The trailing spouse has been a perennial subject of memoirs and novels, usually involving women who find their way after some ups and downs. Marcie Maxfield centers her new novel, Em’s Awful Good Fortune, on what she calls the tagalong wife, addressing this topic—one with which she apparently has considerable personal experience—with a combination of humor and frustration.

A young woman, unfamiliar with the city or its cinematic culture, has come to a film studio to return a coat that had been lent to her during a rainstorm. She is holding the coat and a card she found in the coat—on it is the name of a film director. The young woman steps through the studio doorway straight into the film set and is walking a deserted alleyway with lit windows. Silence.

Like clockwork, every year around the spring equinox, as the ducks and egrets return to the rivers and sprigs of green grass begin sprouting in lawns, people in Japan take to the hills to pick mountain vegetables, herbs and other wild foods. As translator and writer Winifred Bird explains in her new book, Eating Wild Japan: Tracking the Culture of Foraged Foods, with a Guide to Plants and Recipes, there is no common Japanese phrase that corresponds precisely to the English terms “wild food” or “foraged food”.

Maung Shwe Yon was a highly acclaimed 19th-century master silversmith from Rangoon. Harry L Tilly, the aforementioned British expert on Burmese art, was effusive in his praise for Maung Shwe Yon. He described one of his pierced bowls as ‘the best example of this kind of work ever produced’ in his 1902 monograph, The Silverwork of Burma.

Residents of Qingdao or attentive followers of local news may have heard of the affair I wish to discuss. On the 14th of August 2013, during a routine fire-safety inspection, a worker from the residential committee of Shinan District’s University Road discovered a heavily decomposed corpse by a small building inside the courtyard of Number 5 Longkou Road.