Whether you need to get your home office in order, need to shake things up in the kitchen or just need a laugh, this month’s Lifestyles column has got you covered.
★ Notes From the Bathroom Line
The beautiful thing about some books is their time-capsule quality, how they perfectly preserve a cultural moment between two covers. For Amy Solomon, one such life-changing title was 1976’s Titters: The First Collection of Humor by Women. Now Solomon has created that book’s contemporary analog with Notes From the Bathroom Line, an eclectic mix of writing, art and “low-grade panic,” to quote the subtitle, from a large and rowdy cast of very funny women who are here to entertain you on the subjects of Goop vaginal eggs, missent text mortification, lies told to get out of things, dads’ girlfriends, advice not taken, instructions for the cat sitter, groveling and . . . well, a lot more. Comics and art nudge up against short essays and, maybe my favorite content category, collections of short answers to prompts such as “Slang That You Made Up That Will Never Catch On But It Should.” A consistent theme across it all: the ways in which we all squirm and sweat within our minds. I feel seen.
As a seasoned WFH-er, I’ll be the first to admit my habits aren’t always high performing or sustainable. If that sounds familiar, a weekly visit with Aja Frost’s Work-From-Home Hacks can gradually set you on a smarter course, whether you’ve been couch (slouch) typing for years or are still configuring your (bedroom) corner office. The book is handily sectioned into more than 500 bite-size, numbered nuggets. While some will no doubt be familiar, these tips—from ergonomics to what to wear, from battling distraction to unlocking the holy grail of work-life balance—constitute a treasure trove for anyone riding the WFH wave of 2020 and 2021. But the lasting value of this book is its broad usefulness no matter where you clock in. After all, email hygiene, scheduling boundaries and regular exercise are proven hacks for any work habitat. (Note to self: Wear shoes at your desk, and swap that shawl for a sweater before you Zoom!)
The New York Times Cooking No-Recipe Recipes
So, the title is clever but not quite accurate, at least to my mind. What Sam Sifton dishes up in The New York Times Cooking No-Recipe Recipes are flexible recipes in a nonchalant narrative format with no numeric measurements. (Nope, not a one.) The improvisational approach will prove quite pleasing if you, like my husband, have little use for the specificity of most recipes and enough kitchen acumen to feel comfortable with glugs and splashes and dashes. These recipes may be simple in some ways, but they do require a certain I’ve got this culinary cool. I love reading them almost as much as I love eating the finished products. For kaya toast and eggs, you “add a healthy shake of white pepper” to the eggs and then “get to ’em with the toast.” Of split pea soup: “When you’re done eating you’ll be bowing like Hugh Jackman at curtain call.”