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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Goodbye for Now
The only thing I kept thinking while reading this book was, “This is so weird.” Not exactly the deepest thought, but here we are. The main character, Sam, creates a powerful algorithm to match people together on a dating website, After meeting his own soul mate, he puts his technology to even greater use to allow people to communicate with their dead loved ones. It was a powerful exploration of technology (it all seemed very plausible) and also just straight-up bizarre.

Falling Upward
Deep, thoughtful, life-changing. I’ve been listening to Richard Rohr on podcasts and have been receiving his daily e-mails for a long time now, but this was the first book of his I’ve read. In this book, he describes the idea of there being “two halves of life”: the first to explore who we are (often lots of black and white thinking) and the second to explore where we find meaning (a more nuanced look at the world). I wish I could go into more detail here: the idea is so fascinating and complex. Tyson and I have now incorporated this language into our everyday and often talk about people or organizations as being “first” or “second half of life-ers”.

We need a sexual reformation in the church, and Nadia Bolz-Weber is here to lead it. Of particular interest to me was the section that discussed when the Christian Right began using abortion as a political tool. Hint: Evangelicals haven’t always believed that life begins at conception. insert mind-blown emoji here

The Atlas of Love
This book was…fine. I didn’t love it but I didn’t hate it, either. It speaks to some non-traditional family dynamics, namely a group of college friends who decide to live and raise a baby together when one of the young women finds herself unexpectedly pregnant. I guess I didn’t truly love any of the characters and that’s a deal-breaker for me; it’s hard for me to get into a book otherwise.

Accidental Saints
Another Nadia Bolz-Weber book. (Continuing the trend of holds by the same author coming up for me at the same time.) This book was wonderful. Bolz-Weber walks us through many of the people she’s met, both in her congregation and outside of it, who don’t quite seem to fit in with the church, but who help to re-enforce her faith anyway. She speaks candidly about faith without getting preach-y.

Nine Perfect Strangers
Okay, I kept seeing this book everywhere and it is SO GOOD. Nine people together in the same house on a wellness retreat and it is not what I expected at all. This book was the definition of “I couldn’t put it down”.

City of Girls
Everyone said this was the perfect summer read and they were RIGHT. I don’t usually buy books (thanks, library) but I purchased this one right before our lake vacation and it was WORTH IT. A story about showgirls in the 1940s? Yes, please. Sit in a lounge chair with this and something iced and booze-y to sip: summer perfection.

My Next Guest Needs No Introduction
The new season dropped and we are HERE for it. The one with Melinda Gates was by far my favorite episode. (True confessions: we skipped the one with Lewis Hamilton.) (Also, we had no idea what Kanye was talking about the entire time. He might be a musical genius but he’s as incoherent as a certain president of a certain country that will not be named.

Wine Country
This movie, about friends who take a trip to Napa to celebrate one of their 50th birthdays, was a DELIGHT. Just watch it.

Always Be My Maybe
I don’t know. It was…fine? I’m here for the resurgence of the rom-com but this one didn’t quite do it for me. The scenes with Keanu Reeves were fantastic but the rest of it fell kind of flat for me. Everyone else keeps raving about it but maybe we’re just that desperate for more rom-coms.

Five Foot Two
This has been on our “to watch” list for awhile and Tyson and I agree it’s one of the best documentaries we’ve ever watched. I don’t know exactly what made it so phenomenal other than it just seemed so raw and real. We also went down a Lady Gaga rabbit hole by watching her Super Bowl halftime performance and “Shallow” duet with Bradley Cooper at the Oscars immediately afterward, and I then played “Lady Gaga radio” on our Google home for the next week. I’m not mad about it.

Brene Brown: The Call to Courage
This talk is good, yet it was also repetitive for anyone who is familiar with Brene Brown’s work. She repeats stories from her books and past talks. It’s not bad - I seriously think I need a five-minute pep talk from Brene each and every morning - but I also didn’t feel like I had to pay attention the whole time.


Armchair Expert
Dax Shepherd is SO GOOD at interviewing people. Note that these podcasts are a commitment because most run about two hours (though I personally think you can skip the “fact check” of the last half hour or so - it falls flat for me). But the conversations he has are fascinating. My favorites so far have been with Elizabeth Gilbert and Hasan Minhaj - one about writing, the other about immigration, race, and luck.

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