Weekend reads: The secret to genius, the perfect way to spend a day off, the horror of bland book reviews

Kristin Tyndall's read

Regular naps might be the secret to genius. According to this roundup of daily habits of geniuses, Albert Einstein slept 10 hours a night, then indulged in regular naps throughout the day. And as the article points out, some research has found that sleep can improve problem-solving skills. In between naps, several geniuses spent their time on long walks—or just "squishing" their toes, which Nikola Tesla claimed stimulated his brain cells.

Book reviews have grown too nice, argues Rafia Zakaria. Gone are the days when critics struck fear into the hearts of young authors. Nowadays, reviews read more like advertisements, she writes. She rejects the notion that defanged critics help marginalized voices receive their due, arguing that it is condescending to praise such authors merely for publishing any book, whether their book is any good or not. "The strength of books is not simply in whom they please, but also whom they enrage, those who agree and those who disagree," Zakaria writes.

Kathleen Escarcha's reads

Its flu season on campus—and in the office. Whenever I feel a cold coming on, I make a cup of hot, lemon honey tea. But does science back up the benefits of this classic home remedy? Sort of. Warm water may cut through phlegm and ease our sore throats, says the chief of laryngology at Stanford Health Care. But research on honey's role as an anti-coughing agent remains inconclusive. And while lemon has some antibacterial properties, its acidity can irritate the throat.

If you’re lucky enough to get a day off in the coming months, the New York Times’ Tim Herrera has a few suggestions on how to spend it. You could finally tackle your financial to-do list or give your fridge a deep clean. My favorite suggestion? Do absolutely nothing. I’m a firm believer that taking a day to recharge and unwind can make you more productive later on. I’d also suggest going for a walk or planning your next vacation.

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