Read. Watch. Listen. with Debra Nousek

Read. Watch. Listen. introduces you to the personal side of our faculty, staff and alumni. Participants are asked to answer three simple questions about their reading, viewing and listening habits – what one book or newspaper/magazine article is grabbing your attention; what one movie or television show has caught your eye; and what album/song, podcast or radio show are you lending an ear to.

Debra Nousek is a Classical Studies professor.

Today, she takes a turn on Read. Watch. Listen.

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I like to keep up with news, politics and science alongside my reading for teaching and research in ancient Roman history and Latin literature, but my heart belongs to fiction. In the past year or so I’ve devoured the Inspector Gamache series by Canadian mystery author Louise Penny. All the books are delightful, and perhaps a new reader ought to start at the beginning, but my special recommendation is for A Great Reckoning (No. 12 in the series). There is so much to love in Penny’s fictional idyllic village of Three Pines – quirky, richly-drawn characters, witty dialogue, and the food. These characters dine so well it’s a good thing reading is calorie-free.


Netflix recently released season two of Sex Education, which is so much more than simply a show about teenagers and sex. It’s a show with an extraordinarily diverse cast which explores nearly every aspect of identity and relationships, and yes, sex. Gillian Anderson is radiant and hilarious as a sex therapist whose son, Otis, takes up unofficial sex-counselling of his peers in high school, while he himself faces all the challenges of growing up and into his own self. The series is both poignant and actually educational, and incredibly funny.


I listen to a lot of podcasts, and like my interests in murder-mystery fiction, I find that there’s something compelling about crime stories. (It’s no wonder I teach a course on Crime and Punishment in Greco-Roman antiquity.) My favourite of all the many crime podcasts is called Criminal, hosted by Phoebe Judge. The show takes a wide view of crime; as described on its website, “Criminal is an award-winning podcast about true crime. Stories of people who’ve done wrong, been wronged, or gotten caught somewhere in the middle.” It’s addictive, thought-provoking, and strangely soothing, no matter how gruesome the crime.

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