what to do while you’re waiting

You spend so many hours in the waiting room, here’s a few things to help you pass the time. Many people find coloring, knitting and crossword puzzles to be a relaxing without having to concentrate too hard. We’ve curated a few of our favorite to get you started. We’ve also provided you with recommended reading and podcasts that might interest you.

Recommended Podcasts

If you’re new to podcasts you should know that the podcast universe is like the wild west, anything and everything goes and it can get pretty violent. Many of the most popular podcasts include stories of unsolved murders or extreme violence, some are just plain weird. We’ve tried to provide a sampling without recommending content that may be disturbing or depressing.

The gold standard is This American Life which was a popular, long-running radio show, the content varies from sweetly funny to political to disturbing. There are two very popular shows that showcase people’s personal stories, the most famous is The Moth which packages 2-5 stories in an episode curated from around the world. The second is Snap Judgement hosted by the incomparable storyteller Glynn Washington, it is more highly produced often with an interviewer maintaining the narrative.

I’m a bit of science geek and for this reason I like Radio Lab which takes an in- depth look at every conceivable aspect of science from sound waves to planetary extinction, they leave no stone unturned. Sidedoor highlights research and stories from the Smithsonian Institution and covers everything from dinosaurs to diamonds. I consistently learn something I didn’t even suspect from The Hidden Brain, Shankar Vedantam uncovers unseen patterns in human behavior and explains things in a way that is so simple you’ll feel like a PhD after listening to the show. If you still want more science you get a fair amount listening to Criminal hosted by the wildly popular Phoebe Judge (formerly of the excellent radio show The Story) she explores every aspect of crime including talking to victims, judges and policemen. But this is not your standard if it-bleeds-it-leads fare, she talks to petty criminals like streakers and con men and she explores cases like (my fav) the true life of the famous 19th century Gibson Girl. She hosts another equally interesting podcast called This is Love which is nice complement to all the crime and punishment.

If you want more recommendations here’s a list from The Atlantic Monthly and Discoverpods.

Recommended Reading

This is a list of my all time favorite reads. I've tried to include a mixture of different kinds of books including fiction, memoirs, sci-fi and mystery.  They are presented in no particular order so just follow your imagination.

 

A Walk in the Woods

If you’ve never read anything by Bill Bryson this is a good place to start. It’s hilarious first hand account of a midlife crisis that leads to Bryson enlisting his odd and memorable friend Stephen Katz to hike the Appalachian Trail.

the illusion of separateness 

This is possibly the most poignant book I have ever read. After I made this list my friend Daria reminded me that I had touted this as "the best book I ever read." It is beautifully written, surprising and profoundly true. 

The pursuit of love & love in a cold climate by nancy mitford

Two lovely, contiguous novels about the love lives of a charming British family. 

This is the beautiful and lyric companion to Eva Luna which is a Scheherazade story set in Latin America. Isabelle Allende sees women and portrays in a way that is both unique and powerful.

dreams of my RUSSIAN summer

The story, or should I say LOVE story, of Russia and France. A Russian ex-pat recalls life in Russia with tenderness and insight. Another writer who took my breath away.

 
 

the map of love by ahdaf soueif

A rapturous, unforgettable cross-cultural love story set in Egypt. 

Trick of the eye by jane stanton hitchcock

If you like mysteries this one is a wild, unexpected pleasure about an artist who is drawn into a strange commission that turns dangerous

the book of salt by monique truong

The fictional account of the live-in the Vietnamese cook employed by Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas.

west with the night

This book was famously touted by Hemingway as the most brilliant prose he had ever read. Beryl Markham is one of the least known writing geniuses from that era. This memoir records her childhood and life as a bush pilot in Africa. There were moments when I read this book that I literally had to catch my breath.

Personal History
By Katharine Graham

personal history

Another of my favorite non-fiction books. It is an absolute MUST READ for every American woman. Her perspective on being a woman in the 20th century sheds light on who we are and where we are today.

Birdsong

Who doesn't love the French Resistance, spies and romance all in one book?

Blackbird by Jennifer Lauck

A beautiful, lyric memoir about a troubled childhood and redemption.

By Jenny Lawson

Let's pretend this never happened (a mostly true memoir) by Jenny Lawson

I'm not kidding, this is the funniest book I've ever read. I'm. Not. Even. Kidding.

By Tahir Shah

the caliph's house by tahir shah

A naive Westerner embarks on the hilarious remodeling project in Casablanca. (Warning: there are demons and goats involved) 

By Jane Austen

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE BY JANE AUSTEN 

No book list would be complete without Jane Austen, this one is my fav. 

By Kathleen A. Flynn

the jane austen project by kathleen a. flynn

A great speculative fiction novel that includes time travel and a little heart-warming romance and great historic detail. 

By Alexandre Dumas père

the count of monte cristo by alexandre dumas

This is one of my favorite works of fiction, pirates, prisons, poisoning and romance. If you haven't read it, seriously, there's a reason its been in print for over 100 years.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Recommended Podcasts

If you’re new to podcasts you should know that the podcast universe is like the wild west, anything and everything goes and it can get pretty violent. Many of the most popular podcasts include stories of unsolved murders or extreme violence, some are just plain weird. We’ve tried to provide a sampling without recommending content that may be disturbing or depressing.

The gold standard is This American Life which was a popular, long-running radio show, the content varies from sweetly funny to political to disturbing. There are two very popular shows that showcase people’s personal stories, the most famous is The Moth which packages 2-5 stories in an episode curated from around the world. The second is Snap Judgement hosted by the incomparable storyteller Glynn Washington, it is more highly produced often with an interviewer maintaining the narrative.

I’m a bit of science geek and for this reason I like Radio Lab which takes an in- depth look at every conceivable aspect of science from sound waves to planetary extinction, they leave no stone unturned. Sidedoor highlights research and stories from the Smithsonian Institution and covers everything from dinosaurs to diamonds. I consistently learn something I didn’t even suspect from The Hidden Brain, Shankar Vedantam uncovers unseen patterns in human behavior and explains things in a way that is so simple you’ll feel like a PhD after listening to the show. If you still want more science you get a fair amount listening to Criminal hosted by the wildly popular Phoebe Judge (formerly of the excellent radio show The Story) she explores every aspect of crime including talking to victims, judges and policemen. But this is not your standard if it-bleeds-it-leads fare, she talks to petty criminals like streakers and con men and she explores cases like (my fav) the true life of the famous 19th century Gibson Girl. She hosts another equally interesting podcast called This is Love which is nice complement to all the crime and punishment.

If you want more recommendations here’s a list from The Atlantic Monthly and Discoverpods.