What to Book: Jessi Hempel is well known in tech circles as a reporter and podcast host. But her excellent writing and incisive, honest storytelling reaches new heights in her memoir about her family’s transformation, with almost all of them embracing their queer identities. The book also has the title of the year: The Family Outing. Publishers Weekly nails the review: “Eloquent, intricately woven … a deeply moving portrait of generational trauma and painstaking repair. This interrogation of familial fissures and bonds radiates with empathy and grace.” I’ve been waiting to share this one with you for a while. You’ll be hooked from the first page.

+ What to Pod: He’s arguably the most powerful person in the world, and yet we know almost nothing about him. This eight-part series aims to changes that with the epic story of Xi Jinping’s turbulent past, how he has changed China, and how he is trying to change the world. I started this last night and it’s really good. The Prince: Searching for Xi Jinping.

+ What to Hear: “I got a little Teac four-track cassette machine, and I said, I’m gonna record these songs, and if they sound good with just me doin’ ’em, then I’ll teach ’em to the band. I could sing and play the guitar, and then I had two tracks to do somethin’ else, like overdub a guitar or add a harmony. It was just gonna be a demo. Then I had a little Echoplex that I mixed through, and that was it. And that was the tape that became the record. It’s amazing that it got there, ’cause I was carryin’ that cassette around with me in my pocket without a case for a couple of weeks, just draggin’ it around. Finally, we realized, ‘Uh-oh, that’s the album.'” The only thing more incredible than the story of Bruce Springsteen recording Nebraska on a four track at home is the fact that for the past four decades the world has had access the audible poetry in its raw and original form. Forty years ago today, Bruce released Nebraska.