This week's picks are all things that have caught my eye recently—from curious Manhattan food trends to classic novels. If you're looking for something fascinating this week, listen to an urban winemaker, look at dolls that have shaped history, or lose yourself in waves of emotion, whether it’s Gatsby-inspired nostalgia or awe at the natural world.
On Your Kindle
The Wave, by Susan Casey
Next on my to-read list is this nonfiction book, a required reading selection for all incoming students at the university where I work. Since I live in a coastal community, the subject is both intriguing and relevant: Journalist Casey looks at "rogue" waves—large, mysterious waves that can capsize vessels—which were once dismissed as myths. If you've seen the footage of one in Portugal, you can imagine the awe and fear they inspire in onlookers. What causes them? And who would want to surf them?
On Your Smartphone
"Black is Beautiful: Why Black Dolls Matter," by Lisa Hix
I am newly obsessed with Collector's Weekly, a website that documents interesting collections, largely from everyday enthusiasts. From fashion to sewing machines, the site is a treasure trove of cool stories.
One recent article focused on the fascinating history of dolls for the African-American market and a new documentary called Why Do You Have Black Dolls?. Because these dolls have been so influenced by American history, they are more than just children's toys: They are symbols of beauty, identity, and cultural pride.
On a Podcast
"Eat the City," The Leonard Lopate Show
I have a copy of Robin Shulman's book about NYC food culture, Eat the City, on my bookshelf waiting to be read. So, I was stoked to see Shulman's segment on WNYC's Leonard Lopate Show, a New York public radio station recommended to me by a friend. Did you know there were once buffalo in Manhattan? And that's possible to have a winery in the city? If you're fascinated by food, keep an ear open for Lopate's "Food Friday" shows.
The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
With the new Baz Luhrmann film adaptation in theaters now, The Great Gatsby is being rediscovered by younger generations. As a huge fan of the novel, I think this is a great thing. If you skipped it in high school, now is the moment to make up for lost time (in true Jay Gatsby fashion) and pick up a copy of F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic, haunting novel of romantic longing for your summer reading. As Nick Carraway says in the opening pages:
And so with the sunshine and the great burst of leaves growing on trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had the familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer."