Thursday, March 16, 2023

Broken Attention Span Theater
I've talked on this topic before, about how I think the Pandemic broke my brain a little. Or, if not broke it, at least rewired it some. There's probably a lot of people who feel the same. Maybe I would have arrived at the same place I am now regardless of the Pandemic, but who knows?

Before 2020, I was mainly a written word consumer. Books (e-books or printed ones), short stories, magazines, etc. But sometime during the worst of the shut downs, I couldn't concentrate on books so well anymore. I still craved stories, though, so I discovered a new passion for audio media because it allowed me to consume stories AND be physically active at the same time, which is how I dealt with the lockdown, and how I've handled the stress of life-in-general ever since.

None of this is new information to anyone who knows me. So, why am I talking about it again? It's because this is a rambling lead-in for a list of recommendations. These are some stories in various formats that I've recently enjoyed, despite my broken attention span. Maybe you'll enjoy them too, broken attention span or not.

First up is a Born Again, a Dare Devil comic series by Frank Miller that was recommended by fellow ATB Blogger, Victor Catano. I just finished it, and even though I have some complaints about how Karen Page was treated (Frank Miller has made some problematic remarks over the years and is kinda notorious for being hard on his female characters), it still totally hooked me. Also, my local library had the digital version so I could read it for free. I started it during a recent trip out of town and found it easy to read in short bits and bites and even while sitting in a noisy airport. I liked it so much I've already downloaded Miller's Batman: Year One to read next (also available at my local library). I also bought Sandman: Season of Mists because I hear that's what the second season of Netflix's Sandman series is going to be based on, and I like knowing the source material before I watch the show. Also, I have loved all of three of the Sandman productions currently on Audible and look forward to spending more time with Dream and his family of the Endless.

Next on my list is a book (which I'm recommending in audio format, of course) by a long time favorite author, Deanna Raybourn.  I first became Raybourn's fan with her Lady Julia Gray series, a mixture of Victorian mystery/who-done-it and slow-burn romance. Her latest book, however, is quite different. Mostly contemporary, but with flashbacks to the main character's younger years, Killers of a Certain Age is refreshingly novel for the sake of featuring four women in their sixties. But instead of the Golden Girls, they're trained assassins who were hoping for a quiet and peaceful retirement until an attempted assassination plot (in which they are the targets) forces them back into action. 

It was so compelling, thrilling, funny, endearing, and, sadly unique, that I listened to it almost non-stop. I say "sadly unique" because really there should be more older women kicking ass books and movies out there. I hope this inspires a new trend.

Another format I have come to enjoy and really appreciate is Podcasts. Back in October I blogged about some of my favorite spooky and/or Horror Blogs:

Now, I'll share some of my favorite podcasts that have nothing to do with Halloween and are good any time of the year:

First up is "Scamfluencers". "In today’s world, the power of influence can be the quickest path to money and fame, and it often ends in ruin. These are the stories of the world’s most insidious Scamfluencers. And we are their prey." The stories are jaw dropping, but best of all are the cohosts Scaachi Koul and Sarah Hagi. They are funny, smart, clever, and really good at putting these episodes together in a compelling way withtidbits and descriptions that help you picture every shocking detail.

Next is "This American Life" which is, yes, the same show that appears on NPR. But I don't listen to NPR as much these days as I used to, and podcasts are a good way to get some of my favorite NPR shows in a central collection. Though, I admit that sometimes I am reluctant to listen because, I swear, there is always at lest one story (This American Life is usually a collection of real-life, real-people, true short stories that all share a central theme for each particular episode) that will make me cry.  

My last recommendation from this post, another spin-off from NPR that is also liable to make me cry but it could also make me laugh or teach me something I never new before, is Mobituaries, hosted by Mo Rocca who often appears on CBS Sunday Morning (I'm officially old now because I admit to loving CBS Sunday Morning) and as a regular guest on Wait Wait Don't Tell Me (a "game show" of current events on NPR). I've always liked Mo and the way he tells stories, so it's no surprise I love his podcast: "Every Wednesday, hear fresh takes on famous legacies and uncover people worthy of their overdue moment in the spotlight. Even if you know the names, you’ve never understood why they matter until now!"

One of my most favorite epsiodes was one about Samantha Smith, a young American girl who unexpectedly charmed the people of Cold War, Soviet Era USSR and became an accidental U.S. diplomat:

No comments:

Blogger Template by Designer Blogs