It’s Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start to summer, and the official start to summer reading. I’m smitten with the promise of a season spent buried in books, with “the possibility of long sunlit days spent unmoored from everyday restraints and immersed in a literary world,” as Jennifer Harlan wrote in The Times last year.
I’m giving myself permission to cast aside the dry novel I’ve been halfheartedly reading for weeks in favor of the far more exciting summer books recommended by my colleagues on the Books desk.
What better to enliven a stretch of stale reading than some juicy Hollywood history? “Everybody Thought We Were Crazy,” a book about Dennis Hopper and Brooke Hayward’s marriage set against a backdrop of the 1960s L.A. art scene, sounds dreamy (or, as Helen Shaw describes it, “weird, smoggy, heated”). Harvey Fierstein’s memoir promises “boatloads of charm and gossip” — sold.
I’m trying to resuscitate my trailing jade, so Christopher Griffin’s “You Grow, Gurl!: Plant Kween’s Lush Guide to Growing Your Garden” looks right up my street. I’ll check out “Be My Baby,” the reissue of Ronnie Spector’s 1990 memoir. And any book that “covers the Knicks the way Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein covered the Nixon White House in ‘The Final Days,’” as John Swansburg writes of “Blood in the Garden,” seems tough to resist.
I’ve been excited to try my colleague Eric Kim’s cookbook, “Korean American: Food That Tastes Like Home.” It’s described as “exuberant and erudite,” so I’m hoping it’ll be as fun to read as to cook from. Keith Thomson’s maritime history “Born to Be Hanged: The Epic Story of the Gentlemen Pirates Who Raided the South Seas, Rescued a Princess, and Stole a Fortune” sounds transporting. I want to read pretty much every thriller in Sarah Lyall’s roundup, especially Dervla McTiernan’s “The Murder Rule”: “part legal thriller, part detective story, part analysis of a small-town reign of terror and part excavation of the secrets and lies of the past.”
A bunch of intriguing literary fiction is coming this summer, too. Joseph Han’s “Nuclear Family,” about a Korean American family living in Hawaii around the time of 2018’s false missile alert, looks promising. Sloane Crosley and Ottessa Moshfegh have new novels coming, and 24 years after “Election,” Tom Perrotta is bringing back his ambitious high-school protagonist in “Tracy Flick Can’t Win.” (She’s an assistant principal now.) Oh, and Mohsin Hamid, Maggie O’Farrell and Jean Hanff Korelitz all have new novels as well. It’s going to be a busy summer.
What are you looking forward to reading? Tell me.
WEEKENDS ARE FOR …
🎧 Podcasts: Six explore the dark side of the internet.
📺 TV: Ten “Bob’s Burgers” episodes to watch before seeing the movie.
🏊♀️ Swimming: Make it your summer workout.
🎼 Classical music: Five new albums.
THE WEEK IN CULTURE
Momofuku’s Bo Ssam
You don’t have to grill on Memorial Day if you are having a party. Other festive dishes feed a crowd, and some, like David Chang’s bo ssam, can be made almost entirely in advance. That means that, instead of standing in front of your Weber for the whole evening, you can be relaxing and chatting with your friends, holding a delightful beverage. I’ve made bo ssam often since the recipe was published in The New York Times Magazine a decade ago, and it never fails to delight all who dig in. You’ll have to start marinating the pork the night before, and it then needs about six hours in a low oven. But considering the payoff, it’s worth every minute — most of which, happily, are hands off.
A selection of New York Times recipes is available to all readers. Please consider a Cooking subscription for full access.
“Of all the ways to travel, is anything better than a bicycle?,” asks Amy Virshup, our Travel editor, introducing a series about biking:
GAME OF THE WEEKEND
Liverpool vs. Real Madrid, UEFA Champions League final: Real Madrid has won this tournament of Europe’s top soccer clubs 13 times, far more than any other team. “The club considers it something of a birthright,” Tariq Panja, who covers soccer for The Times, told us. The last time Madrid won, in 2018, it beat Liverpool, and Liverpool hasn’t forgotten: The star forward Mohamed Salah tweeted, “We have a score to settle.” 3 p.m. Eastern today on CBS and Paramount+
NOW TIME TO PLAY
The pangram from yesterday’s Spelling Bee was warming. Here is today’s puzzle — or you can play online.