MAY 1, 2020

Anyone else here excited about May Day, or are our Midwestern roots showing? Beyond the proverbial ''flowers'' and ''day'', May also ushers in Asian Pacific Heritage Month, so we hope you'll join us in celebrating these Asian and Pacific voices. Also top-of-mind this week...

✔️Regretfully decline

The new month marks our second month in isolation, which well-meaning friends have attempted to alleviate with an over-abundance of video chats, birthday parties, baby showers, and other on-camera ''fun.'' Social fatigue is setting in in a very non-virtual way, and our go-to excuses for missing out (our kid’s play, partner’s night out) have given way to white lies. We admit we've turned to these in COVID times, but in the After Times, we may adopt Sam Harris’s much harder, but more virtuous approach to Lying (which is to not do it). For now: sorry we couldn’t join your online happy hour. The dog ate our Wi-Fi cable.

We will dine out again. (Just maybe not at brunch.)

Remember eating out? A cozy night in a secret sanctuary, packed elbow to elbow with strangers and friends, marveling over a meal while the city swirled outside? That was the magic of Prune, the New York restaurant whose future, like so many now, is uncertain. Chef Gabrielle Hamilton, whose Blood, Bones & Butter is among our favorite food memoirs, shared what it’s been like to shutter her restaurant and lay off her staff in one of the defining essays of the pandemic. Brutally honest about everything from the industry’s fragile economics to the horror of brunch, it’s not a light read…but like Prune, it’s hopeful and unpretentious, and it fed our souls.

Ancient wisdom for modern times

It may come as no surprise that—amid the current crisis—there's been renewed interest in philosophy in general and Stoicism in particular (this piece on Marcus Aurelius, the last great stoic thinker, who himself faced a plague, was fascinating). After all, Stoicism reminds us that in an unpredictable world, we find strength in accepting what we cannot change, by embracing our place in the world, and by harnessing self-control. Tim Ferriss, in The Tao of Seneca, describes it as ''an ideal 'operating system’ for thriving in high-stress environments.'' If you feel in the need an extra dose of resilience check out our collection of titles to help you listen like a stoic.

Airing fashionable laundry

Memoirs of the rich and famous are notoriously juicy, with all the behind-the-scenes details we love to lap up. So it’s no surprise that after decades in the industry, coming up with the likes of Andy Warhol and Diane von Furstenberg, notable fashion journalist André Leon Talley has so much to say that his upcoming release was bumped up to May. Not only does The Chiffon Trenches detail Talley’s experiences with racism, ageism, and weight issues, but it includes a who’s who of the fashion world and touches on his falling out with a certain iconic figure—think The Devil Wears Prada. Yeah, we cannot wait to listen in.

Some good news

Happy 100th Birthday to Britain’s Captain Tom Moore! The WWII veteran raised over $20 million for the UK’s National Health Service by walking 100 laps in his home garden before his 100th birthday. His fundraising has lifted spirits of people around the globe, and in gratitude thousands of birthday cards are pouring in for Moore (who celebrated this milestone on April 30), including one from Queen Elizabeth II!