This week, empathize with women struggling to bridge cultural divides, brush up on the Affordable Care Act arguments, mix your own podcast, and read about an inspiring humanitarian.
On Your Kindle
Interpreter of Maladies, by Jhumpa Lahiri
This Pulitzer-prize winning collection of stories will add spice to your commute this week. In this rich work, Lahiri weaves together nine stories of Indian and Indian-American women struggling with culture shock as they attempt to merge tradition and modernity. The reader views timeless themes—love and marriage, power, loss—through the lens of Indian femininity. Some stories are deeply sad, others more uplifting, but all address the difficult emotional fatigue of bridging the old and the new.
On Your Smartphone
13 Final Thoughts About the Healthcare Arguments, by Andrew Cohen
As the Supreme Court justices deliberate on the Affordable Health Care Act cases that appeared before them this past week, take a few minutes in your commute to brush up on what happened. In this Atlantic piece, Cohen succinctly summarizes arguments that appeared (and re-appeared) during the trials. He addresses both what came up and what (he expects) will linger, concluding with his assessment of the factors will contribute to the final, much-anticipated decision. For the history buff, healthcare buff, and curious citizen alike.
On a Podcast
Mix Your Own Podcast, by NPR
Feeling a little creative this week? Head over to NPR’s podcast directory, where you can mix your own podcast. Choose a name for your selected listening session, add topics or keywords, and subscribe—easy as 1, 2, 3. Sit back and enjoy a tailor-made session from the esteemed station’s many programs—Car Talk, Talk of the Nation, All Songs Considered, and On Point, to name a few.
Off to Save the World: How Julia Taft Made a Difference, by Ann Blackman
Julia Taft was a consummate leader and humanitarian. She made a difference—unapologetically, efficiently, and with a touch of humor—before that was something women could routinely do. This memoir celebrates the life of a woman who, in her early 30s, was already beginning to mold the U.S. government in its humanitarian efforts. The memoir is organized in chapters that address different accomplishments in Taft’s career: her time as a White House Fellow, her role helping refugees of the Vietnam War resettle, and her role in the United States’ response to the Armenian earthquake, to name a few.
What makes this memoir truly special, however, is the unique perspective from which it’s told. Author Ann Blackman was more than Taft’s biographer and friend—the two women were in-laws, as Blackman’s son married Taft’s daughter, and the love and admiration that permeates this text enriches the already rich life of an inspirational woman.