An American Girl in Washington

The List

Posted in Book Learnin' by AGinDC on 30 December 2012

I’m constantly being asked for a list of my favorite movies, books, websites, etc. Not just the things I like, but the basics that, in my humble opinion, everyone should know. The TV shows that everyone is talking about, the books everyone has read, the websites that keep you updated. A lot of girls haven’t ever seen a James Bond flick, a lot of guys have never heard of McSweeney’s, a lot of people have never read Prelude to Foundation, and we’re all sadder for it.

I’ve lived all over the world and country and been in a million different situations and having an eclectic knowledge of history and pop culture has saved me on countless occasions. I’ve connected with major funders over a shared love of Anne Rice, I’ve had long nights with strangers over wine in hostels waxing lyrical about Trouble with Tribbles (the first and greatest Star Trek episode ever), and the lessons I’ve learned from Madame Clicquot, Richard Branson and Jackie Kennedy have helped make me the person I am, and hope to be.

There is so much to learn from great stories: leadership lessons from Captain Sisko, inspiration on a long day from K’NAAN, healthy eating motivation on, and it’s easier to connect when you have at least some of the same baseline knowledge as others. I’m a culture whore, I love watching, reading, and absorbing absolutely everything. The value of liberal and eclectic knowledge cannot be overstated. So here is a short list of stuff I think everyone should know.


(This is a short list. I’ll keep updating it as I think of other things. For more, email me. If I’m missing something awesome, email me.



TV/Movies/Web Series

  • Star Trek (Original, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine)
  • Star Wars (all six)
  • Battlestar Galactica
  • Doctor Who
  • Firefly
  • West Wing
  • The Wire
  • Boondocks
  • Jeeves & Wooster
  • Cowboy Bebop
  • Community
  • Top Gear (The U.K. version, NOT the U.S. version of crappiness)
  • Avengers series (Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Avengers. Watch the Hulk but it sucks)
  • Every Batman movie ever, for historical reference
  • Cleopatra
  • Indiana Jones Series
  • Matrix (including Animatrix)
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Angel
  • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
  • James Bond Films
  • Planet Earth
  • All Tarantino films
  • Lord of the Rings series
  • The Princess Bride
  • The Big Lebowski
  • Harry Potter
  • Casablanca
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail
  • Carmen Jones
  • Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee

Music/Podcasts/Listening (I mostly focused on stuff not everyone listens too, Top 40 would have been too obvious.)

  • NPR (especially A Prairie Home Companion,  Car Talk, the Kojo Nnamdi show if you’re in DC)
  • Nerdist podcast
  • Thrilling Adventure Hour podcast
  • Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin podcast
  • Star Talk with Neil DeGrasse Tyson podcast
  • Sam Sparro (song- Black & Gold)
  • K’Naan (song- The Seed)
  • John Hiatt (song- Blues Can’t Even Find Me)
  • Dave Matthews Band (album- Away From The World)
  • Sia (album- Lady Croissant)
  • The Black Keys (album- Brothers)
  • Branford Marsalis Quartet (song- The Blossom of Parting)
  • Florence + The Machine (EVERYTHING)
  • Jack White (album- Blunderbuss)


  • Wired
  • Fast Company
  • Vogue
  • Town & Country
  • Fortune
  • Time
  • W
  • Popular Science

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