I’ve been wanting to write a book recommendation list for a long time, but I just haven’t had the time to read all the books I’ve been wanting to read, so it will have to wait a bit longer. Articles that pop up on my Twitter feed are a bit easier, and I’ve read some really great ones lately, so sit back, have a cup of coffee and here are some of my reading recommendations for people on the go, the news-obsessed, and the curious.
As far as late night shows go, I am a Seth Meyers, Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon kind of girl. I love their political banter and grew up watching them on SNL and Comedy Central. However, after reading this beautifully done GQ profile on Jimmy Kimmel, that might change.
Favorite part: “His shyness was almost a disability, one he carries to this day. (In fact, an advantage to celebrity, he says, is that people sort of know you, so he doesn’t have to break the ice anymore.) As a teenager, he couldn’t bring himself to accept a sandwich, or even a glass of water, from a friend’s mother. He remembers getting an F on a test while at Arizona State because sitting in a class among hundreds taking the same test, he couldn’t muster the courage to ask someone if he could borrow a pencil, having forgotten his.”
No one would ever assume Jimmy Kimmel is a shy guy or has ever had a problem with shyness. That’s the great part about profiles. When done well, the reader sees a human component to a celebrity or personality. The act is over, and you get to see who the person really is in a relatable way.
Sexual assault, harassment and the #MeToo movement have been running the news cycle for months as part of a call for social change. Aziz Ansari has been brought into the mix after an article ran in which an unnamed woman discussed her encounter with Ansari as being traumatizing and him ignoring her “verbal and nonverbal” cues. This article, which many people have many feelings about, has shed new light on the conversation bringing another angle in, the angle of “things that aren’t illegal but also aren’t decent.” This article on NYMag’s The Cut is a well-thought-out, rational look at the situation, in a sea full of voices.
Favorite part: “The response to both “Cat Person” and the Ansari story finds the #MeToo conversation changing and flowering in a new direction: one in which women are eager to discuss and change expectations around sexual manners more generally, not just to litigate right and wrong. It’s a more complicated conversation, because the boundaries transgressed are less clear, the villains less outsized, the causes less concrete. As critics of the Ansari story have pointed out, these aren’t stories where women firmly vocalize a lack of consent; rather, these are stories about how young women — having internalized society’s messages about how it is their responsibility to please men, to be compliant, to be down for anything — end up acquiescing to something that makes them feel rotten inside.”
New Yorker cartoons are the best, aren’t they? I’m classic for asking weird, Google-able questions to my friends and family, each time receiving the same answer: “umm I’m not really sure, you could probably Google it” from polite friends and “seriously why would I know that, just Google it” from most people. If you’re one of those people whose life story could probably be deduced from your Google search history, you’ll find this quite funny and hauntingly accurate.
Favorite one: “Is everything a simulation?”
I was the kind of kid who sat down on the soccer field tying knots in pieces of grass instead of playing the game, did sports in high school to talk to my friends and put on my college applications, and would be the first to tell you “it’s about having fun, not winning.” This little girl who holds up a sign saying “YOU’RE ALL TALENTED” at a professional hockey game? My new spirit animal.
Favorite part: “I’m a pretty cynical person, surprisingly,” Evans said. “Trash talking is a big part of sports, but I felt like doing something different. Because everyone on the ice—opponent or not—is incredibly talented, really.”
Just Plain Interesting and Clever:
Originally, the headline caught my eye, as someone who finds the topic of improving oneself and act of improving oneself enticing. Then, after reading it for a bit, I realized it was bait for suckers like me to realize how all self-help books are saying the same thing, and also contradicting each other. This feature is a deep look into self-help books and self-help culture that will either leave you wanting to read each book mentioned or leave you re-evaluating why you want to read each book mentioned.
Favorite part: “In our current era of non-stop technological innovation, fuzzy wishful thinking has yielded to the hard doctrine of personal optimization. Self-help gurus need not be charlatans peddling snake oil. Many are psychologists with impressive academic pedigrees and a commitment to scientific methodologies, or tech entrepreneurs with enviable records of success in life and business. What they’re selling is metrics. It’s no longer enough to imagine our way to a better state of body or mind. We must now chart our progress, count our steps, log our sleep rhythms, tweak our diets, record our negative thoughts—then analyze the data, recalibrate, and repeat.”
Okay, I’m just so proud Buffalo made this list. While I would love this list, Buffalo or not, I’m really happy that out of 52 places in the world, the Times listed Buffalo as one to check out. #Buffalove.
Favorite part: “Once disparaged for its declining population, harsh winters and failing sports teams, Buffalo is making a big comeback in large part by repurposing its historic buildings and long-dormant grain silos. Downtown Buffalo now buzzes with life thanks in part to the ever-expanding Canalside entertainment and recreation complex and a host of new dining and drinking establishments.”