Connect with us

Lifestyle

Here are the nonfiction books NPR staffers have loved so far this year

Published

on

Here are the nonfiction books NPR staffers have loved so far this year

Alicia Zheng/NPR


hide caption

toggle caption

Advertisement

Alicia Zheng/NPR

We see you, hard-core NPR readers — just because it’s summer doesn’t mean it’s all fiction, all the time. So we asked around the newsroom to find our staffers’ favorite nonfiction from the first half of 2024. We’ve got biography and memoir, health and science, history, sports and more. (And, sure, if you only want to take fiction to the beach, we’ve got you: Click here.)

Burn Book: A Tech Love Story

Simon & Schuster

Advertisement


hide caption

toggle caption

Simon & Schuster

Advertisement

Burn Book: A Tech Love Story by Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher pulls off a magic trick here, delivering several sharply written books in one. There’s her story of becoming media’s most influential tech analyst, chronicling the rise of Facebook, Amazon, Google and, of course, X/Twitter — psychoanalyzing all the driven, flawed (mostly) dudebros who turned them into world-shaking platforms. There’s also an affecting personal memoir, charting her journey as a gay woman, spouse, mother, entrepreneurial journalist and advocate. And there’s a passionate critique of toxic technology, slamming self-centered tech CEOs who pursue engagement through enragement, unleashing social division. It’s all knit together with nimble-yet-effective prose, outlining how Silicon Valley works, how journalism works and how society works in one neat package. — Eric Deggans, TV critic

Cloistered: My Years as a Nun

St. Martin’s Press


hide caption

Advertisement

toggle caption

St. Martin’s Press

Cloistered: My Years as a Nun by Catherine Coldstream
Nuns have captured our imaginations as characters in fiction and on film over the years, but it’s rare to hear from one firsthand. This compelling memoir provides a glimpse into the life of a cloistered nun as the author shares her journey into — and ultimately out of — an order of Carmelite nuns in England. Coldstream seamlessly weaves her own personal motivations for seeking a life of solitude, contemplation and service alongside an exploration of the challenges, reforms and purpose of such orders at the turn of the 21st century. This book will push you to reflect on faith, power and personal agency in your own communities as you consider Coldstream’s experience. — Tayla Burney, director, Network Programming & Production

Advertisement

Grief Is for People

Grief is for People by Sloane Crosley
I spent most of the last year mourning my mother and found few books that even got close to capturing my altered mental state. My brain kept rehashing the past and finding significance in the oddest things, and I so wanted to share that experience with the very person I was missing. In a slim 191 pages, Sloane Crosley nails it precisely as she details mourning her best friend, who died suddenly by suicide. While poignant and vulnerable, her memoir is also insightful and funny, especially as she recounts adventures with Russell and her attempts to track down and reclaim jewelry that was stolen from her apartment about a month before he died: a caper he would have enjoyed in the telling. I finished it feeling grateful for her friend’s life and even more appreciative of my mom’s. Melissa Gray, senior producer, Weekend Edition

Advertisement
Grown Woman Talk: Your Guide to Getting and Staying Healthy

Grown Woman Talk: Your Guide to Getting and Staying Healthy by Sharon Malone M.D.
If you want to be more proactive in managing your health, Dr. Sharon Malone can help. Grown Woman Talk is a playbook for navigating a fragmented and flawed health care system, written by a doctor who has spent more than 30 years practicing as an OB/GYN and is a certified menopause practitioner. She weaves in insights from her childhood in Mobile, Ala., when doctor visits were rare for her family. She recalls the first time she saw a doctor, entering the hospital through the “colored” door for an emergency tonsillectomy — and describes her mother as a “Jedi master” of managing injuries and illnesses with home remedies. Her deep sense of loss and anger at the death of her mom from cancer when she was 12 inspired her to be the kind of doctor and caretaker we need more of.Allison Aubrey, health correspondent

Here After: A Memoir

Here After: A Memoir by Amy Lin
In this memoir, the past and the present bleed together, as short wisps of chapters build the case for Kurtis and Amy as soul mates, while also telling the story of Kurtis’ sudden and unexplained death. Poetic, visceral and stark, this beautifully crafted book is a gift, pulling back the curtain on the intimate processes of love and grief. Steeped in the greatest of personal losses, Amy Lin allows us to witness her plod against the cascading losses that follow and behold the life raft that is memory. Beck Harlan, visuals editor, Life Kit

Advertisement

Invisible Rulers: The People Who Turn Lies into Reality

PublicAffairs


hide caption

toggle caption

Advertisement

PublicAffairs

Invisible Rulers: The People Who Turn Lies Into Reality by Renée DiResta
At a time when our screens are clogged with viral lies and conspiracy theories, Invisible Rulers takes a long view toward explaining media manipulation and how we got to this moment. The book skillfully weaves together history and technology to explain the changing iterations of political propaganda over the past century. Renée DiResta, a disinformation researcher at Stanford University, shares her own experiences on the front lines of the struggle to define objective reality, including entering the field after confronting anti-vaccine sentiment when she became a parent. In the years since, DiResta has found herself a focal point for conspiracy theories, as powerful politicians have sought to discredit her work and that of other researchers in the field. Brett Neely, supervising editor, Disinformation Reporting

Advertisement
Life After Power: Seven Presidents and Their Search for Purpose Beyond the White House

Simon & Schuster


hide caption

toggle caption

Simon & Schuster

Advertisement

Life After Power: Seven Presidents and Their Search for Purpose Beyond the White House by Jared Cohen
The American presidency is viewed as the most powerful position in the world. What happens when the job ends? History is often surprising. Not everyone found the role to be the most fulfilling one they ever had. Jared Cohen looks at some fascinating case studies that back that up. John Quincy Adams and William Howard Taft found greater joy in other branches of government: Congress and the Supreme Court. George Bush enjoys his private life and art studio. Life after power CAN be much more rewarding.Edith Chapin, senior vice president and editor in chief

The Mango Tree: A Memoir of Fruit, Florida, and Felony

Little, Brown and Company

Advertisement


hide caption

toggle caption

Little, Brown and Company

Advertisement

The Mango Tree: A Memoir of Fruit, Florida, and Felony by Annabelle Tometich
This family memoir begins with a courtroom scene like no other. After a night in jail, Annabelle Tometich’s mom is charged with firing at a man who, she says, was stealing mangoes from the tree in her front yard. Tometich then hits rewind, taking readers back through her Fort Myers, Fla., childhood — with her Filipino American mom and white dad, a couple whose personality differences do not make them stronger together. The writing is both jewel-like and effortless, and Tometich’s memories — some mundane, some extraordinary — are mesmerizing. Shannon Rhoades, senior editor, Weekend Edition

Not the End of the World: How We Can Be the First Generation to Build a Sustainable Planet

Little, Brown Spark


hide caption

Advertisement

toggle caption

Little, Brown Spark

Not the End of the World: How We Can Be the First Generation to Build a Sustainable Planet by Hannah Ritchie
Not the End of the World sifts through the evidence on pollution, extinction threats and deforestation. Once the numbers are clinically separated from emotion, a surprising guidebook to an eco-friendly life emerges. Food miles: not likely to affect climate change much. Meatless Mondays: helpful, especially if eschewing beef. Not everyone will interpret the world’s chances of staying within 2 degrees Celsius of warming with the same cautious optimism as Hannah Ritchie (“I’m confident we can keep moving closer”). But Ritchie’s data-first perspective makes this book an invaluable chaser to climate doomscrolling.Darian Woods, co-host, The Indicator from Planet Money

Advertisement

Relinquished: The Politics of Adoption and the Privilege of American Motherhood

St. Martin’s Press


hide caption

Advertisement

toggle caption

St. Martin’s Press

Relinquished: The Politics of Adoption and the Privilege of American Motherhood by Gretchen Sisson
Gretchen Sisson’s research and careful retelling of first/birth mothers’ experiences sheds light on the people who are too often ignored, dehumanized and erased within the institution of adoption. This book deepened my understanding of how adoption, while typically viewed as a noble, feel-good form of family building, actually hinges on the trauma of family separation. Relinquished reveals the structural forces behind this loss, commonly blamed on the individual failures of a mother or birth parents. These are interviews that broadened my understanding of reproductive justice and myself as an adopted person. It’s essential reading in this era of reproductive rights under threat, for anyone who has thought of adoption as “a simple alternative” to abortion, and anyone considering adoption as a family plan.Schuyler Swenson, content development producer

Advertisement

Slow Productivity: The Lost Art of Accomplishment Without Burnout

Slow Productivity: The Lost Art of Accomplishment Without Burnout by Cal Newport
If you’re the typical knowledge worker, your life is overwhelmed by a dizzying flurry of emails and Slack messages breaking your focus every few minutes. You breathlessly ricochet from task to task yet never get enough real work done. Stop. Take a deep breath. Then read Slow Productivity, which expounds on productivity expert Cal Newport’s tripartite philosophy of 1) do fewer things 2) work at a natural pace and 3) obsess over quality. He provides practical hacks to implement these principles into your life, while weaving in examples of how deep thinkers such as Jane Austen embodied slow productivity. Newport writes, “The way we’re working no longer works.” But if enough knowledge workers embrace slow productivity, we can revolutionize the world of work. — Preeti Aroon, copy editor, NPR.org

Smoke and Ashes: Opium's Hidden Histories

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Advertisement


hide caption

toggle caption

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Advertisement

Smoke and Ashes: Opium’s Hidden Histories by Amitav Ghosh
This is a gripping tale of how the British became history’s first narco state, curiously, to help pay for the tea its people so loved to drink. Amitav Ghosh narrates how the British forced opium into China, creating a market by creating addicts. But opium did so much more. Ghosh investigates how it created many of the modern merchant families of India and the United States, including the fortunes of the Delanos (Roosevelt’s maternal grandfather) and the Forbeses. But perhaps the most important part of this book is how Ghosh looks at the history of opium through the prism of what we know now about opioid addiction, and the relatively newfound sympathy we have toward addicts — white addicts. Diaa Hadid, international correspondent

Thank You Please Come Again: How Gas Stations Feed & Fuel the American South

The Bitter Southerner


hide caption

Advertisement

toggle caption

The Bitter Southerner

Thank You Please Come Again: How Gas Stations Feed & Fuel the American South by Kate Medley
As someone who travels Southern backroads reporting for NPR, I’ve long noticed how gas stations tend to serve as hubs in rural communities. And I have certainly sampled my share of convenience store fried chicken and sweet tea. Now, photojournalist Kate Medley, a native of Mississippi, takes us on a picturesque road trip across 11 states to document the food cultures you find at service stations. It’s a lovely coffee table book that puts a fascinating lens on a changing American South. There’s a little bit of everything — live bait and ammunition, hot tamales, catfish plates, Cajun banh mi, boiled peanuts, chicken tikka masala and hand-cut steaks. Writer Kiese Laymon’s forward sets the table with a story from his Mississippi youth as he recalls “my favorite restaurant served gas.” Debbie Elliott, national correspondent

Advertisement

There's Always This Year: On Basketball and Ascension

Random House


hide caption

Advertisement

toggle caption

Random House

There’s Always This Year: On Basketball and Ascension by Hanif Abdurraqib
I don’t even watch basketball all that much. And yet, there’s something alluring about Hanif Abdurraqib’s meditation on the sport. Because, sure, it’s about hoops and LeBron James and Cleveland and the funny way time works when you’re watching a Game 7. But it’s also about losing loved ones. Fans of Abdurraqib’s work will recognize his rhythms and stylistic flairs that hardly ever fail to draw a reader in, and his talent at making you see the beauty in the things he finds beautiful. Andrew Limbong, correspondent, Culture Desk, and host, NPR’s Book of the Day

Advertisement

The Showman

William Morrow


hide caption

toggle caption

Advertisement

William Morrow

The Showman: Inside the Invasion That Shook the World and Made a Leader of Volodymyr Zelensky by Simon Shuster
In this cinematic page-turner, Time correspondent Simon Shuster paints a vivid portrait of the Ukrainian president, who honed his powerful communication skills during decades as one of Ukraine’s most popular comedians. Shuster charts the rise from naïve political novice to steely — and unforgiving — wartime president. Deeply reported and deftly written, this book is a feat not only because it sheds light on one of today’s most consequential political figures, but also the history that shaped him and the tectonic shift in geopolitics that he’s now forced to navigate. Joanna Kakissis, Ukraine correspondent

Advertisement
The Threshold of Dissent: A History of American Jewish Critics of Zionism

The Threshold of Dissent: A History of American Jewish Critics of Zionism by Marjorie N. Feld
The world is a very confusing place right now — at least, that’s how it feels to me — so I’m always looking for books that can help me better understand where we are as a society and how we got here. The Threshold of Dissent is one of those books. In clear, careful language, the author illustrates some of the major moments over the past century that have shaped Jewish beliefs about Zionism, anti-Zionism and non-Zionism. It’s a history told with both rigor and compassion — two qualities that seem especially essential when embarking in conversation on such a fraught and contentious subject. Leah Donnella, senior editor, Code Switch

A Very Private School: A Memoir

Gallery Books


hide caption

Advertisement

toggle caption

Gallery Books

A Very Private School: A Memoir by Charles Spencer
Charles Spencer — younger brother of Diana, Princess of Wales — turns his considerable talents as a writer and historian on his own childhood. A Very Private School details what, he says, happened to him and his classmates — physical, sexual, emotional abuse — at one of Britain’s most elite boarding schools. Undergirding all is a culture of privilege, yes, but also silence and tradition rooted in the British Empire, sending 8-year-olds away from home as “the done thing.” Spencer’s quote from author Hilary Mantel in the book’s epigraph is telling, “I am writing in order to take charge of my childhood.” Shannon Rhoades, senior editor, Weekend Edition

Advertisement

Vision: A Memoir of Blindness and Justice

Little, Brown and Company


hide caption

Advertisement

toggle caption

Little, Brown and Company

Vision: A Memoir of Blindness and Justice by David S. Tatel
David Tatel has written the book that his friends and admirers always hoped he would write, but expected he would not. One that deals candidly with his “vision” — his blindness, and his years of treating it as an asterisk, all while becoming one of the most prominent and thoughtful judges in the country. This book is both novelistic and introspective in its treatment of his lack of sight — from his love affair with his wife and children, to his “cane lessons,” to his later-in-life affection for his guide dog, Vixen. Along the way, it is also a book about the law, the art of judging and today’s Supreme Court. And it’s fascinating. — Nina Totenberg, legal affairs correspondent

Advertisement

Who's Afraid of Gender?

Farrar, Straus and Giroux


hide caption

toggle caption

Advertisement

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Who’s Afraid of Gender? by Judith Butler
Judith Butler’s groundbreaking 1990 book Gender Trouble revolutionized gender studies by arguing that gender is socially constructed, almost mythlike, but that myth can create reality. In this book, Butler leans into the titular question: Why has gender become such a “phantasm” in American life, and what does it tell us about how we’re approaching some of the biggest problems facing us, like climate change and far-right extremism? Butler has a clear perspective — and spells out the dangers of an ascendant “anti-gender ideology.” But it’s also an invitation to consider how we think about gender — and what that might tell us about who we are. — Tinbete Ermyas, editor, All Things Considered

Advertisement
You Are Here

Milkweed Editions


hide caption

toggle caption

Milkweed Editions

Advertisement

You Are Here: Poetry in the Natural World by Ada Limón
This anthology of 50 never-before-published poems about nature was edited by the 24th poet laureate of the United States, Ada Limón. The collection is both achingly beautiful and terrifyingly urgent. From a humorous take on getting drenched in a rainstorm to a beloved tree on its last day of existence to a woman processing the bleak reality of the world her grandchildren will inherit, these poems encouraged a heightened noticing in me and (bonus!) introduced me to the work of many new-to-me poets I’m eager to explore. Beck Harlan, visuals editor, Life Kit

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Lifestyle

Sunday Puzzle: Can you guess these stars?

Published

on

Sunday Puzzle: Can you guess these stars?

Sunday Puzzle

NPR


hide caption

toggle caption

Advertisement

NPR

On-air challenge: Every answer today is the name of a famous person past or present, in which the first two letters of the first name followed by the first two letters of the last name spell a four-letter word. I’ll give you the four-letter words and the famous people’s fields. You give me their names.
 

Ex. LINE, Action film star  –>  Liam Neeson

1. NEAR, Astronaut

Advertisement

2. ROAM, Explorer

3. DUEL, Jazz musician

4. PARE, Colonial patriot

5. SEGO, Singer/actress

6. NITE, Inventor

Advertisement

7. WISH, Playwright/poet

8. WISH, Puzzlemaster

Last week’s challenge: I was at the 184th convention of the National Puzzlers’ League, in Dallas. It’s a four-day event of word puzzles and games shared with about 160 fellow enthusiasts. One of these is Sandy Weisz, of Chicago, who sent me this puzzle: Think of a famous actor and a famous actress who co-starred in a classic movie of the past. The actress’s first name, when reversed, and the actor’s last name, spelled forward, are similar romantic gifts. Who are these film stars?

Challenge answer: Meg Ryan > gem-> Billy Crystal (“When Harry Met Sally”)

Winner: Darryl Nester of Bluffton, Ohio
 

Advertisement

This week’s challenge: This challenge comes from listener Mark Scott, of Seattle. Take the name of a famous actor of the past. Say it out loud, and phonetically you’ll describe what a famous general’s horse did. Who is the actor and who is the general?

 

Submit Your Answer

If you know the answer to the challenge, submit it here by Thursday, July 25th at 3 p.m. ET. Listeners whose answers are selected win a chance to play the on-air puzzle. Important: include a phone number where we can reach you.

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Lifestyle

“Who is buying this?!” Has Erewhon’s ‘raw animal smoothie’ taken L.A. health food too far?

Published

on

“Who is buying this?!” Has Erewhon’s ‘raw animal smoothie’ taken L.A. health food too far?

I was at a cocktail party a few months ago in Studio City when, suddenly, one conversation rose above the din of guest’s chatter, and quickly arrived at a consensus: Erewhon had gone too far.

“Animal organs, ground up!” one guest squealed, crinkling his nose.

“Oh my god, yes,” his friend agreed. “Erewhon’s smoothies are Out. Of. Control!”

They were referring to the luxury grocery store’s “Raw Animal Smoothie,” a concoction of Kefir (fermented milk), beef organs, so-called Immunomilk (freeze-dried cow’s colostrum, which is its initial breast milk after giving birth), raw honey, blueberries, bananas, lucuma fruit sweetener, coconut cream, sea salt and maple syrup.

The beverage is one of many celebrity and influencer collaborations within Erewhon’s extended smoothie universe. This one credited to fitness influencer Dr. Paul Saladino, author of “The Carnivore Code,” who proselytizes the health benefits of eating animal organs. He says they aid with immunity, gut health, weight loss and bone strength, among other things. His Austin-based company, Heart & Soil, provides the beef organs and Immunomilk for Erewhon’s Raw Animal Smoothie. Erewhon’s website describes it as having a “creamy texture with a hint of sweetness and a touch of tartness.”

Advertisement

You may be thinking: Ew. And also: How? But, despite the smoothie’s official name — “Dr. Paul’s Raw Animal-Based Smoothie” — there’s one giant asterisk to this gambit. Erewhon says the mix of uncooked beef livers, hearts, pancreases, kidneys and spleens swirling through the coconut cream in the beverage should not be considered “raw.”

“They’re desiccated, or freeze-dried, to preserve the organs as a nutrient-dense powder,” a representative of the store said via email.

Erewhon’s Organic Tonic Bars, where their frothy smoothies are made fresh to order, have cultivated a posh scene unto themselves. Lithe, well-groomed customers in Gucci flip flops and leisurewear regularly crowd these areas at all times of the day in Erewhon’s 10 L.A. locations.

New smoothie partnerships, developed in conjunction with — and heavily promoted by — celebrities and social media stars are announced regularly. Others include Kendall Jenner’s $23 “Peaches and Cream Smoothie,” the most expensive on the menu, and a recently released “Sunscreen Smoothie,” a sea blue and cloudy swirl inspired by the sunscreen brand Vacation. “Hailey Bieber’s $19 Strawberry Glaze Skin Smoothie” is by far the store’s most popular since debuting in 2022 alongside Bieber’s skincare line, Rhode.

But the Raw Animal Smoothie, which debuted on the menu a year ago, might be the store’s biggest conversation-starter yet.

Advertisement

“Who is buying this?!” one shopper ranted on TikTok. “I just can’t — like, it makes me want to barf looking at the ingredients. If you are super-rich and you’re spending your money on this smoothie, if this is something you’re into, I need some explanations.”

There are scores of people online who’ve filmed their own taste-tests, plenty of them positive.

“You can feel the iron in this. It’s a little bit beefy,” a fan of the drink said in a TikTok post captioned “Worth it.”

The drink may be clickbait, but it also speaks to a growing lifestyle trend that espouses going back to basics. And by that, we mean the Neanderthal era. A step beyond trends like the Paleo (or caveman) diet, it includes eating raw meat; rising and sleeping with the rhythms of the sun; and “barefoot” walking or running in thin or no shoes (or sneakers with the bottom cut out).

A selection of smoothie’s including Dr. Pauls Raw Animal-Based Smoothie are seen at Erewhon in Culver City.

Advertisement

(Dania Maxwell/Los Angeles Times)

Erewhon’s Raw Animal Smoothie fits right into this. But at what cost? With an outbreak of H5N1 “bird flu” sweeping through dairy cows in the U.S., is it safe to ingest unpasteurized milk right now — or ever?

For the record:

10:05 a.m. July 19, 2024An earlier version of this article stated that four cases of “bird flu” have been detected in humans since March. Nine have been detected.

Advertisement

Only nine cases of “bird flu” have been detected in humans since March, so the current public health risk is low, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. But it recommends avoiding unpasteurized dairy in general, as drinking raw milk “can lead to serious health risks, especially for certain vulnerable populations,” it states on its website.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration adds that it’s unclear as to whether or not the H5N1 viruses can be transmitted through consuming raw colostrum from infected cows. But it advises against drinking unpasteurized milk ever, as it may harbor germs leading to serious health issues, such as Salmonella, E. coli and Listeria.

What about raw meat, freeze-dried or otherwise? No, says the United States Department of Agriculture.

“There are a lot of different trends now with people encouraging eating raw meat, but the reality is it’s still a really risky thing to do without knowing if there is bacteria causing food borne illnesses,” said USDA Food Safety Specialist, Meredith Carothers. “When you reduce the moisture — basically dry it out [by freeze-drying] — the bacteria might not be able to multiply and thrive, but it does not kill it.”

Erewhon stands behind the “nutrient dense” ingredients in its Raw Animal Smoothie, but makes one thing clear: “We are not a healthcare provider, and we do not make health claims about our products. If you are interested in exploring health benefits, we encourage you to explore the scientific literature on the smoothie’s ingredients,” the representative said.

Advertisement

Obviously, Erewhon’s gleaming produce aisles are a far cry from a doctor’s office. But the store’s comment lays plain an important distinction: Erewhon doesn’t take responsibility for your health, just for making you feel healthy.

With that in mind, I took my health into my own hands, and made a trip to the Silver Lake Erewhon.

The raw smoothie has been popular, cashier Ahly Guevara told me. She doesn’t drink it herself, but her 70-year-old grandmother, Maria, swears by it.

“She buys one every Saturday and Sunday,” Guevara said. “It makes her feel stronger.”

A customer checks out from an Erewhon store in Culver City.

A customer checks out from an Erewhon store in Culver City.

(Dania Maxwell/Los Angeles Times)

Advertisement

If Maria could do it, so could I. At first sip, I gagged ever-so-slightly, visions of Looney Tunes farm animals dancing through my head. But it was a sweltering afternoon; and glistening beads of condensation dribbled down the outside of the plastic cup, which was topped with generous amounts of thick coconut cream drizzled with honey. It looked beyond refreshing.

When I was able to put the ingredients out of mind, it went down easily. The smoothie was off-the-charts yummy — rich and sweet and creamy, with notes of blueberry and banana and a lingering coconut base. Erewhon says it’s one of the store’s top-selling smoothies and is now a staple on the menu.

“This store, it’s like the Louis Vuitton of supermarkets.”

— Jordan Ben-Yehuda, Erewhon patron

Advertisement

As I sipped, I noticed three customers, with identical pink-hued smoothies (unmistakably Hailey Biebers) in hand, clustered together by the entrance. The 19-year-olds were visiting Los Angeles from Arkansas for the week. On the agenda: the Hollywood sign, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Santa Monica Pier and … Erewhon. They regularly ogle the luxury store’s jewel-toned smoothies on social media and wanted a sip of the aspirational lifestyle.

“You see them on TikTok — it makes you want to be part of it,” one of them, Natalie Vivar, said of Erewhon’s smoothies.

Parsons School of Design student Jordan Ben-Yehuda , 20, added that the beverages’ high prices match the luxurious vibe of the store.

“It feels exclusive being here, it makes you feel special,” she said, awaiting her drink. “This store, it’s like the Louis Vuitton of supermarkets.”

Advertisement

Even so, she wasn’t quite ready to try the Animal Smoothie.

“It doesn’t particularly appeal to me,” Ben-Yehuda said. “But if it’s marketed as healthy, and sold at a store like this, who am I to question it? It’s Erewhon.”

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Lifestyle

Opinion: Bob Newhart showed us the extraordinary in the ordinary

Published

on

Opinion: Bob Newhart showed us the extraordinary in the ordinary

Comedian Bob Newhart pretends to speak on an antique telephone at his home in the Bel Air Estates community of Los Angeles, June 25, 2003.

Jerome T. Nakagawa/AP


hide caption

toggle caption

Advertisement

Jerome T. Nakagawa/AP

The life of Bob Newhart, who died this week at the age of 94, may remind us to see some of the glitter that can be cloaked in places that may seem like mere background.

He was working as an accountant in Chicago in the mid-1950’s, where, he used to insist, his motto was, “that’s close enough!” To relieve the tedium of cubicles and calculators, he and a friend began to concoct routines of telephone calls between historical figures.

When his friend left to take a job in New York, Newhart kept doing the phone bits, with just one side of the call.

Advertisement

Like say, Abraham Lincoln’s PR man telling the president, “The next time they bug you about Grant’s drinking, tell ‘em you’re gonna find out what brand he drinks and send a case of it to all your other generals … Trust me, Abe,” the PR man reassures a skeptical Lincoln. “It’s funny. Do it!”

Or the head of a 16th century British shipping company taking a call from Sir Walter Raleigh in the New World.

“Toe-bacco?” he asks “… Let me get this straight, now, Walt, you bought 80 tons of leaves? … You can chew it? Or put it in a pipe? Or … put it on a piece of paper, and roll it up … ”

The shipping exec has to stifle his laughter. And of course, we might now regret that there wasn’t more 16th century skepticism about rolling up tobacco leaves and smoking them.

Tapes of Newhart’s routines eventually made their way to a record company. The result was the 1960 comedy album, The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart. The former accountant won the 1961 Album of the Year Grammy over his fellow nominees Nat King Cole, Harry Belafonte and Frank Sinatra.

Advertisement

Newhart went on to have two hit sitcoms, in which he portrayed mild-seeming men, the first a Chicago psychologist, the second a Vermont innkeeper, trying to maneuver in a world of colorful characters. And of course there’s the role that introduced him to a new generation: Papa Elf in Elf.

In 2002, Newhart won the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. On the stage of the Kennedy Center that night, he told a crowd in silk and sequins, “Standing here is a long way from the accounting department at the Glidden company.”

 

Continue Reading

Trending