Brian Reed, host of the S-Town podcast (Photo: Andrea Morales)

The podcast to listen to


“The new collaboration between Serial and This American Life starts as a murder mystery, and that’s kind of how it ends. But the twists and turns that happen between episodes one and seven of this true-crime narrative hosted by Brian Reed rival any fictional mystery. In a rare podcast move, every episode was dropped at once, so it takes just over seven hours to go from start to completely surprising finish of the story of clockmaker John B. McLemore.”
Read our full review and about the rest of the week’s best podcasts here.

The book to read


Rebecca Solnit, The Mother Of All Questions

“A selection of [Rebecca Solnit’s] work from 2014 to 2016, the essays all have to do with feminism as it stands today. Solnit traces feminism—and history at large—to deftly bring us to our current moment, a time when the word ‘feminism’ is more widely used than ever yet patriarchic forces show no sign of slowing down. The first essay, the title of which is given to the book, addresses that exhausted, timeless question of motherhood. If that feels like a subject that’s been written about to death in the feminist blogosphere, don’t be fooled: Solnit’s brief essay is more thoughtful, probing, and powerful than the majority of content on the subject. Building her piece around Virginia Woolf, what constitutes happiness, and her own experiences on the topic, Solnit arranges ‘the mother question’ into a piece of writing as profound as the question is tired.”
Read the rest of our review here.

The show to watch



“If it feels at times like the show is having more fun just riffing on the setting and era of its latest narrative gambit than it is delivering laugh lines, it’s because season eight is committed to providing a full-on hardboiled detective story, as messy and sprawling as Chinatown, albeit with more jokes about sex slaves. But even retaining the jet-black sense of wicked humor that so often characterizes the series, there’s an old-fashioned fondness for goofball vaudeville chicanery on display in this season, a playful and laid-back approach to the comedy that goes hand in hand with the retro world in which it’s set. Archer has always had a nostalgic appreciation for the antic paces of screwball comedy, and going back in time gives the show permission to alter its tone somewhat so as to follow that muse.”
Read the rest of our review here.

The album to listen to

Father John Misty, Pure Comedy

“Unlike 2015’s I Love You, Honeybear, which often used explicit and titillating imagery to create tension, the friction here comes from the distance between the album’s gentle instrumentation and its cutting subject matter. [Josh] Tillman has grown into a biting social commentator, lashing out at political polarization and consolidation, our craven superficiality, and humanity’s penchant for wanton self-destruction. Pure Comedy is his subtle, unsparing takedown of modern society.”
Read the rest of our review here.


The movie to watch


“Monster movies aren’t generally known for their subtlety, but leave it to Nacho Vigalondo to make one that keeps surprising its audience until the very end. The Timecrimes and Extraterrestrial director specializes in turning genre conventions inside out, and here he re-imagines the kaiju film as not only a dramedy about alcoholic losers looking to blame anyone but themselves for the mess they’ve made of their lives but also a deconstruction of romantic-comedy tropes, toxic masculinity, and the concept of the ‘nice guy.’ Oh, and a giant robot and a giant monster get into a shoving match while the terrified citizens of Seoul watch helplessly.”
Read the rest of our review here.


The video game to play

Persona 5

“One thing is clear, even as the game continues leisurely revealing itself some 20 hours in: It’s a new Persona game, worthy of its name, full of snappy trip-hop; a cat that turns into a bus; demons sitting on toilets; luxurious Saul Bass menus; shockingly evil antagonists; pentagrams; guillotines; starry-eyed crushes; bowls of ramen; accidental boners; unexpected pop quizzes; senpai noticing you; pretentious assholes and sad businessmen and kindhearted teachers; fourth-wall-breaking asides; and sexy, magical outfits. It’s a game in which you will think, ‘I should spend the night at the bath house so I can level up my charm and more directly hit on my classmates,’ and then you won’t be able to because your talking cat won’t let you.”
Read the rest of our game-in-progress review here.