Post-Vacation Reading and Listening List: Navigating Work Inbox Insanity Edition

Poppets! How I’ve missed you. Last week’s road trip through California was a good break away from screens, although next time instead of trying to cram three vacations into one (Sitting by the pool in Palm Springs! Visiting friends in LA! Harassing otters in Monterey!), I’ll likely pick one of those ideas and spend a whole week doing just that one thing. But it was a lovely time seeing this amazing state, stopping at cool places to charge the car (did you know Harris Ranch on I-5 has amazing BBQ that they serve out of their gas station? Who needs the restaurant when you can get brisket and mac and cheese whilst your electric car tops up?) and having the delightfully fleeting conversations with strangers on patios that I love so very much and have missed. 

So here are some bits of content I think you should consume, as I consumed them over the past week and therefore hope you’d like:

  • The Atmospherians by Alex McElroy - Oh my goodness, read this book, it’s an excellent debut novel about “a disgraced influencer and a struggling actor” who form “a cult designed to reform problematic men.” The novel deals with fame, mental health, eating disorders, personal narratives, online abuse, etc etc etc etc. I devoured it in a couple of days.

  • In God We Lust on Wondery - If you find the hypocrisy of those who infringe on the rights of others absolutely fascinating, you’ll looooooooove this podcast series on what must be the most insane story to come out of a multi-billion dollar-endowed Christian University that describes how the son of a hardcore fundamentalist evangelical Christian had a throuple with his wife and the pool boy that was partially funded by the school (private jets and fancy hotels on the university dime! Woooooo!) whilst students at his institution couldn’t hold hands in public or watch R-rated movies until 2015.

  • Plight of the Living Dead: What Real-Life Zombies Reveal About Our World--and Ourselves by Matt Simon - So if you don’t feel like losing sleep over the fact that wasps are basically the worst creatures on the planet and have figured out a way to lay their eggs in hapless bugs by injecting them with toxins that keep said bug alive and moving while the offspring of this horrid animal eat their host from the inside out, don’t read this book (FotM Kate, I’m looking at you.) But if you’re looking for irreverent and charming prose on how species have developed frighteningly creative forms of “villainy” to keep their lineages going, this book is super interesting AND a hoot to boot. But seriously, wasps are the worst.

  • The Turning: The Sisters Who Left on iHeart Radio - Should I be surprised that I am hardcore craving this episodic look at the cultish qualities of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity? Of course not. Does framing the weird rituals and habits (pun intended) of a religious order in terms of a high-demand organization completely shift what I think about a woman who was alive AND canonized in my lifetime? Yes. Am I grumpy there are only four episodes out and I have to wait for more? Yes. Yes I am.

  • SOUR by Olivia Rodrigo - Of course I bingelistened to this ode to teenage angst on loop whilst driving through the desert, belting along to ‘good 4 u’ at the top of my lungs. This album has major early aughts Avril vibes and this now-37-year-old is loving learning a few of the tune on guitar. Don’t @ me, haters ;) 

And thank you to everyone who sent birthday wishes on Sunday, I had a lovely weekend of brunches and lunches and coffees and BBQs with some of my favorite humans, so my heart and stomach are full. Thank god for modern science and the miracle of vaccines.

Be kind to each other, and drink some water, won’t you?

xoxo Amy