Read A Very Punchable Face: A Memoir by Colin Jost

If there’s one trait that makes someone well suited to comedy, it’s being able to take a punch–metaphorically and, occasionally, physically.

From growing up in a family of firefighters on Staten Island to commuting three hours a day to high school and “seeing the sights” (like watching a Russian woman throw a stroller off the back of a ferry), to attending Harvard while Facebook was created, Jost shares how he has navigated the world like a slightly smarter Forrest Gump.

Read The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

While I work through my tsundoku, I’m interspersing books from Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot stories. I’ve read countless mysteries over the years, but The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is quite possibly the best mystery I’ve ever read.

There’s not much I can add to the above summary without spoiling it, but if you enjoy mysteries, I highly recommend reading this masterpiece.

Read ‘We Could Be Feeling This for the Next Decade’: Virus Hits College Towns by Shawn Hubler

Opening bars and bringing back football teams have led to new outbreaks. Communities that evolved around campuses face potentially existential losses in population, jobs and revenue.

Despite working in higher education the majority of my career, I’d not thought about this aspect of schools going largely online during the pandemic. I’ve worked in one small college town, but it was home to a small university (approximately 2,500 students), so I don’t think the town depended on the university population nearly as much as the towns mentioned in this article.

Read Stark: Memo to baseball — don’t drive off this cliff! by Jayson Stark

If baseball lost a season to safety concerns, most fans would understand. But if the only obstacle is dollars? Hoo boy.

A fantastic piece by Jayson Stark about the ongoing MLB labor disputes.

I’m pro-players in these disputes. The owners and MLBPA came to an agreement months ago, but now the owners no longer like what they agreed to. Additionally, the players have a limited amount of time to earn money playing baseball, while the owners have years and years to recoup whatever losses they face this season.

Read A Fatal Flaw by Faith Martin

As the city of Oxford prepares itself for the inaugural Miss Oxford Honey Beauty Pageant at The Old Swan Theatre, excitement is in the air.

Then, tragedy strikes the competition when one of the leading contestants is found dead.

Initially, the authorities assume her death was suicide. But after a malicious series of pranks and blackmail attempts are reported, WPC Loveday and Coroner Clement Ryder are called upon to solve the case.

In an atmosphere of fierce competition, the list of suspects is endless. Could what have started as harmless fun become a deadly race to win the prize?

With time running out, the duo need to spot the killer before tragedy strikes again…

One of my favorite things to do when traveling is visit local (preferably independent) bookstores. I do this for a few reasons: I love books, I love bookstores, and bookstores are often situated away from the usual tourist spots, which means I have an opportunity to see more of the area I’m visiting.

Last summer, I spent a week in London, during which I took a day trip to Windsor Castle, Oxford, and the nearby market town of Woodstock. While taking in Oxford’s countless sites, I came across Blackwell’s Bookshop (which, interestingly, is located next to the University of Oxford’s Weston Library), so of course I had to stop in and have a look.

After spending a fair amount of time exploring the shop, I asked a staff member if she could recommend a mystery novel set in Oxford and she said she knew just the book. She recommended A Fatal Flaw, by Faith Martin, a mystery set in 1960s Oxford; it met all of my criteria, so I happily purchased it, along with a nice Oxford bookmark.

Although it’s been nearly a year since that vacation, I finally got around to reading the book this week. (In my defense, my to-read list currently has 78 books on it, so I always have quite a backlog.) I very much enjoyed this novel, as the whodunit kept me guessing until near the very end of the book.

My only complaint (and it’s a very minor quibble), is that A Fatal Flaw is the third book in a series featuring the characters Ryder and Loveday. Thankfully, the book stood on its own, but I wish I’d thought to ask the Blackwell’s staff if it was part of a series, as I’d have preferred to read the first book in the series, A Fatal Obsession.

If you’re looking for something new and different, I recommend giving A Fatal Flaw (or, perhaps, A Fatal Obsession) a read.