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The Chronicles of Now

Fiction in journalism is rarely, if ever, a good thing. Tyler Cabot, a former editor at Esquire and Audible and currently an affiliate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, at Harvard, has managed to bring the two together in his clever new Web site, the Chronicles of Now. The site commissions short fiction from important authors that is inspired by the news of the day, which very often leads to inventive, surprising, and delightful prose. Roxane Gay, Colum McCann, Sloane Crosley, and Lisa Taddeo are among the contributors, and a new story drops every day. ( —Ashley Baker

Production still from Criminal: U.K.


Love police procedurals? Miss being able to travel? Then check out Criminal, a Netflix anthology that follows intense police interrogations in four different countries. Each binge-worthy season, all filmed in the local languages, is only three 40-minute-episodes long. Twisty cases take up most of the narrative, with occasional subplots adding microbursts of characterization. Start with the U.K. version to get a feel for the series and to watch Doctor Who’s David Tennant, tightly wound, not to mention the usually prim Hayley Atwell playing very much against type. Then bounce over to the Continent: France, where Truffaut and Godard alum Nathalie Baye gets grilled; Spain, where Almodóvar vets Eduard Fernández and Carmen Machi chew the scenery; and Germany, where Black Panther’s Florence Kasumba watches from behind a one-way mirror. ( —H. Scott Jolley


Vins Chez Nous

One of the few silver linings of the coronavirus outbreak is that housebound gourmands are being reminded of the joys of home cooking—and, more importantly, of drinking. During these difficult times, the top-shelf natural-wine retailer Vins Chez Nous is still fulfilling orders (in a careful and hygienic way, bien sûr). As they put it, “[We’re] aware that a bit of wine will help to keep the morale up and get through the next few weeks.” Natural wine is made by small producers from organic and biodynamic grapes, so it’s closer to what we would have been drinking hundreds of years ago. Vins Chez Nous still has dozens of Olivier Lemasson’s terrific R19 in stock—after a glass or two, social distancing may not seem so bad. ($13,


No-Burn Incense

If the thought of incense brings dorm rooms and head shops to mind, you probably haven’t encountered the smokeless variety, which burns cleanly for a subtler aroma. Just as Diptyque makes candles that are less assertive than their cloying drugstore counterparts, Bodha offers incense of a superior kind. The sticks are produced by Nippon Kodo, the 400-year-old Japanese brand that manufactured incense for 16th-century emperors, while the company’s founders, husband-and-wife duo Fred and Emily L’Ami, do the rest: he designs the exquisite holders; she concocts the scents. Emily, who trained as a perfumer and an aromatherapist, intends for the fragrant blends to have a therapeutic effect. Ground, a woodsy mix of hinoki, cedarwood, and frankincense, is formulated to increase focus, while Purify combines floral notes of geranium, jasmine, and rosewood to clear the mind. ($32, —Zoe Dubno

Issue No. 38
April 4, 2020
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Issue No. 38
April 4, 2020