From their disclosed locations, Kate, Eric, and Daya report on the new normal: cooking, enclosure, and a changed perspective on doing nothing. One thing they all agree on, it's a good time to give Jenny Odell another listen, so...
Jenny Odell, author of How To Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy, joins co-hosts Medaya Ocher and Kate Wolf to asses the state of the human soul in the age of social media reproduction. The verdict is clear: we need strategies of resistance. Constantly tracked and hunted by the digital panopticon, we have no time for reverie, reflection, letting go, or just being. We desperately need Nothing, which is everything. Jenny shares details of her own liberation.
Also, Susan Straight, author of In The Country of Women, returns to honor Toni Morrison by sharing how she has read her favorite book every single year since she was twelve, Morrison's luminous second novel, Sula.
"There's so much there, and it's so fascinating" observes co-host Kate Wolf after Lyra Kilston opens this week's podcast with a summary of her new book Sun Seekers: The Cure of California. Kate might as well be talking about the entire history, brief yet spectacular, of Southern California. This week's show unveils another of the spectacular paradoxes that define the rise of the Golden State Paradise/Dystopia - the relationship between California Modernism to European Sanatorium culture. If you've ever marveled at the modern architectural jewels that dot the LA landscape; and fantasized about a refined European ex-pat community that built them - prepare to have your dreams recast (in the best SoCal tradition!). Lyra spins fascinating tales that will challenge your understanding of LA history, in dialogue with Kate and Eric Newman.
Also, Hanif Abdurraqib returns to recommend Harmony Holiday's new book of poetry, A Jazz Funeral for Uncle Tom.
Kate and Medaya talk to longtime journalist Joshua Hammer about his most recent book, The Falcon Thief: A True Tale of Adventure, Treachery, and the Hunt for the Perfect Bird. Joshua discusses the strange story of notorious egg smuggler, Jeffery Lendrum, and the wildlife detective who pursued him, as well as the larger repercussions of wildlife poaching, climate change and the global animal trade.
Also, writer and producer Samantha Culp drops by to recommend a timely book, A Journal of the Plague Year, a catalogue from an exhibition of the same name, looking back on the SARS outbreak of 2003.
...and now for something completely difficult. We are inaugurating a new project, the "Best of..." series. Inspired by our annual holiday season "Best of..." special, in which Eric, Kate, and Daya pick their faves from the previous year; the new series differs in one significant way, each episode is organized around one theme - today's is Difficult Women. So, expect to be challenged and meta-challenged! The show opens with a brief discussion about the new series; then Kate explains what inspired her to propose this week's theme; followed by three sets of three engaging discussions about three difficult women - "thrice to thine and thrice to mine / And thrice again. to make up nine."