Media Picks

What We're Reading, Watching and Listening To

Our readers weigh in.

By Ilene Denton April 2, 2020

Spare time on your hands? Here are some suggestions from our readers. Stay well, everybody! 


Summer Dawn Wallace, co-artistic director, Urbanite Theatre

The Outsider on HBO, a fantastic suspenseful, psychological drama. It stars Ben Mendelsohn and Cynthia Erivo, so it’s also a master class in acting. And for pure joy, I am enjoying the new season of Ru Paul’s Drag Race. It makes you laugh, cry, and you will learn a thing or two.”

Marissa Hershon, Ringling Museum’s Curator of the Ca d’Zan and Decorative Arts:

“I’m a huge fan of period shows that bring different eras to life, so I’m watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. I love to see the carefully selected design details, from Midge’s midcentury-inspired fashion to her pink Pyrex baking dish.”

Ben Higgins, co-host of The Bachelor Live On Stage, which sadly was canceled because of the COVID-19 crisis at the Van Wezel:

"The West Wing, because it is captivating to know the behind-the-scenes of the White House. I was told by someone on a previous presidential staff that it is a good representation of how the White House operates. Plus, for as long ago as it was filmed the topics are still relevant today.”

Listening to

Roger Capote, senior vice president, corporate services, CAN Community Health:

“Dan + Shay. Not only are they incredible country musicians with soul, but they are always willing to help a great charity in need, specifically promoting the adoption of shelter animals.”

Ben Turoff, event director, The Glenridge Performing Arts Center:

“I’m hooked on Make Me Smart. Kai Ryssdal and Molly Wood, the two engaging hosts of NPR’s Marketplace, host this weekly podcast about the economy, technology and culture. They have a fun way of breaking down very complex issues into understandable concepts.”

Cathy Carter, WUSF Public Media:

“The NPR podcast, ‘Pop Culture Happy Hour,’ featuring folks from NPR's arts and music desks sharing their opinions about the latest books, movies, music and television. The show offers the kind of cultural critique you'd expect from your smartest and funniest friends.”


Vickie Oldham, president, Sarasota African American Cultural Coalition:

“The autobiography of the late [African-American baseball player and Newtown native] John ‘Buck’ O’Neil. I remember meeting the charming, affable, passionate, genteel giant. I want to share stories with Newtown Alive trolley tour guests about his life and work. My next mission is to open a museum that honors O’Neil and Newtown legends like him.” 

Roger Pettingell, Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate:

Mr. Lucky: My Unexpected Journey to Success, by local resident Mitchell Epstein.  It’s a highly inspirational book following the author from horrible tragedy to mega-success, told in a heartfelt and relatable manner. It makes me proud that he’s a member of our Sarasota community.”

Suzanne Weitz, events chair, Arts Advocates:

The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood, a novel about Belle, Quinn, their boy and 104-year-old Ona Vitkus. It details how they love and are loved, misunderstand and are misunderstood, reject and are rejected, dream and give up on dreams. It reveals that sometimes sharing a loss is the only way to find ourselves again. Powerful!”

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