I love making lists. Heck, I'm even writing a dissertation on 'lists'... I would be perfectly content to spend hours making random, disconnected lists, both profound (like the ambitious but spectacularly unhelpful "what do I want in life" or that eternal favorite, "Current Worries") and banal ("Songs to buy next month", "groceries", "annoying people").
I'm not alone- there are entire books and even magazines dedicated to lists, including this blog that became a book, as I discovered to my delight.
That said, here is the first of a series - my monthly list of recommendations for the viewing, listening, eating pleasure of my readers (now more than 1.5):
Best New Discovery: A tie between Vanilla Soy Milk and Turkish red lentil soup...
Podcast of the month: I'm discovering Podcasts in general, but particularly like the ones offered by Slate. Check out the Audio Book Club for erudite, truly insightful and often heated discussions on new and classic books, hosted by Stephen Metcalf. The 'Eat, Pray, Love' discussion is particularly full of intense sarcasm between the panelists.
Song of the month: Yes, I'm going to promote a John Mayer song (hey, it's my blog, I can do what I want) but, in my defense, this one is a duet with Eric Clapton where JM plays guitar and doesn't actually sing and it was performed for the victims of Hurricane Katrina: Broken Hearted
Book of the Month: I didn't read a truly good book this month so I'll hold off on that rather than offer up something mediocre.
Article of the Month: I'm always amazed by how I find just about anything in the New Yorker riveting. This week's article on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for war veterans took something easy to treat with cliches and made it both touching and eye opening.
Blog of the Month: Jabberwock, a prolific Delhi-based blogger. His writing on film, books, cricket and commentary on issues reveal a deep intelligence and the rare combination of a lack of pretentiousness with a refined sensibility. The 'spleen' section is very funny. Intimidatingly good.
Academic Article: "Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict"
International Security, issue 1, volume 33 Maria Stephan and Erica Chenoweth
Non-violent actions are more likely to succeed in the solution of political conflict than armed conflict. It's 'feel good' (rare in political conflict studies) and it is based on an impressive combination of large n and case studies.
Challenge of the Month: Trying to make a website and learning HTML... with the emphasis on 'trying'
Lesson of the Month: Even if you fall on your face (literally), get up and laugh....(or try to laugh).