The May Five

Five things I'm digging on this month:

Sea of Tranquility – Emily St. John Mandel

We're still in the early days, but Mandel’s latest has laid an early claim to “Best Book of 2022” status. As mentioned before, I’m a sucker for timey-wimey, wibbly-wobbly books and this one has it in spades. You don’t have to have read her other books to enjoy it, but I would whole-heartedly encourage you to before picking it up.

Joey Votto

My baseball team is terrible. The roster was gutted the moment the owners’ lockout ended. The owner’s son threatened to move the franchise. And they have a firm grip on the worst record in baseball two weeks into the season. At least we have Joseph Daniel Votto – a man who has brought more joy to my life than anyone outside of my wife and daughters. No, that’s not hyperbole. Joey has always been a joy, but his willingness to show his goofy side the last few months on Instagram and TikTok has been absolutely delightful. I loathe social media...but I love Joey on social media.

Four Lost Cities: A Secret History of the Urban Age - Annalee Newitz

A friend of mine recommended Newitz’s book saying that it was like a travel guide to four cities that no longer exist. (Sneaky thing about me: I love travel books. I will read random travel books/guides for places I will most likely never go.) But Four Lost Cities is a lot more than just a travel guide. It’s an exploration of how these cities came to be and then why they fell apart. It’s fascinating and a little terrifying. I grew up a few hours from Cahokia and remember visiting the ruins of that once great city when I was a kid. This book makes me want to go back.

Bright Star

My family went to see Hope College’s performance of the Steve Martin/Edie Brickell musical Bright Star last weekend. We were blown away by the quality of the performance – especially the lead. By the time you read this, the show will have ended its run, but the music is still worth checking out either on CD or via Hoopla. We’ve been singing “If You Knew My Story” and “Sun is Going to Shine” all week. And consider this a plug for future Hope College productions. We’ll definitely be going back.

The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present – Sir Paul McCartney

One of my favorite moments in The Simpsons is in the episode “Bart on the Road.” Bart, Milhouse, and Nelson take a road trip and stop in Branson, Missouri so that Nelson can see his favorite singer, Andy Williams. The look on Nelson’s face when Williams sings “Moon River” (“I didn't think he'd do "Moon River," but then -BAM! -second encore!), well...that’s what I think of when I think of fandom. And it’s the same look I have plastered on my face while reading through McCartney’s comments on his songs. All his songs. Beatles. WIngs. Solo Career. Songs he wrote for other people. It’s visually a gorgeous book, but the real star is Sir Paul’s candor and humor.