Late September Word of Mouth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Song: Turntables [Emotion Picture] — Janelle Monáe

Documentary: All in: The Fight for Democracy — Liz Garbus and Lisa Cortes

Memoir: My Time Among the Whites — Jennine Capót Crucet

Mystery: Who Is Vera Kelly? — Rosalie Knecht

TV Series: Taste the Nation — Padma Lakshmi

 

Word of Mouth, Quarantine Edition

Prior to the advent of Covid-19, I was about 70% through the first draft of a novel about a virus, an anger virus. Looking back on what I wrote, I am stunned by how mild and self-contained the virus I created was. I am currently too busy  panic cleaning, home schooling and hand washing to do much about the novel, but in the process of doing research into epidemiology and vaccines, I came across several books that helped me understand how viruses work, and thought now would be an excellent time to recommend them.

If you have it in you to learn more about how microscopic pathogens can upend the globe, here are four fascinating books that helped me understand. If you’ve had enough pathogens, skip ahead to the ESCAPE section. And wash your hands!

ENGAGE:

Memoir about a pandemic (small pox) with a happy ending: Sometimes Brilliant:The Impossible Adventure of a Spiritual Seeker and Visionary Physician Who Helped Conquer the Worst Disease in History, by Larry Brilliant

Thematic treatment of how pathogens develop and mutate, and what is necessary for them to thrive: Pandemic: Tracking Contagions, From Cholera to Ebola and Beyond, by Sonia Shah

A history of how vaccines were discovered, and how they work: Between Hope and Fear: A History of Vaccines and Human Immunity, by Michael Kinch

How cholera seized and changed London, seen through the efforts of a pioneering physician and a connected local priest: The Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic–and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World— Steven Johnson

ESCAPE:

TV: Agents of ShieldMaurissa Tancharoen, Jed Whedon, Joss Whedon. Netflix

TV: Episodes — David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik. Amazon. 

TV: False Flag — Maria Feldman, Amit Cohen. Hulu.

TV: Imposters – Paul Adelstein and Adam Brooks. Netflix. 

MOVIE: Yesterday –Danny Boyle. HBO.

TV: MarpleAgatha Christie. Hulu.

FICTION: The Safety Net — Andrea Camilleri

Not-so-ancient wisdom:

“It’s not enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what is required.”

Winston Churchill

January Word of Mouth

Fiction: To Each His Own — Leonardo Sciascia, translated by Adrienne Foulke.

Memoir: Born a Crime — Trevor Noah.

Podcast episode: “An Historical Lens on Trump’s Authoritarianism.” Trumpcast. 

Non-Fiction: The Saboteur: The Aristocrat Who Became France’s Most Daring Anti-Nazi Commando — Paul Kix.

Documentary with Animation: Ask Dr. Ruth — Ryan White. Hulu. 

Stand-Up Comedy: “Ronny Chieng: Asian Comedian Destroys America!” Netflix.

Not-so-ancient wisdom: “There is little hope for us until we become tough-minded enough to break loose from the shackles of prejudice, half-truths, and downright ignorance. The shape of the world today does not permit us the luxury of soft-mindedness. A nation or a civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on an installment plan.”

         — Martin Luther King, Jr., “Strength To Love”

 

Midsummer Word of Mouth

Fiction: The Snakes — Sadie Jones

Fiction: The Last Book Party – Karen Dukess

Fiction: Fleishman Is In Trouble — Taffy Brodesser-Akner

Science: Pandemic: Tracking Contagions, from Cholera to Ebola and Beyond — Sonia Shah 

TV: False Flag — Maria Feldman, Amit Cohen. Hulu

Movie: I Am Not Your Negro  — Raoul Peck, James Baldwin. Amazon

 

Ancient Inspiration: “… [N]o act is honourable that is done by an unwilling agent, that is compulsary. Every honourable act is voluntary.”

— Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Epistle 66. From Epistles, 66-92, Translation by Richard Gummere. Loeb Classical Library.

 

 

Early Summer Word of Mouth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Memoir:  Good Talk — Mira Jacob

Non-Fiction: White Fragility Robin Diangelo

Science: The Gene: An Intimate History Siddhartha Mukherjee

Movie: Amazing Grace  — Alan Elliott and Sidney Pollack

Movie: Book Smart Olivia Wilde

 

Not-So-Ancient Inspiration:

“It doesn’t matter how far ahead you see if you don’t understand what you are looking at.” — Garry Kasparov

September Word of Mouth

Movie: RBG – Julie Cohen and Betsy West

Memoir: Negroland – Margo Jefferson

TV: Imposters – Paul Adelstein and Adam Brooks

Fiction: Magpie Murders – Anthony Horowitz

Ancient Inspiration:

“The work is quite feasible, and is the only thing in our power…. Let go of the past. We must only begin. Believe me and you will see.” – Epictetus, Discourses, 2.19.29-34