If there’s one thing most of us can probably agree on right now, it’s that the times are exhausting. It seems there’s almost always some new cause for stress, whether it’s the ongoing nail-biter of a midterm election, the mishegas at Twitter, or whatever’s going on in Russia. But amidst the noise of chaotic times, few things are as grounding as stopping to find joy in the little things. That’s why, starting this week, our writers and editors will share the things that are bringing us comfort, entertainment, or simply something nice to look at. This week, we recommend riveting reads, everyday design destinations, and nights to remember.
Notes on an Execution by Danya Kukafka
Outside of my job, I almost always have my nose in a book. The issue is that once I finish a great book, I struggle to pick up a new one, because I’m afraid it’ll never live up to the last one. I’m currently reading one of those amazing books where I fear for the next one. This one is titled Notes On An Execution, and it’s fabulous. It’s about a serial killer, but it’s told from multiple perspectives with overlapping storylines. It’s dense, and it’s rich. It’s also full of nonstop suspense. I started it two days ago, and I’m almost done with it, but I don’t want it to end. I highly recommend it. —Chloe Gordon, Social Media Manager + Content Editor
The Number Ones by Tom Breihan
I’ve loved the music blog Stereogum for most of the time that it’s been around, and their Friday newsletter is a highlight of my week. It always includes a couple of picks from their ongoing column “The Number Ones,” where Senior Editor Tom Breihan goes in deep on every single song that’s hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 since its inception in 1958. It’s an intimidatingly huge project, so I’d often sort of breeze past those links and save what piqued my interest for later, but once I decided to really dig in, I was hooked. This column is so rich and well done, and Breihan has a knack for making the whole history of pop music sound kind of like a never-ending epic. Almost any time he introduces an artist, there’s this really cool sense of fate attached to the people involved, and he almost always lets us know if we’ll hear from them again— or, in more tragic cases, when we won’t. I’ve always been a pop junkie, and I’ve learned a ton binging this series— like did you know the Backstreet Boys never had a #1 song? (Not even this one??) Breihan also mentions a ton of deep cuts and samples in almost every essay, and I’ve been keeping up with them in my own Spotify playlist that’s added a lot of depth to my appreciation for a whole bunch of artists. Some of his pieces about The Classics have made me cry, and while his writing about more embarrassing moments in pop history makes me laugh. The specific examples I’m sharing reveal my age, but it has something for pop music fans of just about any generation, so I’d happily recommend it to anyone. It’s even coming out as a book next week! Super easy way to lose an afternoon, or a week, or even a month, if you’re like me. Don’t say I didn’t warn you! —Sarah Fonder, Managing Editor
Shorthand in Los Angeles, CA
Shorthand is a stationery store and letterpress print shop in Los Angeles where I actually used to work when I first moved to the city. Pencils, notebooks, and everything in between from all over the world are sold in the front of the shop, while greeting cards and Shorthand’s original stationery line are designed, printed, and assembled in a studio in the back. They just launched this custom stationery program I’m incredibly excited about— perfect for holiday gift giving and New Year’s resolutions! —Charlotte Beach, Feature Writer + Content Editor
A Great Veterinarian
My greyhound, The Turtleman*, has fewer teeth this week, and he’s also down a fatty tumor. But you wouldn’t know it, because he’s marauding around my house like the legendary madman he’s always been, thanks to the care of his longtime vet.
I put off The Turtleman’s dental cleaning (and removal of the harmless, yet hefty turtle-shaped tumor atop his back) because I’d long heard horror stories of greyhounds not dealing well with anesthesia. After absconding my vet’s office at the mention of the procedure for the last time, I realized I couldn’t elude it any longer, lest the T-man get a toothache.
I dropped him off and pretended to work, and hours later got the call— all was well. I picked up a quasi-drunken Turtleman, who soon returned to form. I’ve never been so happy to have my personal effects gleefully destroyed once more.
Ultimately, I’m utterly grateful for how skilled and compassionate my vet is— not just for his talent and patience with my hound, but with me and my quirks and worries, as well. —Zachary Petit, Editor of The Daily Heller
The B-52s Show at the YouTube Theater in Los Angeles, CA
It was all about love and nostalgia at the B52s concert in LA last weekend. DJ Cummerbund (the Mashup Messiah?) started off the night— he was fun— followed by KC and Sunshine Band! I was a “disco sucks” girl back in high school, but they were great and I discovered I knew all the words to all the songs! The B52s were, of course, awesome. They covered all their hits and everyone was in the zone dancing and having a ball— except for the part in “Rock Lobster” when you crouch down—that was hard with the tight seats (and, presumably, the entire audience’s bad knees)! —Deb Aldrich, Publisher