The Mercury provides news and fun every single day—but your help is essential. If you believe Portland benefits from smart, local journalism and arts coverage, please consider making a small monthly contribution, because without you, there is no us. Thanks for your support!

Drazen Zigic / getty images

Good morning, Portland! Looking for a good book to dive into on this Winter Solstice? Look no further than this list of our favorite books of 2021, curated by Mercury writers and Multnomah County Library staff.

And here are the headlines!

• In 2018, an Oregonian investigation found that more than half of all arrests made by Portland police the previous year were of unhoused people. That trend hasn't changed in the years since—and a recent episode of Reveal, a podcast by the Center for Investigative Reporting, helps explain why.

• The University of Oregon is now requiring staff, faculty, and students to receive a COVID-19 booster shot in addition to their initial vaccine doses—suggesting that the definition of "fully vaccinated" is starting to shift.

• LOTS to unpack here!

• Ahead of the holidays, Oregonians are scrambling to get their hands on rapid COVID tests, as the omicron variant has some second-guessing their plans with friends and family. That's resulted in a shortage of tests available in the Portland area.

• Speaking of COVID tests: Finally, our federal government is doing something to help in that department. The Biden administration will send out 500 million at-home COVID tests in January—you know, after the potentially devastating holiday travel wave. Only people who request the tests will receive them, which feels like a needlessly complicated barrier to entry for a potentially life-saving cotton swab.

• Meanwhile, NASA's out looking for more functional civilizations:

• From Vice News: "The GOP has a new superstar and his name is Kyle Rittenhouse." Read at your own risk.

• Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin continues to be a little piss baby and not support the Build Back Better bill, which would provide $1.75 trillion in funding to fight the effects of climate change and support social services. Manchin claims he's worried about inflation, which a bunch of Nobel-prize winning economists say is bullshit.

• And finally: A reminder to come in from the cold this Solstice!