Some Content to Help You Get Through … Whatever

January 2020

watch listen read logoI spent a lot of the last two weeks of 2020 catching up on content. That is, I finally got to books, blogs, podcasts, television shows and movies I’d long ignored. So, I figured I’d open a new year of Twirling Tiger Tales with some recommendations for what to consume in the coming days or weeks—whether you find yourself swept up in a coronavirus surge or just in need of creative inspiration.

Watch: Death to 2020

Critical reviews aside, I laughed out loud (with fluid-filled lungs, no less) while watching this mockumentary on the year we all will love to hate for generations to come. There are some clever turns that likely get lost on those who prefer comedy and commentary be more obvious, less obtuse. Or, maybe for some the weaving of fact-based fictitious characters with archival clips is just too soon. Still, given how Hollywood had to create content this year, I’m impressed with this one currently airing on Netflix.

Listen: “America’s Hottest Talkline”

I listened to a lot of podcasts this year. A lot. My favorite series were Tim Harford’s latest season of Cautionary Tales and Season Four (The History of Now) of Krissy Clark’s The Uncertain Hour. Both provided different takes on the pandemic (at the time they originally aired, at least) with surprising depth and the occasional dollop of despair.

But the single episode that stuck with me for months is “America’s Hottest Talkline” on the wildly popular Reply All. As with every episode, the show opens with a mystery or quest. Emmanuel Dzotsi made his co-host debut with a tale arising from a phone tip about a little-known scandal. There are twists and turns before the story ends with one of the most poignant moments I heard all year. To this day, remembering the ending makes me tear up. And remember: podcasts are meant to be heard, not read.

Read: “My Year in Takeout Orders”

Like many who kept their jobs this year, our family ordered a lot more takeout and restaurant deliveries to help keep our neighbors in business. Both my husband and I enjoy cooking, but for a while there it was nice to peruse online menus and eat decent leftovers for days. I never thought to tell the story of 2020 through our eating habits, but I’m really glad Bryan Washington did. His piece for the New Yorker is a gem and immediately made me want to order his latest book so I could read more by him.

We all have high expectations for 2021, even if we aren’t starting it off any differently from when the previous year ended. We’ll get there eventually. Until then, may your days, weeks and months be filled with rich, engaging, and even life-changing creative content in all media and manners of expression.

Stay safe,