This article inaugurates a new category of articles on my blog (drum roll): the monthly favourites. In these articles, I’ll present some of my favourite things each month, and hope that it will also allow you to discover some cool stuff. I think it’s going to be more about culture than proper things, actually. I know, I’m very late for my June favourites, but I really wanted to do this article, as I have discovered some awesome things in June.
In June, I liked:
The bad news is that this podcast has just ended, after eight years of intensive broadcasting…. The good news? All the episodes are still available to download or listen to on the website, and there are a lot of them (390 to be specific). As you’ve probably guessed, this is a podcast about books, and it is soooo interesting!
It was created by two colleagues working in publishing (for Penguin Random House in the United States, I believe), Michael Kindness and Ann Kingman, and that’s probably the reason why this podcast is so interesting. The episodes are short but very well planned and full of fascinating information, from people who work in the industry and, therefore, have first-hand information and a very interesting point of view on various subjects related to books. Each episode focuses on a specific theme (Hardcover, Paperback, When Does It Matter?; Separating the Author from their Work; LGBTQ Lit…) and contains plenty of awesome book recommendations. My TBR list has definitely grown a lot thanks to this podcast. There’s also an interesting section in some of these episodes, called “Forget me not”, in which Ann and Michael talk about a classic book which should not be forgotten or that they recently discovered or rediscovered. Really really interesting.
Let’s stay in the podcasts category with Serial. (In case you wonder, yes, I have plenty of time to listen to podcasts during my work… ) This podcast is so addictive! I literally devoured the first season, in which journalist Sarah Koenig investigates the Hae Min Lee murder case – Hae Min Lee was a high school student from the Baltimore county who was murdered in 1999 – and the trial that followed and led to the conviction of Adnan Syed, her ex boyfriend, who has been in jail since then. Adnan Syed has always claimed he was innocent. As she investigates, Sarah Koenig realizes that there are many grey areas in Adnan’s story but also in the witnesses’ testimonies, in the way the trial was held… She went through everything (documents, trial testimonies, forensic evidence…) and spent hours on the phone with Adnan to try to understand what happened and whether Adnan did kill Hae Min Lee and was rightly convicted. This is absolutely fascinating. Not only is this case fascinating, Sarah Koenig is a also a real story-teller and she has one of the most pleasant voices ever, a real podcast voice. I’m currently listening to second season, which focuses on the story of Bowe Bergdah, a U.S. soldier who was a prisoner of the Talibans for five years. It’s a bit less good than the first season but still great. Check it out.
One of the best photography exhibition I have ever seen. Curated by British photographer Martin Parr, Strange and Familiar took place at the Barbican Centre, in London, from March to June 2016, and it will tour to Manchester from November 2016 to May 2017. If you’re living up North, you should really go to Manchester to see this exhibition, it’s very worthwhile. If you’re living in London but missed the exhibition, you can still get its wonderful catalogue, it’s a very pretty book (which I have been offered by my boyfriend, as we both adored the exhibition). This exhibition presents the works of 23 international photographers who have photographed the United Kingdom between the 1930’s to present time. It features, among others, the photographs of Swiss photographer Robert Frank, French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, American photographer Paul Strand etc. Some of these photographs are real gems. They’re funny, weird, shocking, with a strong social and/or political message, engaging or more neutral. In any case, they have caught my attention and I did fell in love with some of them. I also like the fact that they really represent the United Kingdom and not only London. You can find photos of all around the UK, from Brighton to Glasgow or mining towns in Wales. So yes, a very enjoyable exhibition which makes me feel like going to the Barbican Centre much more often!*
Making a Murderer (TV series)
I am pretty sure that everyone has already heard or seen this documentary series which, in 10 episodes, recounts the story of Steven Avery. It was broadcasted on Netflix last December and I had of course heard a lot about it then but, for some reason, I hadn’t watched it until now. And I literally binge-watched it, over 3 days max. If you’re living in a cave and have no idea what I am talking about, do not fear, your life is going to change soon because you are going to watch this series just after reading this article, that’s an order!
This series, filmed over 10 years, follows the tragic story of Steven Avery, a citizen from Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, in the United States, who spent 18 years in jail for a crime he didn’t commit – he was convicted for the rape of a Penny Beerntsen, who was raped on the beach near her house, in Wisconsin, in 1985. In 2003, DNA evidence reveled that Steven Avery was not guilty and that he had been wrongly convicted (as he had always claimed so), the real rapist being a serial rapist, Gregory Allen. The series focuses on the aftermath of Avery’s release in 2013. After his release, Steven Avery filed a $36 million civil lawsuit against Manitowoc County and the county officials who were in charge of the rape case. In 2005, a few days after the county officials’ hearings, a young photograph, Teresa Halbach, went missing. She was last seen at Avery’s salvage yard. Her bones were found on Steven’s Avery property, along with other evidence, some days later… Making a Murderer focuses mostly on the investigation of the murder by the Manitowoc County and the trial of Steven Avery and his nephew, Brandon Dassey. I can’t tell you more than this. Just watch it and you’ll see. Clearly, this documentary is not neutral. It is a very committed and engaging documentary that tries to demonstrate something and I must say that it brilliantly succeeds.
I’m going to stop here for my favourite of May-June. I hope this article made you feel like checking out some of the things I mentioned. Please let me know if you recently discovered some nice TV shows, books, podcasts, or others!