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Everything Our Editors Loved in October

The books, movies, podcasts, music, and more that our editors couldn't stop talking about

If you get an out-of-office message from us, we're probably doing this (Photo: Patrick Hendry)

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October was anything but frightening here at Outside. We spent the month listening to a delightful Dolly Parton podcast, watching a hilarious mockumentary about a hopeful ski influencer, and getting endurance advice from the likes of Kilian Jornet. (OK, that last one was a little scary.)

What We Read

This month I read The Bay of Noon by Shirley Hazzard. She published it in 1970 to positive reception, and went on to write her best-known novel, The Transit of Venus, shortly after. The book is about a young British woman living in post-war Naples, but told from her perspective as an older woman. It’s restrained and lovely and full of blisteringly accurate observations about being a person in the world. Good one to curl up with by the fire.

—Abbie Barronian, assistant editor

I’ve been diving deep into Training for the Uphill Athlete by Steve House, Scott Johnston, and Kilian Jornet to get a better understanding of what works (and what doesn’t) when it comes to endurance training. I’m hoping that having even a slight grasp on the biology and science behind the great endurance athletes will help me be a better one. This isn’t a light read—I’d say it has more of a textbook vibe—so break out the highlighter and Post-it flags.

—Julia Walley, marketing art director

In the fall, when the mornings are colder and darker, it takes a little extra motivation to get out of bed for my morning run. This year I found it in the form of Tales from the Trails: Runners Stories That Inspire and Transform by Michael Clinton. The former publishing director at Hearst Magazines, Clinton is a lifelong runner who has completed marathons on all seven continents. In Tales from the Trails, Clinton shares his own essays—as well as those from fellow running junkies he’s met along the way—on topics like the lessons the sport teaches, the joy of running with dogs, and why we lace up our shoes in the first place.

—Chris Keyes, editor

What We Listened To

I love podcasts. Just about all of them. So maybe I don’t have the most discerning ear, but Dolly Parton’s America is by far one of the best things I have consumed in any media, podcast or otherwise. Dolly is a feminist who doesn’t call herself one, a creator, a lover, and a goddamn pan flute player. I want to be her.

—Katie Cruickshank, digital marketing manager

The latest (and last) season of the Gimlet podcast Startup chronicles Gimlet’s own acquisition by Spotify. In other words, it’s total media insider baseball, but it’s very compelling if you’re into that kind of thing. (It includes more than one middle-of-the-night existential crisis from the host, Gimlet CEO Alex Blumberg.) I started listening to this show five years ago during the first season, which told the story of fledgling Gimlet’s attempt to become a successful podcast company, but I tuned out for some of the in-between seasons that focused on other companies. The final chapter is a nice bookend to all of the uncertainty of that first season.

—Molly Mirhashem, digital deputy editor 

What We Watched and Otherwise Experienced

If you have not already started watching The Righteous Gemstones on HBO, you need to stop, drop, and roll onto your couch to binge watch it ASAP. As Stefon would say on Saturday Night Live, “this show has everything,” and I really mean everything. Creator Danny McBride is serving us gilded Southern megachurch hypocrisy, an adult man named Baby Billy, and the rebranding of a high speed chase as “car pranks.” While this show is majority male-led, Edi Patterson and Cassidy Freeman hold their own with extraordinary performances that steal every scene. If you like eighties pageant glitz mixed with dysfunctional family blackmail, this show is the roller coaster for you.

—Kyra Kennedy, photo editor

I don’t know comedian Katie Burrell, but I wish I did. She is brilliant, funny, and seems so cool on Instagram. Plus she made one of the best ski movies I have ever seen, Dream Job, a mockumentary of sorts about famous women in the ski industry and her quest to become one of them. To quote Katie, you gotta be the content you want to see in the world. (Dream Job is on tour across the West and Europe now.)

—K.C.

I’ve been watching the Amazon series Modern Love, which is based on The New York Times column of the same name. I’m a sucker for romance movies and I enjoy seeing different actors in each episode. (Anne Hathaway’s performance as a bipolar woman in search of a partner was shockingly good). At around 30 minutes apiece, they’re a light commitment in the evening. Well, I say light, but more than half have made me cry—but doesn’t any good love story do that?

—Tasha Zemke, copy editor

This fall, I’m taking a mindfulness class at the local community college here in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a fact that I’m sharing with everyone who will listen so they’ll know I’m better than them. Really though, it’s been fascinating to learn about what mindfulness really means (contrary to popular belief, this is not about solving world problems through meditation) and I’ve already walked away with a few key techniques for stress management. If you’re interested in learning more, I recommend this earnest yet undeniably inspirational PBS video we watched in class.

—Jenny Earnest, audience development director

Thanks, Succession. My closet is now full of sweaters and high-waisted pants and I want to run away from my media job screaming. I already have a Google Alert set up for the launch date of season three.

—K.C.

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