Published: May 23, 2013
Category: Beyond Classification
Overheard: At a play date, the child and her friend were talking about the movie of ‘Gatsby.’ They weren’t sure they wanted to see it. The other girl’s father said, “It might be a good idea. Eventually, you'll have to read the book.” The child (shocked, and not in a good way): “There's a book?”
I couldn’t decide.
Even a casual glance at the news could make you think the empire is crumbling fast. If so, shouldn’t I urge you to undertake a cultural boot camp this summer that would prepare you for the moment when the walls collapse and --- my worst fear --- we’re on our own? The books would all preach self-reliance, the music would be the soundtrack of aerobics. By September, you’d have the bodies of Marines and the mental toughness of Spartans.
Then I thought: Why? What have these people done to deserve to suffer more? They’re the smarties; they know all about the water and the air and the hacks in Congress and the garbage media. They can hardbody and toughmind on their own. Cut them some slack. Deliver pleasure.
Here’s a checklist of book and music and things that might make you dream, give you comfort, put a smile on your face. Plus a few suggestions for house presents should you be forced to spend a weekend at a beachfront “cottage” in East Hampton.
Anthelios Sunscreen with Mexoryl: better to be a little pale and a lot healthy than to look like a California raisin
Sally Hansen Leg Spray: in summer, my wife’s morning starts with coffee and Sally
Portable amps for iPhones: a steal at $3.
Zojirushi Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Mug: It kept coffee hot all winter, now it’s iced tea’s turn to chill
Egyptian Magic: The first cut may be the deepest, but not for long.
Moleskine notebooks: just in case you have a thought
Bobble bottles: hydrate!
Shining City: still the funniest book I’ve read this century
Bonjour, Tristesse: a precocious teenager’s summer romance in the south of France
Mission to Paris: if you’re not going, here’s a thriller (paperback out June 4th)
Cakes and Ale: Maugham’s favorite, a delight in every possible way
Beautiful Ruins: the single best under $10 buy on Amazon
The Queen’s Gambit: Start it and don’t finish, I’ll send you $5
Defending Jacob: 100x better than ‘Gone Girl’ (the paperback is a crazy bargain at $7.19)
Alice Munro: great stories, set in the chill of Canada
Epictetus: things come, things go
Bombino: the new CD gets you moving. His first release, which is about whispering sands, desert or beach, is dreamier.
Bryan Ferry: sound too sexy for my speakers
Herbie Mann: in the summer air, a flute
Pu-erh tea: when did your host last get.. a brick?
Red Cross self-powered radio/flashlight: ‘Oh, a storm is threat'ning/ my very life today…’
‘Maybe You Touched Your Genitals’ soap: shouldn’t every guest bath have one?