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What to read (and listen to) when you’re not reading (or listening) for development

Time to switch off

It’s been a while since my last blog on great things to read or listen to that have nothing to do with coaching, business or law.

So here are my latest recommendations for ways to escape the day to day, relax and unwind.

I’m always keen to hear your thoughts on this topic too – please do share.

Easy Listening

My current podcast addiction is British Scandal.  I’ve binge-listened to catch up and am now waiting for the current season to finish before I start it – that’s the Lord Lucan story at time of writing. (So that I don’t have to endure a break in the story.  I am that much of a diva).

Alice Levine and Matt Forde narrate and comment on stories such as Phone-Hacking, the collapse of Barings Bank or the rise and fall of the Sex Pistols with insight and humour.  I’ve learned loads but never felt lectured at.  And, even for the stories I lived through, there was a fresh angle which told me more than I knew at the time.

Next on my list is American Scandal – review to follow!

One of the genres I love is great conversations with interesting people – people that on other shows might be plugging a book or a show but on this type of podcast can go much deeper.

I think the master of this art is Craig Parkinson with his Two Shot Podcast but, for different moods I also enjoy Elizabeth Day’s How to Fail, Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place or Adam Buxton’s The Adam Buxton Podcast (see what he did there?)

All good options for the virtual (or real) commute.

The written word

My first couple of choices are books that were recommended to me and that, for whatever reason, I resisted them but when I read them, loved them and, as I am about to demonstrate, became evangelical about them.

Small Pleasures by Clare Chambers has a slightly left-field premise – has there been a virgin birth in post-war England? – but it is captivating and really thought-provoking as well as being a great story.

Who knew that I needed a carefully constructed and addictive account of suburban English life in 1957.  But it turns out I did.  Maybe you do too?

I resisted The Heart’s Invisible Furies for far longer than I should have – I’m not sure if it was the title? And I think I had a bit of a block with the first page but I cannot tell you how ill-advised that resistance was.

This is a brilliantly constructed novel which tells the story of modern Ireland through the life of one man.  Or vice versa.  Beautiful throughout and heart-breaking in parts.

It’s so good that I now have to read everything else John Boyne has ever written which should keep me busy for a while.

My final choice might open up a bit of a back catalogue for you also, if you haven’t read anything by Jane Harper.  The first ones I read (and, I think, the first ones she wrote) were set in the Australian outback but the most recent one, The Survivors, is very much coastal in feel.  I really loved the setting and the depiction of friendships and connection from childhood through to adulthood.

You can read this one first and then head back to the outback if the weather gets too depressing over the break.

Over to you

If you resist or read, love or hate, please let me know on cathbrown@skilfulconversation.com where your own recommendations are always welcome even if they are initially resisted.

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