The most reliable way I’ve found to discover books I love is by seeking out the recommendations of writers whose work I admire. So when I saw that Patrick Radden Keefe, the author of the riveting “Empire of Pain,” was discussing his favorite writers in The Times Book Review, I broke out my note-taking app to add Emmanuel Carrère’s “The Adversary” to my ever-lengthening list of titles to read.
It’s a holiday weekend here in the U.S., and I’ll be spending at least part of it reading, outside if the weather permits, indoors before a fan if it doesn’t. If you’re lucky, you’ve been able to get away, perhaps to somewhere nearby that doesn’t use too much gas, like our reporter who recently spent two days cycling around Shelter Island.
Wherever you find yourself, take advantage of the long days. I like to do two-in-ones in summer, days with two distinct chapters before nightfall. These are the days when you can arrive at the beach at noon and still have plenty of light by which to grill when you get home.
Here’s your menu. Start with a rum punch or nimbu pani, move on to skirt steak and vegetables. Corn on the cob, obviously. Macaroni, pasta, potato salads. Edna Lewis’s peach cobbler for dessert. Invite the neighbors, if you like. Ask them to bring the coleslaw.
I’ve been eagerly awaiting the film adaptation of Lawrence Osborne’s “The Forgiven,” about a couple who accidentally kill a stranger while driving to a lavish weekend-long party in Morocco. It opens this weekend. If you’d prefer something less intense, “Marcel the Shell With Shoes On” looks charming.
The last two episodes of the fourth season of “Stranger Things” just dropped, but if you’re a fan, you’ve probably already watched them. You might not have seen “Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Underground Rock Experience,” an animated musical special from the children’s book author Mo Willems. And there’s Wimbledon, even though Serena won’t be playing.
I’ve been seeking podcast recommendations for when I’m doing chores and running errands, so this list of podcasts to make you feel good arrived right on time. “You Are Good,” an exploration of movies through the feelings they provoke, co-hosted by Sarah Marshall of the late “You’re Wrong About” podcast sounds right up my street. I’ll listen to it while I make the cobbler.
What new podcast have you loved recently? Tell me about it and we might feature your recommendation in The Morning. Be sure to include your full name and location.
🎬 “Thor: Love and Thunder” (July 8): The most recent Marvel blockbuster, “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” was weird and dark. This one, directed by the ascendant Taika Waititi, is funny and colorful. It really does take all kinds. A tip: You might want to rewatch the second Thor film, 2013’s “The Dark World,” to remind yourself why Natalie Portman is even in these movies.
📺 Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular (July 4): Oh, say, can you see a nearly half-century-old tradition celebrating America’s birthday in over-the-top fashion? Why yes you can! Tune into NBC at 8 p.m. Eastern on Monday, and lower the volume if your dog’s in the room.
📚 “Girls They Write Songs About” (Out now): The friends we make in our 20s — that formative decade when work and family life have yet to fully tame us — often see us at our most irresponsible moments. The two friends in this Carlene Bauer novel have many of those as they meet cute and hard in late ’90s New York City before undergoing decades of, as the critic Molly Young writes, “enchantment, disenchantment and re-enchantment.” Anyone with long-term friends can relate.
RECIPE OF THE WEEK
Barbecued chicken may be a Fourth of July cliché, but only because it’s pretty perfect, a crowd-pleaser with its mahogany, sticky-crisp skin and smoky, savory meat. And Sam Sifton’s not-too-sweet version is the recipe I keep coming back to. He smartly calls for thinning the barbecue sauce with water before using it to baste the chicken on the grill. This keeps the sugars in the sauce from burning and the meat from drying out. While he suggests using chicken legs and thighs, I’ve added bone-in, skin-on breasts, and they’ve worked nicely. (Just be careful not to overcook them.) Then, break out your favorite icy beverage, and don’t forget to look up — at fireworks, fireflies or the summer sky turning pinkish at dusk.
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Phoenix Mercury vs. Chicago Sky, W.N.B.A.: This game is a rematch of last year’s W.N.B.A. finals. The Sky won that series, and this year they once again look like one of the league’s best teams. The veteran forward Candace Parker, who grew up near Chicago, recently recorded her third triple-double — the most in W.N.B.A. history. The Mercury’s season, meanwhile, has been defined by the absence of their all-star center Brittney Griner, who has been detained in Russia since February. 1 p.m. Eastern today, on ESPN.
The U.S. is loaded with women’s basketball talent. But the W.N.B.A.’s small size — it has just 12 teams — makes it hard to go pro.
The latest on Griner: Russia may seek a prisoner exchange for a notorious arms dealer known as the “Merchant of Death.”