In the midst of your busy schedule, you may find yourself with some free time to settle in with a good book, stay in with some friends and watch a movie, or listen to some podcasts while you’re working out or making a long drive. Don’t waste any precious time scouring the internet for the best read or the newest movie or podcast with the best review, we’ve already picked out what’s most likely to pique your interest!
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The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
This complex mystery thriller, originally published in 2005, will keep you on the edge of your seat from the first page. Set in Sweden, this novel introduces you to a recently defamed financial investigative journalist (Mikael Blomkvist), a gothic outcast in her 20s with hacking abilities that greatly outweigh her social skills (Lisbeth Salander), an eccentric billionaire at the head of a business empire shared with the rest of his vast and dysfunctional family (Henrik Vanger), and a girl who mysteriously disappeared without a trace decades earlier, leaving behind her heartbroken uncle and an unsolved case (Harriet Vanger). Larsson does an incredible job of acquainting you with the intricacies of each character and then connecting each of their lives through a plot that encourages spectacular character development. This is the first book in a trilogy, and you won’t be satisfied until you’ve read all three.
BlacKkKlansman directed by Spike Lee
Released just last year, this film rocked theatres with a story of a young black man infiltrating the ranks of the Klu Klux Klan as an undercover officer in the 1970s. The main character, Ron Stallworth, joins his local police department, which is eager to hire minorities. Hoping to skip mundane ‘rookie’ work in the file room, Ron decides to pursue a case that hits close to home by teaming up with another officer to become a member of the Klan and monitor the Klan’s activities without being outed. As the case becomes more and more dangerous to pursue and the stakes continue to rise, Stallworth discovers the racial prejudices of his coworkers and even himself. Speckled with comedy, you won’t realize how invested you are in the characters or the movement until the last twenty minutes of the movie, when the plot comes to a climax, reaches its resolution, and the film ends by tying the plot together with recent events by showing clips from emotionally charged protests.
Serial produced by This American Life
This podcast is broken down into three different intriguing seasons. The first season follows the recapping of a closed murder case being reexamined years after the fact, the second covers the abduction of a soldier in Afghanistan in 2009, and the third tracks the corruption of the American justice system. This podcast is perfect for people who love investigative journalism and who enjoy listening to stories while going about mundane daily tasks.
The picks for this month are great for people who love investigating and exposing corrupt systems as long as they don’t get too impatient on the way there. These choices are packed with complex, misunderstood characters who you’ll have to judge for yourself as they make their way through tricky plots. The next time you get a few hours to yourself, you’ll have to check them out!
Forrest Palmer is a Transgender Man dedicated to using his writing platform to advocate for minorities within the LGBTQ+ community. He has been writing short stories since the fourth grade, attended an audition-only fine arts high school for creative writing, and is continuing his journey as a writer as an English major in college.