What We’re Reading This Week: NYC Etiquette, Folk Tales, ‘Preservation’

Here's what I'm reading, because life makes more sense in the “muffinverse.” —Eric Wechter, Editor, Cruises and Resorts

Just got back from a trip to Morocco (among other places), and I brought along The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Weckler. It combines Jewish and Arab folk tales by stranding its two mythological protagonists in New York City around the turn of the last century. A bit too heavy on the fantasy for my taste, but the history is fascinating. —Mark Sullivan, Editor, Cities and Cultural Destinations

The hilarious cartoons in Nathan Pyle's new book, NYC Basic Tips and Etiquette, are even funnier as animated GIFs. Pyle's do's and don'ts perfectly depict what makes New Yorkers tick—and ticked off. Tourists, take note. —Arabella Bowen, Editor-in-Chief

Jill Lepore's Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin is not only a window on a woman who is pretty much invisible in the voluminous histories of her famous brother Benjamin, but is also a primer on his tumultuous life. As was typical of 18th-century Colonial women, she was taught to read but not to write, so her brother taught her the latter. She absorbed his lifelong love of words and learning, and they carried on a fascinating, multidecade correspondence as the new country was being formed. —Linda Schmidt, Managing Editor

This highly entertaining letter from a disgruntled passenger to Ryanair's “customer service department” (I use that term loosely) will speak to anyone who has flown around Europe with the low-cost carrier. Forget Twitter; this is how to complain, people. —Róisín Cameron, Associate Editor, Countryside and Adventure

I took advantage of the almost spring-like weather last weekend and did a lot of running (and walking)around, listening to podcasts and trying out WNYC's new iPhone app. Brian Lehrer interviewed this fascinating astrobiologist named Lewis Dartnell about his new book called The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Our World from Scratch. It's all about what skills we'd need if we survived the apocalypse. Check it out if you want to know how to purify water using sunlight or how to make alcoholic mead from honey. And now the book's on my reading list, too. —Caroline Trefler, Senior Editor, Cities and Cultural Destinations

May is Preservation Month, and Nick Brown and Preservation magazine inspired me with “Small-Town Renaissance: Water Valley, Mississippi,” a story about how creative energy and community spirit are transforming a former railroad town near Oxford one historic building at a time. The local B.T.C. (Be the Change) Old-Fashioned Grocery even has a new cookbook from Clarkson Potter. —Linda Cabasin, Editorial Director