Listen with Curiosity: Six Favourite Podcasts, August 2017

Podcasts are lifelines for all those times when you just need something to fill your ears and your brain. Bringing something to read on your commute is admirable, but it’s never going to work if you’re crammed into an early-morning train and there’s no room to breathe, let alone lift your arms to hold a book. Podcasts can fill gaps when it’s slow at work, or you’re preoccupied in the evenings, and your hands are busy. You just want something to listen to.

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Unchain yourself from Audible and turn the TV off, because podcasts are booming right now. This is a list of six amazing podcasts I’ve been listening to this month, including some current hits and some revisited classics from years gone by.

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#UniMentalHealthDay

Today is University Mental Health Day; an important point in the calendar to remember that illnesses are not always visible, and that individual struggles are not always audible. A helping hand, a sympathetic chat, and taking time out of your day to make sure that the people around you feel appreciated and cared for won’t fix every problem, but it is so important to make sure that no one feels alone. Continue reading “#UniMentalHealthDay”

Sunday Non-Fiction Spotlight: White House Histories

This week I’m spotlighting three interesting non-fiction books about the White House, which each reveal three very different narratives about the building, its many presidents, and American politics more widely.

The White House is a symbol for many things in America. It is the home to presidents, their families; it is the workplace of staffers, advisors, journalists and commentators; it is the creche for First Children; it is the beating political heart of a nation. However it also embodies many of the core contradictions of the United States. The White House is a symbol of freedom, and yet it was built by slaves. It represents equality, and yet there have been no female presidents. It embodies honesty and authenticity, despite the years of presidential mishaps, cover-ups and mistakes. It is a symbol which exists out of a desire for the purity it stands for; a desire which has so far outweighed the political reality. Let’s see how the symbolic meaning of the White House continues to develop and change under President #45.

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Six No-Guilt Novels for Valentine’s Day

Romance novels get a bad rap, and it is entirely possible to find good, heart-warming stories that aren’t poorly written or saccharine sweet. However with Fifty Shades and its brethren being the most often donated texts to charity bookshops, you might assume that the reading public are looking for something with a bit more substance (and a bit less bite?).

Last year the QI Elves reported that one Oxfam shop had received so many copies of E. L. James’ work, that they had constructed a creepy book fort:

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Source: http://ow.ly/QKxy308Qj4w, http://ow.ly/1hFh308QjjE

So here is a list of six much better books for you to check out on Valentine’s Day- and if you’ve got someone for whom you need to buy a last minute present, don’t say I haven’t given you plenty of great ideas.

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