Sunday, July 12, 2015

Lazy Summer Reading

Possibly my favorite way to indulge in something luxurious is to find a great book and read for an entire afternoon. I don't have to be anywhere else and I don't have to do something more productive with myself. I can get lost in a story and emerge hours later.

Eric with books and baklava
Here are a few books for your summer afternoons:

Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall

Eric Sanderson wakes up with no memory of who he is and only pieces together his history through letters from his past self, the First Eric Sanderson. His letters direct him to his therapist, who insists that he shouldn't open any packages that arrive for him. He agrees, until he's attacked in his living room by a fish that comes out of nowhere. The story explores the idea of conceptual fish as well as the power of language, memory, loss, and giant sharks in a captivating way. It was absorbing and moving in ways I didn't expect. The conceptual fish have swirled around my mind since reading the novel last summer.

Friday, April 10, 2015

This Weekend's Playlist

This Friday night, I'm going to see Guster, my favorite band since a friend gave me Keep It Together for my sixteenth birthday. They always put on a great show, plus a couple of friends are joining Eric and me, so it will be a great night.

In the past year, I've noticed that Guster makes up a large portion of the music I know, and I haven't changed up what I listen to significantly in a few years. My friends in college would recommend bands and share albums, but as a history major I spent most of my time reading and writing. If I listened to music, it was either soothing instrumentals (often the Io Non Ho Paura soundtrack, with its haunting string quartets) or high-energy pop music (I wrote a large chunk of my thesis to the Glee version of "Teenage Dream," no shame) so I could mostly ignore it and focus on my work.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Women, work, and what I've been reading lately

Today at work, a colleague sent me this article by Alice Zielinski about being a young, blonde engineer at MIT. It's a fascinating look at the thousands of little cuts that can convince someone that they don't belong in a top-tier STEM program.

Perhaps more disturbing is the follow-up piece the author wrote to address a lot of the criticism she received, which ranged from, "You think you're hot, but your picture isn't that hot" to "You're at MIT, so you're fine. Do you realize how many worse problems there are in the world?"

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Laura's Favorite Things

I was joking with a friend recently that someday I'll be like Oprah and give out my favorite things to everyone I know. Since I do love gift guides this time of year, here is a year-end/I-didn't-get-it-together-before-the-holidays/maybe-you've-given-a-bunch-of-gifts-and-now-you-want-a-treat guide to some of my favorite things from 2014.

MarketSpice Cinnamon-Orange Tea
My aunt and uncle in Seattle gave us this tea as a wedding gift this May, and it has become my absolute favorite. This tea has a great, bright flavor that has been perfect on chilly days (like today, as I write). I will definitely be ordering more when I run out!

Clancy's Fancy Hot Sauce
Made in Ann Arbor, this hot sauce is flavorful without being overwhelming. Eric and I tried it at Zingerman's one afternoon and bought a bottle immediately. It goes well on just about everything and is now a staple in our pantry.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Scary Stories

I'm late on this, but happy Halloween! I've spent the weekend reading Jezebel's scary story contest and getting chills. Our apartment windows rattle loudly in the wind and our radiators clank at random intervals, so I may not have picked the best environment in which to read these.

As a kid, I loved ghost stories. I figured out their spot in the Dewey decimal system so I could read the entire collection at my school library. Eric has pointed me in the direction of some good adult ghost fiction, and I continually search for new haunting novels. Here are a few from my past that you may feel like re-reading or recommending for your niece who is definitely brave enough to read ghost stories:

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Voices Calling from a Yellow Road

Recently I've started to examine my musical taste as friends have invited me to concerts and lent me albums from (new to me) bands. Considering I haven't branched out significantly since my friends got me a Guster CD when I turned sixteen, it's about time. For me, the recurring theme is good lyrics. Songs with beautiful imagery, songs that tell stories - even if it's not poetry, I need to be able to sing along.

My sister and I used to send each other song lyrics quizzes when I was in high school and she was in grad school. One particularly memorable themed quiz was all drug-related songs, because earlier that summer I had ruined some of my mom's favorite classics (specifically "The Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine" from The Graduate soundtrack - she accused me of smearing her innocent youth).

She thought the song was about a car. Not Ben Braddock's, though.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


I just finished reading Harry Dolan's Bad Things Happen, a murder mystery set in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It was fantastic - well paced, realistic, and complex.

Mostly irrelevant Ann Arbor photo
It was also set in a town I deeply love, which made it that much more fun to read. I could picture the spot on Main Street where characters met for coffee. I could pick out actual houses for the various characters' homes. I could imagine the trails in the Arboretum where they walked.