Podcasts & books
It's no secret that I LOVE reading. I always have at least two books that I'm reading (one on my Kindle for commuting and one by my bed for evenings). I love a good novel that can transport me to another world, as well as something educational or inspiring. Much to Warren's dismay, I can easily spend an entire weekend reading, without any social interaction, and I love every minute. Likewise, I enjoy podcasts for the same reasons, particularly when going for walks.
Here are the podcasts I listen to regularly:
My Dad Wrote a Porno - If you don't do anything else, at least promise me that you'll download this podcast! The basic premise is exactly as it sounds: a guy's dad wrote an erotic novel, so he decides to read aloud a chapter each week with two of his friends. It's absolutely hilarious, the commentary is brilliant and it's very professionally done. While I wouldn't listen with children in the room, I can guarantee the delivery is far from erotic and you'll be laughing non-stop. For the complete experience, you really should start from the first episode (there are two seasons and the third is about to start later this month) and listen in order, but you'll love every minute - I binged and finished both seasons in less than a month. The English accents are also a plus, obviously.
Balanced Bites - This healthy-eating podcast was one of the first I ever subscribed to. The two hosts (Liz Wolfe and Diane Sanfilippo) both have great books that I had read first (I really recommend Liz Wolfe's Eat the Yolks), and I still tune in regularly for the nutrition, natural beauty and lifestyle advice.
This American Life - Does anyone not listen to this one? I don't listen to every episode, but I'm always amazed at the variety of topics and how even the seemingly uninteresting ones are fascinating. Along with the rest of the world, this was the podcast that got me hooked on podcasts. It's incredibly eye-opening and educational and I love the way they approach controversial topics from both sides.
Books that I recently enjoyed:
Shoe Dog, by Phil Knight - I'm a sucker for a good memoir, and this one, by the creator of Nike was really well written. It's cool to see the humble beginnings of such a huge brand and see how one person's passion can influence so many. It's a great business book as well as an interesting read. It also gave me the excuse to buy another pair of Nikes...
Rules of Civility and A Gentleman in Moscow, both by Amor Towles - I really enjoyed both of these books. I read Rules of Civility first, which takes place in New York in the late 1930s, and follows the life of a girl thrown into high society. Then I read a Gentleman in Moscow, about a wealthy Count who is ordered to spend the rest of his life in a luxury hotel in Moscow. Just like Rules of Civility, this was equally enchanting. I love authors who are not only good writers, but clearly intelligent. It's hard to believe that an entire book/life that takes place in a hotel can generate enough content for a page-turning novel, but somehow it was never dull.
All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr - Such a good book! I'm always drawn to World War-era books, but this offered such an intriguing perspective of the events of 1940 from two young children - a blind French girl and an orphaned German boy. The characters are beautifully developed and even though their paths cross only briefly, their lives are intricately intertwined. It's so well written and I love how everything connects somehow and goodness shines through even in the darkest moments.
The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein - If you love dogs (how could you not), this is the best book. I've read it twice now and both times it made me cry. But that's my definition of a good book (or movie). I hope they do make a movie of this, actually. The story is told from the perspective of a dog, Enzo, whose owner is an aspiring race car driver. It's heart wrenching, it's uplifting, it's philosophical, but overwhelmingly it's lovely. I've gifted it to multiple people and cannot recommend it enough.
Let me know if you have any other good recommendations!