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UCOP shares what to read, watch & stream

Last week, we asked you to share what you have been enjoying reading, listening to and watching this summer. Here are your recommendations, along with some notes from enthusiastic reviewers.**


  • “The Celestine Prophecy” by James Redfield — “In a day and time where our spiritual values are challenged everywhere, this is a book to help you rediscover inner peace through a journey in the rainforests of Peru.”
  • “Exhalation” by Ted Chiang — “This collection of short stories can broadly be classified as science fiction, but without the usual, dystopian themes. These are mostly positive and deal with topics like time travel and ecology. It’s one of the most interesting books I’ve read in a very long time.”
  • “Half of a Yellow Sun” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie — “Written by the author of ‘Americanah,’ this story is set within the movement to create the independent state, Biafra, apart from Nigeria.”
  • “If I Had Your Face” by Frances Cha — “This book tells the story of four women navigating the modern pressures of South Korean society.”
  • “Outlawed” by Anna North — “This novel is inventive, adventurous, moving and manages to blend its old wild west setting with modern sensibilities.”
  • “The Recovery Agent” by Janet Evanovich
  • “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” by Taylor Jenkins Reid — “I couldn’t put this book down and this review by PopSugar explains why: ‘The epic adventures Evelyn creates over the course of a lifetime will leave every reader mesmerized. This wildly addictive journey of a reclusive Hollywood starlet and her tumultuous Tinseltown journey comes with unexpected twists and the most satisfying of drama.’”
  • “Slouching Towards Bethlehem” by Joan Didion
  • “The Thursday Murder Club” by Richard Osman — “If you like cozy mysteries, you’ll love this series set at an English retirement home. Several of the residents meet weekly to solve cold cases. Then, when there’s a murder in their community, they’re in the middle of a real investigation. Lovable characters, and a great Audible narrator. Its sequel, ‘The Man Who Died Twice,’ is also very good.”
  • “The Vegetarian” by Han Kang — “Written by a Korean author, the book is somewhat bizarre, extreme and unusual. It follows the social consequences for a woman who decides to become a vegetarian.”


  • “Cyrano” — “There are beautiful music and wonderful acting in this 2021 adaptation of the play by Edmond Rostand.”
  • “Elvis”
  • “Everything Everywhere All at Once” — “This movie is one of the weirdest and best movies I’ve ever seen. It’s funny and cool — a mash-up of genres (sci-fi, superhero, family drama, comedy) featuring outstanding performances, a delightful visual style and heartwarming emotions.”
  • “Top Gun: Maverick”


  • “Purple Rain” Expanded Edition by Prince — “One of the best summer albums of all time still sounds fresh today. This edition includes more than 10 songs that didn’t make the cut for the original album, plus all of the single and dance versions for the perfect summer party.”


  • “Everything but the Music” (UCLA) — “I’m recommending this podcast to support other UC locations. My daughter is a rising junior majoring in music history and industry at UCLA and she is part of the team that puts the podcast together. Shameless plug from a proud mama!”
  • “Garden Futurist”
  • “Slow Burn” — “This podcast focuses on neglected aspects of well-known historical events to provide greater context and deeper understanding of these culture-changing incidents. Each season is a totally different topic and focus — never a dull moment!”
  • “Strict Scrutiny” — “For people interested in better understanding the Supreme Court and its decisions!”
  • “We Can Do Hard Things” — “If you know Glennon Doyle but haven’t listened to her podcast with her wife, Abby Wambach, and sister, Amanda Doyle, you are missing greatness.”

TV series

  • “Abbott Elementary” (ABC/Hulu) — “It’s funny and joyful! If you miss Ted Lasso, try Abbott Elementary.”
  • “Anne with an E” (Netflix) — “I’m obsessed with this ‘Anne of Green Gables’ story. I didn’t read the books when I was young, but this TV show has me binge-watching.
  • “Art & Tech” (Netflix)
  • “For All Mankind” (Apple TV+) — “Fascinating show about what NASA and the space program would be like had history been a little different; specifically if the Russians had beat the Americans to the moon.”
  • “The Ipcress File” (Apple+) — “A British spy thriller set in the 1960s with fabulous costumes and sets. It has twists and turns, and an ending I did not anticipate.”
  • “Love, Victor” (Hulu and Disney+) — “A teenager comes to terms with his sexuality, as do his parents and those around him. It reminds me a bit of ‘My So-Called Life’ in that it treats every character respectfully. The students, parents and others in the community are all real people and not caricatures. They face tough choices. The show is still fun, though, with enough humor to counterbalance the heavy topics.”
  • “Mr. Robot” (Amazon Prime Video) — “If you like dystopian novels and shows, and appreciate technically accurate narratives, I would highly recommend this show. There’s nothing like a little radical wealth redistribution to kick off the summer TV season.”
  • “Ms. Marvel” (Disney+) — “This is a great series with amazing visuals and an interesting story that wraps up in six episodes. Highly recommended!”
  • “Old Enough!” (Netflix)
  • “Only Murders in the Building” (Hulu) — “If you haven’t checked out this show, you’re missing out. It stars Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez. It is about a true crime podcast that comes out of a murder in the Arconia building in New York City. There is great acting, writing and visuals. Season two is currently streaming and it picks up right where season one left off.”
  • “Seinfeld” (Netflix) — “Because rewatching this is just plain comforting.”
  • “Tiny House Nation” (A&E; available on several platforms)
  • “Yellowstone & 1883” (Paramount+) — “A multi-season neo-Western that follows the fate of Yellowstone, a large family-owned cattle ranch in Montana, and its conflicts with land developers and the neighboring Native American reservation. (Season five is coming in Nov 2022.) ‘1883’ is the related, single-season origin story of the Yellowstone Ranch. Amazing characters and beautiful writing, filming and direction. It doesn’t get any better than this!”

**Editor’s note: We forgot to include an opportunity for survey respondents to attribute their recommendations. Sorry about that! If you’d like to share which recommendation was yours, or add one to this list, please leave a comment below.

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