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“Reading is the key that opens doors to many good things in life. Reading shaped my dreams, and more reading helped me make my dreams come true."
--Ruth Bader Ginsburg

We’re a year into this pandemic and while vaccines for Covid-19 now provide a wonderfully discernible light at the end of the tunnel, it’s still a grind. So we decided that this week we just wanted to try and take our mind off things. To that end, we’ve pulled together a selection of random good reads for you to devour this weekend, during the week or whenever feels best. There’s a variety here, from newsier items, to travel writing to entice your next adventure (yes we WILL be doing that again!) and one audio option, too – a new podcast featuring unexpected buddies Bruce Springsteen and Barack Obama. Dig in. Breathe. Relax. Enjoy. And, like our favorite former Supreme Court Justice, dream big.

Did you know that it’s possible to sue a cheating spouse and his or her lover for adultery? Well, in the six states where alienation of affection lawsuits are allowed – Hawaii, New Mexico, North Carolina, Mississippi, South Dakota and Utah – it is. Although, according to this piece in Elle Magazine, they are only common in North Carolina. The story centers on Elizabeth Clark and her alienation of affection law suit – as the article explains “a legal term used to describe the breakup of a marriage by a third party” – against her ex-husband, Adam, and Kimberly Barrett, the woman with whom he cheated. Ultimately Clark won a $3.2 million judgment against the two, although it’s unclear if she’ll ever see that money. The piece asks important ethical questions of these lawsuits and whether or not the legal foundation for such actions still holds up to the standards of modern marriage.

For some more light-hearted, but still intriguing fare, check out this Vanity Fair profile of Billie Eilish. The 19-year-old star has been taking the music world by storm since she and her older brother, (and producer and collaborator) Finneas, first recorded “Ocean Eyes” and uploaded it to SoundCloud when Billie was just 13. It was an immediate viral sensation. Everything she’s done since then has been a hit too, which is why there is so much anticipation for her upcoming album. We liked listening to her music while reading. Give it a try. The combo is top notch.

If you’re ready for something a little heavier, this outdoor adventure take on true crime reporting is it. It’s an Outside Magazine story about Dean Cummings, a former world extreme skiing champion who started a successful heli-ski guiding company in Alaska and now sits in jail charged with murder. A tentative trial date is set for January 2022. His is a tragic story of mental illness, missed opportunities and how difficult it can be to help someone even while watching that person spiral out of control. Not to mention the dangers of allowing those who’ve committed acts of domestic violence to have access to guns. It’s not a particularly uplifting read, but it is an important one.

On a completely different topic is this article about homesteading in the 21st-century from the literary magazine the Virginia Quarterly Review. While the piece does follow the lives of several women who are part of a group called the National Ladies Homestead Gathering (NLHG) and how they learn to grow their own food, make their own soap, medicine and more, it’s really about bigger questions of what living a sustainable, self-sufficient lifestyle means. In a time, and country, where the government and employers seem to provide fewer and fewer social supports, many of the women pursuing this life do so as a way to make more sense of their world, find agency in it and protect themselves and their families.

Another angle on how families are grappling with the consequences of modern science is this probing, thought-provoking and deeply moving story about prenatal testing for Down Syndrome. The piece, published a few months ago in The Atlantic, examines how we all determine what lives are worth living, what that choice means to prospective parents, what “normal” is and whether or not our society can expand that concept to be more inclusive. The reporting here is absolutely top-notch and it’s an enticing read.

OK, do you now need some travel inspiration? Are you, like us, spending a ton of time procrastinating / dreaming about your next adventure? Because, soon, soon!!! Then this next piece is perfect. It’s a colorful, whimsical, history-filled jaunt following chile peppers around the world. From Jamaica to Hungary and then onto Thailand, the author, Matt Gross (the former New York Times Frugal Traveler columnist), traces the history of these spicy fruits. He then explores how they have infiltrated three very different cuisines and the impact this has had on the cultures there and on the people who eat them.

To close out Black History month with a bang, read this lyrical, powerful, call to action that is President Barack Obama’s eulogy for Representative John Lewis of Georgia. Lewis died July 17. You will not regret that you did.

Then go and listen to Spotify’s new podcast, “Renegades,” an eight-episode series of conversations between Bruce Springsteen and Obama. Theirs may seem like an unlikely friendship, but they have developed a tight bond, and in this Podcast the two close friends discuss all matter of topic ranging from fatherhood, to manhood, to marriage, to race and the future of this nation.

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