Find a Bit of Beauty | I Don't Hate It

Hey there. It's almost August, which is unbelievable. I mean, it certainly feels like the dead of summer here in Virginia, all muggy and nasty as soon as you walk outside. Let's just stay in and read.

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1. Therese Anne Fowler's Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald is, well, just that: a fictional rendering of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald's lives, centered around Zelda. You could read Nancy Mitford's biography of Zelda (I bet Fowler did; Z is nothing if not well researched), and you should. But summer is winding down and Z is a fun, quick read. Let the Jazz Age take you away.

2. Tell me you've read Rebecca Skloot's Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. I am sure that critics have called it things like "riveting" and "important" and "remarkable," and it is all of those things and more. HeLa, as it is often called, is the story of a woman who died of cervical cancer in 1951, and cells from the tumor that killed her were taken—without her knowledge or consent or that of her family—and used for research, eventually leading to breakthroughs in stem cell research and other scientific discoveries. You have to read it yourself to believe it. But the underlying question Skloot skillfully asks throughout is, what does it all mean for Henrietta's family?

3. Lisa Bonchek Adams died of metastatic breast cancer earlier this year. I think about Lisa often—any time I pick up a Sharpie, see a corgi or a hydrangea or, god forbid, one of those hideous Jane Seymour butt necklaces. Lisa's birthday was July 29, so I'm closing this newsletter with her words: "Find a bit of beauty in the world today. Share it. If you can't find it, create it. Some days this may be hard to do. Persevere."

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