The Morning: Reading outdoors

Get a book and get comfortable.

Good morning. Grab a book and read outside this weekend, if you can. Here's some inspiration.

Photos by Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times, Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

Immerse yourself

What is the best setup for serious outdoor reading? I propose it's in a chair, sitting upright, in the shade of a tree or umbrella, comfortable but not too comfortable. A beach towel or picnic blanket works, but the sun moves, your back or neck gets stiff, it's not a sure thing. My friend Avi insists you need to be in one of those zero-gravity recliners that I'm positive would function as an adult cradle and instantly lull me to sleep.

According to my colleagues Elisabeth Egan and Erica Ackerberg, who put together this glorious album of outdoor bookworms, "There are only a handful of non-negotiables when it comes to plein-air reading: sunscreen, hydration, repeat."

Reading a book outside in summer cements it in memory for me. J.M. Coetzee's "Disgrace" on the beach in July and the sunburn that ensued. The just-sunny-enough restaurant terrace where I went back and forth at every third line between Chinua Achebe's "Things Fall Apart" and a French translation, "Le Monde S'Effondre," trying to improve my language skills. Louise Fitzhugh's "The Long Secret," a sequel to "Harriet the Spy," on the lawn, in the backyard, mosquito bites.

Reading "The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World" by Michael Pollan, at Riverside Park in Manhattan.Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times
Reading "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," by Caitlin Doughty, in Washington, D.C.Haiyun Jiang/The New York Times

If you can grab an hour or an afternoon to read outside this weekend, there are many promising new books to choose from. Perhaps Tess Gunty's "dense, prismatic and often mesmerizing debut," "The Rabbit Hutch"? Alec Nevala-Lee's biography of Buckminster Fuller? Or Michelle Tea's "Knocking Myself Up: A Memoir of My (In)Fertility"? Elisabeth recommends "The Displacements," by Bruce Holsinger. I recently read "Magpie" by Elizabeth Day in two rapturous afternoons. You might prefer a paperback, lest a hardcover prove too heavy to hold up if you're planning to recline. We've got a bunch of those, too. (And if you're more of an e-reader reader, you've got all these options and more.)

What have you read recently, outdoors or otherwise, that you've loved? Tell me about it.

For more

THE WEEK IN CULTURE

  • Stephen King testified that the proposed merger of the publishing giants Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster would hurt writers.
  • Warner Bros. canceled the release of "Batgirl" as its parent company looked for budget cuts after a merger, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
  • As Lieutenant Uhura in "Star Trek," Nichelle Nichols shifted what we thought was possible, Stacy Y. China writes. Nichols died last week at 89.
  • "Days of Our Lives," a daytime network television mainstay since 1965, is moving to NBC's streaming service, Peacock.
  • The Art Newspaper got a preview of the redesign of the Storm King sculpture park in upstate New York.
  • Theater actors are reconsidering the demands of the stage, including sometimes-dangerous work.
  • The pedal steel, once a staple of country music, is finding new life in other forms.
  • Bill Cosby is seeking a new trial in a civil case where a jury found he sexually assaulted a 16-year-old in 1975.

THE LATEST NEWS

By Ella Koeze
  • The U.S. added 528,000 jobs last month, bringing the unemployment rate down to its prepandemic low.
  • If this is a recession, it's unlike any the country has seen.
  • A jury ordered Alex Jones to pay $45.2 million in punitive damages to the parents of a Sandy Hook shooting victim, a day after awarding compensatory damages.
  • Indiana lawmakers approved a near-total ban on abortion, the first state to do so since Roe v. Wade was overturned.
  • Democrats are on the verge of reaching a decades-old goal: empowering Medicare to negotiate directly with drug makers to lower prices.
  • Difficulty sleeping. Strained relationships. Testimony from relatives of the 2018 Parkland shooting victims showed their yearslong suffering.

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CULTURE CALENDAR

🎮 "Papers, Please" (out now): This critically acclaimed game seemed like a throwback a decade ago upon its initial desktop release, with its retro, 2D animation style. There's a dark timelessness to the story, however. It is 1982 and you play a checkpoint inspector for a fictional communist nation. Who do you let in? Who do you keep out? Do you accept bribes to help buy food for your struggling family? It kinda messed me up! Now available to play on iOS and Android devices, so you can take that feeling of moral queasiness with you wherever you go.

📺 "Five Days at Memorial" (Friday): In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, and the staff of Memorial Medical Center found themselves trapped and unable to evacuate patients, forcing some doctors and nurses to make an awful choice. The always-interesting Vera Farmiga stars in this Apple TV+ adaptation, based on the 2013 book by The New York Times correspondent Sheri Fink.

RECIPE OF THE WEEK

Johnny Miller for The New York Times

Yakitori-Style Salmon With Scallions and Zucchini

Tare, a sweet-and-salty sauce often used to season Japanese grilled meats, is the secret to making these quick salmon skewers. Fry a little garlic and ginger, then add water, soy sauce, a touch of turbinado sugar and some vinegar. As you cook the salmon and vegetables, whether it's on a cast-iron griddle or a hot grill, stay close so you can keep turning the skewers and brushing them with your homemade tare. In just a few minutes, they'll brown and caramelize, creating a beautiful, mouthwatering glaze. And don't worry: If you don't have a grill pan or a grill, you can cook these skewers under the broiler, just pay very close attention so they don't burn!

A selection of New York Times recipes is available to all readers. Please consider a Cooking subscription for full access.

REAL ESTATE

Clockwise from left: Peter Harron; Caleb Melvin/Clarity Northwest Photography; Nate Polta

What you get for $2.9 million: a Colonial in East Haddam, Conn.; a Tudor Revival in Seattle; or an Italianate home in Denver.

The hunt: They wanted a pied-à-terre in Manhattan. Which one did they choose? Play our game.

On the rocks: Crevice gardens are the future.

LIVING

The post-meal walk: Even two minutes can have surprising benefits.

Cargo pants bridal: The debut wedding collection by the designer Rosie Assoulin includes the atypical.

In the kitchen: Making your own soy milk is straightforward.

From Denmark to Spain: Europe boasts beaches the whole family will love.

GAME OF THE WEEKEND

San Diego Padres vs. Los Angeles Dodgers, M.L.B.: Baseball's center of gravity has shifted to Southern California. The Padres and the Dodgers were reportedly both finalists among the teams vying to trade for Juan Soto, the 23-year-old superstar whose numbers rival young Ted Williams's. On Tuesday, the Padres got him. The Dodgers will have to make do with their six 2022 All-Stars. 7 p.m. Eastern on Sunday, ESPN.

For more:

NOW TIME TO PLAY

The pangram from yesterday's Spelling Bee was italicize. Here is today's puzzle.

Take the news quiz to see how well you followed this week's headlines.

Here's today's Wordle. After, use our bot to get better.

Before You Go …

Thanks for spending part of your weekend with The Times. — Melissa

Matthew Cullen, Claire Moses, Ian Prasad Philbrick, Tom Wright-Piersanti and Ashley Wu contributed to The Morning. You can reach the team at themorning@nytimes.com.

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