Best books and podcasts for the month of April
The following list is a collection of book and podcast recommendations from The F-Word members. As the end of the semester approaches, we hope that everyone can find something on this list to help them explore some blooming interests.
Many of us have heard of this masterpiece or the eponymous movie, but in case you haven’t, we encourage you to check out this spooky book! So many of our members listed it as one of their must-reads, and our Managing Director Kennedy Crowder called it a perfect story for those of you who might enjoy a “disturbing plot with incredibly vivid imagery told through the eyes of a child.”
This dark fantasy children’s novella written by British author Neil Gaiman — a critically acclaimed and award-winning author — tells the story of a girl named Coraline who just moved to a new area with her family, but finds a door that leads to a magical world (or so she thought). It took a turn when this second world had another mother and father who wanted to keep her. She ultimately has to use all of her wit to not only save herself and go back home, but to also save other children who have been captured.
If you are interested in reading a uniquely structured book with cultural myth interwoven into real-world stories based on the experience of a Chinese American woman, “The Woman Warrior” is for you.
The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston combines stories of her childhood in California and her mother’s youth in rural China with folklore, legend, and myth. She splits her book into sections where she discusses traditional Chinese ideals of womanhood, family, and conformity. She shares her own family’s truths, experiences of dealing with racism and her anger towards not being able to combat it, her mother’s story as an immigrant, and so much more.
According to Goodreads reviews, her work is incredibly well structured, a form of “breathtaking art”, and overall an “extraordinary book.” If you like beautiful writing and want to learn more about the adventures of this brave woman, this is the perfect book for you!
Juan Gabriel Vasquez is a Colombian author, considered to be one of South America’s greatest literary stars. In this award-winning novel, Juan Gabriel Vasquez has decided to create a story highlighting the widespread pain of Pablo Escobar’s influence on Colombia, specifically to those not directly tied to his illegal trafficking. This novel, set in 2009, follows the memories of a law professor named Antonio Yammara. Antonio lost a friend named Ricardo, who was killed by gunshot, and he spends the majority of the novel trying to figure out the reason behind his death, while continuing to learn more about his own family’s experience under Escobar’s influence. In this masterpiece, Juan Gabriel dissects Pablo Escobar’s legacy in Colombia while keeping readers entertained and at the edge of their seats.
One of the most heartbreaking yet beautiful books I have ever read in my 18 years of life. It is so much more than a simple romance book. It really illustrates the dark side of humanity and relationships.
If you are looking to cry in one chapter and smile in another, It Ends With Us will do just that. This novel follows Lily Bloom, a hard-working woman who tries to escape her childhood by moving to Boston, where she encounters Ryle Kincaid, a dashing neurosurgeon.
Their relationship is perfect in the beginning, but questions about her relationship begin to rise and overwhelm Lily. There is one piece of her past she never forgets and that is Atlas Corrigan, her first love. When he suddenly reappears, Lily’s life becomes a rollercoaster. This novel is the depiction of vulnerability, darkness, heartbreak, but also love, strength, and hope. Please check trigger warnings before reading this. This book will not disappoint!
If you are already not one of the weekly 2 million listeners of the podcast “This American Life,” we would love to recommend it. This podcast, with over 700 episodes, has been on air since 1995 and it is hosted by Ira Glass. Not only have they sun off multiple podcast series (e.g. Serial, S-Town, The Improvement Association, etc), but they even branched out to their own TV version of the radio show, how cool right?
This podcast revolves around journalism, specifically the “entertaining kind of journalism that’s built around plot.” According to their website, this show is an “experiment.” They have episodes where they taped an all-night restaurant for 24 hours, where they wandered around Paris with David Sedaris, where they explained the 2008 economic collapse, and so much more. Thus, if you are looking for an informative podcast that you will certainly not fall asleep while listening to, this is for you! As our Editor-in-Chief Jessica Bao said, this podcast is an “oldie but a goodie.”
If There has always been controversy when it comes to astrology, the “Moon Matters Podcast” by Dalanah proves everyone wrong. She utilizes her previous experience in the sciences to help educate people interested in interpreting and learning about their celestial imprint. Dalanah is a Hellenistic Astrologer, Stoic Philosopher, and a formally trained scientist (she received her Bachelor’s Degree in biology)! For this podcast be ready to learn more about your chart, the various houses, electional charts, and even mythology.
Do you consider yourself a writer? Or perhaps you simply want to start writing? The “Start With This” podcast from Night Vale Studios is the perfect podcast for any writing enthusiast. The creators Jeffrey Cranor and Joseph Fink believe that the only bad writing is not writing. This podcast will help your creative juices flow and put your ideas in motion. Each episode centers around a writing topic and they give the listeners two short assignments: something to consume and something to create. This podcast is just the beginner’s guide needed to help create anything and continue making more.
Volcanoes. Trees. Drunk butterflies. Mars missions. Slug sex. Death. Beauty standards. Anxiety busters. Beer science. Bee drama. Take away a pocket full of science knowledge and charming, bizarre stories about what fuels ologist’s obsessions in “Ologies” by Alie Ward. In each episode, Alie Ward discusses with varying “ologists” from distinct scientific fields in weekly episodes and asks these smart people “stupid questions” where the answers might just change your life. As of February 2021, there have been more than 50 million downloads of the podcast.
You are obsessed with all things crime-related. It started out as a side hobby but now you have this true-crime-shaped-hole in your life that no amount of radio segments, podcasts, or documentaries can fill. And the more true crime media you consume the more you crave it. Well, then you are a Crime Junkie! This podcast — hosted by Ashley Flowers and Brit — is a weekly true crime podcast dedicated to giving you (a Crime Junkie) a fix. Every Monday, Ashley Flowers will tell you about whatever crime she’s been obsessing over as if she was your best friend. The storytelling each episode provides is so straightforward and free of rabbit holes so the cases can be as suspenseful and easy to follow as possible. If you can never get enough true crime, this podcast is for you!