Things I’m Loving: November 2014 Edition

Trying something new: every month, I read a lot of books, watch a lot of TV and sometimes a movie or two, listen to music, and, as of last week, even listen to podcasts (or rather, a podcast). This month, a few of these little tidbits of pop culture really left a lasting impression on me, so this post is to honor them and hopefully inspire you to check out some cool stuff.

1) Yes Please by Amy Poehler. I added this book to my Amazon wish list the second I heard Amy was writing one, and it did not disappoint. Yes Please features a different topic, theme, or time in Amy’s life in each chapter- there is one about her friendship with Tina Fey, one about her children, one about Parks and Rec, and a few about her early days as a comedienne and time on SNL. Every story is told with a surprising and refreshing amount of candor. It is honest, inspiring, and laugh-out-loud funny. One example of a joke from early in the book that cracked me up: “today ‘twilight sleep’ is when you pass out on your bed while looking at paparazzi photos of Robert Pattinson eating an omelet.” This is but one of many hilarious moments in what is a very fast and enjoyable read that will only endear you to Ms. Poehler more, something I didn’t even think was possible. It is available on Amazon here.

2) Serial podcast. Confession: I had never listened to a podcast in my life prior to last week. They had just never really been of interest to me. But when I started seeing essentially my entire Twitter feed buzzing about Serial, I decided to dust off the podcast app on my phone and check it out. For those who don’t know, Serial was created by 2 producers of This American Life, Sarah Koenig (who also hosts) and Julie Snyder, and each season will tell one story broken up into weekly episodes, much like a television drama or radio shows of the past. Season one follows a true crime case, although Koenig has said future seasons will not necessarily fall within that genre. In 1999, a girl named Hae Min Lee, a senior at Baltimore County’s Woodlawn High School, was murdered and found buried in a shallow grave in a park. Her ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, was convicted of her murder and has been in jail for the past 15 years serving a life sentence. A family friend of Adnan’s brought his story to Koenig, who quickly became fascinated and launched her own investigation. Adnan has maintained his innocence since day one, but was put in jail largely thanks to cell phone records and the sketchy and frequently changing testimony of his friend Jay, who told police Adnan asked him to help bury Hae’s body. The fascinating thing is that the producers claim their investigation is still very much a work in progress, and themselves do not know when or how it will end and if there will even BE a resolution. There have been 8 episodes so far, with new ones being released every Thursday morning. Go listen and tell me your theories, because I just can’t get enough.

3) 1989 by Taylor Swift. I feel like I am outing myself here. Yes, I listen to Taylor Swift. I think Red in particular is a damn good album. Say what you want about Miss TayTay, but her songs are catchy as hell and her lyrics in particular really pack a punch. 1989, which has set all kinds of sales records since its release a couple of weeks ago, is definitely a departure for her. Her country roots are barely audible, and some tracks are too synth-heavy for my liking, but overall I find the album to be cohesive and a lot of fun with some real standout songs (“Blank Space”, “Wildest Dreams”, and “Out of the Woods” are my three current favorites. I hate myself a little bit for the last one). I can’t help but yearn for a great, country-ish ballad like Red’s “All Too Well”, which I firmly believe to be TayTay’s best song to date. Look, I’m really glad she has FINALLY moved on from Jake Gyllenhaal and seems to be in a much happier place now, but for my own personal enjoyment I miss the angst a little bit.

4) The Mindy Project. I am downright annoying about my love for this show. Every week since season one I have tweeted some version of “why is everyone not watching this.” I am proud to say I have converted several friends to Mindyism already, but I will not rest until everyone checks out what I firmly believe to be one of the best sitcoms currently on TV. This season is, in my opinion, their best yet, and they are especially killing it on the guest star front. Rhea Perlman, Niecy Nash, Shonda Rhimes,  and Allison Tolman have already had memorable turns, and today it was announced that Lee Pace, a personal favorite of mine, will be appearing in an upcoming episode. Today Fox announced that in addition to the mere 15 episodes they initially ordered for season 3, they are adding 6 more! Considering Mindy has been a bubble show since the beginning, this is really promising news and should give you even more of a reason to check the show out.

Are you also loving any of these things? Do you have other recommendations for me, or theories about Serial? Leave a comment. I don’t bite.

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