (and Skip) this Summer”