What We’re Reading This Week: ‘Why We Travel,’ NYC Happy Hours, ‘Inside a Pearl’

Okay, it may not count as reading, but I just discovered the US Department of the Interior's Instagram account. If you think that sounds boring, think again—and check out their stunning photos of incredible natural spots and wildlife around the country. Talk about inspiration for a hiking, biking, kayaking, or road tripping vacation! —Caroline Trefler, Senior Editor, Cities and Cultural Destinations

This listicle of NYC’s best happy hours is essential for upcoming summer Fridays. —Arabella Bowen, Editor-in-Chief

My favorite food blogger, Joy the Baker, recently packed her bags and left Venice, California behind in favor of New Orleans. She's created a new place on her blog where she is collecting all the treasures—beignets and otherwise—she finds while discovering her new home. The great New Orleans photos make me want to plan my next visit! —Salwa Jabado, Senior Editor, Countryside and Adventure

Reading Pico Iyer's travel writing can be almost as good as traveling itself—well, almost! As summer wanderlust takes hold, Iyer's essay/manifesto “Why We Travel” reassured me that my sense that the best trips never really end is a good thing and not mere obsession. His take on Jerusalem's Old City is as multilayered as the city itself. —Linda Cabasin, Editorial Director  

Of my own volition, I've shrieked under the dripping ceilings of femur-lined catacombs, set up a canvas or camera in cemeteries around the world, and filed past the waxy corpse of Ho Chi Minh, but when it comes to ghoulish tourism, I think I'd draw the line at viewing unclaimed dead bodies at the morgue. Here's one former Paris attraction where you would NOT want to be leaving with a souvenir.—Rebecca Baer, Senior Map Editor

I just stumbled upon the Day in the Life series by the Toast’s Mallory Ortberg, and I love her hilarious (and warning: a bit vulgar) take on the tropes that often follow “strong” female characters. Newsflash: interesting female characters are a lot more than just strong.—Amanda Sadlowski, Assistant Editor

Edmund White's dazzling memoir Inside a Pearl starts in the middle of an anecdote, and I felt like he had pulled me aside to tell me some gossipy stories about his friends in Paris. The novelist lived there in the anything-goes '80s, interviewing Yves Saint Laurent and other notables for Vogue by day and attending a string of glamorous dinner parties with celebrities like Catherine Deneuve at night (all despite his atrocious French). The book is perfect for anyone who's dreamed of being an expat. —Mark Sullivan, Editor, Cities and Cultural Destinations