From the podcast that made me cry and laugh to the latest Booker Prize winner, here’s a couple of recommendations to get you off Instagram for a minute.
I’m a pretty avid reader and podcast listener. Mostly, I like long-form podcasts, interviews and topics that deep dive subjects to extreme nerd levels, or at least that attempt to unlock things on a deeper level. When I bike to and from the office I get about 20 minutes to myself to catch up on my latest podcast, which is never enough, but it is what it is and my job and lifestyle leaves me only the option to consume them in bites. We’ve got a no-phones-in-the-bedroom rule, so the bed is all about reading and sleeping – right now I’ve just started on Beastie Boys Book and Rushdie’s latest Quichotte. Now, as a man, data suggests that I unconsciously choose male authors; men read men, and women read men and women. I would tend to agree with that. It’s not like I never read women; some of my favourite books are The Bone People (gasp!), Wolf Hall, Americanah, but I’m now conscious of my choices and try to expand what I read. Today I wanted to add a new one to that list, as well as share a couple of podcast recommendations that you’re probably already aware of but hey, here we are.
Oh and btw I haven’t written a book review since high school and that’s a minute ago, so don’t go expecting Times Literary Section here.
Girl, Woman, Other
Winner of last year’s 2019 Booker Prize, which is a literary prize that has encompassed authors across all Commonwealth countries for several decades, Bernardine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other actually had to share a first-equal prize (also splitting the prize money) with Margaret Atwood which caused somewhat of a kerfuffle as Evaristo is the first woman of colour to ever receive the prize – critics crying that Booker could have used the opportunity to let a coloured woman shine, just for a second. That aside, Girl, Woman, Other is a story from the perspective of several British women of colour from different layers of society, living wildly different existences, and how their stories eventually intertwine. With its almost poetry-like lack of punctuation (there’s ZERO punctuation) the reader is drawn through sentences with an almost conversational flow; stories, and most importantly, personal perspectives bursting forth in what I can only assume aims to embolden the reader’s sense of empathy. What I love about Girls, Woman, Other is that I am continually presented with multiple, genuine perspectives on topics of race, age, gender, privilege and how those personal impressions and judgements shift over time, are interrupted through dialogue or conflict and no matter how convinced you are of a thing, you shouldn’t always believe what you know.
Girl, Woman, Other is a brilliant and easy read, almost disguised as a simple story. With its delicately veiled themes of difference, tolerance, understanding and forgiveness, and an aptly-timed delivery, when division, even amongst, especially amongst would-be should-be allies is rife, Girl, Woman, Other is an important piece of timely literature that should be distributed with school lunches. And at board meetings. If you’re buying, whatever you do, buy it from an independent bookseller, my recommendation for Copenhageners is Books & Company
Dolly Parton’s America Podcast
Drop what you’re doing and subscribe to Dolly Parton’s America. This had me laughing and crying in the same car ride and is an astonishingly well-produced, well-researched and well-presented deep dive into one of America’s great icons. I’m probably far from the first person to tell you, but get on this. You won’t regret it!
Brené Brown’s incredible Ted Talk and Tim Ferriss interview
Double whammy here! For anyone who lives under a rock and hasn’t seen Brené Brown’s Ted Talk on ‘vulnerability’ which has amassed over 50 million views then that’s a great way to have a first dig into Brené’s deep research on into vulnerability, courage, authenticity and shame.
A couple of days ago I started to listen to Tim Ferriss’s interview with Brené Brown (below). Now, whether you like Tim Ferriss or not, he does have a way of digging in the right direction to mine people’s motivations, habits and tips to really layout clear, practical ways towards self-betterment. Call it self help, I dunno. You don’t have to like it – but here it is. Disclosure, I’m only halfway through this one, but I reckon there might be time these days to get through a few episodes. Above is the Youtube version but for the podcast, cop it where ever you hear podcasts via Tims website.
Hope those recommendations are up your alley. Let us know through our Instagram DMs if you have any recommendations of your own!