Paige: You're listening to Coffee with Gringos. I'm Paige Sutherland.
Mariah: And I'm Mariah Wika. Welcome back to the pod. Today, we are talking about pop culture. And we'll be focusing on books and movies, and giving some of our recommendations as the year comes to a close. Remember, if you get lost as you're listening, the transcript and vocabulary guide are on our website to help you out.
Paige: So, to start, we'll talk about books.
Mariah: Are you a reader?
Paige: I am a reader. I actually read every night before I go to bed.
Mariah: Are you serious?!
Mariah: Are you like my mom?
Paige: I know, I'm secretly 80 years old.
Mariah: Like a 55 year old woman.
Paige: So, there's a backstory behind that. I read a lot in college. I went to a school where we had to read whole books before class. It was a lot of assigned reading, and so then, I went into the real world, and I started working, and I stopped reading. And I was just like... I could feel it. I could feel it in my intelligence. I was like... I need to read more because I do love reading, I just wasn't making time for it. So, I decided that to do that, I would read every night before bed, and now it's just become part of my routine.
Mariah: Oh that's awesome.
Paige: Yeah, so I mean I'm not reading for like two hours before bed. I'll read for like 30 minutes, 40 minutes.
Mariah: Yeah, but I think that's a great thing to build into your routine. That's something that I noticed too because I also had a really reading-heavy curriculum in college, and I loved it, but I also felt like reading was work, y'know? And so, I didn't read for fun in college. I was an avid reader as a kid. I read constantly. Constantly. In fact, our parents, they made a deal with us that every 100 books we read, we could go to Barnes and Noble and spend twenty dollars on books. So, my sister and I legitimately read hundreds of books together.
Paige: Did you say every hundred books?!
Mariah: Yeah, so it was between the two of us.
Paige: That's still a lot of books!
Mariah: I would read 50, and she would read 50. And then our reward was... more books. And we thought it was the best thing in the entire world, so I think we read like 500 books in a matter of years. It was crazy. And constant. And then of course, I went to college, and reading felt like homework, and I didn't read for fun anymore, and it's hard to pick the habit back up again if it's not been in your routine for a while. So, I think it's cool that you do that every day.
Paige: I think what I've come to realize too as an adult is that I am reading for pleasure. So, what's good is I'll start a book and say I kind of lose steam on it, I'll just start another one. So right now, I'm reading four books.
Paige: Because it depends on my mood, like sometimes I'm feeling like y'know, a non-fiction book with a lot of fact-based reporting in it. Sometimes I just want a nice novel where I get totally lost in the story.
Mariah: What are your favorite types of books to read? Do you have a favorite genre?
Paige: Yes. I think because I'm professionally by trade a journalist, I really love non-fiction. I love those kinds of books that take a topic and dive deep in it... like Malcolm Gladwell is one of my favorite authors.
Mariah: Ah, he also does a podcast!
Paige: He does a podcast, which I love as well.
Mariah: Revisionist History.
Paige: He just is so good at taking things that are topical and like finding the history and meaning behind them, and I find that so fascinating. What about you? What is your favorite genre of book?
Mariah: Oh that's a really good question. I really love historical fiction. Especially well-written historical fiction... where I actually feel like I'm learning something, but I can get swept up in the story. I love that. I love poetry. I know it's not necessarily your typical genre, but for me, that's something where I have some poetry books that are just worn-through because I have carried them with me all over the world. I'm not a huge non-fiction fan. Although, recently I've read more... I guess you could call them inspirational books, kind of self-help books.
Paige: I love non-fiction, but sometimes you need to escape from the world, something a little lighter. So, I do also love the novels, where it's just, you get this story and you can't put it down. Like I read my first Stephen King book this year.
Mariah: I've never read Stephen King.
Paige: It was his newest book, The Outsider, and it might have been 6, 700 pages, and I think I read it in like two weeks. I just was so into the story. He has that kind of writing where you just have to keep reading.
Mariah: Yeah, yeah I love that. A page-turner.
Paige: Exactly. A page-turner. But my all-time favorite is Harry Potter.
Mariah: This is a total sin to many people, but I've only read four of the Harry Potter books.
Paige: You're a quitter!
Mariah: No I'm not a quitter! But, what happened is, I was reading the Harry Potter books, for some reason I started the fifth Harry Potter book, and I got bored. I got bored during Order of the Phoenix. And that was about the time when my mom started a book club, so there were all of these new books in my house, and I started reading a book called The Kite Runner, and all of a sudden, I was not interested in Harry Pottery anymore, and that's when I, that's when I started really diving into historical fiction... was with The Kite Runner.
Paige: Did you read A Thousand Splendid Suns?
Mariah: I did. I loved that book.
Paige: Yeah, those are two of my favorite books.
Mariah: They're really, really good.
Paige: They're very different from Harry Potter. That's quite a jump.
Mariah: It is a jump. I think as a kid, I loved fiction. And then, I discovered historical fiction in that moment and just got super hooked. I love learning about history, and I think that that's just an amazing way to do it... in a way that's really exciting.
Paige: I'm not one of those fans where I re-read it every year. I know friends that have read Harry Pottery, like each of the seven books, maybe like fifty times.
Mariah: I know. Isn't that astonishing?
Paige: It's... yeah, I'm definitely a reader where I... it's very hard for me to not finish a book. It has to be the worst book, because I'll always feel this urge that it gets better. I have to give it the try, so I usually finish a book regardless of how bad it is, but I'm not a re-reader.
Mariah: No, me neither.
Mariah: Not at all.
Paige: I just have never, I always wanna read a different book, try something new. I've probably re-read maybe one or two books, and it's like the classics. But I guess to switch gears a little bit... movies.
Mariah: Yeahhhh. Movies. Personally, I'm an avid reader. I love reading. I am not an avid movie watcher. But, I enjoy a good movie every now and then. But, I think that you're much more of a movie watcher than I am.
Paige: If you asked my boyfriend, I think he would tell you I've seen every movie made. I grew up in a family that was very movie-oriented. We would have movie nights, we would go to the movies... it was just kind of part of our family culture. I watch a movie at least probably once a week.
Paige: Yeah. And going to the movies, to me, is probably one of my favorite activities. I love... and it's more than just the movie... I love that you can show up, you get a big thing of popcorn, I get my Skittles or my Sour Patch, I sit in the comfy seats, I watch the trailers... even if the movie is bad, I always have a good time.
Mariah: It's the experience for you.
Paige: Yeah, and what I love about the movies is it's like, the surround sound, there's no pausing or talking, or... it's just the whole experience.
Mariah: Oh my god, I'm the opposite. I'm the opposite. My family, I think we've gone to the movie theater as a whole family, two times in my entire life. And I can remember them. We was the Tigger Movie and March of the Penguins. In my family, I think three of us struggle with migraines, and so we go to a movie theater, and the surround sound and the lights and the screen, they give us a headache! And so, afterwards, we're just like... I need ibuprofen.
Paige: Wow. So, I'm not going to the movies with Mariah's family.
Mariah: Just a bunch of babies. I enjoy going to the movies now, every once in a while. But, it's definitely not my first choice of activity, but part of it too is that I really don't like violence or horror movies, and so I've never seen a scary movie in my life. If I go see a movie, I go to watch a comedy, a chick flick or a romantic comedy.
Paige: A rom-com!
Mariah: A rom-com. An action movie. I also really like historical films.
Paige: I guess when it comes to movies, I have a wide pallet, I guess one could say.
Mariah: Yeah, because you've seen them all!
Paige: But I would say my favorite genre is probably rom-com, y'know? I love a little romance, I love comedy. But I also do love the historical movies because there's nothing better than watching a movie and learning about something you never knew about before that is true, but obviously life is stressful, so sometimes it's nice to just escape in a rom-com movie.
Mariah: And part of my problem with movies is that I'm just a horrible movie crier. If I watch anything that has a hint of sadness, I just cry hard. So, for example, if I'm sitting in the movie theater watching a sad movie, I'm just sobbing. And it's not graceful.
Paige: That's what I love about the movies! It's like you're in a safe space. You can cry there. It's dark, no one can really see you. It's almost... I've had a ton of shared moments where I'm crying, and I look over and someone's crying, and we're like...
Mariah: Paige reaches over, grabs the hand of a stranger...
Paige: It's a safe space! Especially if you're seeing a movie that's a tear-jerker, as we say.
Mariah: You've never seen me cry at a movie, Paige. It's not a pretty sight.
Paige: We'll have to go.
Mariah: Paige and I are gonna go to the movies together, we have a movie date.
Paige: Yeah, exactly. I think since I've been here, I've gone to the movies maybe five times.
Mariah: I've been to three movies here in the theaters!
Mariah: Yeah, I saw the movie about Van Gogh. It was an animated movie about Vincent Van Gogh. Loved it. I saw Black Panther, which was great. And then I saw a Chilean movie called Una Mujer Fantastica, and that actually won an Oscar, and it was an incredible film.
Paige: I'm trying to think of my favorite movies this year that I've seen. I obviously saw Fantastic Beasts, the new one, saw that in theaters recently. A Star is Born...
Mariah: Ahh, the one with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper? I would love to see that.
Paige: That one was very incredible because it was all original music, and it was performed live for the movie.
Mariah: Seriously? I did not know that.
Paige: So, especially, I mean, Lady Gaga, everyone knows is a, you know, pop queen.
Mariah: An icon!
Paige: But Bradley Cooper is an actor, but he learned guitar, and he took vocal lessons.
Paige: So it was all him during the movie, which is always so impressive.
Mariah: Way to go, Bradley!
Paige: You see actors, and you kind of see them on the surface level, but then, you see, oh, he's been learning guitar for nine months for this role... he directed the movie. Yeah, so it's impressive, the work that went into the film. Do you watch a lot of yours on Netflix, on HBO, on TV? How do you watch your movies?
Mariah: When I do watch movies, it's just Netflix or you know, the bi-annual trip to the movie theater. How about you?
Paige: Yeah, I would say a lot of times, if I'm not at the theaters, I watch it... probably on Netflix. I don't illegally download... wink, wink. All legal movies!
Mariah: Totally, totally Paige.
Paige: My shows, mostly Netflix. I don't watch honestly that many shows.
Mariah: I prefer shows. I definitely prefer shows to movies. It's been a great way for me to practice my Spanish, and for all of our listeners here, this is a great way to practice your English too. I've watched several series in Spanish, with Spanish subtitles. So if you watch it in English, but with English subtitles, it's a really good way to practice. It's not boring. It's really engaging. Same with books. If you've read Harry Potter in Spanish, read it in English. You already know the story, and so, it'll be an awesome way to practice that vocabulary and still enjoy it.
Paige: No, I agree, because sometimes we kind of take learning a language as work, but if you combine it with something you love, like a series, a book that you love, you can really learn so much vocabulary, and it will feel more enjoyable!
Mariah: Right! I know that a lot of people here watch movies that are originally made in English, and so that's an awesome way... try turning the subtitles off. Challenge yourself, and give it a go.
Paige: So, last episode, we talked a little bit about New Year's resolutions. So, maybe listeners, pick a book up in English, pick a series, maybe a movie. Challenge yourself to really combine that with your language learning.
Mariah: Totally, I think that's a great plan. And as for me, my New Year's resolution might be to be a little more pop culture savvy and actually watch more than three movies this year.
Paige: 2019. We're going to the movies, Mariah.
Paige: CWG at the cinema.
Mariah: Coffee with Gringos at the cinema, there it is. Thank again for listening, and we'll talk to you soon.
KEY VOCABULARY, PHRASES, AND SLANG
Pod (noun, slang) - short for podcast
Example: This is Coffee with Gringos! Welcome back to the pod!
Pop culture (noun, slang) - short for popular culture
Example: Movies and books are all part of popular culture.
Reader (noun) - a person who frequently and actively enjoys reading
Example: Paige is definitely a reader because she reads every single night before going to sleep!
Actually (adverb) - in reality, used to emphasize that something is true
Example: I actually read every night before bed!
Backstory (noun) - a story that explains the reason you do something
Example: Paige told Mariah the backstory of why she decided to start reading before bed every night.
College (noun) - university, NOT high school
Example: Paige and Mariah both read a lot in college.
The real world (phrase) - a term used to describe life after university
Example: After Paige graduated and went into the real world, she realized that she was reading a lot less than she did in college.
Reading-heavy - when you add “-heavy” to another word, it indicates that there’s a large amount of the first word! So, reading-heavy means that Paige did a lot of reading. Or, a meat-heavy diet means that it includes a lot of meat.
Example: Paige and Mariah both went to colleges with reading-heavy curriculums.
Curriculum (noun) - the subjects in a program of study
Example: My college curriculum sometimes required reading an entire book before class!
Barnes and Noble (proper noun) - a popular bookstore in the United States
Example: Mariah loved going to Barnes and Noble as a kid to buy books.
Make a deal (phrase) - to make an agreement, in Spanish: hacer un trato
Example: Our parents made a deal with us that every 100 books we read, we could go buy another book at the bookstore.
Avid (adjective) - very enthusiastic
Example: I was an avid reader as a kid.
Lose steam (phrase, idiom) - lose energy or enthusiasm
Example: When I lose steam on a book, I just stop and start a new one!
Mood (noun) - your emotional or mental state
Example: The type of book I want to read depends on my mood.
Genre (noun) - a style or category of art, music, or literature
Example: My favorite genre of books is historical fiction.
Fiction (noun) - literature about imaginary events and people
Example: I loved reading fiction books about dragons and magic when I was a kid, but now I prefer non-fiction.
Non-fiction (noun) - literature that is informative and factual
Example: I read a great non-fiction biography of Barack Obama.
Historical-fiction (noun) - literature that features imagined stories within actual historical events
Example: World War II books that feature imagined characters are historical-fiction.
Science fiction OR Sci-Fi (noun) - fiction about imaginary future technological and scientific advances
Example: Interstellar is a Sci-Fi film.
Self-help (noun) - a genre that focuses on personal improvement
Example: I like self-help books that give good career and personal advice.
Novel (noun) - generally a fiction book that is still realistic
Example: I love getting lost in a good novel when I go to the beach!
Dive deep (phrase, idiom) - to deeply explore a topic
Example: I like the books that really dive deeply into a topic.
Page-turner (noun, slang) - a very exciting book, you want to keep turning the pages!
Example: Paige thought that Stephen King’s book was definitely a page turner.
Quitter (noun) - a person who gives up (stops) easily and cannot complete a task
Example: Paige told Mariah she was a quitter because she stopped reading the Harry Potter Series after four books.
Get hooked (phrase, idiom) - very interested, very enthusiastic about something
Example: I got hooked on historical fiction after reading Kite Runner.
Astonishing (adjective) - surprising, impressive, amazing
Example: It’s astonishing that some of Paige’s friends have read Harry Potter 50 times!
Re-reader (noun) - a person who reads the same book two times or more
Example: I’m not a re-reader! I think it’s boring to read the same thing twice!
Switch gears (phrase, idiom) - to change topics
Example: It’s been fun to talk about books, but to switch gears, let’s talk about movies!
Show up (phrasal verb) - to arrive
Example: I love that you can show up to a movie, buy snacks, and sit down and relax and enjoy.
Comfy (adjective) - comfortable
Example: Paige is a fan of the comfy seats at the movie theater.
Horror movies (noun) - terror or scary movies
Example: I don’t like horror movies at all. It’s really difficult for me to watch violence.
Comedy (noun) - funny movies
Example: Since I don’t like scary movies, I definitely prefer comedy!
Chick flick (noun) - a slang term for romantic comedies
Example: I think that chick flicks are the perfect combination of romance and comedy.
Romantic Comedy (Rom-Com) - movies that are funny and have a romantic story
Example: My favorite Romantic Comedy is How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.
Movie crier (noun) - a person that frequently cries during movies
Example: Mariah is absolutely a movie crier, and she’s a little embarrassed about it.
Savvy (noun) - intelligent and knowledgeable
Example: I wish I were more pop culture savvy!