Another July weekend approaches, which means another need for a good podcast, book, TV show or new music.
This summer more than any, we all need escapes. So if you’re looking for ideas on how to pass the time, a new show to get into, or some fresh tunes to put in your earbuds—we’ve got you.
Read on for what the 225 Dine team is into right now.
For some mind-bending sci-fi reading
Ted Chiang’s ‘Exhalation’
“This collection of short stories came out last year, but I’m just getting around to it. Chiang is most known for Stories of Your Life, which became the basis of the 2016 movie Arrival, in which Amy Adams plays a linguist trying to decode the language of aliens who have come to Earth but can’t communicate in a way humans can understand. It’s the sort of real-life implications for a sci-fi scenario that Chiang seems most interested in mining. And he takes that perspective further with Exhalation. One story is an Arabian Nights-style tale of two doors in a bazaar: one that leads to the same spot in the past, the other to the same spot in the future. Another story delves into the consequences of a hi-tech implant that would record everything we see from childhood on—thus dissolving our emotional connections to memories and giving us more matter-of-fact visuals of every past moment. The stories are layered, well-researched and potent without being too dystopian—a relief in these days.”
—Benjamin Leger, managing editor
For some new tracks to crank up
‘WUNNA’ by Gunna
“This is one of those albums that took a second to rub off on me. Now, I’m hooked. Gunna is taking over the rap charts with this one-of-a-kind hip-hop album and I see why. ‘Dollaz On My Head’ is the perfect soundtrack for a summertime drive with the windows down and the bass turned all the way up. ‘Skybox’ is another catchy track that can instantly turn a bad mood into a positive one. Need an album to head bop, jig and rap in the mirror? Crank this up.”
—Cynthea Corfah, staff writer
For an escape-worthy rom-com
“It’s like Groundhog Day or Happy Death Day, but in the California desert. And with Andy Samberg. If you have to relive one day forever, a wedding in Palm Springs doesn’t sound like a bad option to me. But for Nyles and Sarah, it’s a nightmare they’re determined to get out of. Samberg is funny as ever, but Cristin Milioti (Black Mirror, How I Met Your Mother) really steals the show.”
—Jennifer Tormo, editor
For some puppy love on Instagram
“Lately I’ve been looking for little things to make me smile. I came across an account on Instagram of a man who travels the country with his nine dogs to promote adoption over breeding. Lee Asher is always putting funny little videos of quirky things he and his pups are doing and they never fail to make a day better!”
—Maria Marsh, contributing writer
For a page-turner about race and class
Kiley Reid’s ‘Such a Fun Age’
“It all starts in a grocery store, where a 20-something Black woman is wrongfully accused of kidnapping the white toddler she is babysitting. It’s a night Emira just wants to forget—and definitely not define her—but no one else seems to want to let her. In fact, no one really seems to listen to what Emira wants at all. In her debut novel, Kiley Reid builds characters who feel so real they could walk right off the pages: the child who is fascinated by everything in the grocery store and just wants someone to actually listen to her. The influencer mom who has become so obsessed with what people think of her she doesn’t realize she’s started to use her children and friends as props. And Emira, whose biggest worries are finding a better job with health insurance—but fearing the child she babysits will be forgotten if she leaves. By time the plot really thickened halfway through the book, I couldn’t put it down.”
—Jennifer Tormo, editor