What I read, watched, and listened to in October, 2013… [Better late than never!]
On my bookshelf…
Talking Taboo - Edited by Erin Lane & Enuma Okoro - I’m not even going to pretend to be neutral about this book. I contributed an essay and this past week I joined the book’s editors for a reading at our local bookstore, The Regulator. It’s a project I’m proud to be apart of and as I read the essays this month I loved it all over again. There is something powerful about giving words to the things often labeled as unspeakable. So go read it and start having conversations!
Outliers by Max Gladwell - I thought I’d like this book more. I’m always on the look out for great non-fiction and generally I really like Gladwell’s work. But after the first few chapters this book got repetitive. Tangent: Gladwell recently gave an interview about experiencing renewal in his faith.
Allegiant by Veronica Roth – I was a big fan of the first two books in the series – Divergent and Insurgent - so I was really excited to read the conclusion, but I did not like this book. I hate to say that because I wanted to like this book so much. I won’t spoil anything, but the execution was lacking here. I know I wasn’t the only one cause friends and I exchanged a rapid round of emails about our mixed feelings toward this book. May you’ll have more luck with it.
The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater – Now this sequel to a YA series I did like. It’s not perfect, but it’s solid and Stiefvater succeeds at executing the fantastical elements of her novel without sacrificing characterization.
Reading Like a Writer - Francine Prose - I reread this book this month because I checked it out from the library on a whim. I read it back in college and it was the first place I encountered the very simple idea of close reading — reading for language, for ideas, and themes rather than just the “story” or “lesson.” To me it’s a classic and so of course I loved rereading it.
Consider the Birds - by Debbie Blue – Absolutely not what I thought it would be. Even if the topic seems obscure this book is just beautifully written. It draws excellent Biblical exegesis with wit and wisdom. *This* is what Christian spiritual writing should look like.
On my television…
I was probably more excited about the fall season than I should have been (I really like television), but I’ve been surprised by how many shows have lost my interest this fall. Even if I didn’t love a show I used to still looked forward to watching it each week. Now I just have too much going on to automatically turn on the TV each night and am more selective. Of course there are still shows that I adore and so far this fall that has been:
A mockumentry style sitcom, a legal procedural, a comic-book adaptation, and a soapy melodrama – it’s an eclectic bunch. Subsequently I can’t recommend any one thing to everyone. I like all of them for different reasons and you may as well (or not at all). But the one thing each of these shows is doing is they have characters I care about and I think that’s what keeps me coming back.
On my ipod…
[song] ”Say Something” – Christina Auguilera and A Great Big World – It’s hauntingly beautiful and I just keep listening to it over and over and over.
[podcast] The Nerdist Writer’s Panel is an informal podcast of conversations with writers in television, film, comic books, music, and novels. What I love is that they interview people who are currently working and usually up-and-coming. Their perspective is fresher than a lot of the advice or observations I’ve come across from well established writers. And as their tag says – it’s writers talking about writing, what could be more exciting?
The Idea Channel is a PBS production and I just really love it. Each week they consider a new question – drawing from the world of pop culture and media. But the question sprawls into other topics in the humanities and sciences – philosophy, math, and social theory – that’s just fun. Plus they make great use of GIFS.
On the Internet…
- Should Literature Be Useful? [The New Yorker]
- There’s a Secret Library in the New York City Subway
- Top Posts on Twentysomethingfinance.com
- Planning a backpacking trip through Europe
- Batkid saves San Francisco as charity makes a wish come true [The Guardian]
- How Feminism Hurts Men
- Interview with Marilyn Robinson [Paris Review]
- Sad Limericks [Toast] – by my friend Tyler McCabe!
- Disclosing the Faith (or Not) – by my friend Alissa Wilkinson!
- Daily Rituals – How Artists Work [Book Reveiw]
- Beyond Pink Bibles: What do Christian Women Want?