I listen to a lot of podcasts – a lot! – so I started a series rounding up the most interesting episodes I’ve heard recently. There were some great shows this week! Among others, there was America’s high school math curriculum and whether it works or not, the history of a polygamous “utopia” that turned into a famous tableware company (seriously), and the massive problem of millions of feral hogs running loose in the country. Yep, feral hogs.
Oneida: Utopia, LLC
A crazy look into how the Oneida tableware company originally started off as a polygamist commune in the 1850s!
Believe me when I say that I never thought I’d willingly listen to a podcast episode about feral hogs, of all things, but this one came recommended as one of the top episodes of 2019! And it was riveting. I had no idea feral hogs were such a huge problem in the southern U.S. and what kinds of solutions farmers have had to (unsuccessfully) resort to to remove them.
Footloose and Childfree
I wish that women who don’t have or want children weren’t as judged as much as they are. Personally I do want children, but I’ve noticed that the older I get, the further back I keep pushing it. Who knows, maybe someday I’ll realize that I love life just the way it already is, and that I don’t need children to make it fuller. Countless women have already made that decision, and they shouldn’t be thought of as “lesser” for it.
America’s Math Curriculum Doesn’t Add Up
Being a math major myself, I really agree with the arguments in this episode – our country’s high school math curriculum of algebra, geometry, pre-calculus is really old-fashioned and should focus a lot more on data fluency and analysis.
Sharing a Cab
I recently started watching the show, which is excellent and made me want to listen to the podcast and then read the column (going backwards, I know). This episode was narrated by Greta Gerwig and while the content was a little weird, it was beautiful in its own way. It was a good reminder that you can love someone in the smallest ways.
Audio Guide to the Imperfections of a Perfect Masterpiece
Host Roman Mars teamed up with the Guggenheim for this terrific audio guide that you can actually listen to if you visit the museum! I haven’t been back in a while, so it was nice to virtually explore with him as he pointed out all these things I’d never before known about the Guggenheim. Now I’ll know what to look out for next time I visit.
Do you guys listen to any of these? Are there any podcasts you recommend? I’m always looking for more!
I love this prompt since it forced me to go through my GIANT TBR shelf on Goodreads and really think about the books I added. More often than not, I’ve long forgotten why I added something, so if I rediscover and am still excited about it, there’s a good chance it really belongs! This week, I picked an action-filled classic, a natural history book, and finally a cult-favorite cookbook despite having no photographs.
I did not enjoy this book and don’t understand the praise it got, but you have to admire Elif Batuman for having the panache to give her debut novel the same name as one of the most notable Russian pieces of literature.
It’s not often I get book hangovers – usually instead of dwelling with the characters a little longer, I’m ready to get going on the next book already. BUT sometimes there are a couple of arresting works that simply demand to be analyzed more thoughtfully, that require a few more days of sitting on everything that happened and letting the story soak into your bones. Typically my hangover process is: have a good cry over it (even if the book isn’t outright sad, great books often make me feel so much emotion that I need to let it all out somehow), furiously google critics’ reviews and interviews with the author, read all the posts I can find about it on /r/books, and then maybe write a review if I want to spend a little more time with it. The last three books I felt this way with:
I liked this sequel, but sadly it wasn’t as good as the first one (then again, how often IS a sequel as good as the original??). This book is just all over the place, introducing tons of new people, places, designer names, family ties, etc. I couldn’t keep track of them all and after a while just rolled with it and enjoyed the story lol. I was surprised by how little the plot centers on Rachel and Nick – instead of being the main focus, their story is just one of several throughout the book. Absolute favorite chapter was the notes Corinna sent Kitty about how to look and act more high-class 😂
Something that REALLY annoys me about both books though is how there’s always 1-2 women who turn into shrieking bitches over some dumb plot point about social status/prestige/reputation. In Crazy Rich Asians it was Eleanor, and in this book it’s Mrs. Bao and Colette. It’s sooo not a look and I hate this stereotype that Chinese women can just go off at any time. Why is it never one of the men, who are invariably all calm and collected?!
I really wanted to like this more! I’ve been seeing it pop up a lot on Bookstagram and I wanted a light, cute read, so this was seemingly the perfect choice for a chilly winter weekend. The book goes by quick, and while the concept still is really cute to me, the characters and constant POV flip-flopping could’ve been better.
I listen to a lot of podcasts – a lot! – and so I started a series rounding up the most interesting episodes I’ve heard recently. I usually listen to a grab bag of topics, and this week was no different, covering feminism, the role of technology in mental health, the practice of tipping, and everyone’s favorite Mormon survivalist memoir, Educated by Tara Westover.
It’s so hard to pick just ten covers! Initially I wanted to narrow the scope by doing just minimalist book covers, but then there were too many others begging to be picked as well. So here we go, ten books whose covers immediately caught my eye.
The NY Times listed this as one of their top 10 books of 2018 so I was immediately intrigued, but it turns out it didn’t do much for me.
The book is split into two stories that seem completely unrelated, but the connection is revealed by the end. Alice and Ezra inhabit the first half, and if I resort to cliches, their relationship is “flawed but beautiful in its own way”. Ezra is a famous writer (unsubtly modeled after Philip Roth, whom Halliday had a relationship with when she was younger) and much older than she is (think 65 to her 25), and while I loved seeing their interactions, it also struck a little too close to home because Alice is around my age and Ezra is around my roommate’s age – and not only that, but our personalities are also similar to these characters’. Even if we’re good friends, it’s just too weird imagining my roommate and I in a relationship 🙅🏻♀️🙅🏻♀️
The second half focuses on Amar, who’s the opposite of Alice – he’s brimming with words and thoughts and opinions, and it’s really interesting seeing these two narrators side by side. Despite the lovely writing though, I didn’t feel particularly drawn to any of the characters, and actually got kind of bored partway through.
P.S. I love the cover though; it reminds me of this painting by Leo Chun.