Welcome back for another installment of Literary Cuisine, the weekly blog series which recounts entertainment I consumed this week that was delicious!
1: Up Yours, Downstairs (Podcast)
Possibly my favorite podcast of all time, Up Yours, Downstairs is a Downton Abbey podcast full of in-depth discussion and recap, and plenty of snark. Now that the popular ITV/PBS show has come to a close, hosts Tom and Kelly are finishing up their show with just as many laughs as their first episode. What makes this podcast among the best is the hosts ability to give serious commentary while also not taking the show too seriously. They are aware of Downton’s weaknesses but also recognize where the show strives. Plus, they are hilarious. I can’t begin to explain just how funny these two hosts are. Just about every time I listen I crack up. No other podcast has made me laugh on a consistent basis and no other podcast has managed to stay as consistent as this one. On another note, the hosts also go beyond just typical recaps with segments such as “Tom Repeats History” and “Fashion Backwards.” Both are extremely informative and always fun. This is the perfect podcast to binge listen to. What’s that you ask? You’ve never watched Downton Abbey? Well, I would recommend you watch it just to listen to this podcast. When it comes down to it, Downton only amounts to being simply an okay show. But Up Yours, Downstairs is brilliant. Hell with NPR. This is what we should be listening to. Check them out on iTunes or at this link!
2: theSkimm (News/Email)
Sick of TV news? Want something that keeps you informed but doesn’t take a lot of your time? Then look no further than theSkimm, the daily email service that arrives at your inbox every weekday morning. I subscribed to this service a few months ago after consistently searching for a credible news source. Every morning when I get ready for work, I am subjected to Fox News via my mother. I can’t stand it. One plus for theSkimm is that it isn’t bias. It reports just the news and what is important. That is it. Another huge plus is that theSkimm is quick and painless. I read it every morning in what seems like no time at all. In 5 minutes or less, I am much more informed about the world around me. And not only that, but there are links littered throughout the email if I want to read more about any news story. But my favorite thing about theSkimm is how important they treat politics. The emails keep me informed on the political waters and even have a link to a political timeline for this year’s presidential election. It is a huge help. If you want to receive emails from theSkimm, click here!
3: Big City by Evan Puschak (Book)
If you haven’t heard of Evan Puschak, you probably don’t realize who he is. He is known by another name on YouTube, the Nerd Writer. The Nerd Writer’s YouTube videos are weekly video essays that put ideas to work, according to the about page. In short, these videos are incredible. The content is incredible and every single video is made with the highest quality standards. After watching the majority of Evan’s videos, I decided to go and support him on Patreon. In his entrance video, Evan described how he had decided he wanted to be a novelist in college. Me being an avid reader, I quickly went to Google and found one of Evan’s books called Big City. I quickly bought it. What I found was an incredible piece of literature. Evan’s writing style reminded me of one of my favorite books, Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle. The descriptions were so detailed and vivid and the story was extremely engaging. The plot was laid out with such precise intricacy and style. All I can say is, read it. You won’t be sorry! Buy the book here!
4: The Happy Maladies (Music)
As I have gotten older, I have become increasingly aware of music that seems to only be enjoyed by those with an acquired taste. It was Mumford and Sons that originally made me search for other bands of the like and before I knew it, I was listening to music with such rich quality and unique sounds that I hardly knew myself. You would have never caught me listening to some of the crazy stuff I listen to now 5 years ago. The Happy Maladies have to be the craziest band that I have ever added to my iPod. Now let me just state, I have known about this band for years. I heard about them through a childhood friend, whose older brother is in the band. Originally, their music didn’t appeal to me. But I randomly decided to check them out on iTunes last week and fell in love, buying 2 of their records. There are plenty of words I can use to describe the Happy Maladies. Intricate, obscure, folksie…at times their music reminds me of The Phantom of the Opera and at others I hear the Beatles. I imagine them playing their music around a big campfire, surrounded by a huge community of people laughing and singing along. Now that the warm weather is returning, I listen to their music with the windows open and let it wash over me like the afternoon sun. I’ve only listened to their albums twice through but I can’t wait to dive in more and more and pick apart what makes these guys so amazing! They are truly unlike anything I have ever heard and that is amazing! Check them out on iTunes or buy their newest album here.
5: I Am Becoming by Propaganda (Poetry)
I’ve never been a rap person. The style of music just never appealed to me. Growing up, rap was the dirty music our parents warned us to stay away from. Our youth group encouraged us to listen to KJ-52, not Eminem. While KJ isn’t the greatest, it was his music that put the idea in my head that rap wasn’t from Satan. I know that statement is ridiculous but it was the environment I grew up in. As I got older, I yearned for rappers to emerge who were Christian but weren’t trying to shove a message down their listeners throats. I wanted to see a Christian, for once, display artistic integrity. And that is when I found Propaganda. Propaganda is unapologetic, literary, and random. His music is a combination of rap and spoken word, which makes sense because his lyrics ring closer to poetry than any rap I have ever heard. His honesty is so refreshing and powerful. Naturally, when I heard he had released a book of poetry, I knew I had to buy it. Propaganda is the real deal. Reading this book made me feel alive. It made me want to devour more poetry. It forced me to reread lines over and over again not because I had to but because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be truly experiencing this incredible book. Every time I finished a poem, I would sit and stare out the window and briefly reflect on what it meant to my own life. I guess great poetry does that. Plus, the book has some unique and powerful images placed throughout. Buy the book here.
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