What’s the best setup for serious outdoor reading? I suggest that it be in an armchair, sitting upright, in the shade of a tree or an umbrella, comfortable but not too comfortable. A beach towel or a picnic blanket works, but the sun moves, the back or the neck stiffens, it’s not safe. My friend Avi insists you need to be in one of those zero-gravity recliners that I’m sure would work like an adult crib and put me to sleep instantly.
According to my colleagues Elisabeth Egan and Erica Ackerberg, who put together this glorious album of outdoor bookworms, “There are only a handful of non-negotiables when it comes to outdoor reading: sunscreen, hydration, repetition.”
Reading a book outside in the summer cements it in my memory. JM Coetzee’s “Disgrace” on the beach in July and the ensuing sunburn. The terrace of the restaurant just sunny enough where I went back and forth every three lines between “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe and a French translation, “Le Monde S’Effondre”, trying to improve my language skills. “The Long Secret” by Louise Fitzhugh, a sequel to “Harriet the Spy”, on the lawn, in the garden, mosquito bites.
If you can take an hour or an afternoon to read outside this weekend, there are plenty of promising new books to choose from. Perhaps Tess Gunty’s “dense, prismatic and often haunting debut album”, “The Rabbit Hutch”? Alec Nevala-Lee’s Biography of Buckminster Fuller? Or “Knocking Myself Up: A Memoir of My (In)Fertility” by Michelle Tea? Elisabeth recommends “The Displacements”, by Bruce Holsinger. I recently read Elizabeth Day’s “Magpie” on two delightful afternoons. You may prefer a paperback, lest a hardcover prove too heavy to hold if you plan to lay down. We also have a bunch. (And if you’re more of an e-reader, you have all of these options and more.)
What have you read lately, out or otherwise, that you loved? Tell me about that.
THE WEEK IN CULTURE
Stephen King has testified that the proposed merger of publishing giants Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster would hurt writers.
Warner Bros. canceled the release of “Batgirl” as its parent company sought budget cuts after a merger, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
As Lieutenant Uhura in “Star Trek,” Nichelle Nichols changed what we thought was possible, writes Stacy Y. China. Nichols died last week at age 89.
“Days of Our Lives,” a mainstay of daytime network television since 1965, is moving to NBC’s streaming service, Peacock.
The Art Newspaper got a sneak peek at the redesign of the Storm King Sculpture Park in upstate New York.
Theater actors reconsider the demands of the stage, including the sometimes dangerous work.
The steel pedal, once a staple of country music, is finding new life in other forms.
Bill Cosby is seeking a new trial in a civil case where a jury found he sexually assaulted a 16-year-old in 1975.
THE LAST NEWS
🎮 “Papers, please” (available now): This critically acclaimed game felt like a throwback to ten years ago when it was originally released on PC, with its retro 2D animation style. There is, however, a dark timelessness to the story. The year is 1982 and you play as a checkpoint inspector for a fictional communist nation. Who are you letting in? Who are you keeping out? Do you accept bribes to help buy food for your struggling family? It confused me a bit! Now available to play on iOS and Android devices, so you can take that feeling of moral unease wherever you go.
📺 “Five Days at the Memorial” (Friday): In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and Memorial Medical Center staff found themselves trapped and unable to evacuate patients, forcing some doctors and nurses to make a terrible choice. The ever-interesting Vera Farmiga stars in this Apple TV+ adaptation, based on the 2013 book by New York Times correspondent Sheri Fink.
RECIPE OF THE WEEK
Yakitori Salmon with Scallions and Zucchini
Tare, a sweet and savory sauce often used to season Japanese grilled meats, is the secret to making these quick salmon skewers. Brown a little garlic and ginger, then add water, soy sauce, a pinch of turbinado sugar and a little vinegar. As you cook the salmon and veggies, whether on a cast iron griddle or a hot grill, stay close by so you can keep turning the skewers and brushing them with your homemade tare. Within minutes they will brown and caramelize, creating a beautiful, mouth-watering frosting. And don’t worry: if you don’t have a broiler pan or grill, you can cook these skewers under the grill, just be very careful so they don’t burn!
A selection of recipes from The New York Times is available for all readers. Please consider a kitchen subscription for full access.
In the kitchen: Making your own soymilk is simple.
From Denmark to Spain: Europe has beaches the whole family will love.
San Diego Padres vs. Los Angeles Dodgers, MLB: Baseball’s center of gravity has shifted to Southern California. Both the Padres and Dodgers would have been finalists among the teams vying to trade for Juan Soto, the 23-year-old superstar whose numbers rival that of youngster Ted Williams. On Tuesday, the Padres got it. The Dodgers will have to settle for their six 2022 All-Stars. 7 p.m. EST Sunday, ESPN.
NOW IT’S TIME TO PLAY