I know I’m not in school, but September feels like the beginning of the year to me.  I don’t know that I’ll ever be over semester timing.   And isn’t it crazy how Labor Day is always a weather show?  Rain, Dorian, cooler temperatures…. How does it know (to do that)?

Speaking of school, I have a marvelous guest today, who writes frequently about education. He is Paul Tough, and his new book is called The Years That Matter Most: How College Makes or Breaks Us. Together we’ll discuss the mania that can get parents to commit crimes and mortgage their homes: the hope of their children to matriculate to a prestigious college or university. And how it feels to be a kid applying to college now.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned this in a week or two, but I have a baby grandson! I have trouble saying the “grand” part, but this little creature creates joy whenever he smiles, which is more and more. I saw him a lot last week, which tops my five things

Lisa Birnbach and Author Paul Tough

Lisa Birnbach and Author Paul Tough


1. BABY. Love, good smells, the feeling I’m soaring when he smiles at me. His soft skin. His innocence. His chubby legs. His tiny toes.


2. Lake Tahoe. I know it’s shared by Nevada and California. I know the water is clear and clean and cold and crisp.


3. Homegrown ranunculus.


4. Jaffa restaurant in Los Angeles.

Great eastern Mediterranean food; wonderful service. Not just your grandma’s hummus. Interesting, fresh combinations. Loved the charred eggplant, in particular.

Lehman Trilogy.jpg

5. Have I got good news for you. The play I raved about all winter, The Lehman Trilogy, is finally viewable to all of you who couldn’t grab a ticket to see it in New York when it was here for just a short visit. It will be live simulcast at theaters around the country on September 15th.

The Lehman Trilogy: Academy Award-winner Sam Mendes (Skyfall, The Ferryman) directs Simon Russell Beale, Adam Godley and Ben Miles playing the Lehman Brothers, their sons and grandsons.

Author Paul Tough  PaulTough.com

Author Paul Tough PaulTough.com

Paul’s 5 Things:

1. The Penguin Modern series of tiny books

2. The iNaturalist app

3. My sons' imaginations

4. "Heavy," by Kiese Laymon

5. The remarkable selection of inexpensive fizzy waters in Austin's supermarkets

You can reach/follow and see upcoming events for Paul Tough here:

website: www.PaulTough.com

twitter: @PaulTough