Remember these? I have two giant bins of them in my basement. I’m not sure what to do with them.

It’s been a few months, so I bring to you my Fall 2019 Media Diet. Oddly, I’ve felt like I’m just not consuming as much new stuff as usual. But in retrospect, it’s just as much as usual.

Starcadian – Midnight Signals – As if Daft Punk and mid-80’s Lionel Richie had a baby. There are songs in here that make me feel like I’m walking out of a movie theater in 1985 as the credits roll. Serious nostalgia hit for me. (A-)

Kochland – Christopher Leonard – A business history of Koch Industries and boy, Charles Koch is a brilliant businessman, even if his politics are garbage. As someone with an M.B.A., I feel like this should be required reading for anyone interested in large organizations or corporate management. Koch was always on the bleeding edge. (A+)

Absolute War – Chris Bellamy – Super detailed and endnoted history of the Eastern Front during the Second World War. While the Nazis were brutally efficient, the Soviets were more than happy to throw endless bodies at the war in their ultimately successful effort to wear the Nazis down and push them back to Berlin. The scale and scope of everything is unreal. (A-)

Beloved – Toni Morrison – It’s taken me a long time to get to this, and most of all the mysticism and magic of the world Morrison creates around her constantly suffering characters overwhelmed me. I wonder if that’s meant to be a way to mitigate the suffering. (A)

The Ice At the Bottom of the World – Mark Richard – A collection of short stories assigned by my book club, this was another kind of mysticism except around rednecks and I hated it. Richard won a series of awards for some of the stories, he’s won the Ernest Hemingway Prize, and I can see how people feel this sort of thing is “great literature”, but just not my cup of tea. Maybe yours? (C)

How Long ‘Til Black Future Month – N.K. Jemisin – Another collection of short stories, this time sci-fi that all take place in New York by one of my new favorite authors. One excellent story makes you wonder if it’s sci-fi or just a modern story told by a psychotic. (A-)

The Correspondent – The Netherlands-based, long-form, news organization that opened an American branch with a lot of hoopla last summer, I signed up as one of the founding subscribers. The writing is good, but I have been disappointed with the subject matter, which is never groundbreaking and often just rehashes liberal tropes about our unfair world. I was hoping to gain new perspectives, but am just bored instead. (C+)

Reliable Sources – A newsletter edited by CNN’s media critic Brian Stelter, it provides sharp insight on the news industry zeitgeist six days a week. Somehow Stelter manages to encapsulate “what’s going on” in the American news world every day. (A)

Letters From An American – Boston College history professor Heather Cox Richardson claims she started this daily email newsletter about the impeachment hearings on a lark. But wow, what a lark. Her writing is sharp, and because she’s an American history professor, she brings lots of context to her analysis. (A)

Money Stuff – Matt Levine was an investment banker at Goldman Sachs and then left to write this weekday newsletter on how finance really works. I find that sometimes I have to look up terms he uses, but feel like I’m really learning something every day. (A-)

The Broadsheet – A good friend introduced me to this daily newsletter on news about women in business and news from the female perspective, and I feel like it’s one of the best, most challenging reads I get. Written by Claire Zillman from Fortune Magazine. (A-)

Heated – I really want to like this daily newsletter on the climate crisis, but the writing too often gets cute, when I’d rather prefer a serious analysis to teach me something. It also starts from the perspective that everyone who doesn’t think climate change is the most important thing in the world, is bad. That’s a bit off-putting. (B-)

Numlock News – For $4 a month, Walt Hickey sends me an email every weekday packed with fun stats. It’s totally diversionary. Kind of like reading comics for stats nerds. (B+)

Brooklyn 99 – I missed this when it was on broadcast, but for the last couple of months my family has created a habit of watching an episode or two before bedtime. Cast is amazing and always laugh out loud funny. (A)

Jack Ryan, Season 2 – I loved the “Americans are earnest and America is always right” escapism of this extension of Tom Clancy’s universe in Season 1. But something about Season 2 seems clunky and sometimes hard to watch. (B-)

Fleabag, Season 2 – Offensive, funny and endlessly brilliant. Totally up to the hype. (A+)

Egypt – Yeah, you’ve heard me talk about this plenty, but if you can, I strongly suggest going. The most expensive part is getting there, and then…wow. Hit me up if you ever want recommendations for guides, expeditors, etc.