Netflix’s adaptation of Julia Quinn’s historical romance series centered on the Bridgerton Family is a smashing success. It is now considered Netflix’s biggest series of all time! I don’t think this is a surprise – the romance novel industry is a multi-million dollar sector of publishing, and the coupling of a romance novel powerhouse like Julia Quinn and the TV drama expertise of Shonda Rimes was sure to be a hit.
Michelle Brightwell's blog
Rob found a treasure trove of westerns within our Hoopla collection, and chose “Gunsmoke and Trail Dust” by Bliss Lomax for this month's book club pick. He has often called Western fiction ‘Romance for Men”, and he picked a classic 1949 western tale that fit that description pretty well.
Have you watched The Social Dilemma on Netflix yet?
The docudrama explores the rise of social media, particularly the damage that it has done to society. Interviews with former high up employees of Facebook, Google, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram shed light on the fact that these programs and tech giants are exploiting their users for financial gain through surveillance capitalism and data mining, and how the design of each of these programs is meant to addict the user. Also included are interviews with psychologists, founders of the Center for Humane Technology, and other experts to show that these tools are doing more harm than good.
In this episode, Michelle spends some time talking about one of her favorite subjects - media literacy! In a short discussion about the ways in which social media feeds alter our thinking, Michelle talks about how the algorithm doesn't do you any favors when it comes to learning actual information on a subject, the reaction buttons on social media are there to gather more information about you to sell to advertisers, and the false equivalencies created when every post in your feed looks exactly the same. Learn about how our thoughts are permanently changed by the algorithms social media companies use to feed us information to keep up scrolling, and get some recommendations for further reading.
Language changes, and has always changed. It’s helpful to think of language as a living thing, that evolves and changes as the need arises. We still speak English, but it’s not like the English of Shakespeare’s time, or English in 1776. New words appear every year in both Merriam-Webster’s and the Oxford English Dictionary, and sometimes the addition of a word can be controversial. People feel very strongly about making a slang word “official,” but I would argue that we should embrace language changes. (I’m not arguing that you need to adopt words into your daily lexicon that you don’t like, just maybe don’t feel anger over a new word.)
2020 added a lot of new words and phrases to our daily conversations. “Social distancing”, “COVID-19”, “community spread”, “herd immunity”, and the abbreviation “WFH (work from home)” were all added to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary in 2020.
In this episode, Rob and Michelle discuss some novels from the Young Adult section that they recommend to anyone looking for a fast, engaging read. A novel is classified as Young Adult (YA) by a few metrics – you can expect that the motivations and the feelings of the characters will interact with problems in a different way than an adult novel. YA novels deal with problems in the immediate future, rather than thinking about long term goals and effects. Generally speaking, a YA novel will be less graphic than an adult novel, but modern YA does not shy away from the realities of the world. The pacing will be fast, the plot will be intriguing, and the characters will make you want to root for them.
Places No One Knows by Brenna Yovanoff
<p><span style="font-size:14px">Rob and Michelle recap some of their favorite books and media of 2020 in this episode! Check us out wherever you listen to your podcasts!</span></p>
<p><span style="font-size:14px"><strong>Michelle's Pics</strong></span></p>
<p><strong><span style="font-size:11pt"><span><span>Southern Book Club’s guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix</span></span></span></strong></p>
Rob and Michelle interview their coworker, Marquez McClinton. Marquez is an author, a motivational speaker, performer, and poet. He also works full time at the Madison Public Library. Marquez wrote his book “Becoming: The process of becoming you” to help people on their own journey to becoming their best selves. He shares a little of his message in this interview, as well as shares what he’s currently reading and listening to to help him realize his own goals. His advice for us in the New Year is to love yourself. When you love yourself, he says, you treat people differently, and you don’t react the same way to adversity. He gives some good ideas for how to love yourself in different ways to kick start your new year. Marquez also discusses his goals, and some projects that he’s working on for us to look out for in 2021.
This week, Rob and Michelle pick some materials from the library’s digital collections to share. Both of your hosts found old favorites to revisit on Hoopla, and then they close the episode with a discussion about grief and allowing yourself the stages of grief right now, even though it can be difficult to put a finger on what you’re grieving. 2020 was quite the ride, and your hosts would like to encourage you to take the time to acknowledge your feelings in whatever stage of grief you might be in and allow yourself the space to work through it.
Materials mentioned in this episode:
Open Book by Jessica Simpson
Rob and Michelle discuss their Holiday book exchange picks for each other in this episode, as well as some criteria to judge whether a Holiday movie really is a Holiday movie. Your hosts discuss what makes a Holiday romance enjoyable, and their favorite movies of the season. Listen to see if your favorite holiday movie meets the criteria to be counted as an actual holiday movie!
Materials mentioned in this episode are:
A Very Merry Christmas by Lori Foster