Bits and Barbs

A sampling of things currently capturing my interest.

What I’m Watching

Only Murders in the Building – This 10-week whodunit is as much about letting go of the past as it is about finding a murderer.  Steve Martin, Selena Gomez and Martin Short play three lonely New Yorkers who are drawn together when there’s a murder in their apartment building.

What I loved about this show – besides the great performances – was that it was a masterclass in how to write a light mystery.  Steve Martin’s writing was tight. Not a clue, not a red herring, not a single moment on screen was wasted.  I can’t wait until Season 2.

Only Murders in the Building staring Steve Martin, Martin Short, Selena Gomez, Nathan Lane and Tina Fey airs on Hulu.

What I’m Listening To

How to Have A Happier Life Podcast – Is it possible to go all fangurl on a social psychologist?  I think it is.  Every week social psychologist Arthur Brooks presents research and discussion on how to inject more joy in our daily lives.  He talks to experts about such topics as mindfulness, loneliness, self-objectification and more.  If podcasts are your thing, Brooks also writes a weekly column on the subject for The Atlantic Monthly.

The Bowery Boys: New York City History – Twice a month, Greg Young and Tom Meyers give their take on a moment in NYC history. Some topics are well-known, others are quirky and long forgotten, but they are all fascinating, largely because Young and Meyers are incredibly entertaining.  I discovered this podcast three years ago when doing research for The In Crowd and quickly became hooked.

What I’m Reading


Once Upon a Wardrobe by Patti Callahan tells the story behind  CS Lewis and the creation of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe– Renee and I will be discussing this book on Off the Shelf next month. I can’t wait.

News  You Will Want to Read

Reading up on the holiday book shortage.

Chances are you’ve heard about the Great Holiday Book Shortage of 2021.  Yes, it’s true.  The supply chain issues and paper shortage have created a huge problem.  Fortunately, for readers, you should be okay.  (Unless you read manga. Then, yeah, you’re screwed.)  Most bookstores have ordered plenty of copies by big name authors like Amor Tolle, Tara Jenkins Reid, Kristen Hannah and Colson Whitehead.  Midlist titles will, however, be harder to get if they suddenly get popular.  Therefore, shop early. 

The biggest issue will be for manga fans.  There’s already a draught and it’s going to get worse.  Sorry.

From USA Today: Holiday Book Shortage: It Won’t Be As Bad As You Think

From – The Manga Book Shortage is Here


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