I read a lot more this year and tried to broaden my music + podcast listening habits. There are only so many hours in the day and I basically missed everything that happened on TV with the exception of Veep and The Crown, both of which I recommend.
I read 71 books so far this year and my absolute favorite was Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. It tells the story of civilization after a virus wiped out most of the population. It felt less in the sci-fi genre than a poetic, human story of familial bonds forged anew and the best and worst our species has to offer in difficult times.
I also loved A Month in the Country, by J.L Carr. It's the story of a WWI British veteran returning from the horrors of war to restore a mural in a church in the English countryside. It's a meditation on memory, the power of art to heal and frankly a book that made me want to spend a year in England just watching the seasons change. A quick and compelling read.
Lastly, The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen takes us through the Vietnam War from the Vietnamese perspective, and the remarkable story of moving to America but retaining a loyalty to the narrator's home country.
I realized this was the year I stopped listening to terrestrial radio. I love (and give to) my local NPR station, but find myself seeking out specific podcasts to stay informed and go deeper into ideas and stories I've been interested in.
Heavyweight is my favorite new-ish podcast. Hosted by Jonathan Goldstein, the episodes dive into people's pasts, confronting old memories and unresolved issues. What's remarkable about the stories is the way Goldstein lets them derail, nearly fall apart and confronts what often seem to be an endless series of dead-ends before finding a way out (or not). As a starter episode, I recommend #2, "Gregor", which involves an old CD and a musician named Moby.
Lastly, the Merlin Mann trifecta of Back to Work, Do By Friday and Roderick on the Line. Merlin Mann was once a "productivity guru" and now is a guy who does podcasts. He's funny, thoughtful and, I think, capable of searingly deep insights about how we live, what choices we make and how to be happy.
For Back to Work, a great episode that I loved is 299: Unhook from the Comparison.
Do By Friday is more the guilty pleasure-type podcast which he does w/ folks from Cards Against Humanity and is loosely based around a series of weekly challenges.
Roderick on the Line is basically a weekly conversation between him and musician John Roderick. The range of these conversation is remarkable and again, feels a little like an instruction manual of sorts for living in the modern age.
So much great music came out this year, my favorite songs (according to iTunes) -
That's all for now, thanks for following through.