Staff Picks: Flavorwire’s Favorite Cultural Things This Week

By
Share:

Need a great book to read, album to listen to, or TV show to get hooked on? The Flavorwire team is here to help: in this weekly feature, our editorial staffers each recommend the cultural object or experience they’ve enjoyed the most in the past seven days. Click through for our picks, and tell us what you’ve been loving in the comments.

My Education by Susan Choi

After the crushing disappointment that was James Salter’s All That Is — which you should only read if you prefer pretty descriptions of landscapes and meals to characters with any internal life — I was thrilled to jump into Susan Choi’s fourth novel, which sucked me in immediately and which I have neglected even my Orange Is the New Black addiction to plow through. Choi begins with a familiar setup: a precocious new grad student at a prestigious university (that is obviously Cornell) becomes infatuated with a superhumanly handsome professor notorious for his sexual exploits with students. You think you know where it’s going from there, but you don’t. Aside from an unexpected early plot twist, what I love about My Education is its unusual protagonist, a highly intelligent woman who, despite her young age and student status and relative inexperience, is keenly aware of the sexual politics of academia and the role she plays in them. — Judy Berman, Editor-in-Chief

David Sedaris on WTF With Marc Maron

I’m a couple of weeks behind on my podcasts — as I always am — but I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed David Sedaris’s recent appearance on Marc Maron‘s WTF podcast. Sedaris is someone we hear so often by himself, reading his pieces on the radio or on audiobooks, that it’s sort of fun just to hear him interacting with another person. But beyond that, he’s charming and delightful, explaining exactly why he likes to do his hours-long book-signing sessions, and the joy he gets from reading his work and getting the feedback so sorely missed when he’s writing. And that’s where the episode gets really interesting — when these two very different comic performers talk about the common ground of working out material and figuring out how to make people laugh. — Jason Bailey, Film Editor

Hannah and Her Sisters (dir. Woody Allen)

I haven’t had a chance to see his new film yet, but I watched Woody Allen’s Hannah and Her Sisters for the hundredth time the other day, and realized that the scene where the architect takes Dianne Wiest and Carrie Fisher on a tour of his favorite New York buildings is maybe one of my absolute favorite scenes from any of Allen’s films. — Jason Diamond, Literary Editor

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQ4o1N4ksyQ]

Impregnated With Wonder by Pete Holmes

Pete Holmes is most famous for engaging comedy all-stars in philosophical discussions on his fantastic podcast You Made It Weird, but I’ve only recently discovered he’s a great comedian in his own right. As an interviewer, Holmes is soft-spoken and inquisitive, but on stage, he’s basically ten years old, and his 2011 debut Impregnated With Wonder captures this perfectly. What really sets Holmes apart from other comedians is his complete lack of self-consciousness: his comedy is less about getting a reaction than it is simply about what he thinks is funny. This album also made me realize that a few years ago, I actually saw Holmes perform some of these bits (such as standout “Google and Not Knowing,” which has stayed in my brain ever since) in front of a small crowd at Brooklyn comedy show Big Terrific. But Holmes’ audience is sure to get a lot bigger this year: his cult following from You Made It Weird helped him score a talk show on TBS this fall, and he just put out his second album, Nice Try, The Devil. Listen to both of his releases and prepare yourself for the reign of Pete Holmes. — Sarah Fonder, Editorial Apprentice

Very Recent History by Choire Sicha

Very Recent History is an odd book, and reading it was an odd experience. Not only has Choire Sicha been one of my heroes and someone whose writing style I have tried (and mostly failed) to imitate, he’s someone I’ve had the luck of knowing in real life. I’ve been eagerly awaiting his first book (the rest of you will have to wait until August 6), and I read it over the weekend in less than 24 hours. Following the lives of real young men in New York, the majority of whom work in media (a fact that is not necessarily provided within the book’s pages, as their company and city are anonymous), the book has already been defined as an example of a new wave of writing called post-fiction. What is so commendable about the novel is that it is an unapologetic look at a very small sector of New York City, one that is no doubt as impacted by the looming financial crisis and the overwhelming reality of inequality as any other marginalized group living within the five boroughs. — Tyler Coates, Deputy Editor