Wednesday, April 13, 2016

When TV Doesn't Cut It. Or What I'm Listening to Now.

|| book journal via Amber Thomas Makes ||

Confession: I still watch Teen Mom and The Real World. That's only when I'm all caught up on all the Housewives of All the Cities. When do I have time for all this watching? When I'm making art, of course.

But the greater confession: I've recently come to feel really guilty about the content I'm consuming.

Yes, I watch The Real World and realize: nothing about it is real. I binge on Teen Mom and my heart breaks for their messes that grow and expand like a spaghetti platter. I walk away from these trashy TV moments with a weird sort of sadness on my person because, while I love a good train wreck, I long for redemption, for a story that ends with some kind of good. And that isn't what makes TV sell.

The recent acquisition of Verizon by Frontier Communications has cut all the fat from our channel options and so, I've had to find new interests. And, with great intention, I've turned to more Podcasts and hungered for a larger library of Audiobooks. So far, all's gone amazingly well and that means I shall share my findings.

Podcasts I Can't Stop Listening To

Embedded: Think Serial, but in a nutshell. These are quick episodes (less than an hour) that cover a large news event in greater depth and from as many angles are available to the Kelly McEvers (the host). This is new -just started- but SO RICH. If Serial dragged on for just a bit too long for your taste, Embedded is for you.
Start with this episode: The Bikers 
Note to Self: A weekly episode on how humans and technology interact because the digital realm of our lives isn't going anywhere any time soon. I find myself challenged and inquisitive about my own uses of technology -from my iPhone to FOMO to Legos- in a way that I wouldn't be otherwise.
Start with the episode: How to Shake Up Your Echo Chamber 
Stuff Mom Never Told You: Two women talk about women things. Well, they talk about most things, but through the lens of women in a way that is empowering, educating, and asking for you to engage with the world around you. This podcast is a crucial piece of shaking up my echo chamber throughout the course of my year.
Start with this episode: Lady Truckers 
Beautiful Stories from Anonymous People: The premise of this podcast is like WHOA. Chris Gethard opens up the line and spends an entire hour talking to a random -anonymous- person with only a few rules: Chris is not aloud to hang up or ask names or come to the call with an agenda. The conversations span the spectrum every single week -mostly moving along like life happens, when suddenly the BOOM moment where you realize everything contains the interesting.
Start with this episode: The Most Amazing Destruction (this one is INTENSE, but so enthralling and beautiful.) 

Books I Read, but Would Love to Listen to

The Girl with All the Gifts
At page 60, I almost set this novel down and didn't pick it back up. I was sure this book wasn't for me and would be better left unfinished. But then I spent three nights wondering what happened to the strange little girl, Melanie, and her unlikely group of friends. So, I started again and upon page 100 I couldn't set the thing down. I do wonder what it'd be like to hear someone speak on behalf of Melanie and so, it's on the list.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
This received really controversial reviews on Audible, so I feel nervous about the narrator's performance (something that I completely believe can make or break a novel). But the storyline is divine. And so, I'd love to give the Audiobook a try even if it doesn't capture my fancy.

Gold by Chris Cleave
The pace in this novel is what was absolutely divine to me and the right narrator could bring a new, different kind of life to the brilliant words that Cleave always provides. If you read this one: prepare yourself for conviction about your own competitive nature. I was. Oh how I was.

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Honestly, I feel like I'm getting smarter. The other day we were at a family gathering and I got to engage in (and enjoy) talking about the way that Fitbits are both helpful and hurtful. I got to throw a well-thought opinion in the ring because I've spent a few weeks reflecting on the place my own Fitbit plays in my life.

And, I feel less sad because -as surprised as I might be- I don't miss the Teen Mom, Real World, Housewife friends as much as I expected.

What are you listening to? 
How are you shaking up your echo chamber? 

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