Big group chats create unnecessary chatter, and anxiety

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Photo: Adem AY/Unsplash

Poor Heidi Cruz. In her attempt to liberate herself from the devastating and deadly historic storm in Texas, where her husband Ted Cruz is a senator, she discovered something terrible: There is a mole in her group chat.

After Ted Cruz was caught at the airport flying to Cancún in the midst of the disaster, he told reporters that his children had asked him to take them on a trip. But within just a few hours someone leaked texts from a group chat that included Heidi. The apparently not-so-lovely group chat of 11 people is (or was) titled “Lovelies.” …


12 authors, critics, and readers discuss the books they turn to for hope, comfort, and inspiration

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Hope, 1864. Freeman Gage Delamotte. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

A lot of big readers talk about how, when they were kids, they read whatever they could get their hands on. They didn’t discriminate; they’d take any form of the written word they could. The same cannot be said for me then, nor can it be said now. As a child, I gravitated towards two genres primarily: historical fiction and fantasy centered around girls and women who, whether or not they could be characterized as “strong,” nevertheless were survivors.

It was helpful, as a child trying to move on from major trauma, to see how other girls lived through things…


Each week, I’ll catalog the biggest and most exciting adult and YA fiction — and the occasional nonfiction — coming out that Tuesday.

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IN THE COMPANY OF MEN, Véronique Tadjo. In this portrait of the Ebola epidemic, two unwitting young boys venture into the forest to hunt, killing and eating bats that will infect them, and their community, with the deadly virus. “As personal and humane as it is biblically grand… Brief and haunting, this makes for a timely testament to the destructive powers of pandemics,” writes Publisher’s Weekly. Bookshop.

WHEN PARIS SLEPT, Ruth Druart. A Frenchman on the run…


Cleaning it may help it run better — and keep you healthy to boot

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Photo: Natthawat/Getty Images

You might feel lonely if you’ve been working from home this past year with only your partner, your roommates, or your own damn self as company. But you’re not as alone as you may feel. In fact, you have millions of co-workers — and they’re currently milling around the watercooler that is your desk. They are chatting, catching up, and most importantly, breeding.

These co-workers, of course, are bacteria, fungi, and the occasional virus, and they’re mostly harmless. …


In Genevieve Gornichec’s charming debut, the story of a witch’s life reveals the lead-up to Ragnarok

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In Over Coffee, writer, reader, and haphazard reviewer Angela Lashbrook chats with authors about their recent books, and quizzes them on their hot breakfast takes.

When Madeleine Miller’s Circe released to widespread acclaim from audiences and critics alike, it indicated that readers have an unmistakable need for mythology retellings that are rooted not only in the fantasy tradition, but in literary and historical fiction as well. Genevieve Gornichec’s beautiful The Witch’s Heart, about the Norse jötunn Angrboda, is a worthy successor in a genre that will hopefully see more action in the coming years.

When The Witch’s Heart begins, Angrboda…


Each week, I’ll catalog the biggest and most exciting adult and YA fiction — and the occasional nonfiction — coming out that Tuesday.

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COWBOY GRAVES, Roberto Bolaño, Natasha Wimmer (translator). The latest collection of novellas from the Chilean-Mexican genius (yes, I’m biased). “These drafts reveal Bolaño (1953–2003) perfecting the literary obsessions that became his emblems,” writes Publisher’s Weekly. Bookshop.

DO NO HARM, Christina McDonald. A desperate mother resorts to selling opioids to afford her young son’s cancer treatment, but her inexperience with the drugs causes people to die. Bookshop.


You’re not alone if you’re feeling more distracted

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Photo: Frank Alarcon/Unsplash

I read 83 books last year. Several of them, including Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom, I read for the second time. They’re spectacular and now count among my favorites, but when my husband, who’s currently making his way through Crooked Kingdom, asked what I thought of a major plot detail, I had no idea. I couldn’t remember.

In January 2020, I wrote about how social media is messing with our memories. This is partially because when you spend time recording your daily life in an app, you’re transferring the responsibility of saving memories onto, for lack of…


Allison Epstein’s confident debut re-examines Elizabethan playwright Christopher Marlowe

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In Over Coffee, writer, reader, and haphazard reviewer Angela Lashbrook chats with authors about their recent books, and quizzes them on their hot breakfast takes.

Christopher Marlowe — aspiring poet, prolific smoker, poor cobbler’s son— is finishing up his last year on scholarship at Cambridge University when he receives a visit from Queen Elizabeth I’s spymaster, Sir Francis Walsingham. Walsingham has a proposition for Kit: dispatch to Yorkshire to collect information about Mary Stuart, once the Queen of Scots. …


Each week, I’ll catalog the biggest and most exciting adult and YA fiction — and the occasional nonfiction — coming out that Tuesday.

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A TIP FOR THE HANGMAN, Allison Epstein. A spectacularly funny, smart novel about poet and playwright Christopher Marlowe, who was roped into spying on Mary Stuart, among others, by Elizabeth I’s spymaster. Bookshop.

THE ELECTRIC KINGDOM, David Arnold. A dynamic cast of characters attempt to survive a world devastated by an apocalyptic pandemic. “Strange and off-kilter, this is not a simple post-apocalyptic novel but instead a quiet, philosophical exploration of humanity with a touch of science fiction around the edges,” writes Kirkus. Bookshop.


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Jo, La Belle Irlandaise. 1865–66, Gustave Courbet

I have an entire room (a real estate agent would call it an “office”; someone more honest would call it “a walk-in closet with a window”) dedicated half to a dresser I share with my husband, and the other half to beauty products.

Perfume bottles take up an entire shelf on my vanity. I have at least a dozen different bottles of foundation, none of which I’m wearing right now, obviously. Most importantly, I have two shelves on the bottom half of the vanity devoted to skincare.

This is not even going into the situation in my bathroom, so cluttered…

Angela Lashbrook

I’m a columnist for OneZero, where I write about the intersection of health & tech. Also seen at Elemental, The Atlantic, VICE, and Vox. Brooklyn, NY.

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