If you've admired the satisfyingly compact and elegantly designed Field Notes, then you're an Aaron Draplin fan. The author, graphic designer and founder of the Draplin Design Co. has createdAaron Draplin; photo: Michael Poehlman projects for the likes of Timberline Lodge, Woolrich, Patagonia, Nike, and Sasquatch Festival. You can see the range of his work in the eye-candy book, Draplin Design Co.: Pretty much everything.  He is passionate about design and has talked about it on Marc Maron's WTF Podcast. Here's what he has to say about his favorite music for summer:
 
I hide in the summers. I stay out of the sun and avoid the heat as much as I can. Oddly enough, my workload always swells. Each year I say I’m going to take a break in June and July here in Portland. That never happens. And this summer’s been nuts. Like it always is. Up early and down to the shop, watching the sun come up over Mt. Hood. Working late to beat the traffic back up Sandy Blvd to the house. My summer cycle. And there’s always a handful of records that rise to the top of what’s on rotation in the shop. A special category for me: My “Summer Records.” I can look back at each summer and remember the couple records that really got me. And in a lot of ways, helped me get through the warm months. 
 
In my list, I start with “morning records” and work towards "mid-day records” — as things pick up in the shop, the jams get more upbeat. As the day winds down, you get into the darker stuff. Those are the “late night records.”
 
August is still coming up, and I’ll be back home with Mom in Michigan. I’m always adding a couple records a week to my revolving list and am always excited to see what’s coming next to get into the mix. Maybe it’s a gnarly Bob Seger kick, being up in all that Michigan? We’d be down with that!
 
01. Jonathan Wilson, Gentle Spirit
When you look him up, everything talks about some “Laurel Canyon” resurgence. Los Angeles freaks me out, so I’m not tapping too much into any of that. This sounds like something I would’ve heard on the radio in 1979, sitting in the backseat with my little sister, on the way to the beach or something.
 
02. Mark Kozelek, Night Talks EP
As a long-time Red House Painters fan going back to 1993, I have a weird allegiance for Mark Kozelek. Although, he’s a trying artist to keep up with. I just don’t read articles about him, and stick to digging the records.
 
03. Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives, Way Out West
Just country enough to not make you squirm. Dreamy stuff.
 
04. John Moreland, Big Bad Luv
We love John Moreland. Our buddy. He’s come to the shop a for a couple visits and I’ve seen him play 5-6 times. Such a nice guy, with a big, big voice. I love his records so much. Thank you, John. 
 
More songs about drug deals gone bad, leaving cities and coming back to cities. And I love it. I’d like to meet this guy. 
 
06. Thundercat, Drunk
This stuff is weird! In the best ways. And funny. And really fun. Lots of little things to listen for. And laugh with. This is my favorite record cover of the year!
 
07. Son Volt, Notes of Blue
The first song on this one … that classic Son Volt. That one was enough for me. Over and over again. Rolling, warm and soothing.
 
08. Chavez, Cockfighters
Arithmetic! Math! Long division! Calculus! ‘90s math-y, rock-y heavy hitters, still hit as hard as they did in 1995. Turn it up!
 
09. The Afghan Whigs, In Spades
Dark, brooding, sinister and dark again. I used to associate them with Cincinnati. Now it’s New Orleans. I met the band a couple years back at Greg Dulli’s bar in the French Quarter. This record fits the mystery of that place perfectly, in a new way.
 
10. Mount Eerie, A Crow Looked at Me
Tread lightly here. This is a challenging record to listen to. As beautiful as it is, it’s like going to a funeral. Brave, dark, sad … oddly uplifting stuff.

 

Manoush Zamorodi explores "essential quandaries for anyone trying to preserve their humanity in the digital age."  Highlights include an examination of the hidden data embedded in that selfie you posted, and how to cope with information overload by spring-cleaning your brain.
 
This podcast gives a fascinating look into the culture and power dynamics around food and restaurants - lots of 'food for thought' (sorry!). They provide a unique local perspective, being based in an air-stream recording trailer here in Portland, and in fact, they've even blogged for us at the library. I learn something new every time I listen.
 
Politically Reactive  with Kamau Bell and Hari Kondabolu
This podcast takes the listener deep into political and philosophical conversations happening outside the mainstream media, with the understanding that we're not all as 'woke' as the next person -- in fact, they have a segment called "wait a minute" where they break from the conversation to explain allusions and concepts, so you can re-enter the discussion with some context. Oh, and humor, of course.
 
Portland comedy export Ian Karmel and friends 'fantasy draft' anything and everything, including condiments, Taco Bell menu Items, or presidential administrations.  
 
Who better than to settle your disagreements about whether to stay the night on a possibly haunted ship than the hilariously wry John Hodgman and Baliff Jesse Thorn?
 
 
 
Let's Know Things with Colin Wright 
Colin Wright has a smooth voice, a curious mind, and he explores a range of topics. He gives a balanced argument, is a careful connoisseur of sources, and generally just seems like a nice guy. And did I mention I'm a little bit in love with him? I'm a little bit in love with him. 
 
Vanessa Zoltan and Caspar ter Kuile host this podcast with the premise: What if we read the books we love as if they were sacred texts? And so they're on a quest to go through each Harry Potter book chapter by chapter to see what more it has offer us and how we can take this practice into our other reading.
 
 
 
Slate puts out a ton of podcasts, ranging from Dear Prudence's advice column to Lexicon Valley where all things language-related are discussed, but the podcasts that I most try to keep up with are the political ones. Trumpcast, with Jacob Weisberg was created during the election to report on Trump's run for president and it should have ended on election night. Unfortunately, we now have an even greater need to explore and explain all things Trumpian and Trumpcast is still there for us.
 
When I need a break from politics, I listen to 2 Dope Queens. It's a comedy-filled show with Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson telling honest, personal, and completely hilarious stories; interviewing other funny folks; and hosting a wide range of comedians. It's like eavesdropping on two good friends who pretty much have no boundaries on what they'll say to each other. 
 
I am loving Pod Save America, in which former Obama staffers and good friends talk about the politics of the day. They're funny, irreverent and appropriately outraged, and they also bring a lot of knowledge and experience about the way things normally work in Washington. 
 
Things are very, very busy at the New York Times these days. I have a friend who works there, and he says that the news reporters are in "a constant state of barely controlled chaos". The new podcast, The Daily, offers a window into that world, with host Michael Barbaro discussing the news of the day, usually with reporters.
 
I am a longtime fan of Dan Savage's Savage Lovecast, a sex advice show. Callers describe their concerns about love and sex, and Dan addresses these, sometimes with the aid very interesting guests. 
 
 
 
If you like 2 Dope Queens you should also check out Sooo Many White Guys. Comedian and author Phoebe Robinson (of 2 Dope Queen fame) will make you laugh until your sides hurt as she chats with authors, musicians, actors and performers who are for the most part not white guys. In her hilarious and insightful interviews, Phoebe celebrates the work of people of color, women and folks from the LGBTQ+ community. 
 
If you are or were ever a fan of Reading Rainbow, you will love LeVar Burton’s brand new podcast series LeVar Burton Reads. It’s basically Reading Rainbow for adults! With each episode fans have the pleasure of listening to LeVar read one of his favorite short stories for adults. 
 
 

 

The My Librarian team loves to spend time searching for the perfect book for you, dear readers; but when summer comes, we like to indulge ourselves with books that hit our sweet spot. Here are the titles we're excited about.

Alicia

I can't wait to sip some iced coffee, dig my feet in warm sand and dig into the new romantic-comedy, When Dimple Met Rishi. Dimple and Rishi are two gifted teens who meet at a Stanford summer program. Before the two teens met, their parents had arranged for them to be husband and wife. Rishi knows this, but Dimple does not.
 
If you're like me and are a huge fan of the 80s classic The Breakfast Club, you will also be ready to devour One of Us is Lying. Five high school students walk into detention on a Monday, but only four walk out alive. 

Alison

I love a good 'long walk' book, so when Cheryl Strayed recommended Flâneuse: Women Walk the City in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice, and London, I immediately put it on my 'to be read' list.

 

 

Darcee

My eight-year-old and I are having a blast with Andy Griffiths's outrageously silly series starting with The 13-story Treehouse. It's inspired us to build our own treehouse this summer. We plan to skip the shark tank, but are still hatching plans to simulate Andy and Terry's ice-cream serving robot- Edward Scooperhands

 

 

Diana

If you love Jane Austen, are intrigued by the idea of time travel, and find yourself looking for something on the lighter side, let yourself get swept away to Regency England by Kathleen A. Flynn's The Jane Austen Project. Be warned, dear reader: it's a very difficult book to set down.

 

Eric

As someone who is deeply interested in Communism, and a massive fan of China Miéville's fiction, I'm stoked to read October: The Story of the Russian Revolution, his take on the early months of the Russian Revolution.

 

 

Heather

I was taken by this unusual debut by Paula Cocozza, How to be Human. Set during the summertime in London, this is a whole new look at obsessive love.

 

 

 

Karen

Summer is the perfect time to be entertained by David Sedaris. I can't wait to read his innermost thoughts in Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2002)

 

 

 

I am loving The Witches of New York1880's New York is only one of the intriguing characters in this novel due out in July about three young witches running at tea shop called "Tea and Sympathy." Sinister and whimsical at the same time, this book will take you away.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Somewhere in a park this summer, you'll find me(ow) reading Mustache Shenanigans by Jay Chandrasekhar. He's part of Broken Lizard, the group that created one of my favorite films, Super Troopers. It's a behind the scenes look into his life and comedy that'll be pair well with sun and a patch of grass. 
 
 
 
 
Summer is the perfect time to create stuff and Whoosh! is the perfect book to inspire kids who have lots of time on their hands!  I love this fun and whimsically illustrated book about Lonnie Johnson, the inventor of the Super Soaker, because it shows how he used everyday objects to come up with some pretty neat creations.
 
 
 
 
 

In Martha's Vineyard, Island of Dreams, Susan Branch uses her uniquely decorated diaries to illustrate one year spent in a one-room cabin on Martha's Vineyard. A perfect book to read during the long warm days of summer- especially if you need some inspiration.

Also, I just listened to The Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewell  The park was perfectly safe, better than a back yard, right? But when thirteen year old Grace turns up missing, it looks like a repeat of a similar crime ten years earlier. Tense and stagnant, the action of this title takes place during the hot summer. The narrator, Colleen Prendergrast uses an accent that makes me think I am in the middle of a British TV series.
Omar El Akkad is an award-winning journalist who has reported on stories as varied as the NATO-led war in Egypt and the Black Lives Matter movement in Ferguson, Missouri. His debut novel, American War, has been described by book reviewer Michiko Kakutani as "an unlikely mash-up of unsparing war reporting and plot elements familiar to readers of the recent young-adult dystopian series The Hunger Games and Divergent.”
 
My taste in art leans heavily in the direction of misery. I’m a sucker for bleak books, dispiriting movies and, above all else, sad songs. In that spirit, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite downbeat albums. Some of these records cater in loneliness, others 
in self-loathing, others in general existential gloom. But all are fairly likely to ruin your day.
 
Suede – Dog Man Star
Certain albums should never find their way into the hands of a lovesick teenage boy, and this hour-long piece of gothic outsider Britpop is one of them. A meandering mass of dirges and not-quite- ballads that’s unlike anything this band, or any other, has ever done. I discovered this album at the age of 13 and I’m not sure I listened to anything else for the next year.
 
Jeff Buckley – Grace
The entirety of Buckley’s only studio album – he died far too young, drowned while swimming in an offshoot of the Mississippi river – is excellent. But the absolute high point comes about two-thirds of the way through, when the listener reaches Buckley’s cover of Leonard Cohen’s "Hallelujah," followed by "Lover, You Should Come Over" – a combined 13 minutes of utter perfection.
 
Perfume Genius – Put Your Back N2 It
Almost every song on this album sounds like a funereal hymn in which the subject of the funeral has been allowed to posthumously participate. Mike Hadreas sings in an amalgam of sighs and whispers, at once immediate and very far away. The whole album is sad and beautiful but it’s the second track, "Normal Song," that gets me every time.
 
Sun Kil Moon – Benji
There’s a song on this album called Jim Wise. It’s about a man who killed his terminally ill wife and then tried to kill himself, but the gun jammed on the second shot. Jim Wise isn’t even the most depressing song on this record. Don’t say you weren’t warned.
 
The Be Good Tanyas – Chinatown
Whether you like sad songs or not, Chinatown is a terrific record, one of the best pieces of folk Americana of the last 15 years (ironically, the work of a Canadian trio). But if you do like sad songs, there are a couple of world-class numbers here – "The Junkie Song" and the ethereal rendition of "I Wish My Baby Was Born" are both gorgeous.
 
The Antlers – Hospice
Even if the thought of a concept album about a terminally ill cancer patient and her hospice worker strikes you as a terrible idea, you should give the Antlers’ best album a listen. It’s a truly great record, anchored by the standout track, "Kettering." Will the lyrics make you miserable? Of course they will.
 
Holly Williams – The Highway
Like a lot of my favorite country albums, this one is populated with all manner of mean drunks, dying towns and folks so down on their luck they couldn’t possibly get any downer. But The Highway’s crown jewel is its closing track, "Waiting on June." It tells the story of Williams’ grandparents, who were together for 56 years and died shortly before this album came out. It’s a life story told in a single song, and a hell of a song at that.
 
The opening lyrics of the opening song on this album go like this: “When they found your body / Giant Xs on your eyes.” What follows is an hour of sad, melodic music that, given the depths of misery the band plummets to on songs such as "Embrace," is still incredibly controlled, incredibly… pretty. This is road trip music, assuming you’re driving exclusively at night through the backroads of North Dakota in the dead of winter.
 
Ruby Amanfu – Standing Still
Ruby Amanfu’s stripped-down version of Cathedrals, originally recorded by the band Jump Little Children, is one of the most stunning covers I’ve heard in years. It anchors an album full of reimagined takes on other artists’ songs, from Bob Dylan to Kanye West. The only constant is Amanfu’s perfect, crystalline voice. This isn’t a particularly sad or depressing album, just perfectly, wonderfully bittersweet.
 
London Grammar – If You Wait
There are only two reasons this album is on the list. 1) I love Hannah Reid’s voice; 2) when I was writing the final scenes of American War, the song that never left my head was from this album, a track called Interlude. I think of my protagonist’s final moments and this song begins to play, every single time.

David Naimon is a writer and host of the radio broadcast and podcast, Between the Covers, honored by The Guardian as one of the best book podcasts today. He has interviewed such authors as Anthony Doerr, Colson Whitehead, Ursula K. Le Guin, George Saunders, Claudia Rankine, and Maggie Nelson. His own writing can be found in AGNI, Tin House and Boulevard among others and has been cited in The Best American Essays, The Best American Travel Writing, The Best Small Fictions and the Pushcart Prize anthology.

There’s a lot of talk these days about building walls, but little discussion about one already built, a long-standing high-security literary wall. As the host of a book podcast, I’m often thinking about how to curate a roster of writers who reflect the multiplicity that is the literary world, guests writing from a wide array of backgrounds as well as writers writing in different or harder to classify literary forms. As a nation that historically has regarded itself as a welcoming place to immigrants, we love narratives — from Saul Bellow to Viet Thanh Nguyen, from Maxine Hong Kingston to Junot Diaz — written by or about immigrants becoming American. But, oddly, at the same time, we seem incurious when it comes to literature not originally written in English.

There is an oft-cited statistic that translated works make up a paltry 3-5 percent of the books published in the U.S. in any given year. But Eliot Weinberger, translator of Octavio Paz, Jorge Luis Borges and Bei Dao among others, says this statistic is entirely false. Only 300 to 400 literary translations are published each year — an incredible .3 to .5 percent of the annual books published, Weinberger argues. Fortunately, one of the unexpected silver linings of the collapse of the big six publishing houses is not only the rise of small presses, presses that take more risks (and which have been coming away with some of the biggest literary awards as a result), but also the rise of small presses devoted to translation. We seem to be in the beginnings of a translation renaissance. The origin of the phrase “to translate” comes from the Latin translatus, which means “to carry across.” My list of recommended titles is written in the spirit of this new interest in carrying works of literature across the literary wall, this new desire to be inspired and renewed by the writing of other cultures. And if you find yourself taken by one or more of these books, you can follow up your reading of it with a listen to my conversation with the author.
 
Faces in the Crowd by Valeria Luiselli
 
Mexican writer Valeria Luiselli has an unusual relationship with her translator. Before Christina McSweeney translates one of Luiselli’s books, McSweeney asks to know the songs Luiselli was listening to, the images she was looking at, and how the room looked where she wrote the book. Luiselli herself explicitly plays with the role of translation in her work and with the role of the translator in a book’s creation, even going so far as to include a chapter in one of her novels written by her translator. It is hard to pick which of Valeria Luiselli’s three utterly enchanting books to recommend here but the one closest to my heart is Faces in the Crowd. It follows a a Mexican translator in New York charged with finding “the next Bolaño.” She discovers the work of an obscure poet, falls in love with it, finds herself possibly haunted by his ghost, their identities becoming more and more porous as the novel (and her translation of him) progresses.
 
Ways to Disappear by Idra Novey
 
Ways to Disappear is the first novel by poet and translator Idra Novey. Perhaps best known for her translation of Clarice Lispector’s classic The Passion According to G.H., Novey plays with the ways translators really aren’t “best known” for anything, the ways in which they are delegated to the shadows and their work never considered a truly creative act in its own right. Novey flips the narrative in this novel, making the translator, Emma, super visible as the hero-protagonist at the center of an international thriller/mystery. When Emma’s author, Beatriz Yagoda, the one she has been translating for years, goes missing, Emma abandons her boyfriend and her life in Pittsburgh to go to Brazil to find her. ‘Who could know an author better, her mind and intentions more thoroughly, than the author’s own translator?’ Emma thinks. But Beatriz’s Brazilian family, the ones that see her daily unwritten moments, beg to differ. Ways to Disappear is a page-turning philosophical book, one that functions both as a witty suspense novel and a meditation on the mysteries of language.
 
 
Paris Review editor Lorin Stein calls Nineteen Ways of Looking at Wang Wei “the best primer on translation I’ve ever read, also the funniest and most impatient,” and that is the marvel of this little book. If you are already interested in poetry and come to this book with a curiosity about the mysteries of translation, you will surely love Weinberger’s classic. But if you are intimidated by poetry and don’t think you have any particular interest in translation, this book may yet provide an unexpected entryway into both. The project is deceptively simple, with Weinberger examining 19 different translations of a classic four-line poem by the eighth-century poet Wang Wei, but the result is a newfound wonder about language and cross-cultural communication. You will finish this book marveling at the creative feat of any act of translation, running to your favorite dog-eared copy of Anna Karenina or Remembrances of Things Past to see which translator gifted you access to these works written now once again in your own tongue.
 
Seeing Red by Lina Meruane
 
It’s rare that a writer tours for their book in its translated form, and even rarer that such a writer comes through Portland. So I felt fortunate to get the chance to interview Chilean writer Lina Meruane, an author already well-known in the Spanish-speaking world. She has just now had one of her books translated into English for the first time, thanks to Deep Vellum, one of the newer presses dedicated solely to works in translation. Deep Vellum joins the likes of publishers old and new (for example, And Other Stories, Coffeehouse Press, New Directions, Tilted Axis, Wakefield Press) that are making this a particularly exciting time for American readers (and book podcast hosts). Seeing Red opens with the narrator losing her vision and somehow creates a text that is more visual, not less, as a result. Intertwining fiction and autobiography, the novel explores and interrogates the tropes of illness narratives in relation to gender and gender stereotypes. As a result, Seeing Red defies your expectations at every turn.
 
Part of the reason it felt like literary luminaries W.G. Sebald and Roberto Bolaño exploded on the American literary scene in one big boom is because it took us so long to take notice and begin translating their work. Once one book caught on, the rest came in one big rush. Hopefully, with this renewed interest in translation, we won’t have to wait quite as long for an onrush of translation of Lina Meruane’s work. I’ll be first in line to read the next one.
 
Listen to audio of my conversations with Luiselli, Novey, Weinberger and Meruane.

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