Top Reads for July

This post is a bit late this month since we were having so much fun following Lonely Planet’s advice on 2017 summer travel. And reading about politics over the Fourth of July weekend. And practicing our smiles to make sure they don’t seem creepy while we’re traveling around. Come and chill with us. Better late than never.

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2017

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Alex P.: It’s vacation season, and Scribd is not immune. I just got back from a wonderful two week trip to Portugal, and I’m still reliving the bliss of drinking vinho verde on beautiful patios and climbing through fairytale castles. And while my inflight and beach reading was largely relegated to the fiction of Portugal’s beloved José Saramago, my constant companion on the ground was Lonely Planet. 

While I’ve been dying to check out Portugal for awhile now, Lisbon’s inclusion on Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2017—Cities list was a great incentive to move the gorgeous capital up to the top of my list. And once there, I relied on the Lonely Planet Portugal editors to guide me through Portuguese foods, customs, and city itineraries from Lisbon to Porto. And I can’t help but plug the ease and efficiency of using Scribd to access the books. As someone who hates looking like a tourist, I loved being able to pull up my phone to find my next great activity — and that I didn’t have to lug a physical book around with me everywhere I went. Bom dia, indeed.

Strangers in Their Own Land

Ashley: I've been grilled all my life by my conservative family and friends and it’s never gotten so bad that we’ve never spoken to each other again, so I don’t like to give in to the notion that the United States has suddenly become more divided than ever — but it’s hard not to. Our fuses do seem shorter over social media and it’s harder to climb over what Berkeley-based sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild dubs the “empathy wall.” To try to figure out what was going on with the far right in the years leading up to Donald Trump’s election, Hochschild spent five years with Tea Party supporters in Louisiana, ones who lived in areas particularly reliant on the oil industry and are highly polluted because of it. Strangers in Their Own Land makes it easy to scale the empathy wall, even if you don’t agree with all the ideas of pollution being a necessary evil for the blessing of jobs and the honor of enduring atrocities with a brave face. Hochschild’s book topped many best-of lists last year and was a finalist for the National Book Award with good reason.

How to Smile Without Looking Like a Creep, According to Scientists (Popular Science)

Dave: I think it’s fair to say that I have a winning smile. Sure, it’s not the world’s most handsome smile, but it’s genuine, and my only-slightly-crooked teeth add a generous amount of approachability to my overall aesthetic. The only instance in which my smile isn’t a positive is, sadly, when I’m posing for a picture. My approachability is thrown out the window and my beautiful, candid grin is replaced with soulless stare of an absolute psychopath. I’m not quite sure why that is but, if I had to guess, I’d say there’s something about trying to smile that I just can’t get right. 

Apparently, there’s actually a scientific evidence that supports what does and does not constitute a creepy smile. In this article published recently by Popular Science, author Sarah Fecht explains how to perfect your best smile (scientifically speaking). The tips outlined in the article are kind of surprising, including “don’t smile too big,” “don’t show too many teeth,” and “embrace asymmetry.” No matter who you are, this article is a great way to improve your interpersonal relationships and to help convince you friends and family that you are, in fact, not a creep. 

Milk and Honey

Ashley (again!): Rupi Kaur’s debut collection of poetry has spent over a year on the New York Times bestseller list, a rare feat for poetry, considering how many people profess to not “get” the medium. I, too, generally feel unworthy of reading poetry (it’s smarter than me), but Kaur’s poems about womanhood are highly relatable and easily accessible. My favorite bit:

if you were born with
the weakness to fall
you were born with
the strength to rise

It might be hard to choose whether to listen to Kaur read her poetry as an audiobook, or read the ebook which contains her offbeat and complementary illustrations. But no matter which you choose (maybe both?), it will be a lovely choice that you won’t regret.

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