Why you should care
The Weekender is a special collaboration between OZY Tribe members near and far to provide delicious recommendations for your valuable weekend time.
WHAT TO READ
Cottage by the Sea — A Survivor’s Story. Recovery from past trauma has been in the news and on a lot of people’s minds lately, and Debbie Macomber’s new novel, published this summer, leans right into that. It’s the story of Annie Marlow, who loses her entire family in a mudslide and moves to a beachside community three states away to attempt to find peace (and love, naturally). Yes, it’s a tearjerker. But it’s also a mature look at survivor’s guilt, domestic abuse, unstated friendship and mental health. Oh, and if you love animals, there are plenty of pets in the book — some with pivotal roles. (Recommended by Charu Sudan Kasturi, Novel Idea Man)
The Alchemy of Air — Fertilizer for the Imagination. Look, we wouldn’t recommend you read a book about the invention of fixed nitrogen fertilizer unless it was really, really worth it. Thomas Hager’s book creatively recounts the true story of two German scientists who managed to avert a global starvation crisis after World War I by changing the way the developed world grows food. It’s thrilling, suspenseful and utterly fascinating. (Recommended by Molly Fosco, Tech Sleuth)
The Master and Margarita — A Classic, With Cats! Mikhail Bulgakov’s novel, first published in 1967 — 27 years after the author’s death — is on many of our to-read shelves. Please, we beg you, take it off the shelf and onto a long plane ride. It tells the story of … well, of the time Satan came to Moscow. It’s full of unexpected pleasures — a talking, machine gun-toting cat that swings from the rafters being the obvious winner. As soon as you finish, you’ll want to both read it again right away and lend your copy to your coolest friend. So maybe buy two copies. (Recommended by Eugene Robinson, Master AND Margarita)
WHAT TO COOK
Onion, Spinach and Cheddar Pastries — Autumnal AF. This is one of those recipes that’s so perfect for the season that it makes your eyes bug out when you see it. While the ingredients aren’t flashy — you may have sighed over perfectly ripe peaches or fat green and yellow tomatoes in the produce section of the supermarket, but when was the last time you freaked out over spinach or onions? — they’re right on target for the crisp air of October. Plus, and this is important when it’s getting cold outside, did we mention the perfect melty cheddar? Half-Baked Harvest is a solid recipe blog in general (the caramelized pork ramen is also a winner) but these decidedly stand out. They also keep fairly well for pastries: Make them for dinner and if any remain uneaten, you’ve got a solid cheesy breakfast (but heat them up first). (Recommended by Michelle Bruton, Packers Hero)
Meaty Baked Sweet Potatoes — Hearty and Healthy. This is one of those recipes that looks like you put a lot of thought into it but actually takes about five minutes of work. Bake two large sweet potatoes, until they’re tender, then cut them in half and scoop the inside into a bowl, preserving the skins. Brown 1 lb of ground beef in a frying pan, mixing in enough taco seasoning to keep you happy (or, if taco seasoning isn’t your jam, go wild with whatever spices you like). When it’s browned and delicious, mix it with the baked sweet potato, then scoop the beef-and-potato mixture into the skins to serve. We like this with a nice salad, but if you pour some shredded cheddar over it and bake it another few minutes until it gets melty, we won’t tell anybody. (Recommended by Ella Moran, Chief Nana)
WHAT TO WATCH
Three Identical Strangers — Mind-Boggling But True. As with almost everything, it’s best if you just watch the film unspoiled, so we’re gonna tell you just enough to get you to rent it. It’s a true story of two men who were raised by different families and never knew they had a twin brother until college. Then, twist: It turns out there was a third, and the triplets bonded despite having been raised separately. The real meat of the documentary, which is available on iTunes, is delving into how they were separated and the dark forces that kept them and their families in the dark about each other’s existences.
This is a story that’s been told in bits and pieces over the years, but it’s rendered here with agility and care, handling the hairpin twists and turns of the story gracefully (though, unusually for a documentary, you’ll feel the bottom drop out of your stomach on multiple occasions). It’ll leave you with a lot of answers — but also questions about medical ethics, infant development and nature vs. nurture. (Recommended by Theresa Sun, New Girl in Town)
And whatever you do, don’t do this …
Booby-trap your house with a killer hot tub. A man has been charged with assault in Oregon after an FBI agent was shot while visiting his house. Gregory Rodvelt, 66, wasn’t even home at the time — he was in jail in Arizona — but had booby-trapped his property with a hot tub rigged with a trip wire to roll over intruders, and a wheelchair fitted with a shotgun that discharged a .410-gauge pellet into the agent’s leg. (The Guardian)
SLIDE INTO OUR DMS
Do you have a killer potato salad recipe that you’d like to share? Think you discovered the next great jam band? Share your suggestions with us here at OZY! Email us: Weekender@ozy.com.