Credit: Courtesy photos
Credit: Courtesy photo

Podcast/book: Deborah Kalb is a media triple threat: blogger, podcaster and novelist. She has interviewed hundreds of authors for her blog (deborahkalb In May, she launched the podcast Rereading Our Childhood, on which she and D.C. writer Mary Grace McGeehan discuss favorite books. Kalb’s first novel for adults, Off to Join the Circus, is slated to be published by Apprentice House Books in July. “It’s about an overly enmeshed, neurotic Jewish family in Bethesda,” Kalb says.

Credit: Courtesy photo

TV: Young Mazino, who was raised in Silver Spring, landed a breakout role in the Netflix dark comedy series Beef. The show is premised on a road rage incident that sparks a feud between two strangers, Amy Lau (played by Ali Wong) and Danny Cho (Steven Yeun). Mazino plays Danny’s 20-something younger brother, Paul. The Korean American actor grew up playing music and performing in school plays and graduated from Sherwood High School.

Credit: Courtesy photo

Book: As a child, Qin Sun Stubis experienced hardship including famine and the imprisonment of her father during the Cultural Revolution in China. The Bethesda writer recounts her family’s saga and journey to the United States in her memoir, Once Our Lives (Guernica Editions, June 2023). Stubis says she felt like a “sacred guardian” of her family’s stories and compelled to share them before they were lost. “They’re full of humanity—very ordinary people living through extraordinary times,” Stubis, 63, says. 

Credit: Courtesy photo

TV: It was at Magruder High School in Rockville, Gbenga Akinnagbe says, that he discovered wrestling, which saved his life and helped him learn how to be an actor. He went on to compete in the sport at Bucknell University, and has made it in Hollywood, playing Chris Partlow in 30 episodes of HBO’s The Wire (2002-2008), plus other roles on Nurse Jackie and The Deuce. His latest work: portraying billionaire Ron Samuel Jenkins on the Starz series Power Book II: Ghost.

Reading List

Here are the most-requested books at the Montgomery County Public Library.


  • 1. Lessons in Chemistry | Bonnie Garmus
  • 2. Happy Place | Emily Henry
  • 3. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow | Gabrielle Zevin
  • 4. Demon Copperhead | Barbara Kingsolver
  • 5. Hello Beautiful | Ann Napolitano
  • 6. Pineapple Street | Jenny Jackson
  • 7. Romantic Comedy | Curtis Sittenfeld
  • 8. The Covenant of Water | Abraham Verghese
  • 9. Remarkably Bright Creatures | Shelby Van Pelt
  • 10. Mad Honey | Jodi Picoult


  • 1. Spare | Prince Harry
  • 2. Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones | James Clear
  • 3. The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder | David Grann
  • 4. The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times | Michelle Obama
  • 5. Crying in H Mart | Michelle Zauner
  • 6. Poverty, by America | Matthew Desmond
  • 7. The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma | Bessel van der Kolk, M.D.
  • 8. Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar | Cheryl Strayed
  • 9. An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us | Ed Yong
  • 10. Come As You Are: Revised and Updated: The Surprising New Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life | Emily Nagoski

In each edition, Bethesda Magazine will present best-sellers from a local bookstore or library. Please reach out with store recommendations or lists at

This story appears in the July/August issue of Bethesda Magazine.