Hi there. This week I’d like to hear the thoughts and opinions of H.A.T.T.E.R.s (How About This Terribly Enthusiastic Readers) on what they’re seeing/reading/hearing lately. We all become smarter and wiser when we’re exposed to good things and so I’d love to hear from you today.
What are the best TV show or movies you’ve watched lately?
What are the best prose pieces (fiction or non-fiction, stories, novels, memoirs, historical pieces, science writing, etc.) that you’re read lately?
What are the best podcasts you’ve listened to lately?
What blogs or newsletters (Substack or otherwise) are you finding the most informative, interesting, and thought provoking?
Please share your thoughts in the Comments!
I'll add a few things:
For television it's probably Severance, which is an amazing look at workplace culture. Silo is turning out to be quite good as well.
For podcasts I always enjoy The Incomparable about all things science fiction, fantasy, fandom, etc.
For blogs and newsletters... I don't even know where to start but if you look at my Substack Recommendations you'll find a lot of good writing.
I’ve been watching Studio Gibhli’s anime films Spirited Away and Howls Moving Castle.
As for Substacks Poetic Outlaws and Monday Monday has a beautiful post about appreciating the in betweens in life
I’m not a big television watcher (outside of football 🏈) , but enjoyed Ted Lasso immensely. This is despite my favourite podcast (We Hate Movies) being about, well, movies. But I think that’s because it rises above the material to comment more broadly (and hilariously) about pop culture, politics, society. I’ve also learned more about cinema and film as an art form from them, as former curators and critics.
Books: I’m reading The Rabbit Hutch by Tess Gunty and it’s right in my wheelhouse: works of fiction that have strange collections of characters and a tight plot being slowly unwrapped. A touch of absurdity, in the vein of Douglas Coupland (one of my faves) and, to dig way back, Korman.
TV: For me it was an 8 part streaming drama simply entitled 'Freud', produced by the Austrian company ORF. Being tolerably familiar with his work I was singularly impressed by the historical veracity of this mostly fictional 'what if' plot - including his affair with the Lou Salome character ('Fleur' Salome), his first book which he is forced to destroy, his work in mesmerism and the occult, and the beginnings of his private practice - which was in turns deeply reflective, shockingly violent, and ultimately very moving; Freud's well known soliloquy containing 'the house that is me' has inspired my business partner (who also loved the series) and I to build a therapeutic puzzle game bearing the same title. I got into a dialogue with people at ORF regarding Kristen-Seraphim and they praised it but said in fact that they are a very small company that only does Viennese content. You'd never know it watching 'Freud'. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freud_(TV_series) A must see.
Text: I currently have the honour of reading Georg Simmel for my own work; Wolff's volume of his sociology which first appeared in English in 1950. Simmel happens to be my favorite social scientist and most importantly for a phenomenologist, his final book, 'The View of Life' (1918) was a heavy influence upon the young Heidegger and this is reflected in 'Being and Time' (1927).
Film: I thoroughly enjoyed the relatively recent Patrick Stewart film 'Coda' with its Nietzschean devices and scenes of the thinker's summer haunts in the Upper Engadine valley in Switzerland. A moving tribute to the 'Dionysian' version of life is for the living.
Blog: http://www.bruno-latour.fr/news_and_logs.html Bruno Latour is a pretty smart fellow and in lieu of yours truly being famous you can always check him out ;)
I read Not Too Late… Rebecca Soknit, Thelma Young Lutunatabua… some hope for our future re:climate emergency. A collection of essays- very informative and some very unique takes (a letter from the future was really uplifting).
I really like the TV show Astrid on PBS. And I may have shilled a book called The Once and Future World before, but it's good enough to shill twice.
I don't know if it's great TV, but that Duggar documentary ("Shiny Happy People on Amazon Prime,) was scary AF but totally eye-opening as to how the Christian Right is planning world domination. ** shudders ** It was well done. xo
Don't watch a lot of television, but I'm about halfway through the final season of Succession. It's incredibly written and incredibly acted, of course, but I'd say I'm fairly disappointed with the final story arc.
Books: I read LUSTER by Raven Leilani -- loved it, very dark -- and I'm currently reading WHITE BOY SHUFFLE by Paul Beatty, who's easily one of the funniest people alive.
Mostly gave up on podcasts, but I always recommend Dan Carlin's Hardcore History.
I'm loving Garbage Day -- funny and insightful -- and for top-notch political coverage I recommend Popular Information and Seeking Rents. Obv, I'm a new H.A.T.T.E.R as well.
Books (tie): Emily Dickinson and the Art of Belief by Lundin along with a slow, meditative read of The Federalist Papers.
Two books I read recently that I didn't know anything about, and which I loved: Treasure Island!!! by Sara Levine and Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss (I guess I'm only reading books by Sara/h authors???).
I loved Ted Lasso and Barry, but I doubt that's bringing interesting new information to anyone.
The "If Books Could Kill" podcast makes me laugh and feel smarter.
I'll have more coffee and think of more things that have been lighting me up recently.
My favorite podcasts are Enterprise Incidents, about Star Trek, The Leap Home about Quantum Leap (hosted by unintelligible Scotts), and Bible Brothers (two ignorant comedians read the bible front to back).
I've been playing The Great Ace Attorney with my brother, we just got stuck on a tough question. I hate the main prosecutor in the game a lot right now, good antagonist who's frustrating for the right reasons so far. Also got a chance to play in a Street Fighter 6 tournament when it came out last week, still don't own my own copy but looking forward to going to this week's tournament for it.
Also been reading The Fairy Bargains of Prospect Hill, I like how natural the misunderstandings between the two sisters who serve as narrators/main characters are, nothing feels hollowly forced for drama yet. And need to rededicate myself to reading Mockeries and Metamorphoses, a very dense academic book about my favorite mythological figure. I'm not good with reads like that it turns out.
I have 8 or 9 books on the go at the moment, I need a serious intervention..But ones I'm really enjoying are "To be a Machine" by Mark O'Connell about the transhumanism movement, Oryx & Crake (rereading) and The Women Who Run With Wolves.
I haven't been watching much tv the past few months but movie wise Polite Society was a fantastic watch that I haven't really heard people talking about much. Definitely recommrnd!
A little late to this game; sorry - it's birthday week (both kids) in our house.
Book: Ian McEwan's LESSONS. I'm a fan and have been since First Blood, Last Rites. He's always surprising, never dull - and, thankfully, he wears his intellectual pedigree lightly. He's a very, very bright man - and a gifted author. I don't read much fiction, purely because I really don't have time for it amongst all the other reading I do. (And also, after reading John Williams's STONER, fiction seemed to pale, though STONER is a great book and one I highly recommend). LESSONS is his latest and I've had it on the to-read shelf for several months now and have finally been able to pick it up.
TV: Ted Lasso. Actually, there's no need to explain this choice. It's just brilliant, through and through. The Christmas episode from S2 is one of the best Christmas episodes of any show I've ever seen. And as an American living in England, the whole thing rings remarkably true.
Podcast: Because my listening time is filled almost exclusively with trying to determine my next playlist or one of my kids has hijacked the stereo, I rarely listen to podcasts. This, I know, is a failing ... there are some amazing ones out there, but ... there's only so much time in a day. Consequently, I'm recommending an album which I've returned to recently: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, LET LOVE IN. From the opening bass line to the truly disturbing closing track (based on Peter Straub's short story, 'The Juniper Tree'), I think this album should be in everyone's rotation. Or, at least, in the periphery. Brilliant through and through.
I’ve been digging Bill Maher’s Club Random podcast on YouTube and the podcast Common Shapes, on Spotify by the Substacker behind the newsletter Monday Monday.
Book: The Revelations: A Novel by Erik Hoel which exploded my brain.
Movies: loved The Little Mermaid remake way more than I thought I would.