The Echo Recommends – January 2022


Aarti Gupta

This semester, The Echo Recommends has given up on themes. Please enjoy these January recommends.

Jason Verdin – Wordle

Wordle has taken Twitter by storm, and it’s my new favorite thing on the Internet. It’s basically Mastermind with five letter words. You can only play the game once a day, which keeps you coming back daily to guess the new word. Many people have strategies or go-to starting words, but I just like to guess any random word to start. I also like to use the most common letters in words according to Wheel of Fortune, which are RSTLNE. Whatever your strategy is, try out Wordle today!

Aarti Gupta – Create a Goodreads Reading Challenge

Many of our new year’s resolutions have already been broken, but there’s one that you can always meet: your annual reading goal. Now, I know some of you are probably thinking “I hate reading,” but I promise it’s so worth it. There’s a lot of satisfaction in finding a book that you get lost in, and I hope you’re going to find that book this year. Even if you don’t, please just make it your goal to actually read one book. If you’re looking for recommendations or somewhere to hold yourself accountable, I would personally recommend using the Goodreads app to log your reading (including saving your future reads); albeit the interface being somewhat buggy, its database features a large variety of books (including manga!) for you to log. The app also lets you create a Goodreads challenge, write and read reviews and see what your friends are reading. My goal is 20 books; what’s yours gonna be? 

Sachin Fong – Drinking coffee in the morning

Finding the energy to bring yourself to school is difficult as it is, and the recent cold weather hasn’t been helping. I’ve found myself drinking coffee each morning to combat this feeling, and it’s worked incredibly well. I have a lot more energy and am able to easily get through the school day. If you want to make it at home, I’d recommend buying some from the Indian brand “Bru,” but local stores like Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts will also suffice. 

Ben LeGrand – “Atlanta” 

Donald Glover’s hilarious creation follows a trio of friends trying to make it in Atlanta’s rap scene. I recently just got Hulu and finished the first season in a day. It’s cleverly hilarious, and the way the characters interact with each other never gets old. While there’s only 21 episodes, it’s an easy binge and the highly anticipated third season comes out March 24th on FX.

Maya Stone – “Euphoria” 

Season two of “Euphoria” season 2 is now streaming on HBO Max, and it has already gained a lot of attention. With three Emmy awards, it is no surprise that this show is a massive success, especially with the addition of famous actors and actresses such as Zendaya, Sydney Sweeney and Jacob Elordi. This show explores the lives of several teenagers and what occurs in their everyday lives. If you are bored and want to start a new show, definitely check out “Euphoria”! Be sure to check out the content warnings and ratings, though.  

Peter Wujek – Hot pot

Hot pot is a traditional Asian cuisine where the restaurant gives you a pot of hot broth (hence the name). They give you raw meat, vegetables and noodles to cook in the broth. It’s a great social dinner because you can cook while you talk. My favorite place in Naperville is “Happy Lamb” off Ogden Ave. Go check it out!

Abby Apeland – Rock Climbing

Rock climbing is a very unique and fun sport, letting you explore your capabilities and challenge yourself as well. It compels you to think creatively and out of the box, also relying on your grit and determination. Vertical Endeavors is a rock climbing place by Glendale Heights that allows you to do just that, offering free wall climbing, bouldering, and self-belaying routes for all levels. For only $30 for two hours and rental gear, you can get your climb on for a great price as well!

Jason Appel – Ramen 

Go to a good restaurant that makes ramen. It really is something special if you have never had real fresh made ramen. I recommend spicy ramen if you like spicy food; it’s one of my favorite foods. 

Jaclyn Bobbe – Word Searches 

Want an activity to do when you’re bored and have lots of time? Look no further than word searches! There’s many different levels of difficulty and topics you can choose from when doing word searches. My favorite online word search is because there’s so many topics to choose from and many new topics are being added regularly to the website so it never gets old!

Logan Brown – “Gintama”

I don’t know if I can express in words how satisfying the show “Gintama” is on a spiritual level. Having watched through all 367 episodes (plus a few movies), it is truly an experience unlike any other. This wild show covers all the bases: comedy/parody, romance, drama, action, slice of life; “Gintama” has it all! This show will have you on the floor laughing, then bawling your eyes out ten minutes later. The comedy is absolutely great, and the action is even better. Every character has their own complex story to tell, and you will come to love characters that were framed as the “bad guys.” There is nothing bad I have to say about this show; the only thing I have to say is that you should definitely give this show a watch.

Noah Burrell –  Sledding 

Honestly, I don’t know if this is the best option considering that midwest weather is 90 degrees one day and -10 the next. But if you just so happen to find a day where there is snow on the ground and it’s not so cold that you’ll freeze, go sledding.

Viraj Desai – “Cobra Kai”

This show is one of my favorites, and it’s because of it’s amazing action scenes, gripping story and the constant addiction to binging it whenever you can. It is a continuation of the classic “Karate Kid” movies, with more depth to the characters and the overall story. It even has the same original cast members as the movies. The fourth season came out this last month, and it was a phenomenal addition to the show. I ended up binging it in two days! I strongly recommend watching this show; you will be hooked. 

Olivia Durcan – Terrarium 

Terrarium is a mobile game you can download on your phone where you can grow, raise and evolve plants. Once planted, the greenery delivers oxygen by the second, which is currency in the game to level up plants, purchase new ones and upgrade power ups to deliver more oxygen. The game features a level bar at the top of the screen, which shows your progress bar and the amount of oxygen your plants deliver helps you level up. Terrarium is a perfect game to play to take a break, when you’re on the go, or even when you’re relaxing at home.  

Gabby Dziekan – “ A waking life”

Every now and then you come across a movie where its scenes live with you for a day or two. “A Waking Life” directed by Richard Linklater explores a wide range of philosophical issues: including the nature of reality, dreams and lucid dreams, consciousness, the meaning of life, free will and existentialism. 

Mahika Gupta – Invest in a hoodie

Since the winter months are only getting colder, invest in a hoodie! If, like me, you prefer being drowned in your hoodies, I recommend Rue 21 or, if you prefer online shopping, Amazon, since that is where I get most of my hoodies from. Especially at the coldest part of the year, good hoodies are not hard to find. They’re soft, large, emotionally supportive and warm-everything you could ever want! 

Lily Ha –  Clean your desk

No one likes starting off a new school semester with a messy and disorganized desk. It does nothing but make you not want to study and do your homework. Before you start getting busy with schoolwork, take a little time to throw out any unnecessary papers and clear out your workspace so you can come home to a tidy area that will make you productive.

Adam Hristov – Birkenstocks

Most designs of Birkenstocks I would recommend are Arizona, which is the classic Birkenstock sandal and I would recommend the Boston which is a clog shaped shoe made out of suede perfect for any time of the year. Birkenstocks are not only very stylish but are also very comfortable. All designs of Birkenstocks have a cork footbed that after a while of wearing the shoes they will mold to the shape of your foot. Even though the brand is pricey, it is well worth the money.

Lucas Lombana Arias – “The Martian” by Andy Weir

“The Martian” is a science fiction/adventure movie following astronaut Mark Watney’s journey on Mars after being left for dead by his crewmates. Using only his knowledge of science, wits and humor, Watney has to survive for years on a desolate planet where the smallest error can kill him. I love this book (and subsequent film) because of its scientific accuracy and inspiring portrayal of the human spirit. Mark Watney stays optimistic throughout his constant failures and close calls with death. “The Martian” is a story about science, about facing challenges, about isolation, but most importantly, it’s a story about the will to survive. 

Udhay Nallapati – Register for Track and Field

Are you bored? Are your other sports’ seasons over? Are you trying to make a positive change to your lifestyle? Register for track and field. Neuqua’s track and field has two seasons: indoor and outdoor. The best part…you can choose to do either one or both. With amazing people, phenomenal coaches, competitive training and exhilarating meets, track and field is the perfect sport for any person.

Sanchali Pandey –  Boba

There’s truly nothing better than sipping a refreshing drink of boba after a long, hard day. With a variety of flavors to choose from, it’s undeniable that you’ll find a flavor for you and relish in its gloriful sweetness. If you’ve never tried this scrumptious drink before, then here’s what you need to know: essentially, the drink includes black tea, milk, and chewy tapioca pearls (which are the best part!). However, you can customize the drink however you like, and even replace the black tea for another liquid! It’s one of my comfort foods, and I cannot recommend it enough!

Jake Panek – “The Mandela Catalogue” by Alex Kister

CW: This recommendation is a series of disturbing videos that contain references to suicide.

Analog horror is a specific offspring of the horror genre that uses VHS-style video and distorted audio presented in the form of an Emergency Alert System, and of the many channels attempting to hop onto the bandwagon after LOCAL58TV kicked off the trend, none of them are quite as effective as Alex Kister’s “The Mandela Catalogue.” Presented in the form of police training videos, surveillance footage, phone calls, PSAs, and a cartoon about the Bible, “The Mandela Catalogue” centers around the appearance of beings known as Alternates, the psychological torment that they wreak on humanity, and their possibly religious origins. It’s an immediately creepy concept on paper, but Kister’s presentation, full of painful tension and impenetrable lore, elevates it to another level. With the recent release of its second major installment, there’s no better time to watch the seven videos in “The Mandela Catalogue.”

Jack RS – “The Wealth of Nations” by Adam Smith

With economics being one of the most popular undergrad subjects for students across the nation, the younger generation who’s invested with things like resource allocation, ethics and philosophy ought to read “The Wealth of Nations.” It gives a traditional yet solid overview of the basic principles that every beginning student of economic doctrine should know.

Ingrid Reginato –  “Anything” by Amy Winehouse

Whether it’s her more popular second album, Back to Black, or her first album, Frank, Amy Winehouse’s songs and style are unforgettable. Her unique voice and jazz inspired music remains iconic despite her short lived success. Although the singer died in 2011, fans still cherish her music. My personal favorites on Back to Black are “Tears Dry on Their Own” and “Love is a Losing Game”. On Frank, I recommend “F**k Me Pumps” and “I Heard Love is Blind.”

Sabrina Sabatin – Endiro Coffee Shop

I often find myself becoming less attentive on schoolwork when I study in the same environment on a daily basis, so to spruce it up a bit, sometimes going to a coffee shop helps me regain that focus. Not only does going to a coffee shop work as a study area but it doubles as a relaxing place to snack on bakery treats and re-energize with caffeine. One of my favorite coffee shops is Endiro Coffee located in downtown Aurora. The best aspect about this cafe is the basement lounge which serves as a quiet place for those who wish to be productive and work independently. It features large tables for group studies or small couches where you can sit around and play a board game if you would like. 

Mahima Shankar – Emptying your heavy backpack 

During the school year, we have all probably noticed our backpack’s accumulated weight. It has been dragging us down ever since the first semester, and now is the best chance to clean them out and relieve our back of this unnecessary physical pain! Luckily, the usage of lockers has been added to our school, and gives us even more incentive to use these well embedded passing periods to unpack the heaviness we carry on our shoulders all day. By doing so, you will have lifted weights off of your back, and now can freely roam without that extra physical stress. 

Ryder Stejskal – “Warriors Don’t Cry” by Melba Patillo Beals

The rise of suburban America, huge strides in broadcast entertainment, the birth of the Cold War. For America in the 50s, there was a lot going on, enough to complicate the changing views of the nation, greatly. During these complications was a simple, but huge, step in civil rights, another large movement during the 1950s. Melba Beals, a member of the Little Rock Nine, tells of her experience in her book “Warriors Don’t Cry.” This read was addicting; I remember that the year I first read the book, I ended up reading it the entire year. Over and over and over again. There was always something new to think about or read for when going back and remains one of my favorite books I have ever read.