Bear Radio Book Club April 2023

Every month our team members pick a book that’s tickled their fancy and we recommend it to you, our network so that we can all read, learn and grow together – just think of it as our own little book club!

Because reading is what? Fundamental! 

Jill’s Book Recommendation:

The Best Strangers in the World: Stories from a Life Spent Listening by Ari Shapiro

I adore Ari Shapiro and have had the biggest friend crush on him since I worked for All Things Considered on NPR and got to meet him. He’s funny, warm, humble and obviously brilliant. In addition to working as a celebrated journalist, he’s also a singer with the big band Pink Martini AND also performs in a cabaret act with actor Alan Cumming. The perfect person.

In this book, Shapiro shares essays from different reporting trips around the world, and shows the readers the reality behind some of the stories he’s created. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who’s a fan of Ari and All Things Considered.

Julia’s Book Recommendation:

The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan

“We’re so young. We’re so young. We’re twenty-two years old. We have so much time.” – Marina Keegan, a 22 year old Yale graduate who died in a car accident 5 days after graduation. This quote is from an essay she wrote that struck a global chord, and this book of essays is a posthumous collection of her work that I read when I was 24. Her writing is beautiful, witty, honest and simple – and admittedly some people really didn’t enjoy the simplicity – I did. An entire essay about the junk she collects in the boot (trunk for Americans) of her car, or her mother almost killing her because she didn’t realise she had a deathly intolerance to gluten? I don’t know… I saw more than just junk or deadly lunches, I saw real human life captured in a way I needed, and I loved it. It’s also only €1.99 from the second-hand bookstore Medimops… so, if you try it, how much have you lost really?

Denisa’s Book Recommendation:

Just Kids by Patti Smith

Just Kids by Patti Smith is a beautifully written memoir that recounts her early years in New York City and her relationship with the artist Robert Mapplethorpe. The book is a touching tribute to their friendship and the artistic community they were a part of in the 1960s and 70s.

Patti Smith has always been one of my favorite writers and has inspired me to write, too. Her prose is poetic and vivid, painting a portrait of an iconic era and the struggles and triumphs of two young artists trying to make their mark on the world. She captures the essence of the time and place, from the gritty streets of New York’s Lower East Side to the glamour of the Chelsea Hotel.

Beyond its historical and cultural significance, what Just Kids represents to me is also a deeply personal story of love, loss, and the bonds that endure. Smith’s love for Mapplethorpe is palpable throughout the book, and her grief at his untimely death is heart-wrenching.

Overall, Just Kids is a must-read for anyone interested in art, music, or the cultural history of New York City. But it’s also a timeless tale of friendship, creativity, and the power of human connection.

Leave a Reply