Staff Picks
What We’re Listening To: July 2020 Picks

Lately, I’ve been listening—not just hearing, but actively listening. I’ve stepped away from the comfort of conformity, and leaned into diverse stories and perspectives that challenge me and inform me about lived experiences different from my own. I’m a firm believer in the power of self-education. Publishing workers are privileged to have access to so many spectacular books that have the power to educate us and take us on literary journeys through the lens of someone vastly different than ourselves. My current listening library reflects my dedication to self-education as well as practicing wellness in a pandemic era.

I majored in socio-cultural anthropology at UCLA and I love to nerd out on topics that examine human behavior’s collective impact on society and culture. Listening to Biased by Dr. Jennifer L. Eberhardt takes me back to the days of sitting in a lecture hall peeling away at the prejudices that affect how we act, think, and feel. If you want to learn about the fascinating nature of implicit racial bias from a scientific and empirical viewpoint, I highly recommend adding this book to your listening library!

Practicing mindfulness and meditation is one of those seemingly cultish things that’s difficult to explain and you don’t know how wonderfully beneficial it is until you experience it. I prefer to be guided through meditation and for that I use the Calm app. Meditating with Calm has been a daily ritual for me—both day in and day out to train my brain on how to be still and ease my anxious thoughts. If your mental health has been rocked by the pandemic, I’d say you’re not alone, and mindfulness is a helpful way to combat some of the negative fallout.

The Vanishing Half completely enveloped me the moment I hit play. Brit Bennett seamlessly weaves together distinct characters that define themselves on their own terms and seem to jump off the page. This story cleverly touches on a world of universal themes that makes it feel so familiar, and all the more consumable.

On quiet days when I’m feeling cheesy at home with no company but my plants, I turn to my favorite classical composer Tchaikovsky to serenade me. I usually blare Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-Flat Minor, Op. 23 (arguably one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever created) and let the music guide me through an interpretive dance. I’m sure my neighbors get a kick out of it, my plants live for the music, and I live out my dreams of being the ballerina I never was. *Sigh* One can dream.