Weekend Reading

Erin Kodicek on May 11, 2018

In this edition, inspiration for kicking your couch potato status (and a novel that does just the opposite), plus a book that John le Carré said every aspiring journalist should read.

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Play On by Jeff Bercovici

As the weather gets better, it becomes harder and harder to make legitimate-sounding excuses for lying on the couch on the weekends. This weekend, I won’t merely be lying on the couch, I’ll be teaching myself how to up my physical prowess with Play On: The New Science of Elite Performance at Any Age. “Sports are about challenging our physical limits,” the book cover says. “Age is the final and most stubborn of those limits.” Play On delves into how top-performing, over-35 athletes like Kobe Bryant and Kerri Walsh Jennings are pushing those limits even farther, from stuff you can do in your own home to cutting-edge science and high-tech assists. While books like these have never turned me into a marathoner, they do a great job of inspiring me to get off the couch. For at least a little while. And remember: It’s Mother’s Day this weekend, so if you haven’t yet given your mom—or yourself—the gift of reading, check out our list of 8 Memorable Literary Moms, from Heroic to Horrible for recommendations.--Adrian Liang

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Reporter by Seymour M. Hersh

Seymour Hersh is a complicated guy. He's a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter whose work exposing the My Lai Massacre and torture at Abu Ghraib prison helped change U.S. policy in Vietnam and Iraq. His stories on Watergate escalated the rivalry between the New York Times and the Washington Post, pouring accelerant on an already smoldering scandal. But for all he's done as a reporter, he's never enjoyed the esteem of a Woodward or Bernstein. He can be irascible and a bit defiant, and possibly prone to conspiracy theories. He's been accused of a too-heavy reliance on unreliable or anonymous sources. He's made enemies in high places. But he seems to have friends in deep places, and keeps churning up interesting and unsettling material (check out Wormwood, Errol Morris's documentary series on CIA mind-control experiments and their tragic consequences). Now he's telling his own story. Reporter (June 5) spans five decades of groundbreaking journalism, run-ins with power brokers, a few I told-you-sos, and a fair amount of wit. —Jon Foro

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My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

Can anyone resist the lively lady on this cover? Not me! In My Year of Rest and Relaxation, we find our disaffected heroine in the doldrums, despite living a comfortable life on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, funded by a handsome inheritance (I know, wah). To try and cure (or avoid) what ails her, she prevails upon “one of the worst psychiatrists in the annals of literature” to put her into a drug-induced stupor. Will a good nap heal her existential crisis?! We will see.--Erin Kodicek

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