What notable Torontonians are watching, reading and listening to this November – Toronto Life

Pop culture recommendations from Curtis Carmichael, Hannah Cheesman, Candace Daniel, Matt McGowan and more

Julia Dawson by Mario Drescher

Of Human Bondage by William Somerset Maugham

Recommended by Julia Dawson, musician

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“I am utterly obsessed with this book. I spent the first 150 pages complaining about the entitled and self-obsessed protagonist. Then I spent the next 500-odd pages obsessively binge-reading, pausing only to weep at the painful accuracy with which Maugham describes falling in love. When you finish this one, read Theatre.”


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Sandy & Nora Talk Politics

Recommended by Naomi Campbell, artistic director, Luminato

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“I am still sticking close to home, so I’ve been catching up on this excellent podcast, in which hosts Sandy Hudson and Nora Loreto casually talk about Canadian politics, but with razor-sharp analysis and tons of research to back it up.”


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The Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah

Recommended by Curtis Carmichael, writer and entrepreneur

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“During lockdowns, I read The Coldest Winter Ever too many times to count. Sister Souljah writes so vividly that I feel like I’m in the streets alongside the characters in the novel. The story follows the daughter of a Brooklyn drug kingpin who is arrested on trafficking charges and taken away. Souljah’s writing reignited my passion for living life and amplifying stories from the margins that deserve to be told.”


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Frozen Section Radio

Recommended by Dorothea Paas, musician

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“FSR is a new online Toronto-based radio station, founded by the incredible Amy Fort, who also does audio engineering for bands like Big Thief and U.S. Girls. The programming is multi-generational and spans many genres. My favourite shows are Emo Hour, Songs to Deliver Pizza To and the comedy program Yr Jokes. The content is so fun and varied that you’ll certainly find your place amidst the waves.”


Matt McGowan

Ryan Doesn’t Know

Recommended by Matt McGowan, director and general manager, Snap Inc.

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“This lighthearted and funny short-form show on Snapchat—hosted by Canadian superstar Ryan Reynolds—is a hilarious exploration of activities that Reynolds hasn’t tried before, like ice sculpting and flower arranging. It’s punchy, easy to watch, and always leaves me excited for the next episode.”


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A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

Recommended by Hawksley Workman, musician

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“I’ve travelled a lot for work over the years, and Paris has become very near and dear to my heart. A Moveable Feast is a pleasure-drift through the 1920s—one of the city’s most celebrated eras. I especially love disappearing into lazy afternoon drinking, chance encounters with Aleister Crowley and James Joyce, or road trips with F. Scott Fitzgerald. And, of course, Hemingway’s writing has the effortless economy that has made him a literary icon.”


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Only Murders in the Building

Recommended by Nita Prose, writer

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“This quirky Disney Plus series set in a posh New York apartment complex is sardonic, witty and completely character-driven. When a man is found dead in his suite, his neighbours—played by Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez­—become obsessed with solving the crime. It both parodies and celebrates the true crime genre.”


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BTS in the Soop

Recommended by Ann Pornel, host, Great Canadian Baking Show

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“I’ve recently discovered this reality show, available on South Korean app Weverse, in which the members of BTS spend a few days relaxing at a cottage, and I’ve never been more soothed. There’s something so wonderfully charming about watching these larger-than-life figures do the most mundane activities like playing ping-pong, going fishing and figuring out how to cook a meal that can feed all seven of them (spoiler: it’s almost always instant ramen).”


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Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris

Recommended by Hailey Gillis, actor

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“This podcast is a nuanced exploration of meditation and mindfulness in our modern world. Dan Harris is a thoughtful interviewer not only of teachers in this sphere, but also doctors, scientists, writers, coaches and economists. The episodes are often paired with guided meditations, aligning the discoveries in this field with the practice itself. I had my son in December of 2020, and your whole world becomes about your child. Listening to this podcast helped me connect to myself again.”


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What A Way To Go!

Recommended by Lindsay Dunn, reporter, CityNews

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“I like every movie that features the legendary crooner Dean Martin. His role in What a Way to Go! starring Shirley MacLaine is too ridiculous not to love. The film follows MacLaine’s unlucky-in-love character whose rich husbands keep dying off. It’s a wild and hilarious ride from beginning to end with a great lineup of cameos from Paul Newman, Gene Kelly and Dick Van Dyke.”


Candace Daniel

Dark History

Recommended by Candace Daniel, co-anchor, Global News Morning

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“Bailey Sarian’s YouTube series Murder, Mystery and Makeup drew me in as a fan, so when she launched a new crime podcast this year, I was all in. Sarian does her research and goes to great lengths to show how these traumatic events have an impact to this day, but she comes across as a girlfriend just telling you a great story—with a dash of Elvira kitsch.”


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The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Recommended by Terry and Eric Fan, writers

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“We’ve been big fans of the Zelda video game series since playing Link’s Awakening decades ago, which is also a masterpiece. The pandemic was the perfect time to dive into a lush, epic fantasy world on the Nintendo Switch. As in previous games, the real stars of the show are the intricate dungeons—in this case, shrines—and the brilliant puzzles and game design.”


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Meilleur Avant

Recommended by Hannah Cheesman, actor and filmmaker

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“This French-language web series from creators Laura Bergeron and Maxime Robin was shot at a grocery store outside Toronto. It takes a creative, absurdist and funny look at the night-shift janitor, who has failed to finish his doctorate on Nietzsche and finds himself in need of money.”


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The Prince Podcast

Recommended by Harkness, musician

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“When I’m cooking or working around the house, I love to listen to this podcast hosted by musician Michael Dean. The guests are people who worked closely with Prince, including band members, hairdressers and sound engineers. The stories they tell are awe-inspiring and often hilarious as they peel back the layers of an incredibly hard-working and truly eccentric individual.”