Off the Clock: What the Lit Hub Staff is Doing This Weekend
Antarctic Adventures, Haunted Swedish Woods, Zodiac Bars, and More
Every day this week (and some of last week) I have read David Grann’s incredible New Yorker essay on Henry Worsley’s trip to Antarctica, “The White Darkness” on my commute to work. (It’s long.) Before I take a deep-dive on Ernest Shackleton, Dwyer pointed me to Grann’s 2011 New Yorker piece “A Murder Foretold” about political conspiracies in South America, which I’m planning to read this weekend. I also just learned that every episode of ER is now on Hulu, so will likely spend the weekend debating with myself whether I can watch the episode where Lucy and Carter get stabbed, but I’m unsure if my heart can take it.
–Emily Firetog, Managing Editor
After a long period of skepticism, I finally caved and watched an episode (or several) of The Great British Baking Show. It’s so, so boring. And yet, I find it completely delighted. I’m hooked; I’m afraid I’ll be watching more. I also recently picked up a copy of Mike McCormack’s Solar Bones, an Irish novel written as a single sentence, which I’ll be digging into this weekend. I don’t yet know how these two things go together, although I have a sneaking suspicion they may be a bizarro kind of kin—I’ll let you know on Monday.
–Emily Temple, Senior Editor
I always read away from where I’m going. This week I’ve been in Italy—in Milan, Turin, Florence and Rome for the launch of Freeman’s in Italian. So I brought with me Aminatta Forna’s incredible memoir, The Devil that Danced On Water. It might be the best memoir I’ve ever read. The book tells the story of how she grew up in Sierra Leone and Scotland in the 1960s, the daughter of a dangerously well-principled man in an age when such thinking could get you killed. It’s jaw-droppingly well-researched and beautifully written. If I finish it on the flight home I’ll probably pull out David Gilmour’s book on Italy, so all the pieces of history’s broken puzzle slot more easily into place. I’m also going to be rereading The Question of Bruno by Aleksandar Hemon—the history of Sarajevo is actually not unlike that of recent Sierra Leone and I’m curious how his work sits next to hers. Especially since they both write so well from a child’s eye view toward adult complexities— emotional and political. Finally, I’m a little late coming to it, but I kept hearing this week about Nicola Lagioia’s Ferocity, which Europa put out in translation at the end of 2017. It’s billed as an Italian Gone Girl, but I suspect that’s to distract us from the fact that this is a book on class, Italian style, and the way most families have a secret lurking at the heart of them.
–John Freeman, Executive Editor
Tonight is Black Panther night with the six-year-old, part of a bigger birthday weekend involving (don’t tell him) Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. Once he’s in bed I’ll dip back into Out There: The Wildest Stories from Outside Magazine (the title of which is pretty explanatory)—I’ve already really enjoyed Henry Shukman’s visit to the Chernobyl Dead Zone. I may take advantage of the holiday Monday to really spend some time with Michelle de Kretser’s new novel, The Life to Come, of which I have heard very good things.
–Jonny Diamond, Editor in Chief
I’ve just begun two so-far wonderful books that I’m very excited to set aside some time for this weekend. The first is Cove by Welsh author Cynan Jones (author of the much-acclaimed The Dig)—an intense, elemental novella about a lone man struck by lightning while kayaking who wakes up badly injured and adrift in unknown waters. The second is No Way Home—writer and journalist Tyler Wetherall’s gripping coming-of-age memoir about a childhood spent on the run from the FBI, and her efforts to come to terms with her father’s criminal past. I’ll also be hoping that this year’s NBA All Star Game, with its experimental draft-style format and increased purse for charity, has a bit of competitive fire (and defense, for God’s sake) to it after last year’s appallingly bloodless spectacle.
–Dan Sheehan, Book Marks Editor
This weekend I have friends descending on NYC from the four corners of the world and we’re all of us reading David Grann’s latest New Yorker piece, “The White Darkness,” so I expect we’ll be doing a fair bit of drinking and contemplating terrors of the frozen south, and then if there’s time leftover we’ll talk about the many other David Grann stories that have blown our collective minds, like “A Murder Foretold” (see Emily Firetog’s weekend plans), Killers of the Flower Moon, The Lost City of Z, or a personal favorite, “The Squid Hunter.”
–Dwyer Murphy, Crime Reads Editor
In the continuing tussle over the office’s single galley of My Year of Rest and Relaxation, I have proved momentarily victorious; I’ll be racing to the finish this weekend so that I can pass it on to the next eager reader. In honor of Moshfegh’s narrator, perhaps I will dedicate much of the next two days to extensive napping (though without the aid of a dangerous narcotic cocktail). I’m looking forward to finally starting Scott McClanahan’s The Sarah Book, borrowed recently from my roommate, and against my better judgment I have also agreed to watch The Ritual, a new Netflix horror movie about some haunted… Swedish… woods?
–Jess Bergman, Features Editor
This weekend I’m checking out the Fight the Power: Black Superheroes on Film series at BAM, and at the top of my list is the 1995 film Strange Days. Set in a dystopic 1999, virtual reality has taken on the form of a drug and, as to be expected, it’s a hit on the black market. Starring Angela Bassett and Ralph Fiennes (as an ex-cop-turned-VR-hustler), the two are swept up in the conspiracy of a virtual killer. As for bookish things, my plans are a little less action-packed. I’m finishing Nevada by Imogen Binnie and plan to start Akwaeke Emezi’s Freshwater shortly after.
–Alicia Kroell, Editorial Fellow
I’m reading Joy Williams’ The Changeling, which makes children seem even more terrifying than they already are. Somehow I have not yet been to Mood Ring, the astrology bar that opened in Bushwick this October (although at least 10 people sent me the announcement of its opening; thank you everyone, I saw), so I will be going to their Year of the Dog party. I’m also going to Game.
–Blair Beusman, Associate Editor