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What We’re Reading: 7 Great Reads

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London’s Marylebone Gets Hip,” The Wall Street Journal
If you’re headed to London, add the Marylebone district to your must-see list. The neighborhood has blossomed into a hip haven where you can sample artisanal chocolates and buy candles from the former official supplier to the French royal court. For more London highlights, check out AFAR’s new Wanderlist featuring British designer Jasper Conran’s favorite places to shop. He goes to Marylebone for its farmers’ market and the legendary Daunt Books. —Lara Takenaga

Cool Grey City of Love: 49 Views of San Francisco, Gary Kamiya
I’m not normally a non-fiction reader, but this peripatetic account of my favorite hometown has me hooked. There’s nothing linear about this book: chapters jump from accounts of early settlers to modern times, including extremely entertaining rambles about life as a taxi driver. Kamiya finds stories in every tiny corner of the city, and tells them with heart and soul. —Davina Baum

Traveling Without Seeing,” The New York Times
I can still remember the first trip I took with a smart phone (Ireland) and how I spent more time looking down than looking up and around. It was a mistake I’d tried never to make again. Frank Bruni penned a great Op-Ed piece in the New York Times this week reminding us that a true experience seeker puts down their iPhone, disconnects from the world wide web, steps out of their comfort zone and lets serendipity happen on their travels. —Jen Murphy

A Beautiful, Nearly Complete Look around the Edges of San Francisco,” The Bold Italic
It’s easy to think you know a place after you’ve lived there for a certain amount of time, but sometimes we get so stuck in our routines, we forget to look beyond our typical haunts. Sierra Hartman’s piece explores the less-loved outer edges of San Francisco, revealing surprising nuggets of forgotten history and crumbly shorelines that remind me I can still be a traveler in my hometown. —Kim Fortson

Squirrel Power!” The New York Times
Many people, my wife included, are convinced the squirrel apocalypse is imminent. After reading Jon Mooallem’s entertaining and informative longread about his obsession with Power Outages Caused By Squirrels (P.O.C.B.S.), I’m inclined to agree. Mooallem has been tracking P.O.C.B.S. since April (Google Alert: “squirrel power”), and they are probably more common than you think: at least 50 outages in 24 states since Memorial Day alone. The article explores—sometimes in graphic detail—exactly what happens when perpetually-teething rodents live in close proximity to humans and their associated power lines. —Nick Rowlands

A New Magazine Takes on Old Rust Belt Stereotypes,” The Atlantic Cities
Cleveland, and the greater ‘Rust Belt,’ is undergoing an artistic and literary revolution, and the latest example of this development is a new, online Magazine, Belt. The idea began as a literary anthology, collected by Anne Trubek and Richey Piiparinen, and has continued to blossom after enjoying initial print success. Among the original contributors were politicians, Pulitzer prize-winning journalists, academics, and food writers—as a Californian with family ties to the Midwest, I’ll be looking forward to seeing how the new project develops. —Bryan Kitch

Farewell to Gus, Whose Issues Made Him a Star,” The New York Times
It’s not every day you read an obituary for a polar bear. But Gus, the 700-pound, furry white face of the Central Park Zoo, was more celebrity than ursidae. N.R. Kleinfeld remembers him well, writing of the quirks and neuroses that made Gus a true New Yorker. —Kim Fortson 

Photo courtesy of Daunt Books

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