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Spring Reads & Podcasts

A handful of books we heartily recommend... and a solid list of podcasts for when your eyes get tired and all you want to do is listen. 

Books 

Celine, by Peter Heller 

A great story, exceptionally written, with one of our all-time favorite heroines, must-must read!

Celine is an ace detective with a crack shot and a quick wit. In addition, she's nearly a septuagenarian and an old-time Vassar grad who opts for Hermès scarves even while she's on stakeouts.

Peter Heller is an amazing writer, and this story from his deft hands is hard to put down and even harder to forget. Never sappy, sentimental, or predictable, Celine will steal your heart, whether you saw her coming for it or not. 

The Woman in the Window, by A.J. Finn

A can't-put-down mystery, a la Gone Girl 

Dark and twisty, full of interest and intrigue, with a narrator who is funny, whip-smart, complicated, and full of secrets of her own. A Hitchcockian novel, sharp and suspenseful, that will keep you guessing until the very end. 

Pachinko, by Min Jin Lee 

A National Book Award nominee, a New York Times Book Review and USA Today Top Ten Book of the Year, and one of the most heart-wrenchingly beautiful works of fiction our team has ever read.

This sprawling, multi-generational family saga is one that you will not soon forget. Part history lesson, part love story, Pachinko has it all. Four generations of a poor Korean immigrant family fight to control their destiny in 20th century Japan. Our eyes were opened to the brutal history and truths of these times, and our hearts were filled with love, sorrow, and understanding for the families impacted. This is honest writing--fiction at its best. Min Jin Lee, a relatively young author, looks squarely at what was and patiently tells us a resilient tale, replete with poignant, emotional conflict. 

The Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How to Make Your Life Better (and Other People's Lives Better, Too), by Gretchen Rubin 

A thought-provoking assessment of human behavior that will help you better understand yourself, as well as those around you (from spouses to bosses to everyone in between). 

Helen Jon loves Gretchen Rubin (read our blog with her here). Best-selling author, podcast host, happiness expert, and all-around trusted voice on matters of knowing ourselves better, Rubin delivers actionable strategies and easy-enough tips on how to make our lives run more smoothly, more efficiently, and find more happiness and satisfaction along the way. 

In The Four Tendencies, Rubin presents a taxonomy of four distinct personality types: Upholder, Rebel, Questioner, and Obliger. Each of us, says Rubin, belongs in one of these categories. There is a short quiz you can take to help determine which of the four tendencies is "yours". Once that is identified, Rubin gives thoughtful advice, useful strategies, and practical wisdom to help you in the quotidian matters of life, as well as with larger, more profound challenges.

(After you read this, let us know which tendency you are. Helen herself...if you're wondering...pure and total Upholder!)

 

Podcasts

The Daily 

Twenty minutes a day, five days a week, hosted by Michael Barbaro and informed by New York Times journalism. Here you go...you're welcome.

Gateway episode: the episode-du-jour

Heavyweight

Jonathan Goldstein has done stories for This American Life and had a show on CBS Radio. Join Jonathan for road trips, thorny reunions, and difficult conversations as he revisits the past and recounts each episode with plenty of gumption, vulnerability, impeccable comic timing, and a love for the absurd. You won't be sorry you did. 

Gateway episode: #9, Milt 

Start Up

A podcast about what it's really like to start a business. Narrated by one of the most lovable personalities around, Start Up was our first podcast love, even before Serial! (Sidebar... there is a new ABC sitcom--Alex, Inc.--loosely based on this podcast, with Zach Braff as the lead.)

Gateway episode: You have to start at the very beginning, episode 1, season 1; we were hooked in the first few minutes.

Dirty John

A true crime podcast, reported and hosted by LA Times writer Christopher Gofford, lays out the very dark story of a romance gone totally awry. Sit tight and get ready for one of modern history's creepiest love stories.

Gateway episode: #1, without a doubt.

10% Happier with Dan Harris

A self-proclaimed fidgety skeptic, Dan Harris (formerly an ABC news anchor) talks about meditation in a compelling, humorous, self-affronting, educated, and very honest way. Can you be ambitious and still strive for enlightenment? (What even is enlightenment?!) Harris is a work in progress, as we all are, and is able to inspire thought and curiosity into the practice of meditation. Guided, short meditations are offered.

Gateway episode: Jump right in. Om. 

The Goop Podcast

Big surprise, Gwyneth Paltrow is poised and ready to conquer new territory, to emblazon the GP moniker on a whole new frontier... podcasts. Here she is, in full Gwyneth-glory, hosting with her signature style, interviewing the biggest "gets" on the interview circuit (think Oprah), educating listeners on topics ranging from women's hormonal issues to spirituality. For whatever the reason, we like most others, cannot turn away. More, more, more. We love her, we really do.

Gateway episode: Join in wherever, whenever

 

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