Weekend Reading

NaturalistIn this edition, a book to help tame your blood pressure, a tribute to the age of the rock star, and some "new" stories from Kurt Vonnegut.

Adrian Liang: Sometimes it’s good to take a gut-check on what’s really important instead of what’s sending your blood pressure through the roof, so I’m going to continue reading Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. Manson is at first abrasively and then, somehow, delightfully profane as he coaches readers on focusing on what’s truly important—like your health—instead of what’s not important—like the brand of shoes you wear. I like getting these bracing slaps upside the head every so often, and now is an excellent time to sort out where I want my mental energy to go. I also can’t wait to get back to Andrew Mayne’s scientific thriller, The Naturalist (Oct 1). Story trumps style as a biology professor gets entangled in a murder investigation, first as a suspect and then as the only one who recognizes that a serial killer, not a grizzly, is responsible for a string of disappearances across Montana. By using his scientific training, he starts uncovering bodies. Lots of bodies. An engrossing mix of science, speculation, and suspense, The Naturalist will suck you in.

Jon Foro: Full disclosure: If you put Ziggy Stardust-era David Bowie on a book jacket, I’m going to at least give it a look. So here we have Uncommon People, in which music journalist and author David Hepworth (Never a Dull Moment) correctly declares the age of the rock star dead, but also correctly that the idea of the rock star is alive and well. With that in mind, Hepworth selects 40 iconic musicians whose careers landed  in the years between 1955 and 1995, writing short chapters recreating pivotal moments that contributed to their fame. Little Richard shouts “Awopbopaloobop!” during a break in an otherwise unremarkable recording session; John meets Paul between Quarrymen sets at a “village fete” outside of Liverpool. Sometimes the events initiate downward spirals, as when Jerry Lee Lewis’s 13-year-old cousin-bride introduced herself to a gaggle of British reporters. Whatever the story, each offers a little bit of insight into the personalities preceding the mythology, and the reasons we loved it.

Erin Kodicek: Kurt Vonnegut fans rejoice! A complete volume of his short fiction, including a handful of previously unpublished works, was released on Sept. 26. It's a hefty book, perfect for getting lost in during a rainy weekend, and for Tom Cruise to stand on should he marry a tall person again. Evidently Vonnegut only published a fraction of what he wrote, and there's a story included in this collection that his agent rejected in 1958, famously telling him, "Save it for the collection of your works which will be published someday when you become famous. Which may take a little time."

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