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.
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What to Read
My Year of Rest and Relaxation — Your New Favorite Anti-Heroine. Really, anything by the refreshingly no-bullshit Ottessa Moshfegh is worth your time, but go ahead and start with her latest novel, My Year of Rest and Relaxation. Spoiler: The title is misleading, as you might guess if you’ve read any of Mosfegh’s often unsettling work. Instead it follows a protagonist (whose named is never revealed, Rebecca-style) who intends to spend a year sleeping – an idea fueled by an obsession with her ex and lots of pills. Even though Mosfegh’s not concerned with making her characters likeable, they are subtly (but undeniably) relatable. (Recommended by Amanda Bungartz, Marketing Whiz)
Hex — Give Yourself the Howling Fantods. Here’s the premise of Hex, the first of Dutch horror author Thomas Olde Heuvelt’s works to be translated into English (and reset in America). The tiny New York town of Black Spring has been haunted for centuries by a spectral witch, and has developed military-backed theatrical tricks to hide her from the outside world lest they all be murdered by a curse. Everything gets messed up by rowdy teens — always the teens! It sounds like a Stephen King knock-off, but this is the kind of book you’ll read in a single day, staying up late to finish it … and then sleeping with the light on just in case an evil witch with sewn-shut eyes appears in your bedroom. (Recommended by Fiona Zublin, Easily Spooked)
The Elementary Particles — Shock Literature at Its Best. This 1998 novel by French provocateur Michel Houellebecq (pronounced Hwell-beck, and not, as everyone hoped, Hollaback) is at its heart the story of two half-brothers navigating life after their mother abandoned them. In reality, the novel is so raw, frank and sardonic that when it won the prestigious Prix Novembre, the prize’s patron resigned in protest, and the award was renamed the Prix Decembre. On top of that, Houellebecq’s mother was so pissed off at what she saw as an indictment of her parenting that she published her own memoir, The Innocent, bashing her deadbeat son. (Eugene Robinson, Loose Cannon)
What to Listen To
Ear Hustle — The Real-Life Orange Is the New Black. In prison you have a lot of time to think, a lot of time to talk and a lot of time to tell stories. And now the denizens of San Quentin have an outlet for those stories: Prison-produced podcast Ear Hustle. The show humanizes the life stories of those on the inside, going into the details of solitary confinement, cell mates and what landed them in jail. Co-hosted by visual artist Nigel Poor and inmate Earlonne Woods (who’s serving more than three decades for a second-degree robbery charge), the show launches its third season next week, which gives you just enough time to binge the first two. Try Season 2 episode The Downlow, which deals with the LGBT experience in prison, to get to know Lady Jae, a trans woman navigating prison life while being unapologetically herself. Bonus: Lady Jae can be also found in the Season 1 episode The Workaround, which examines how personal grooming in prison helps people maintain their own identities. (Susan Jamison, OZY Devotee)
Dissect — Go Deep Into Your Favorite Songs. Recommendation lists can be incredibly stressful (sorry!) because it’s just a series of add-ons to the ever-growing list of stuff you have to read, watch, download, pay attention to. One way of avoiding the brain-melting hustle is to just rewatch The Office, and we support that. But another option is Dissect, a Spotify podcast that chooses one album per season and breaks it down track by track, discussing every aspect in minute detail. Host Cole Cuchna goes into the way a song was sampled, how a voice or instrument was pitched or the speed of the music in a way that appeals to music nerds but is still comprehensible to people who just like music but aren’t trained in it. Cuchna uses original research to analyze lyrics and constantly asks listeners to be open-minded and positive about the art they’re considering. Dive into the just-finished Season 3, which focused on Frank Ocean’s Blonde — try the Skyline To/Self Control episode or the Nights episode. The show also just announced a miniseries of episodes, dropping this fall, that’ll analyze The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill for the album’s 20th anniversary. (Matthew Zander, Traveling Salesman)
Where to Travel
Northern Ireland — The Greenest Place on Earth. We may have to rescind this recommendation depending on what Brexit does to the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland (for the uninitiated, the former is its own country while the latter is one of the four countries that make up the U.K.). As of now, though, this is a somewhat undiscovered vacation gem. You may want to speed through Belfast, the capital, after visiting the local museum about the Titanic, which was built in a Belfast shipyard before, um, sinking. But the countryside is really where it’s at: There’s Giant’s Causeway, a volcanic rock formation of weirdly industrial looking columns accompanied by a legend about warring giants playing tricks on each other. Beyond that, you can visit castles, rolling hills, tiny pubs — and a bunch of Game of Thrones shooting locations like Dark Hedges, a terrifying treelined lane which, naturally, is reputed to be haunted by a Grey Lady. Not The New York Times, a different Grey Lady.
There’s also “coasteering,” in which you don a wetsuit and climb up and down the country’s coastal rock formations (supervised by someone who will hopefully not let you fall and die), followed by cliff jumping into the unbelievably cold ocean, which is a thing that you can do for fun or because you want to punish your circulatory system. No judgment, that’s between you and your circulatory system. (Alex Lau, Cinematographer Extraordinaire)
And whatever you do, don’t do this …
Smuggle guns internationally using a library bathroom. A U.S. federal judge sentenced Alexis Vlachos, from Montreal, Canada, to 51 months this week over a 2011 smuggling scheme in which he legally bought 100 handguns in the U.S. and left them in the bathroom of the Haskell Free Library, which famously is built on the border of Vermont and Quebec. Vlachos, 41, then walked into the library from the Quebec side and grabbed the guns without having to pass any checkpoints. Vlachos apologized to “our two great nations.” (Seven Days)
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.