Photo: Tom Cherry, Suspense Radio Theater ad, FlickrThere are some psychological suspense books that are even better to listen to. 

Original photo: Alyssa L. MillerFinally -- a reason to celebrate insomnia.

Filmish bookjacketA picture is worth a thousand words, or so people say. If you’d like to learn about something but don’t necessarily want to read a big ol’ tome (or conversely, a short Wikipedia entry), there just might be an excellent graphic novel available that will tell you everything you want to know about a subject.

Interested in the history of film? Check out Filmish by Edward Ross. Not only did I learn about everything filmic, I also could congratulate myself onOut on the Wire bookjacket the huge number of movies I’ve watched over the years.

Do you spend your morning commute listening to podcasts? If you’re curious about the evolution of narrative radio stories (I’m talking to all you Serial fans out there), then check out Out on the Wire: Storytelling Secrets of the New Masters of Radio. Not only will you get the behind the scene action of podcasts, you might just be inspired to create your own radio program!

Ready to delve into other subjects through the world of comics? Take a look at this list of some very enlightening graphic novels.

Orient by bookjacketIt’s been a cold, wet, icy winter so far; the perfect time to curl up under the covers with a big, riveting book.

Here are three books I’ve been reading lately while curled up under my afghan:

Orient by Christopher Bollen. It’s 600 pages of intrigue, murders, art, gentrification, outsiders with unknown pasts. Oh, and a weird gruesome animal mutant that might haveThe Marriage Book bookjacket been caused by a nearby biological research lab. And best of all, I didn’t guess the murderer.

The Marriage Book: Centuries of Advice, Inspiration, and Cautionary Tales from Adam & Eve to Zoloft by husband and wife, Lisa Grunwald and Stephen Adler. This is an A-to-Z treasury of marriage and anything that possibly is related to marriage. There are entries from a gamut of sources: philosophers, authors, Selp-Helf bookjacketcomedians, and poets talking about Adam and Eve to divorce to everything in between. And always remember the African proverb: "Never marry a woman with bigger feet than your own."

Selp-Helf by Miranda Sings. A book filled with ridiculous advice on how to be a better person because sometimes you just need something silly.

 

Are the dark days of winter getting to you? The cold and the rain and the wind bringing you down? Need something to cheer you right up? How about a book or two?

Maira Kalman is a unique, eccentric, whimsical illustrator and writer of both kids' and kid-like adult books. Her illustrations even make William Strunk’s The Elements of Style a fascinating read. Beloved Dog bookjacketHer books are filled with illustrations of the things that she likes, and her likes range far and wide and slightly off-kilter. Kalman’s latest book, Beloved Dog, is dedicated to dogs. I hadn’t noticed that pictures of dogs appear quite often in her works and this book is a lovely ode to dogs. Maira Kalman’s books will cheer you right up.

It Ended Badly bookjacketFor me, a real mood lifter is to compare myself to others who have suffered more than me (Jeez, that sounds terrible. Really, I’m not that awful a person.). We’ve all had to deal with relationship breakdowns. If you’d like to read about some of the absolute worst, peruse Jennifer Wright’s It Ended Badly: Thirteen of the Worst Breakups in History. It’s a fun, entertaining, and quite educational romp through some spectacular breakups. In the course of these breakups, people are stabbed. Prison sentences are served. Icky hair clumps are sent through the mail. It should put all of your own breakups in perspective.

Need some more cheering up? Try one of the books on my list here.

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