Staff Picks: 'Tigerland,' 'Big Mouth' and more

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly
Jessica Hopper

READING: "Tigerland: 1968-1969: A City Divided, a Nation Torn Apart, and a Magical Season of Healing" by Wil Haygood

The Columbus native and acclaimed journalist/author tells the story of the legendary East High School athletic accomplishments: winning both the Ohio basketball and baseball championships in the same school year. But this sports narrative is only a springboard for a larger discussion of the civil rights unrest roiling the country—punctuated by the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. The most compelling parts are not the detailed exploits of the gifted athletes, but the tales of their mothers, most of whom fled the racial hatred of the South, and their principal, the indomitable Jack Gibbs. It also clearly shows the systemic segregation of neighborhoods and Columbus public schools at the time—the result of which still haunts us today. —Ray Paprocki, Publisher and General Manager

READING: "Night Moves" by Jessica Hopper

Last week, Jessica Hopper stopped by Two Dollar Radio Headquarters to discuss her new book, “Night Moves.” I became a fan of Hopper’s work after reading her previous book, a compilation of her essays and articles. With “Night Moves,” Hopper shifts the focus from her writing to herself. Told through diary-like entries, Hopper shares stories that happened in a specific place and time—Chicago from 2004 to 2008. The setting quickly becomes a main character in the book as Hopper writes about riding her bike around Chicago landmarks that no longer exist, talking music with her friends and just figuring things out in her favorite city. Her unwavering adoration of the Midwest (and some well-placed jabs at the West Coast) make this enjoyable ride through Hopper’s past even better. —Brittany Moseley, Assistant Digital Editor

WATCHING:Big Mouth (Netflix)

The animated Netflix sitcom from, among others, Nick Kroll (who also voices a multitude of characters, including the perversely hilarious Hormone Monster) mines humor from those awkward adolescent years, following a group of classmates as they deal with the onset of puberty. There’s less gross-out humor than one might expect, with much of it emanating from Jason Mantzoukas, an actor who’s no stranger to outlandish characters (see: Rafi on The League). And amid the references to boners, masturbation and, uh, impregnated pillows, there’s still a good amount of heart. But, really, it’s just funny as hell. —Andy Downing, Editor, Columbus Alive


I'm a fan of serialized podcasts, but I usually catch up with them late and binge-listen. Believed is different—I've been listening to it first thing every Monday, as soon as it drops. That's all the more surprising, given that we all know how it ends: with more than 150 women testifying in court to Larry Nassar's sexual abuse, before a judge sent him away for the rest of his life. This report from NPR and Michigan Radio, hosted by two women and featuring the female detectives, prosecutors and survivors who brought him to justice, takes a deep dive into the question of how Nassar got away with molesting so many girls and young women over so many years, often in the presence of their parents—and how his victims gained the strength to speak up. Be warned: This one, like its subject, is not safe for children. — Suzanne Goldsmith, Senior Editor, Columbus Monthly