This week I realized two things: 1) there are two people in this world I will assemble furniture for; and 2) there are two people in this world who could convince me to read young adult fiction. They happen to be the same two people: my stepdaughters. Both of their bedrooms were remodeled this week and in the hours spent assembling desks, dressers, and chairs, I had time to think through why I dislike certain book genres. In particular, I refuse to read young adult fiction. I'll readily admit that I am a genre snob. Unlike many book reviewers who will read anything and everything, I'm not drawn to books because they are books. Some are just not worth my time and I draw a line

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Views for days from the summit of Old Speck in Maine. Summer in New England offers some of the best hiking in North America and, if Mother Nature grants us enough sunny weekends, the opportunity to tackle the 67 tallest peaks in the region. This is my second summer attempting the list and I admit that this year I've needed extra motivation to hike the seemingly identical, pine-scented trails of Maine and New Hampshire. What better motivation than tales of other adventurers on far more harrowing and aspirational journeys than my own? Enter Jon Krakauer. I had watched him as a talking head in various climbing documentaries but had never read his books. Like a good reader-cum-hiker, I bought used paperback copies of both Into the

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Certain people heighten our senses, changing our perception of the world. Our breakfast tastes better. The air smells sweeter. The sun shines brighter. Like a newfound superpower, we see life pulsing through trees and grass. When with these people, every peach is perfectly ripe and, even if it isn't, it doesn't matter: it's the first peach you remember eating and it tastes indescribable. Time becomes a paradox: slow as a snail's pace, and yet when each moment is over, it somehow slipped by too quickly. Life is immeasurably improved. When lost to us for a day or a lifetime, a dull ache appears, successively enhanced and quelled by a touch of sunlight on our cheek and a bite of peach. Certain authors create a similar effect.

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It was a rare 80-degree day in Acadia National Park. A friend and I ducked out of work early to hike a 6-mile loop: Otter Creek parking lot to Ocean Path, then the Bowl Trail and a fast up and down Gorham Mountain, with pitstops at Thunder Hole and Sand Beach. We figured it would take us three hours maybe, as half of the path is flat and the conditions were optimal. While wrapping up our Gorham Mountain descent and patting ourselves on the back for a hike well done, we somehow took a wrong turn and ended up on an unrecognizable section of the Park Loop Road. With no idea which direction would lead back to our car, we took a guess. A bad guess.

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My last week was spent partying like a rockstar with my friends in a seaside mansion. Charmed life, right? Technically, we rented it for a work project, but since we spent days and nights blaring music, drinking champagne, and feeling like rockstars, the setting was appropriate for my latest read, Meet Me in the Bathroom: Rebirth and Rock and Roll in New York City 2001 - 2011, by Lizzy Goodman. This book was getting a lot of buzz in music press lately, so I picked it up without knowing much about it. The author studied romantic poetry and Greek literature, and (perhaps for that reason, or more likely following the footsteps of other rock biographies) chose to pen this book in an oral history style. Maybe

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