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What We’re Reading

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Nordic Adventure/Day 20/Iceland’s South Coast,” lisacongdon.com
Next to my bed sit two small paintings by the San Francisco-based artist Lisa Congdon. Lisa uses wonderful color and folk motifs in her work, and she recently embarked on a solo trip to Iceland and Scandinavia. Her Instagram feed during her travels inspired total wanderlust, and her post from the south coast of Iceland makes me want to visit the country all over again. —Julia Cosgrove

Revisiting Mexican Flavors in a California Surf Town,” The New York Times
My experience growing up in the little surf town south of Santa Barbara, Carpinteria, was likely different from that of this NYT writer (my high school had a football team, for starters.) But I can also remember the Eucalyptus scent of youth, summers spent at “The World Safest Beach,” and the rockin’ breakfast burritos at Beach Liquor (they were worth cutting class for). “Carp” is one of few Southern California beach towns that still feels untouched, and I, too, appreciate it more with each reunion. —Serena Renner  

The Beautiful Game,” Outside
I’m not really a sports fan but this taut, riveting story by Patrick Symmes about the violence and warlike atmosphere of Argentine soccer kept me on the edge of my proverbial seat. —Ariel Ramchandani

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 Tron-like map of bike journeys reveals London’s hubs,” New Scientist
One of the highlights of my latest trip to London was cruising around on one of the bikes from the city bikeshare program. (I did my own little personal Beatles tour, up to Abbey Road and then down to Apple HQ on Savile Row.) This animated map shows the routes of the program’s first 5 million journeys, revealing the three hubs of the city where bikers are coming and going most frequently. Even if you don’t care about bikes or London, watching the animation is hypnotic, sort of like watching jellyfish in those glowing aquarium displays. —Jeremy Saum 

BB King at 87: the last of the great bluesmen,” The Observer
I’ve been thinking lately about what happens to certain musical forms—jazz, bluegrass, blues; all inextricably linked to particular times and places—when their founding generations pass on. Then I came across this profile of B.B. King, with a visit to his hometown, Indianola, Mississippi. A movie about him, The Life of Riley, comes out soon. —Derk Richardson 

Down and Out in the Top 10“ New York magazine
Music fans have had mixed reactions to the most recent New York magazine cover story on the indie-rock band Grizzly Bear and the challenges of making it in today’s Internet-driven music industry. I was left feeling a little saddened that a band at the top of its genre is barely living a comfortable middle class life, but I also realized that people like me (regular streamer, infrequent buyer) are part of the problem. Stereogum published an interesting debate between two working musicians that dives deeper into the issues. I will say that I did not regret paying $45 to see Grizzly Bear at the Fox Theater in Oakland last night. —Serena Renner

Tijuana Makes Me Happy,” Trail of Crumbs
I’ve been hearing about the culinary scene just south of the border for a couple of years now, but this post (and the second follow-up post) puts it in context. Now I’m thinking about a flight to San Diego, a rental car, and some spicy shrimp tacos and sweet café de olla. —Julia Cosgrove 

The Disappeared,” The New Yorker
This excerpt from Rushdie’s new memoir, Joseph Anton, has me interested to read the book, even though I know what happened: he survived the fatwah, married Padma Lakshmi (and divorced her), and went on to write, among other things, The Moor’s Last Sigh. He describes the horrible experience of seeing his novel be picked apart not for its literary merit but for its political nature. —Davina Baum 

Image courtesy of Lisa Congdon