This Tiny Desk concert is really making me want to see Typhoon live. There’s just so much musicality there.
This Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Tiny Desk concert has become my tech weekend soundtrack.
#26: Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan.
Levithan, you’ve done it again. I was skeptical about how the action of a record-breaking kiss would drive this novel. I mean, two of the protagonists are lip-locked the entire novel — upwards of 32 hours — and we don’t have an ear on their inner monologue. But incorporating a chorus of gay men lost to AIDS as narrator and panning between three or four teenaged protagonists dealing with varying levels of prejudice, Levithan tells a compelling and truly beautiful story about falling in and out of love.
#27: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick.
I met Matthew Quick at the Library of Congress National Book Festival half-way through reading this book. His signing line was surprisingly short, so Quick was really taking the time to talk to everyone who put a book in front of him. I told him I was a writer myself and that I really related to something that he’d said in his talk earlier that afternoon — he’d mentioned that he’s a voice-oriented writer. He follows where those characters in his head tell him to go.
The trust that Quick puts in his characters really pays off here. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is really fantastic. The entire book takes place over the course of a day and every little bit of this troubled teenager’s thought process is incorporated into the storytelling. I feel like anything I could say about the novel would be giving something away, so all I can say is this: trust me. You need to read this book.
#28: In Praise of Messy Lives by Katie Roiphe.
This book came to me as a recommendation from my friend Gus. He’d read it on a flight from San Francisco to DC (we’re both transplants from California) and said that Roiphe reminded him of me. Like I did, Gus latched onto Roiphe’s commentary on how society views unconventional parenting and the pity so often associated with families of circumstances and women who choose to raise their children without a father.
Others may point out her essay on Mad Men, or one where she talks about how authors write about sex, but the essay that had the most resonance for me was one where she reflects on a joke her then-husband made about what she wrote under “occupation” on her travel visa. “Housewife.” It’s a really great read.
#29: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.
Rowell may be my new favorite YA author. Eleanor and Park is one of the best books I’ve read all year — her writing is observant and her characters’ voices always feel just right. While Fangirl is a much lighter novel, I actually really enjoyed it. Not life-changing, but nuanced. And it’s a pretty quick read. I’d recommend it if you’re looking for something pseudo-light to read.
YOU GUYS!! It’s ALIVE! The NPR Book Concierge is at your service — see what we’ve been working on the past few months, and more importantly, see our favorite books of 2013 in a fantastic new clickable searchable playable-with format.
(If you really, REALLY miss our lists, here’s why we decided to do something a little different this year)
NPR’s Book Concierge is my new favorite thing.
This morning, WMATA unveiled platform ads featuring the following dialogue:
Woman 1: A Metrobus travels about 8,260 miles between breakdowns. Didn’t know that, did you?
Woman 2: Can’t we just talk about shoes?
WMATA, saying that I’m disappointed in you would be an understatement.
Without technology, the human body is a pretty proscribed instrument. We cannot write without a pen or pencil, nor eat hot soup without a bowl and, perhaps, a spoon.
And yet, only certain technologies are labeled “assistive technologies”: hearing aids, prostheses, wheelchairs. But surely our pens and pencils, bowls and spoons assist us as well. The human body is not very able all on its own.
My curiosity about how we think about these camps of “normal” and “assistive” technologies brought me to Sara Hendren, a leading thinker and writer on adaptive technologies and prosthetics. Her wonderful site, Abler, was recently syndicated by Gizmodo. I talked to her about why crutches don’t look cool, where the idea of “normal” comes from, and whether the 21st century might bring greater understanding of human diversity.