Friday, January 22

On My Radar: Culture Highlights From Gretchen Rubin | Culture

secondorn in 1965, Gretchen Rubin is a best-selling author and speaker who grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. Best known for writing on happiness and wellness topics, she published The happiness project in 2009 and more recently Outerine order, inner calm in 2019. His podcast, Happier with Gretchen, which he co-hosts with his sister Elizabeth Craft, has won multiple awards, including a Webby earlier this year. She lives in New York with her husband and two daughters.

1. Music

Mule Skinner Blues by Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton.
Dolly Parton – ‘a secular saint’. Photograph: ABC Photo Archives / Walt Disney Television / Getty Images

I ran into her at random, this old song, almost singing, covered by Dolly Parton in 1970. It’s a country classic and has this chorus of “hey”: if you need a ride, it will make you happy. I love Dolly Parton. I feel like she’s one of the few universals. All the books that you have donated over the years to her. Imagination library… She has done so much for the people of her state and country, and now the world with her donations for vaccine research. She is a secular saint, in a way.

2. Podcast

Twenty thousand hertz

Illustration from the Twenty Thousand Hertz podcast website showing a man walking down the street listening to the sounds around him.
Twenty Thousand Hertz podcast: ‘explore noise and special effects’.

One of the ways I remove my restless energy from all the Zoom meetings and don’t travel is by taking long walks around Central Park while listening to a great podcast. I love this one. Beautifully produced, it’s about the power of hearing, exploring noise pollution, special effects in movies, etc. It really piqued my sense of hearing and my appreciation of the auditory world, and made me much more aware.

3. Fiction

Wild Seed by Octavia E Butler

Author Octavia Butler poses with some of her novels in the Seattle University Bookstore.
Author Octavia Butler at the Seattle College Bookstore. Photograph: Joshua Trujillo / AP

Nothing makes me happier than meeting an exciting new author. I love science fiction and this year I discovered Octavia E Butler. Wild seed it is the first one [chronologically] in his Patternist series. It is a science fiction fantasy and makes you think about human nature and history. The four books cover freedom, control, science, history, all the big topics. Some are about slavery, others about mind control, and alien species that control other species. Each one can be alone, but I read them all and in the preferred order.

4. TV

Russian Doll (Netflix)

NatashLynnene in Russian Doll.
NatashLynnene in Russian Doll. Photography: Netflix

It is a dramatic comedy about the meaning of life and relationships. The main character is a game developer who keeps dying and reliving his 36th birthday and slowly begins to understand his own life. It seems like the story would end quickly, but they have figured out a way to blow it up and that’s really amazing. NatashLynnene stars in, and she created it with Amy Poehler anLeslieye Headland, an eminent creative team. It’s very exhilarating and incredibly binge-friendly – I loved it so much I saw it twice!

5. Place

Metropolitan Art Museum

A visitor wearing a mask at A New Look at Old Masters, a newly installed gallery of European paintings, oDecember 10, 202120, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Visitor to A New Look at Old Masters, a newly installed European painting gallery, oDecember 10, 202120, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Photograph: Timothy A Clary / AFP / Getty Images

In early 2020, I decided that I would visit the Met every day. And I did until it closed in March due to Covid, but now it is open again, only five days a week and with reduced hours, but it feels like a pleasure after not being able to go for so long. They are very careful to make sure that people don’t crowd. It’s their 150th anniversary and this was supposed to be a great year of celebration, with the show Doing the Met 1870-2020, full of all the greatest hits.

6. Non-fiction

Roxane Gay Hunger

Author Roxane Gay.
Author Roxane Gay – ‘A Powerful Voice’. Photograph: Jennifer Silverberg / The Guardian

These are the memoirs of American writer Roxane Gay about her relationship to heweight, andnd she is so inquisitive that it really makes you think about your own identity, expression, and relationships. Gay’s struggle with his weight has been an important element in his life and identity. The book looks at that and also tries to understand his childhood. Gay has such a powerful voice. I read a few things about her and I follow her on Twitter, where she is very funny, but I feel like this was the most profound. It’s a super compelling read.

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