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Education

New audiobook platform supports local bookstores

Read global, shop local, and listen up: Libro.fm fine-tunes the audiobook industry and gives back to small businesses

New audiobook platform supports local bookstores
Parnassus Books / Nashville, TN – courtesy of Libro.fm

Local independent bookstores are often a safe haven for readers who navigate the maze of finely packed shelves searching for their next great adventure. With thoughtful curation, dedicated expertise and a sprinkle of whimsy, these businesses help us turn the page that much quicker. But as page-turning quickly evolves into scrolling and oftentimes streaming, the way we buy books similarly needs a more modern approach.

That's why Libro.fm has been fine-tuning the audiobook industry and handing the mic back over to local shops who strive to create jobs, keep money within their communities and give back to their neighborhoods. With every audiobook bought through Libro.fm, you can help support local bookstores.



Country Bookshelf / Bozeman, MT – courtesy of Libro.fm

Here's how it works: Libro.fm lets you buy audiobooks a la carte or through a monthly membership. You sign up and create your account, and in doing so, you choose a bookstore that you'd like to support from their list of independent shops. Each time you make a purchase, the bookstore of your choice gets a portion of the sale. We know—shopping local has never been so easy!

Sign up here and use the code UPWORTHY to get a free audiobook when you start your membership! And if you're still unsure of what to read, Libro.fm has you covered. With playlists curated by booksellers, you can find your next great read from the independent voices you trust in your community and in other communities across the nation.

If you're still looking for alternate inspiration, here are a few of Upworthy's top reads right now:

  1. How to Be Perfect by Michael Schur includes "The Correct Answer to Every Moral Question"... at least according to the subtitle. The funny, accessible work touches on the questions of ethical living much like the author's hit TV show, "The Good Place." And with audiobook narration and cameos from much of the cast, it's no wonder this book is at the top of our list.
  2. A Beautiful Work In Progress by Mirna Valerio focuses on one runner's guide to break stereotypes, find body positivity and dismantle prejudice all while running races across the country. This memoir uses raw honesty, adventure and a sharp sense of humor to take readers on a journey from being a first-time racer to an ultramarathon runner.
  3. Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune discusses life, death and what it is to finding meaning in both. Before crossing over to the afterlife, Wallace's spirit is given a week to get his affairs in order and winds up living a lifetime. An uplifting, quirky, fictional work that discusses what it is to live a life.
  4. Untamed by Glennon Doyle, "the patron saint of female empowerment," writes her tell-all memoir in which she discusses finding love, finding oneself and finding freedom from societal pressures imposed on women. As Doyle insists, "the braver we are, the luckier we become" and this work follows her journey stepping into courage and building the life she wanted.

Happy reading!

Science

Sustainably good news: Recycling is getting better and this family is showing us how

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Ryan Metzger and son Owen

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In today's world, it's easy to get caught up in all the negative news we're exposed to, but in reality, most good deeds are done away from a camera—just one person helping another without desire for fanfare. And for mom Bryanne McBride and her young son, Mason, that's exactly what they were doing when they got the surprise of a lifetime.

Bryanne was approached by a man in a parking lot asking for a dollar to catch the bus. The entire time, the mom scrounged around in her purse looking for spare change and revealed she felt bad because she thought she had some. Bryanne's desire to help was a simple act of kindness to another human in need without the expectation of something in return.

During the time it took for the unsuspecting mother to dig for loose change, the "stranded" stranger, Zach, introduced himself and asked if the duo were from Philly. Once they said they were from the area, he then inquired if they were Eagles fans...the football team, not the birds. "You ever been to an Eagles game?" Zach asked.

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Woman without an internal monologue explains what it's like inside her head

“She's broken my mind. I don't even understand what I'm not understanding."

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The notion of living without an internal monologue is a fairly new one. Until psychologist Russell Hurlburt’s studies started coming out in the late 90s, it was widely accepted that everyone had a little voice narrating in their head. Now Hurlburt, who has been studying people's "inner experience" for 40 years, estimates that only 30-50% of the population frequently think this way.

So what about the other 50-70%? What exactly goes on inside their heads from day to day?

In a video interview originally posted in 2020, a woman named Kirsten Carlson gave some insight into this question, sharing how not having an inner dialogue affected her reading and writing, her interactions with others and how she navigates mental challenges like anxiety and depression. It was eye-opening and mind-blowing.
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However popular the idea is, polyamory is misunderstood by a large swath of the public and is often seen as deviant. However, those who practice it view polyamory as a healthy lifestyle with several benefits.

Taya Hartless, 28, and Alysia Rogers, 34, along with their husbands Sean, 46, and Tyler, 35, are in a polyamorous relationship and have no problem sharing their lifestyle with the public on social media. Even though they risk stigmatization for being open about their non-traditional relationships, they are sharing it with the world to make it a safer place for “poly” folks like themselves.

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Native Siberian shares what daily life entails in the coldest village on Earth

See how the people of Yakutia, Siberia take showers, do laundry, go to school and more in minus 58 degrees Fahrenheit.

A man in the Yakutia region of Siberia takes an ice bath in minus 50 degrees Celsius.

For most of us, waking up to a temperature of minus 50 degrees would spell catastrophe. Normal life would come to a screeching halt, we'd be scrambling to deal with frozen pipes and power outages, school and work would be canceled and weather warnings would tell us not to venture outside due to frostbite risk.

But in the Yakutia region of Siberia, that's just an average winter day where life goes on as usual.

When you live in the coldest inhabited area on Earth, your entire life is arranged around dealing with ridiculously cold temperatures. Villages don't have running water because freezing pipes wouldn't allow for water treatment. Kids go to school unless the temp drops below minus 55 degrees Celsius (which is then considered dangerous). Showering involves spending hours stoking a fire in the bathhouse to create a steamy, warm room.

Native Siberian Kiun B. has created a series of documentary short films detailing what daily life is like in Yakutia's frigid winters. She was born and raised in Yakutsk, Siberia, widely recognized as the coldest city on Earth, where average winter temperatures hover around minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit. As seen in her videos, smaller villages in the Yakutia region regularly dip down into the negative 50s, with the lowest recorded temp in the Yakut village of Oymayakon reaching a mindblowing minus 96 degrees Fahrenheit.

The popularity of Kiun's YouTube channel demonstrates how curious people are about life in such harsh conditions, as her videos have been viewed by tens of millions of people in the past year alone.

Check out this video detailing a day in the life of a family in a Yakutia village.

Can you imagine going out to use an outhouse in minus 40 degrees? Oof.

Another of Kiun's videos goes into more detail about how people shower and do laundry in the region. You might assume they wouldn't line-dry their laundry outdoors, but they do.

Watch:

What do people wear to protect themselves from the negative temperatures? Frostbite is a real risk, so it's important to have the right kinds of clothing and outdoor gear to stay safe and relatively comfortable.

Kiun shared some frigid fashion norms from Yakutsk, which include traditional fur hats and boots as well as lots of layers and down jackets.

However, there are some Yakut folks who see the cold as something to embrace. For instance, this man takes an ice bath out in the elements as a morning ritual. It's something he has worked up to—definitely not something to try on your own during a cold snap—but it still has to be painful.

(Seriously, please don't try this at home.)

The way humans have learned to adapt to drastically different environments, from the sweltering tropics to the Arctic tundra, is incredible, and it's fascinating to get a close-up look at how people make life work in those extremes. Thank you, Kiun B., for giving us a glimpse of what it's like to experience life in the dead of winter in the world's coldest inhabited places.

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