According to my Goodreads list, I didn’t read a lot in October. (That would explain why I’m six books behind in my 100-book yearly reading challenge instead of my usual five or so ahead.) Most notable books are probably:
It Looks Like This by Rafi Mittlefehldt. Mike moves to a new town with his parents and sister, where he meets Sean. They play basketball and do homework together and slowly develop a relationship, but as the book blurb says, someone is always watching. The book is very tightly written and doesn’t go out of its way to announce itself as LGBT fiction (in the same way that hetero fiction doesn’t–the characters just happen both to be boys). **spoiler alert** there’s a little bit of the “bury your gays” trope going on, but there’s also a lot of love and acceptance, sometimes from unlikely places. Four stars.
Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan. I loved this book so much and don’t know why it took me so long to read it (I’ve owned a copy for at least a year now and probably longer). I don’t know what to call books like these but I love this genre of fantastical, mysterious, nerdy adventure stories. Sloan’s new book, Sourdough, is on my hold list at the library. Four stars.
This is Where You Belong by Melody Warnick. This book tackles the art and science of placemaking, or how to feel at home wherever you find yourself living. I loved it. You can find a full review here. Four stars.
Jenny Rosenstrach wrote a post on Dinner: A Love Story about her favorite things to gift people. I loved this idea and have been thinking about what to put on mine all month.
Grace and Frankie. Grace and Frankie are polar opposites: one’s a hippie artist, the other a classy, classic lady. Yet they find themselves living together after their husbands, partners at a law firm, leave them for each other. Lots of raw honesty and grace in this one, and a lot of humor too.
The Orville. Captain Ed Mercer finally gets his own ship–but his crew includes his ex-wife as his first officer, along with a motley assortment of other intergalatic species. I’ve watched just enough Star Trek to get what is being subverted in this series, and I’m digging it, the occasional slow episode aside.
Parks and Rec. I blazed through the entire series again, because I will heart Ben and Leslie forever.
Lots of podcasts, including three from the Utah-based show Radiowest.
Radiowest: A Conversation with Tom Christofferson
Tom Christofferson is the brother of LDS Church apostle D. Todd Christofferson. Tom asked to be excommunicated from the church years ago, as he couldn’t reconicle being both Mormon and gay, but has since then rejoined the church–a decision that included leaving his partner of many years. He wrote a book about his experiences (That We May Be One: A Gay Mormon’s Perspective on Faith and Family) that I am definitely going to pick up.
Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to make of this episode. It sounds like he made a conscious choice and is happy with it, but I so wish we lived in a world in which that wasn’t a choice he had to make.
Radiowest: Essential Oils and the Age of Anxiety. Based on this New Yorker article, the episode explores the phenomenon that is essential oils among Mormons. I listened to this on our drive to Idaho and it gave me a lot to think about with regards to Mormonism and gender (one of my research focuses).
Radiowest: Martin Luther and the Birth of the Reformation. Craig Harline is a BYU-based historian, the author of one of my favorite Mormon books ever, and has a new book out about Luther. (In case you missed it, it was the 500 year anniversary of the Reformation, which has all us Protestants and/or religious history nerds excited.)
Every morning, I listen to Up First, usually while I’m making breakfast or getting dressed. It’s a ten minute NPR podcast that gets you the most important news of the day, so I feel like I’m at least halfway informed about what’s happening in the world around me. My sister told me about The New York Times podcast The Daily, which takes one topic and explores it for twenty or so minutes each day and operates on a similar premise. Well worth your time.
And finally, NPR’s Code Switch did a really interesting series about a new charter school for African American boys in DC, where they practice restorative justice and aim to close the achievement gap. The series, “Raising Kings,” included an episode about the “making of,” where the reporters–all people of color themselves–talked about what it was like to be at this school, what they loved, what concerned them, etc. I really recommend this one.