- Watch: Live stream of wildlife at a watering hole in a Namibia desert (YouTube).
- Read: Catastrophe star Rob Delaney tells how a brain cancer diagnosis for his 1-year-old son upended his family in A Heart That Works, a story of love and grief. 📚
- Listen to: Blues rocker Elle King releases Come Get Your Wife. 🎵
After reading 45 books this year, these are nine standouts that I highly recommend:
- Everything Sad Is Untrue by Daniel Nayeri. A young immigrant boy weaves tales both tall and small as he tries to fit in at an Oklahoma school.
- Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel. A lyrical story of time travel and the meaning of reality.
- The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race by Walter Isaacson. The story of the discovery of the DNA-editor CRISPR.
- The Anomaly by Hervé Le Tellier (Translated by Adriana Hunter). To say even a little is to give away too much in this novel about the passengers on a mysterious flight from Paris to New York.
- The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank (Translated by Susan Massotty). Re-read before a trip to Amsterdam. It still stands out as a powerful work of nonfiction.
- Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner. Zauner recounts growing up as a Korean American kid in Oregon and her path to a music career. I read it in Feburary and it has come up in conversation in almost every month since.
- Ballad for Sophie by Filipe Melo. This graphic novel is a beautiful look at one man’s life.
- Retail Gangster: The Insane, Real-Life Story of Crazy Eddie by Gary Weiss. A detailed story of grift on a large scale. Fascinating throughout.
- Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin. The story of the fame, drama and tragedy that follows two friends who start a video game company. 📚
Finished reading: Fairy Tale by Stephen King.
This is a bit of a concept novel. What would happen if you ventured into the world where fairy tales come from? The truth would turn out to be much more horrible than the stories. King pulls it off in this fantasy novel about a teenager who passess through a portal to a parallel world where he finds himself in the middle of a battle between good and evil. 📚
“Bill [Withers'] studio albums were great. I’ll even go to bat for the late ones that no one (including Bill himself) liked. But let’s talk about his live album. It’s called Live at Carnegie Hall, and it’s a document of a show there from late in 1972, though it wouldn’t be released until the following April.
Though it’s not usually mentioned among the best live albums in soul music history, it should be. Withers delivers intense versions of his hits, sometimes leading into the songs with extended commentary (called ‘raps’ in the liner notes). I memorized that record down to the last second. To this day, I can re-create the two-and-a-half-minute spoken intro that leads into ‘Grandma’s Hands.’ "
– Music is History by Questlove
Set around the 2014 Ukrainian revolution and Russian invasion of Crimea, I Will Die in a Foreign Land, is a beautiful, poetic, look at the spirit of the Ukrainian people. The novel is a good read for anyone looking for historical context for the current Ukrainian war with Russia.
“Aristotle … defines our ultimate goal, the very purpose of being alive, the thing we’re shooting for … as happiness.
“Technically, in the original Greek, Aristotle actually uses the nebulous word ‘eudaimonia,’ which sometimes gets translated as ‘happiness’ and sometimes as ‘flourishing.’ I prefer “flourishing,” because that feels like a bigger deal than ‘happiness.’ We’re talking about the ultimate objective for humans here, and a flourishing person sounds like she’s more fulfilled, complete, and impressive than a ‘happy’ person.”
How to be Perfect, by Michael Schur
“The most dificult thing in the world is to listen, to see. We don’t want to see. Do you think a capitalist wants to see what is good in the communist system? Do you think a communist wants to see what is good and healthy in the capitalist system? Do you think a rich man wants to look at poor people?
“We don’t want to look, because if we do, we may change. We don’t want to look. If you look, you lose control of the life that you are so precariously holding together. And so in order to wake up, the one thing you need the most is not energy, or strength, or youthfulness, or even great intelligence. The one thing you need most of all is the readiness to learn something new“
Awareness, by Anthony De Mello