WORD OF MOUTH: Early Winter Edition

Featured

Novel: Take My Hand — Dolen Perkins-Valdez

Novel: The Work Wife — Alison B. Hart

History: Polio: An American Story — David M. Oshinsky

Middle Grade Novel: Merci Suarez Changes Gears— Meg Medina

Podcast: Ask a Librarian, With Julie Chavez: Translating Ways of Being, with Meg Medina and Alexis Romay.

Anthology: Home in Florida: Latinx Writers and the Literature of Uprootedness — Anjanette Delgado

TV: My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend — Rachel Bloom, Aline Brosh McKenna

Movie: Vengeance — B.J. Novak

Music: Tinta y Tiempo — Jorge Drexler

WORD OF MOUTH — FALL

Novel: DEATH UNDER THE PERSEIDS — Teresa Dovalpage

Non-fiction: THE SCIENTIST AND THE SPY: A TRUE STORY OF CHINA, THE FBI AND INDUSTRIAL ESPIONAGE — Mara Hvistendahl

Resource: Ask the Trace: Are Militias Legal? — Jennifer Mascia, THE TRACE

Essay: Elizabeth McCracken Traces the Life of a First Edition: Her Own — Elizabeth McCracken, LITHUB

Opinion: Oh how the powerful wail and whine — Robin Givhan, THE WASHINGTON POST

Opinion: Trump should fill Christians with rage. How come he doesn’t? — Michael Gerson, THE WASHINGTON POST

TV: PAPER GIRLS – Stephany Folsom

TV: A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN – Will Graham, Abbi Jacobson

Podcast: Migrant relocations echo a dark past: Reverse Freedom Rides, CODE SWITCH

Podcast: Putin’s Nukes (with Julia Ioffe), STAY TUNED WITH PREET

BEST OF 2021

NON-FICTION: The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together — Heather McGhee

FICTION: Gold Diggers — Sanjena Sathian

FICTION: Impostor Syndrome — Kathy Wang

MEMOIR: Beautiful Country — Xian Julie Wang

ESSAYS: People Love Dead Jews — Dara Horn

DOCUMENTARY: A Thousand Cuts — Ramona S. Diaz

MOVIE: Plus One —Jeff Chan, Andrew Rhymer

MOVIE: Rocks — Sarah Gavron

MUSIC: An Evening with Silk Sonic — Bruno Mars, Anderson.Paak

TV: Taste the Nation — Padma Lakshmi

PODCAST: The Story of America’s Founding You Weren’t Taught in School: Jamelle Bouie interviews Woody Holton on The Ezra Klein Show

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.