Read, Watched, Listened

I love reading just about everything (okay, you won't see any mystery or sci-fi picks on here), watching things that make me think and especially if they make me laugh, and wholeheartedly embrace the podcast. I also enjoy hearing about what other people are reading, watching, and listening. Here's my two cents worth.

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Other People's Houses
I LOVED this book. It was funny and irreverent, serious and observational. It made me laugh out loud several times - which books don't usually make me do. This book was a somewhat satirical take on modern suburban life, parenting, and marriage focused on the friendship dynamics of a group of neighborhood friends. I'd call it a perfect "beach read": easy to read, funny as hell, and with a bit of a bite.

On Writing
If you're a writer, you need to read this book. Part memoir, part writing manifesto, Stephen King describes both his path and success as a writer and offers writing tips. He touches on everything from grammar to the editing process all interwoven with personal anecdotes. While I found some of his approaches basically impossible in my current season of life (I believe six hours is the number he suggests for reading and writing each day), I understand the purpose behind them. I borrowed this from the library but will be purchasing my own copy to read and re-read each and every year.

This is How it Always Is
The mother in this book was everything to me. Fierce, intelligent, and protective, this novel is all about secrets, family, and the lengths we go to protect those we love. Both Rosie (the mother) and her husband Penn have an intense love for their family of boys, and this novel details their story when the youngest defines himself as transgender. It was a beautiful look at the support a family offers their LGBT child without ending in complete tragedy. 

Britt-Marie Was Here
After Beartown, I put my name on the list for every one of Fredric Bachman's books at the library. This one didn't quite do it for me. What kept me turning (er-swiping) each page was my desire for Britt-Marie to succeed. I found the ending a bit disappointing and the characters fell flat for me. I also had a hard time getting into the setting. Maybe I sound crazy, but I could never quite picture it in my head so I had a hard time really getting into the book. 

I wanted to love this book. Ifemelu moves from the chaos of Nigeria to the United States, away from her home and her boyfriend, Obinze, where she starts a successful blog with observations on race in America. I was left wanting...more. I wanted more of Ifemelu, more about her blog. I felt like much of her personal journey and work was glossed completely over. A lot of the book was filled with diatribes on race disguised as dinner party conversation. The dialogue was bizarre to me. While I agreed with many of the points and appreciated the observations and opinions on race in America (and elsewhere), I'm not sure a novel was the best place to do so. To me it felt like an lengthy op-ed disguised as a novel for much of the book.

Everybody, Always
Bob Goff fangirl over here! *raises hand* This book is filled with joy and wisdom and basically charges us to love everyone. What if we spent our lives loving people, even (especially) the difficult ones? His personal stories range from hilarious to unbelievable to flat-out difficult. I find myself thinking about how I can "become love" to specific people or in specific moments, as he so often does in the book. I will come back to this book again and again.


Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
The comedians in this show are just as hilarious as the title itself. Jerry Seinfeld drives around with famous comedians and they, well, get coffee. Most of the episodes are a quick watch (20 minutes or less) that Tyson and I find ourselves reaching for on the evenings we're plain old tired. A couple of our favorite episodes have been with Stephen Colbert and Trevor Noah.

The Big Sick
So good! We're not big movie people but I'd heard friends rave about this one and I loved it. Funny and touching, it details comedian Kumail Nanjiani's real-life meeting and courtship of his wife Emily. There's disapproving family (Kumail is Muslim, Emily is white), a mysterious illness resulting in a medically induced coma, and comedy throughout. Do it like we did: order take-out, cue it up on Netflix, and make it a date night in.


It's been a struggle for me to keep up with my regular podcasts lately, but I enjoyed this episode from Coffee + Crumbs on meal planning, this one from Jen Hatmaker on a mom spreading love and hugs to the LGBTQ community, and giving more love to Jen for her interview with the Pantsuit Politics ladies in this episode.

Note: any links to Amazon in this post are affiliate links.