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Thursday, March 22, 2018

Thanks For Not Sharing! My Fine Dining Isn’t Your Fork Orgy, by Alex Williams, New York Times

A classic American meal has a discernible beginning, middle and end — a story arc, to put it in Hollywood terms. What happens to that arc when everyone is scrambling to sample everything on the table? The meal becomes a jumble; too many characters, too many conflicted motives, too many fractured moments — basically, Robert Altman at his worst.

Perhaps I am overly sensitive about pacing because, yes, I am the slowest eater I have ever met. From my vantage, a shared meal means sitting by and idly chewing, while the food on the table vanishes like a time-lapse nature video of an ant colony devouring a dead bird.

The Advice Columnists Who Prescribe Literature As Medicine, by Katy Waldman, New Yorker

Can a book solve your problems? Yes, if one of your problems is that you wish to read a book. Or if another one of your problems is that you would like to learn about a certain subject. If your problem can be expressed as “I would like to feel X type of feeling,” a book perhaps can help, but here complications start to dawn. And if the problem is “I would like to be X type of person,” the situation grows thornier still. Although the experience of reading involves fulfilling needs you didn’t know you had, literature—like most things that are free—reacts poorly to being instrumentalized.

Death Rattle: The Body’s Betrayals, by Ellen Wayland-Smith,

One morning about a year ago I was sleeping on the sofa in my parents’ apartment when I was woken by the sound of my father dying in the next room.

At first I couldn’t tell what the noise was, or even locate where it was coming from. It was a ragged, scraping sound, like metal being pulled through tightly-packed glass. Then it shifted: like someone breathing in a viscous liquid in greedy gulps, aspirating yogurt. When I realized the noises were coming from my father’s throat, I froze.

'The Gunners' Seems Simple At First ... But Keep Reading, by Lily Meyer, NPR

Accept your emotions. Feel them bluntly, plainly. Allow yourself to flinch. There isn't a better way forward. Not in life, and not, I suspect, on the page.

The Executor By Blake Morrison Review – A Novel With Poetic Vision, by Edward Docx, The Guardian

Blake Morrison’s new book is a novel about the piecing together of a poetry collection, which is then printed in full at the end. Reading it was, I confess, a perplexing experience: something like watching Lewis Hamilton ride a bicycle round Silverstone for innumerable reconnaissance laps just so as to be prepared when he finally climbs into his race car and risks his life at 200mph on the edges of adhesion and daring.