Hello from post-vacation, currently living in a sea of boxes Jen. I am now moved into my new house and unpacking and re-seeing a lot of stuff I haven't seen in more than a year. Some gems: my 1993 World Series ticket, a Donald Duck bath toy, a book proposal I wrote that never sold, and a lot of mugs and cookbooks. I have unpacking most of the kitchen and found my beloved cast iron skillet, chef knife and rice cooker. I'm making a lot of rice bowls!
I'm also running a lot, scraping the 40 mile mark last week. I live in a world where I know people who run more than 100 miles a week but they are fast. I am not. I'm spending a lot of time on my feet (and eating and napping too!)
But since I have to run a few errands on this hot night, let's get on with the show.
"My imaginary state is better than yours" for The Outline
"Running After a Heart Attack" for The New York Times
"W. Va. Blockchain Experiment Could Be the Future of U.S. Voting" for ThirtyK
"5 Cheap(ish) Things Every Home Should Have" for The New York Times
"When a House is So Much More" for The New York Times
What I'm Reading
- The Pursuit of Pearls by Jane Thynne. I know I've praised this series before, but I'm going to do it again: it's about half British/half German actress Clara Vine who is living in Berlin but spying for British Intelligence. Yes, there's a lot of uncomfortable parallels, but read it anyway. It's gripping.
- Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean. This was OK – it's a bit more explicit than I prefer in a romance novel, but not a bad book to read while on vacation.
- Braving It: A Father, A Daughter, and an Unforgettable Journey into the Alaskan Wild by James Campbell. What a lovely, beautiful book about nature, adventure, travel and the father/daughter relationship. I bought this at a library book sale, and I am so glad I did. I'm not sure why books about Alaska speak to me. Maybe it has something to do with the people who write about Alaska. Other Alaska recommendations: Tide, Feather, Snow by Miranda Weiss and Paddling North by Audrey Sutherland.
- Still Water: The Secret World of Lakes by Curt Stager. I unpacked a lot of books this week, including a lot of books I haven't read yet, and since I liked Braving It so much, I rolled right into this pretty science-y but very fun book about lakes. Science writing for a general audience can be a tough and Stager does a good job in making sure the science is there, but the information that someone without a background in lakes can understand too. Highly recommend.
- Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Hugette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr. Holy smokes. I remember hearing about Hugette Clark in The New York Times many years ago – something about a reclusive millionaire but not much beyond that. This book tells her entire story, including the fight over her money after she died. It's just the kind of audiobook I enjoy: big, sprawling and stocked with history. The audiobook also has clips of her on the phone, which was interesting to hear. I got this through my library app. If your library has an audiobook app, they probably have this book too. I suggest checking this out (even if it takes a few renewals to get through the entire thing – it's a long one).
- Ant-Man and Ant-Man and the Wasp. I watched the original before sneaking out to see the sequel. I don't know which one was better, but I thoroughly enjoyed both.
- Mulan. I probably haven't watched this since it first came out, and it seems ahead of its time – still! I loved it all over again. Here's a great piece on its 20th anniversary.
- Moana. I figured if I liked working to one Disney movie, why not another. I had seen this before and liked it just as much the second time through.
- A Very English Scandal. I never figured that Hugh Grant would lean into middle aged English dirtbag roles, but boy is he good at this.
- Marcella. This show – and the latest season on Netflix – is so dark that I had to stop watching for a few weeks. I'm glad I finished it though.
- The Aviator. I never saw this the first time around, but it's now on Netflix. It's okay. The fatigue I've had with "eccentric male who treats women badly but is great" movies even though this came out in 2004. I'm also glad I knew a lot of this story already from listening to the You Must Remember This (and the host has a book about Howard Hughes coming out this fall). I'd picked up a biography of Katherine Hepburn while in Florida. I think I'll have to read it soon.
- Inspector Lewis. Either this wasn't on Amazon Prime or the algorithm screwed up in not recommending to me a British detective show set in Oxford – I spent a semester there! So far so good. There's a throwaway line on The Good Place about a British show that ran for 15 years with nearly 30 episodes (or something like that), which I thought about when I saw there's three long episodes to the first season of this show (and if you like The Good Place, their podcast is so so good).