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

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.

 

 

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

April Word of Mouth

Coffins of Khnum-Nakht and Nakht-Ankh, photo courtesy of the Manchester Museum

DNA: 4,000-year-old Egyptian mummies were thought to be brothers. Genetics tells a different story — Ben Guarino, Washington Post

Non-Fiction: The Bridge to Brilliance: How One Woman and One Community Are Inspiring the World — Nadia Lopez and Rebecca Paley

Fiction: Improvement Joan Silber

Productivity: The 12-Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks Than Others Do in 12 Months — Brian Moran

Music: Blue Soul — Blue Mitchell Sextet

TV: Jessica Jones — Melissa Rosenberg

Podcast: The Good Fight — Yascha Mounck

Ancient Inspiration: “If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.”

Meditations, 8.47 — Marcus Aurelius

March Word of Mouth

 

Delight: A Taste of Paris: A History of the Parisian Love Affair with Food — David Downie

Non-Fiction: Women and Power: A Manifesto –– Mary Beard

Non-Fiction: So You Want to Talk About Race — Ijeoma Oluo

Strategy: How life Imitates Chess: Making the Right Moves, from the Board to the Boardroom Garry Kasparov

TV: False Flag — Amit Cohen, Maria Feldman

 

Song: O Menina Dança –Novos Baianos

Not so ancient inspiration: A cynical young person is almost the saddest sight to see, because it means that he or she has gone from knowing nothing to believing nothing.  Maya Angelou