What has surprised and delighted you lately?

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The news is fuller of awfulness by the day—last week was especially grim—and don’t you feel like it’s getting to everyone? So I thought it might be nice to pause for a moment to focus on those people, places, and things that have unexpectedly done our hearts good. Like for instance, Saturday night I went to a Mets game, and when the kiss-cam came on the big Jumbotron screen, cameras zoomed in on two separate male couples, and the crowd went wild both times they kissed. This acceptance (and even celebration) of same-sex love at an event as macho as a professional baseball game felt like progress to me—even though I know that New York is a pretty cosmopolitan place and that the same reaction might not have happened at stadiums in some parts of this country. OK, now it’s your turn: what has made you feel like the world’s not so awful after all recently?

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56 Thoughts on What has surprised and delighted you lately?
    Debra K
    12 Aug 2019
    4:20pm

    My oldest, bestest friend just became a licensed spiritual practitioner last week. It is not something I am a part of, but I attended her commencement ceremony because I love her. At the end, a non-denominational benediction was given and the speaker said “When you are in doubt, serve. You will not only help someone else but will help yourself as well.” I took those words with me and she was right – when presented with an opportunity to help someone, even in a small way, it has made me just a little happier. Maybe my Grinchy little heart is finally growing a size or two…

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    Kirstjen
    12 Aug 2019
    12:21pm

    I have been writing in a “guided” journal called Getting to Good. This journal focuses on the positive, and it is making me feel happier than I’ve been in a long time. I’m also doing a personal inventory of my life, and I’m writing letters to people who have done something that helped me in some way in my life. People I only write to at Christmastime are getting letters of gratitude in the mail. I hope it makes them feel as good as it’s making me feel while writing them.

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    Cora
    12 Aug 2019
    11:04am

    Another dog story: It took us six months and three vets to find out our dog is suffering from arthrosis. Now he’s getting some nice vet approved powder over every meal and is finally running over the meadows again, digging in the dirt, rolling in whatever and jumping on the couch. Yes, in that order. We love him.

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    c.w.
    12 Aug 2019
    10:24am

    My great niece is a senior in high school in a tiny town in Texas. She started a recycling program in her school which she then branched out into the town (she talked almost every business in town into recycling) and every Saturday with the help of my brother (her grandfather) and his trailer load up all this “stuff” for recycling and drive fifty miles to the nearest recycling station.

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    Bobby
    12 Aug 2019
    10:29am

    The fact that their neighbors formed a human chain around that father and son when ICE came for last week — I think it was in Tennessee…? That made me cry.

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      Melynda
      14 Aug 2019
      2:22pm

      I think that your comment implied that we should stay away from politics — so if you don’t want to read anything political, this is your trigger warning! But one thing that’s given me hope recently is seeing all the terrific women and young people who are running for office. Here in your former home state of Texas, Amanda Edwards, MJ Hegar and Cristina Tzintzun Ramirez are all running against Senator John Cornyn. Check out their videos. I can’t imagine having half their wisdom, courage and verve at their age. The young people are coming to save us, y’all, and they’re better than I ever thought they would be.

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    Synnøva O'Gorman
    12 Aug 2019
    10:42am

    My friend’s son has serious reading and writing issues but is a super smart, kind and interesting kid. When his teacher issued his end-of-term report, she gave him Ds in all the subjects that he had sat a test in. She had to. But then she issued him an “alternative” report with all his *actual* skills on it and gave him As in all of them.

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    Mouse
    12 Aug 2019
    7:43am

    My garden. It’s a mess of weeds this year and I just couldn’t be arsed, as they say in England (Love that expression), but I am always comforted and amazed by the cycle of nature. And delighted: picking a tomato or a bean never gets old. I know I am lucky…..

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    Katrina
    12 Aug 2019
    9:55am

    I just saw the last few episodes of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend this weekend, including their live concert special. It was all a delight. It’s amazing to me how extremely talented and fun and game the cast is. I also fell into a wormhole of YouTube videos of their songs from older seasons and I laughed so much.

    Also, Simone Biles’ latest gymnastic feats have also left me amazed. She is a once in a lifetime marvel and we’re just all so lucky to be alive to watch her be her amazing, outstanding self.

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    Judy
    12 Aug 2019
    10:02am

    A couple weeks ago our doorbell rang. An older woman and her daughter who live a little ways ( we are in the country) were looking for the daughter’s toddler’s pet chicken. I hadn’t seen it, but we introduced ourselves and I blurted out “I’m sorry, I’m a mess, my dad is dying and I can’t think straight “. (My parents are with us). The older mom was so empathetic and they left, all of us glad to know our neighbors. About 2 hours later, the doorbell rings again, and here she is with a chicken pot pie. They found the pet chicken under the house, and in the card she said “not that chicken”. So not only did she restore my faith in people, but chicken pot pie is henceforth to be known as “not that chicken pot pie”!

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      Michele
      12 Aug 2019
      10:45am

      My life has been an escalating round of elder care for the past several years, and in the past 4 months it’s gotten extreme. Dad is undergoing an(other) exploratory surgery today & we’re waiting for answers. I can so 100% relate with every fiber of my being to you blurting that out to a visitor at the door. <3

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    Kimberly
    12 Aug 2019
    10:19am

    Every day when I walk my dog at the park. Sometimes I don’t feel like getting up and going, but I’m always glad I did.
    Even if we don’t see our usual dog friends and elderly walkers it’s just nice to be outside together

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      d
      12 Aug 2019
      1:17pm

      Agree on dog walking/dog parks. Every time I think, ugh, I don’t want to walk the dog, as soon as I do, I’m completely positive.

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    Judy
    12 Aug 2019
    11:51am

    ❤❤❤
    It was incredible that I wasn’t asked “what can I do for you” which I now realize is so well meaning, but I never have an answer, but she just showed up!
    Best to you and your family. I feel [email protected]

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      Judy
      12 Aug 2019
      11:53am

      Reply to michele… in the wrong place 🤦‍♀️

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    Jill
    12 Aug 2019
    11:27am

    My eldest son was home this weekend to go to a music festival with his brothers. I felt someone shaking me awake very early this morning — it was him. He said “I just wanted to say I love you before I left.” He’s such a dear.

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      Laura
      13 Aug 2019
      5:57pm

      outside lands? <3

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    Becky
    12 Aug 2019
    11:44am

    My 6 year old daughter and I just spent the weekend at Girl Scout camp, and it was kind of amazing to see real world examples of the organization living up to their policy that anyone female-identifying is welcome. I don’t know exact details, because it’s none of my business, but it was fairly obvious that the program director was probably transgender or non-binary. Some of the kids got her pronouns wrong, but other than that no one seemed phased AT. ALL. She was just a cool person at camp who was leading us all in a great time together.

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    Emma
    12 Aug 2019
    10:21am

    Whenever I take my dog on a walk, he seeks out people he notices admiring him and sidles up to them and lies down on their feet for a belly rub. He especially likes saying hello to kids, people in wheelchairs, and large groups of people. My favorite is when I see someone approaching and they have a bit of a scowl on their face, and the minute they spot my dog’s goofy little face trotting towards them, they start to smile, and I can tell he’s made their day a bit better.

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      Gretchen
      13 Aug 2019
      5:40am

      My dog does this too. We call it “delivering smiles.”

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    MaryAlice
    12 Aug 2019
    6:46pm

    I recently decided to do what I’d been thinking of for years and I am fostering 3 kittens. It’s all the antidote I need for this world to sit on my screen porch and watch those little guys scamper, climb, play-fight and then climb into my lap with their baby purrs. The other unexpected delight is how my husband has fallen madly in love with them and made himself a chart for feeding and care.

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    Gablesgirl
    12 Aug 2019
    7:34pm

    My Basset hound Annabelle and the lingering laughter of “Fleabag.”

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      kimberly
      13 Aug 2019
      10:43am

      Fleabag was SO good!

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    Leah
    12 Aug 2019
    8:57pm

    My beautiful daughter-in-law died of breast cancer this year. She was 36 and had the BRCA1 gene, the same gene that killed her mother 15 years earlier. My widowed son is left with 3 children, ages 6, 4 and 18 months. As horrible as the past 2 years have been, through her treatments, surgery, radiation, palliative care and death, my heart has been warmed by the generosity and kindness of strangers. The therapist that was counselling the boys during her illness has offered to continue seeing them, at no charge, for a year. The dance studio signed the boys up free of charge for the upcoming season. A high school acquaintance set up a Meal Train to provide meals 3 times per week; the schedule is filled for the entire school year and most of the people that signed up are strangers that happen to live in the school area. A friend of a friend who owns a landscaping company trimmed all the hedges, trees and shrubs at my son’s house at no charge. When my son returned to work after the funeral, his coworkers handed him an envelope with $1200 in it. There are more good people in this world than bad, of that I am convinced. In times like this, when there seems to be so much evil in the world, we need to remember that.

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    Jules
    12 Aug 2019
    10:10pm

    Today when I went to pick up my toddler from daycare one of his classmates gave me a fake cupcake. I pretended to eat it and gave him a fake cookie in exchange. In a matter of seconds every child in the class was lined up for a fake cookie. So I spent my afternoon baking fake treats for the kiddos and I can’t remember when I’ve had such a laugh. I look at those little faces and see how they play and they have zero hate and I wish we could all keep that love forever!

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    Julie
    12 Aug 2019
    5:29pm

    That was a great game!!! A much-needed respite.

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    rita
    12 Aug 2019
    5:51pm

    My business partner and I were involved in a transaction with an older, quite aggressive dude who was being a dick about a third woman who was facilitating the transaction. My business partner finally wrote him a very professional “I don’t know why you’re being such an asshole, but CAN IT” email…and he called and apologized! And also called up the other woman and apologized, and called that woman’s boss and apologized. The rest of the transaction went very smoothly.

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      S
      13 Aug 2019
      12:06am

      I’m dying to know how that email was phrased, to get such a sincere and thoughtful response! We need more of that in the world.

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        Amy
        13 Aug 2019
        7:40am

        Me too!

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          rita
          14 Aug 2019
          9:27pm

          I can’t remember the exact wording, but she said that his unhappiness had been noted, that we’d worked dozens of transactions with this woman and know she is excellent at her job, and that my partner really found both transactions and life all went more efficiently and pleasantly when we treated each other with respect.

          She is SO GOOD at those hard business emails. I’ve never seen her let anyone take advantage, but she is also ALWAYS the consummate professional. I learn daily from her.

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    Heather
    12 Aug 2019
    1:58pm

    We were on a road trip and stopped at a fast food place for dinner. An old man there was being really rude and awful to the employees. Everyone in the place noticed. When he went to sit down he spilled his drink. Some college aged kids sitting nearby got up and helped him clean it up and then invited him to eat dinner with them. They sat together talking, asking the older guy about his tattoos, and sharing stories. The older gentleman went from being a grouch to smiling and laughing with these 20 somethings. It taught me a lesson about kindness and also made me feel happy to see such kind young people out there in the world.

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    HOLLY
    12 Aug 2019
    2:05pm

    I so need this today. Thanks to everyone for their comments. After struggling to come up with something positive, I remembered this: I met my neighbor’s 8 week old golden retriever this morning. I could hardly stand the cuteness.

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    kimbersam
    12 Aug 2019
    3:16pm

    At Starbucks. Some bro-dude spills some coffee on the floor looks down at the spill and walks out the door. A young gentleman sprung up from his table and wiped it up. I thanked him and told him that his parents did a great job raising him. He blushed. Just when I am in despair over the young-ones they surprise me!

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    Rebecca
    12 Aug 2019
    3:45pm

    I saw a baby dressed in a stegosaurus onesie a few months ago while I was taking the streetcar to work. I cannot begin to describe how adorable it was, and it still makes me smile when I think about it..

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    Jen
    12 Aug 2019
    3:50pm

    I recently moved to Los Angeles, and within our first week here, three different neighbors showed up with food and plants (and phone numbers, emails, and advice) to welcome us. I’ve moved a lot in my life and have never received such a warm welcome. It made a rocky transition SO much better.

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      MaryAlice
      12 Aug 2019
      6:41pm

      Welcome to LA! If you want a tour guide, let me know. I’m a third generation Angeleno and I love my city, and I love showing it off.

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        Jen
        12 Aug 2019
        10:32pm

        Awww, thank you! It’s a remarkable city and I’m overwhelmed by its size. Glad to hear you still love it so.

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          MaryAlice
          13 Aug 2019
          12:57pm

          Do some exploring by breaking it down into neighborhoods and then it won’t seem so overwhelming.

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      kimbersam
      12 Aug 2019
      5:14pm

      Welcome, Jen!

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      Viajera
      13 Aug 2019
      11:00am

      Whereabouts are you, if you feel comfortable saying? And it’s okay if you don’t want to, I totally understand.

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        jen
        13 Aug 2019
        12:50pm

        I don’t mind at all – we are in Eagle Rock! Are you somewhere in LA?

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    allie
    12 Aug 2019
    4:10pm

    I live in Texas and across the street from an older couple who, in conjunction with the last senate race, put a Ted Cruz sign in their yard, as I saw it, in response to the Beto sign in mine. I remember thinking what a total asshole move that was (because obviously, it was about ME and not their beliefs – eye roll), and that they were super unfriendly, so OF COURSE they were Cruz supporters (nevermind that I had yet to go out of my way to be friendly to them in the two years we’d been neighbors. Pot, meet Kettle). Early one morning this past February, I went out to get the paper around 5:30 am. It was still dark out, and unseasonably cold. I glanced across the street and I saw my elderly neighbor at the bottom of his front steps. He was on the ground and bleeding from his head. I ran across the street and another neighbor who was walking her dog called 911 while we covered him with blankets and tried to perform CPR – he’d fallen while trying to get his paper and was still holding his cane in his hand. The ambulance came and took him away…I learned a few hours later that he died before he got to the hospital. I stayed home from work that day and spent the afternoon Googling him, trying to figure out more about the person who had all but died in my arms just a short time before. He’d been a federal judge, a leader in his church, a father of six – one of his sons had passed away in a car accident as a teenager and he started a support group for grieving parents of deceased children in our town. He liked to make his own wine and play dominos. I ended up writing his widow a note sharing my condolences and my disappointment with myself for not reaching out to them sooner. A few weeks later, she wrote me back, telling me about the life she and her husband had, how much they enjoyed raising their children in our neighborhood and how happy she was that we would be raising our daughter there too. Shortly thereafter, I left a small bouquet of paper flowers by her front door. She sent her nurse over with a Tupperware container of homemade potato soup. On the 4th of July, she came outside to sit on her steps and watch the neighborhood parade go by. I took my baby girl over to meet her for the first time. Last week, a big tree branch fell in her yard during a storm, and my husband called someone to come clear it out for her. In return, she made us some cookies and told us she was praying for us.

    All of this is to say, sometimes, especially these last few weeks, I become so afraid and disheartened with the world. I dream of running away to a different country – an imaginary one without crazy people, terrible racists and deadly weapons. I constantly fear we’re on the cusp of a total national meltdown and have caught myself weeping at stoplights when no one is around – when will it all stop!?!? How do I protect my daughter from this nightmare?!? The truth is, maybe we are on the fast track to obliteration, but then, my neighbor sends a note on ivy trimmed stationary from the Hallmark store, and she reminds me that most of us are loving, good, caring people. And if we’re ever going to overcome our current situation, we’ve GOT to be kinder to one another. We HAVE to FIND love. We HAVE to BE love. I was so quick to dismiss her and her late husband less than a year ago, based on what I thought they were because of a stupid yard sign. She’s my friend now. And he was a good husband and father. I am confident our beliefs are entirely different, and so I never ask. I only let her remind me to be the change I want to see in the world – even if it’s just the tender exchange of a paper flower and a bowl of potato soup. And that makes me happy.

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      c.w.
      13 Aug 2019
      7:57am

      I so needed this. Thank you.

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      Kate
      12 Aug 2019
      8:42pm

      Thank you Allie. You made me cry-in a good way, and that’s a wonderful thing.

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      Wendy
      13 Aug 2019
      10:45am

      Sad and beautiful and above all, hopeful. Thanks for this.

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      Mamavalveeta03
      13 Aug 2019
      11:41pm

      I’ve got tears in my eyes, Allie. A good reminder for me. Thanks.

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    D.Morgendorffer
    12 Aug 2019
    12:32pm

    We were devastated when our Manx died a few years ago. We swore, no more cats. Then, last year we saw a skinny, not-fully-grown cat stalking in our backyard and we started feeding him wet cat food so he could get some liquid, poor guy. A year later, he has decided we’re trustworthy enough to eat on our deck within our sight and then lounge afterwards. Occasionally, he rewards my husband with slow blinks, that my husband returns in kind (for non-cat people, slow blinking is a big deal). He’s also definitely gotten bigger and has a glossy coat.

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    y.k.
    12 Aug 2019
    9:48am

    a few days ago on a long flight I saw a movie which I never would have gone out to see- Isn’t it Romantic w/ Rebel Wilson – and I thought it was remarkable. (it’s a bit like Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck which I also saw on a plane but sweeter and I thought, funnier). Wilson (plus size) is a lead in a romcom. So the world is better than it used to be in some ways.

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    Mimi
    13 Aug 2019
    11:01am

    Part of the value of a post like this is that, like a gratitude list, it makes each of us stop and think about the surprising and delightful experiences we too often zoom past. I’ve loved reading everyone’s contributions, both micro and macro,

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    Achariya
    12 Aug 2019
    8:31am

    My kid had her first day of high school today, and managed to get herself up and ready and out the door by 6 AM to wait for the bus. She was calm and collected, wore her own band shirt (she’s the drummer in the cutest Gen-Z riot grrrl band ever), and looked ready to take on the world. The kids are going to be JUST FINE.

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    Gemma
    12 Aug 2019
    8:34am

    I foster feral kittens. The litter of four that I socialized and raised were adopted into loving homes over the weekend. It’s a small thing, but I like to think of those kittens bringing joy to people who are stunned by everything that is happening in the world.

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      EW
      12 Aug 2019
      1:39pm

      Seven years ago, after I lost the sweetest kitten to FIPs at 6 mos I tried to swear off kittens but my cat clinic’s foster-adoption program for feral/orphaned/at risk kittens had two sisters that were ready for furr-ever homes…
      We adopted each other and they the most wonderful, sweetest, affectionate domestic pet partners anyone could have…they are friendly, curious and playful to one and all. They greet me at the door when I get home and pile in at night..So A Big Thanks to your efforts!!

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    E E Deere
    13 Aug 2019
    5:19pm

    Watch Simone Biles on youtube, she landed a triple-twisting double somersault, making her the first-ever athlete—male or female—to perform the nearly impossible trick.
    Watch a happy movie. Maybe Babe.
    Make something good to eat and share with a friend.
    No watching news for a week, it’s awesome.
    Tell someone you love them.

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    Mamavalveeta03
    13 Aug 2019
    7:16pm

    I met 5 girls from Kyrgyzstan at my church who are working at a local business for the summer tourist season. They’ve been a bit homesick, so it’s been nice to show them a little mothering and send them home from church with lots of good food cooked by our resident chef. Also, my daughter waitresses with a lot of kids on J1 Visas and I’ve been giving them rides home to their staff housing late nights. These kids have brightened my summer! I hope they realize that not all Americans are Trumpites!

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    Liz
    14 Aug 2019
    9:54pm

    This is kind of a weird one, but I’ve been really freaked out about the fact that I haven’t truly been able to enjoy a book in forever. I was worried it had to do with my attention span being gradually eroded thanks to technology.

    So this weekend, I was thrilled to pick up a book that’s been sitting unread on my shelf for years and find myself completely, instantly in love/obsessed with it. The weird part is that it’s “In the Garden of Beasts” by Erik Larson, which is about the early days of Nazi rule and how so few people, including many Jews, understood the direness of what was happening. But, my god, he is such a great writer, and obviously, there are some distressing parallels to what we are living through at the moment.

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Kim France

I was born in Houston, Texas in 1964 and have lived in New York City since 1988. I had a long career in magazines, working at Sassy, Elle, New York, and Spin, and in 2000, I founded Lucky magazine, which I edited for ten years.

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