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I always have a sprawling list of books to read; it seems to be ever-growing with titles that have been gathering for months or even years. Every so often, the top of the list becomes redundant, for I find that if I don’t read a particular title within a few months of adding it to the list, I never get to it. Here, I will aim to combat this by outlining the five books I plan to read next, and share them in case they interest you as well. While I can’t count this as a formal recommendation quite yet, I have heard good feedback about each one and am excited to see how they turn out.

I have seen this title in bookstores for the past few months and continue to pick it up and decide ‘maybe later.’ However, I finally purchased a copy and am excited to see how artist Jenny Odell theorizes our lives in a world of constant demands on our attention. From work to social media, we are taught to make the most of every moment by valuing productivity above all else, and in today’s world, it is near impossible to find a way to ever truly rest and be at ease. The subject certainly sounds relatable, and I am hopeful it will offer insights into how to manage this situation in which we all find ourselves.

How to do nothing
Photo credit: Jenn Pavlick

I have been a fan of Tori Dunlap and an avid listener of her podcast ‘The Financial Feminist.’ She is a uniquely conscientious personal finance thought leader, and I always find her advice tangible, relatable, and deeply considered. Beyond that, her mission to empower women through financial responsibility is noble, as she seeks to help people gain the power to build a world that reflects their values. I am eager to see her ethos laid out in her first book.

Ali Abdaal interviewed this author Paul Millerd on his podcast, and his story immediately compelled me. He describes the standardized paths we are all encouraged to move through in our society and the opportunities and risks that lie in breaking from those paths. As someone who never felt committed or certain in any professional path, I am excited to gain insights from what sounds like a kindred spirit.

While I typically lean more towards reading non-fiction, I usually like to have a fiction and a non-fiction book going simultaneously so I can sit down and read according to the time of day or my mood. While this list is slightly non-fiction heavy, these last two fiction choices definitely make up for the lack of representation through their length and density. This title promises to be beautifully written and touching in its subject matter, as it explores male friendships, physical pain, and mental health in a first-person narrative structure.

A little life
Photo credit: Jenn Pavlick

When I was buying A Little Life, the bookstore employee also recommended this book to me. As another sprawling book, this story spans over 1,000 pages and is notable for its stream-of-consciousness style that features one long sentence with interspersed interruptions. As a writer, I cannot wait to see how author Lucy Ellman managed this linguistic feat.

If you have read any of these books and have feedback, get in touch with to let me know your thoughts and suggestions! If any of these titles look appealing to you, check them out through my lists on – a website that supports local booksellers.

Welcome to my Studio Diaries series! Each week, I share a list of what’s been thought-provoking and inspiring in the books, videos, art, podcasts, etc., that I’ve encountered in the last few days.

Here’s what I’ve loved this week!

Listening: Freakonomics

I have been a fan of the Freakonomics franchise for years—it was the first podcast I ever subscribed to. This week’s episode, Are M.B.A.s to Blame for Wage Stagnation? explores the correlation between business school graduates at the top of organizations and the trend toward falling wages that we have seen in the United States for a significant period. As usual with this show, they bring in voices from both sides of the argument. Although the research posits a curriculum focus in business schools on the bottom line and shareholder value with an instinct for those graduates to cut labor costs when in company leadership positions, I found one of their more nuanced counter-explanations more compelling. While shareholder value is undoubtedly emphasized in business education, some of the more equitable practices taught in business schools today will potentially take decades to be realized in practice, as graduates aren’t hired as CEOs straight out of school. Many of the leaders of fortune 500 companies we see today are graduates of a previous generation of business ethos and education and don’t necessarily embody today’s business values and ideas taught in schools.

Listening: You’re Wrong About

Sarah Marshall is one of my favorite podcast hosts; she is witty, intelligent, and can think on her feet when talking to guests. In this episode of You’re Wrong About, she brings in Amanda Mull from The Atlantic to discuss the history of online shopping and the present-day experience of trying to find what you need. They discuss the ethics of fast fashion, the history of debt (thanks to David Graeber), and the misled romanticization of barter economies. Sarah poignantly describes the contemporary experience of online shopping:

“Like everything we need is at our fingertips…but you can't get what you need because everything is at your fingertips, right? And you're in a giant garbage dump, and somewhere in the garbage dump is like the normal rug that you want, but where could it be?”

Reading: Calypso

David Sedaris is one of my favorite authors of all time. Like watching The Office, Seinfeld, or The Nanny, reading his essays is guaranteed to make me laugh in a timeless way. I have read many of his books and finally picked up a copy of Calypso, which has been on my list for an embarrassing four years. Like always with Sedaris, I was laughing within the first few sentences:

“Though there’s an industry built on telling you otherwise, there are few real joys to middle age. The only perk I can see is that, with luck, you’ll acquire a guest room.” (Calypso, p. 3)

If you also admire Sedaris’ humor and are a writer yourself, I would also recommend his Storytelling and Humor Masterclass.

Welcome to my Studio Diaries series! Each week, I share a list of what’s been thought-provoking and inspiring in the books, videos, art, podcasts, etc., that I’ve encountered in the last few days.

Here’s what I’ve loved this week!

Reading: Reclaiming Conversation

Reclaiming converstion
Reclaiming Conversation. Photo by Jenn Pavlick Studio

Sociologist and psychologist Sherry Turkle has taken on the immense task of understanding how our world’s focus on digital communication has affected our ability to connect. In Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age, she interviews children and adults to understand how they depend on their mobile devices to get them through awkward conversations, interpersonal confrontation, and in-between times of everyday life. I am nearly halfway through the book, so I don’t want to make a full judgment yet, but so far, her view of how technology has negatively impacted our capacity to relate to one another on an intimate level is valid and convincing.

However, I hope that the remainder of the text contains an exploration of some of the positive ways that technology has led to closeness in friendships or relationships, particularly among young people. I am not a wholehearted optimist or pessimist when it comes to social media and technology, and I am hopeful that this book will provide a well-rounded, balanced view that our society can incorporate as technology evolves.

Listening: The Psychology of Money

The Psychology of Money
The Psychology of Money. Photo by Jenn Pavlick Studio

I have been listening to Morgan Housel’s book The Psychology of Money: Timeless Lessons on Wealth, Greed, and Happiness as an audiobook after seeing it praised by Alex Fasulo—the accomplished freelance writer whose videos initially inspired me to get into freelancing. I am still only partially through the book, and so far, it stands out for not necessarily focusing on the best budgeting strategy, for example, but instead on how managing one’s finances is more about managing one’s behavior—a much more challenging feat. His explanation and examples thus far are illuminating and show the essential convergence of luck and patience in any pursuit. While ideas like luck can often make a method seem out of one’s control, his persistence that we must master our own psychology brings anyone’s goals back within reach.

Doing: Chair DIY Revamp

After being inspired by the Kelly Wearstler Masterclass and Geneva Vanderzeil's DIY projects I wrote about this summer, I picked up a pair of chairs from a nearby flea market. After gathering chair mood boards and solidifying my plan for how to revamp their appearance, I have begun the process of taking them apart and sanding them down to give t

hem a new, fresh finish. Here is the starting photo—stay tuned to see how they turn out!

Chair DIY. Photo by Jenn Pavlick Studio

Chair Mood Board
Chair DIY Mood Board. By Jenn Pavlick Studio

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