Tuesday, 30 September, 2014
David Z. Hambrick, Fernanda Ferreira, And John M. Henderson, Slate
We are not all created equal where our genes and abilities are concerned.
Sheila McClear, New York Times
“The point of Literate Sunday is to remove, if not subvert, the idea of fame, removing the ego and the names from the pieces so the stories may speak for themselves,” Mr. D’Abate wrote recently to his email list, which features one of the five stories each week.
Carl Wilson, Slate
Entertainments, no matter how apparently nihilistic, are actually lifelines that give people a place to put their pain.
Monday, 29 September, 2014
Alaya Dawn Johnson, NPR
Rooms, bestselling YA author Lauren Oliver's debut for adults, features an old mansion overstuffed with memories and a family failing to avoid them; it also features ghosts of the most literal kind, but leaves open the question of who precisely is doing the haunting. The narration is pleasingly circumscribed by the physical limits of the house: all the action takes place within its rooms. It's a construct that makes the story feel at times cozy, like we're trailing behind Poirot in a country retreat, and occasionally panicked and claustrophobic.
Diana Athill, The Guardian
Back in the 1920s my mother never went to a funeral if she could help it, and was horrified when she heard of children being exposed to such an ordeal, and my father vanished from the room if death was mentioned; very much later, in the 1960s, when the publishers in which I was a partner brought out a beautiful and amusing book about the trappings of death, booksellers refused to stock something so “morbid”. I was born in December 1917, so was fully immersed in this refusal to contemplate death. Indeed it was not until more than 30 years later, when I had to visit a coroner’s office to identify a woman who had been found dead, that I thought for the first time how extraordinary – indeed how ridiculous – it was to have lived for so long without ever having seen a dead body.
Sunday, 28 September, 2014
Matt Haig, The Guardian
Yes, it is an easy book to read. Yes, it will sell millions. Yes, some people who don’t know any better will be snobby about it. But there is real philosophical depth amid the entertainment. Nicholls has a feel for the big stuff, even as he zooms in on the soft mints, making this a sad, funny, soulful joy of a book.
Caitlin Doughty, Salon
Should you ever wish to understand the phrase “dead weight” in all its gravitational glory, attempt to lift the corpse of a morbidly obese man off of a perilous, wobbly stretcher.
Alan Heathcock, Medium
The drought is now killing off century-old California farms. People here don’t blame the weather gods for not bringing rain — they blame the rest of us for not giving a damn.
Jimmie Holland and Mindy Greenstein, Salon
In older age, we contribute not only the wisdom collected over many years, we also contribute by serving as models of survival. Or, as my granddaughter says, “survivors of life.” And as role models for how to cope when things don’t work, including various body parts.
Jeanne Whalen, Wall Street Journal
The point of the club isn't to talk about literature, but to get away from pinging electronic devices and read, uninterrupted. The group calls itself the Slow Reading Club, and it is at the forefront of a movement populated by frazzled book lovers who miss old-school reading.
Saturday, 27 September, 2014
Jonathan Lethem, New York Times
Whether to your taste or not, it really shouldn’t be shocking. In fact, such particulars are most likely routinely matched, or surpassed, in the work of thriller and horror writers in the post-Thomas Harris era, when monsters must trump Hannibal Lecter or else go home. What’s vertiginous in Cronenberg’s book is that such matters are presented in the absence of a reliably bourgeois moral framework. Instead, Cronenberg details them with a clinical curiosity.
Lee LeFever, Medium
You see, this time of year, I want it to rain for days. I want an atmospheric river to roll off the Pacific and slam Seattle with precipitation. I want to look at the weather map and see greens, yellows and oranges. Thankfully, I live in a place that makes the timely arrival of rain an absolute certainty.
J. C. Gabel, The Paris Review
Remembering Le Grand Meaulnes on the centenary of its author’s death.
Friday, 26 September, 2014
Sarah Miller, Cafe
When I finally went to bed after hours of cooking and cleaning up, having achieved absolutely nothing — having impressed no one, including myself, with the food I made — I said to my boyfriend, "Cooking is really stupid." He said that he agreed. I said that I was never cooking again. He said he thought that was a great idea. I said, "I have to make homemade tomato sauce with C on Saturday. And I have to make some more galettes because the last ones sucked."
"That sounds like a lot of cooking," he said.
"I know," I said. "I'm going to make the galettes and the sauce and then, I am never cooking again."
Ferris Jabr, OutsideOnline.com
Every year, more than 500 Americans will be struck by lightning—and roughly 90 percent of them will survive. Though they remain among the living, their minds and bodies will be instantly, fundamentally altered in ways that still leave scientists scratching their heads.
Russell Smith, The Globe And Mail
Come on, read, now, come, blow your brain, they say to my stuffybrain, in the morning with the toast and the child, the getting the child to school now, and the mayor they say is sick, and the deadlines, don’t pay attention: Read, I must. Others all have.
Feel ashamed: so much not reading in stuffybrain. Must read more. I remember, I can, the reading of books like this, in the quiet. Used to read wordmuddle books all the time, school, I remember, love of books, wordmuddle, poetry. My bright neurons all firing. Love.
No smartphones there were then. No Real Racing 3.
Thursday, 25 September, 2014
Nick Bilton, New York Times
It’s the ultimate first world problem. You go to the Apple store, drop $400 for an iPhone 6 and then discover it doesn’t fit in your pocket.
Elizabeth Weil, New York Times
But then there’s Sarah Marquis, who perhaps should be seen as an explorer like Scott, born in the wrong age. She is 42 and Swiss, and has spent three of the past four years walking about 10,000 miles by herself, from Siberia through the Gobi Desert, China, Laos and Thailand, then taking a cargo boat to Brisbane, Australia, and walking across that continent. Along the way, like Scott, she has starved, she has frozen, she has (wo)man-hauled. She has pushed herself at great physical cost to places she wanted to love but ended up feeling, as Scott wrote of the South Pole in his journal: “Great God! This is an awful place.”
Bim Adewunmi, The Guardian
On first appearance, it is like the London underground – trains, tickets, announcements, the crush of bodies. But then, slowly, the entire system reveals itself to you. It is the work of a sadist, cooked up in a fever dream and delivered with a flourish and an unhinged grin.
Rob Brunner, Fast Company
Forget about four-star hotels or luxury spa treatments: Bourdain is on a mission to illuminate underappreciated and misunderstood cultures, whether it's Myanmar or Detroit. He regularly takes viewers to the sorts of places--Libya, Gaza, Congo--that most Americans know only from grim headlines about political strife and body counts. Bourdain does all of this with vivid narrative reporting, stunning visuals, palpable empathy, and a relentlessly open mind.
Wednesday, 24 September, 2014
Ross Perlin, Dissent
A “language” has come to mean something irreducibly, but often invisibly, political.
Lisa Roe, Medium
If I could do it over, I would love Dad as much as I love Mom. I wouldn’t decide Mom is the better parent because she lets us eat Pixie Sticks for breakfast while Dad yells when I leave my toys in the living room. I would know there is more to love than skipping school and sneaking candy.
Tuesday, 23 September, 2014
Mark Vanhoenacker, Slate
If foreigners aren’t familiar with these shelters, few will have ever seen the skies open like they do here. The city-state averages around 90 inches of rainfall per year. That’s more than Hong Kong or monsoonal Dhaka, Bangladesh. It’s more than Seattle and Vancouver combined. And Singapore’s tropical rain often comes in heavy, short-lived sky-Niagaras.
Jeffrey Toobin, New Yorker
At the same time, the Court’s decision spoke to an anxiety felt keenly on both sides of the Atlantic. In Europe, the right to privacy trumps freedom of speech; the reverse is true in the United States. “Europeans think of the right to privacy as a fundamental human right, in the way that we think of freedom of expression or the right to counsel,” Jennifer Granick, the director of civil liberties at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, said recently.
Monday, 22 September, 2014
Libby Hill, The A.V. Club
But when all was said and done, Marshall and Lily remained. They’re the ones still madly in love at the end of the show, still aching to jump each other’s bones 18 years into their relationship. They’re the ones who’ve finally reached the point in their lives where they’ve spent more time together than apart. They’re the ones who wouldn’t let that tenure suffocate their growth as people; instead they greeted it as a gift that made them who they were, their love sheltering the harshest blows that life can offer. Lily and Marshall are television’s last best example of a marriage that exists more often in the real world than it does in fiction: one that melds the comfort of familiarity, the fiery joy of intoxicating love, and the slaphappy farce of life itself.
Michelle Huneven, The Millions
In those twenty-odd years, in which I tried and failed to write a book, and left writing and then came back to it and became a working writer who wrote books and also supported herself by writing, I grew intimately acquainted with many forms of trouble inherent in the vocation. And many of those troubles dog me to this day.
Carol Rumens, The Guardian
I’m tempted to say the poem is not really about snow. It’s an epistle or an epithalamium, a meditation on love and marriage, on the “dark alleys” of life and the illuminating flights. For Ravinthiran as for MacNeice, snow generates incorrigible plurality.
Paul Daley, The Guardian
Watson is a country boy and his latest book is The Bush – Travels in the Heart of Australia. He does travel, all over – from the Mallee to Gippsland, from the west and to the north – which gives the narrative its soothing, train trip momentum through time and country. In that sense, there is an element of travelogue of the type characterised by his book American Journeys, which was also really a search for the heart of another country.
But this is excellent, hard-headed history, too, footnoted and documented as Watson squirrels into unanticipated corners where he describes native flora (botanic names abound) and fauna, farm machinery, climatic variations, human occupations, cattle and sheep breeds, minute details that would be sedative in the hands of a lesser writer but, when canvassed by Watson, prove utterly mesmerising and entrancing.
Seth Stevenson, Slate
Even without the distraction of talking to me, Carlsen was not playing to his typical high standards. Meanwhile, one of his rivals was in the midst of a streak so extraordinary it threatened to overshadow anything Carlsen had ever done. All of which, in confluence, transformed the Sinquefield Cup into one of the most emotional, dramatic, newsworthy chess events of the past 40 years. At most 300 people were in St. Louis to see it.
Maria Konnikova, New Yorker
What if, for instance, the students had to sort out the energy dynamics of a scene in “Star Wars” or “The Lord of the Rings”? “Suddenly, the kids were excited and engaged,” he told me. “Before I knew it, they were running ahead of me, coming up with their own examples and solving their own equations.” At that moment, he realized that formulating exciting, relevant questions—questions that stemmed from students’ own concerns and interests, however far removed from a lecture hall—might sometimes be the best way to help people understand disciplines as complex as physics. However absurd and hypothetical, such questions seemed to engage students’ minds in a way that simple formulas alone did not.
Nicholas Bequelin, Foreign Policy
In that sense, the decision by the National People's Congress Standing Committee announced on Aug. 31 -- which institutes a drastic system to screen out candidates not approved by Beijing -- was a foregone conclusion, notwithstanding the mobilization by Occupy Central, a protest movement led by a trio of Hong Kong intellectuals whose plan was to force Beijing's hand with the threat of civil disobedience.
It is a mistake, however, to argue that the clash was ineluctable and that Hong Kong's fate was sealed back in 1984. In fact, the recent events, which included an unprecedented mobilization in favor of genuine universal suffrage and a (mostly counterproductive) all-out attack by Beijing and its forces in Hong Kong, were precipitated by the almost coincidental convergence of three distinct factors.
Sunday, 21 September, 2014
Emily Rapp, The Boston Globe
Predictably amazing, this collection — eclectic, funny, vibrant, terrifying, beautiful and utterly delightful — illustrates why Atwood is a fan favorite as well as a critic’s dream.
Teddy Wayne, New York Times
I’m writing to let you know that Billy, generally one of our better-behaved children, has recently been more disruptive. In fact, today in sharing session, he declared his intent to “seek out and cultivate innovative and unexpected strategies to disrupt our first-gen models of pre-K and kindergarten.” I applaud his extensive gains in vocabulary, but please tell Billy we expect him to revert to his exemplary conduct.
Saturday, 20 September, 2014
Carol Anshaw, New York Times
Although Waters is definitely up to constructing a big, entertaining story, her strength seems to be in blueprinting social architecture in terms of its tiniest corners and angles, matters measurable by inches rather than feet — small moments we recognize but have never articulated, even to ourselves.
Sam Roberts, New York Times
To Americans, New York is a Northern city, but in his breezily anecdotal book, Mr. Basile reminds readers that we practically share a latitude with Madrid, if not the siestas. The heat could be brutal, particularly when 5,000 ceiling fans, while the largest such installation in the world, were all that cooled the city’s subway cars.
Air-conditioning was not just about comfort.
It triggered a cultural and demographic revolution.
Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post
In this provocative study of censorship as it was practiced in three different places at three different times, the distinguished scholar Robert Darnton argues that it can be a considerably subtler and more nuanced undertaking than it is generally assumed to be. He has not written a defense of censorship — far from it — but he emphasizes that when the state sets itself up as arbiter of what goes into books and what does not, the results are not always predictable, but are sometimes surprising and even — occasionally — beneficial to authors and their publishers.
Carrie Frye, Gawker
Rebecca remains her best-known book. This is as it should be: Rebecca is fantastic and gripping, a fever dream wrapped around a sharp thriller. It was her fifth, and when she turned it into her publisher, Victor Gollancz, she was apologetic. "The ending is a bit brief and a bit grim," she told him, wrung out from writing. This, she warned, would probably keep the book from being a success. The in-house editor, thought differently. While deploring du Maurier's "incredible" spelling, he wrote in an editorial note: "I don’t know another author who imagines so hard all the time." The novel came out in 1938, selling 45,000 copies its first month. Soon after came the Hitchcock movie starring Lawrence Olivier and Joan Fontaine. Last year, at its 75th anniversary, Virago put its paperback sales as a steady 4,000 copies a month.
Cade Metz, Wired
Inside a squat building on San Francisco’s 10th Street, packed into a space that looks a lot like a high school chem lab, Hampton Creek is redesigning the food you eat. Mixing and matching proteins found in the world’s plants, the tiny startup already has created a reasonable facsimile of the chicken egg—an imitation of the morning staple that’s significantly cheaper, safer, and possibly healthier than the real thing—and now it’s working to overhaul other foods in much the same way.
At the back of the room, spread across the long stainless steel science desks, among the centrifuges, scales, bottles, and beakers, biochemists systematically extract proteins from plants like the Canadian yellow pea to analyze their makeup and behavior. Beside them, food scientists combine these proteins in new ways, mixing them with other natural substances to create something that looks, feels, and tastes like the foods we know today. In the next row over, chefs—including Chris Jones and Ben Roche, recruited from Chicago’s celebrated gastromolecular eatery, Moto—strive to turn these creations into something you could serve to your family: an omelet or some french toast or a chocolate chip cookie.
Neil Swidey, The Boston Globe
For 60 years, owning a Dunkin’ Donuts franchise or two has been the elevator that legions of hard-working strivers have used to lift themselves up out of the ranks of factory workers and into the realm of, if not the rich, at least the pretty comfortable. But even if most regular Joes waiting in drive-through lines have no idea, the Dunkin’ franchisee landscape has been shifting dramatically. As New England’s beloved brand aggressively expands and the price of admission for franchising continues to climb, ever-growing franchisee networks are crowding out the moms and pops. More and more, the elevator is traveling only to the penthouse.
Friday, 19 September, 2014
John Jeremiah Sullivan, New York Times
Some critics have lamented over the years that his characters don’t really “change,” but they do; it’s just that they devolve, they go mad.
Ezekiel J. Emanuel, The Atlantic
Let me be clear about my wish. I’m neither asking for more time than is likely nor foreshortening my life. Today I am, as far as my physician and I know, very healthy, with no chronic illness. I just climbed Kilimanjaro with two of my nephews. So I am not talking about bargaining with God to live to 75 because I have a terminal illness. Nor am I talking about waking up one morning 18 years from now and ending my life through euthanasia or suicide. Since the 1990s, I have actively opposed legalizing euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. People who want to die in one of these ways tend to suffer not from unremitting pain but from depression, hopelessness, and fear of losing their dignity and control. The people they leave behind inevitably feel they have somehow failed. The answer to these symptoms is not ending a life but getting help. I have long argued that we should focus on giving all terminally ill people a good, compassionate death—not euthanasia or assisted suicide for a tiny minority.
Thursday, 18 September, 2014
Boer Deng, Slate
First, stop thinking of it as “Chinese food.”
John Freeman, The Boston Globe
How few novelists have evolved with this freedom and created a morally rigorous environment, one embracing the questions God provokes. What is right or wrong? Will there be an accounting, in the end? It’s why we read so much crime fiction. Can there be virtue without punishment?
Emma Brockes, The Guardian
It mightn’t be authentic Italian, but it is authentic something. American pastoral, perhaps? I couldn’t have had a better time if I’d been eating at Nobu.
Aaron Gordon, Pacific Standard
Forty years ago, thanks to an organization founded by four high school friends, human rights beat out the free market—and now we can all pee for free.
Matt Singer, The Dissolve
Flanked by handlers, assistants, and Bruce Willis, Julia Roberts strides into the Galleria D’Arte di Roma. She looks beautiful, nervous, and extremely pregnant. Only this isn’t Julia Roberts—at least not exactly. This is Julia Roberts playing Tess Ocean, wife of master thief Danny Ocean (George Clooney) in Ocean’s Twelve. But it’s also Julia Roberts playing Tess Ocean playing Julia Roberts; after Danny’s plan to swipe a priceless Fabergé egg goes south, it’s up to Tess to finish the job, by posing as the one celebrity she uncannily resembles.
Wednesday, 17 September, 2014
Scott Porch, The Daily Beast
Forty years ago today, Caro’s magisterial 1,296-page life of New York master builder Robert Moses rewrote the rules of biography.
Dennis Overbye, New York Times
It was in 1964 that Dr. Higgs, then a 35-year old assistant professor at the University of Edinburgh, predicted the existence of a new particle — now known as the Higgs boson, or the “God particle” — that would explain how other particles get mass. Half a century later, on July 4, 2012, he pulled out a handkerchief and wiped away a tear as he sat in a lecture hall at CERN, the European Organization of Nuclear Research in Geneva, and heard that his particle had finally been found.
Tuesday, 16 September, 2014
Jennifer Schusessler, New York Times
People may swoon over colorful expressions and interesting etymologies. And Mr. Jurafsky’s book offers plenty of that, including a chapter tracing the complicated global journey that turned the Fujianese fish sauce known as “ke-tchup” into the familiar American red stuff. But for linguists, the less obviously colorful aspects of our food-talk reveals much about the deeper structures of our language and psychology.
Thomas Hobbs, The Guardian
It’s all beefy buzzwords – grass-fed, dry-aged, specially reared, authentically British, generally served up in a glazed brioche bun. All promise to take me to a state of beef burger nirvana. So why then am I so completely bored by it all?
Monday, 15 September, 2014
Winnie Lim, Medium
Why you should write even if you think nobody is reading.
David Roberts, OutsideOnline.com
From my perspective, that time involved a dazzling variety of activities: reading, blogging, gossiping, shopping, listening to music, watching movies. But from Huck’s perspective, I only ever did one thing: sit on my computer. Maybe he had a point.
Laura Miller, The Guardian
It may sound dauntingly experimental, but the hallmark of Smith's fiction is that she approaches her formal adventures with a buoyant, infectious warmth and her feet planted firmly on the ground.
Sunday, 14 September, 2014
L.V. Anderson, Slate
The answer, I recently learned from a colleague who constructs crossword puzzles, is that advanced puzzlers do the diagramless without knowing the location of the first letter of 1 Across. If the clue were given with the puzzle, it would spoil part of the challenge for these highly skilled puzzlers.
Kathryn Hughes, The Guardian
More specifically, he was born in York to a father who worked at the head office of the London & North Eastern. Lulled to sleep by the clanking wagons in Dringhouses marshalling yard, he later learned snooker from the drivers who congregated in the Railway Institute. Best of all, as a manager's son, Martin got a first-class travel pass, which means that he grew up thinking of the British rail network as his own personal train set. He once went to Aberdeen for the day just because he could.
Rebecca Steinitz, The Boston Globe
Because the new Sarah Waters novel, which finds the author at the height of her powers, weaves her characteristic threads of historical melodrama, lesbian romance, class tension, and sinister doings into a fabric of fictional delight that alternately has the reader flipping pages as quickly as possible, to find out what happens next, and hesitating to turn the page, for fear of what will happen next.
David Crystal, The Guardian
A remarkable creativity surrounds the vocabulary of death. The words and expressions range from the solemn and dignified to the jocular and mischievous, and they reflect the changing ways we have thought about life and death over the centuries.
Noam Cohen, New York Times
Never before has the boundary between geek culture and mainstream culture been so porous.
Saturday, 13 September, 2014
Tim Carman, Washington Post
To a trained observer, Samuel Fromartz looks fully at ease as he shapes the pain de campagne loaves while waiting for a final baguette to brown in his home oven on Capitol Hill. But at one point, the veteran journalist pipes up to say he’s feeling out of sorts. This is not how he’s used to baking bread.
Michael Dirda, Washington Post
Some novels are so good, so gripping or shattering that they leave you uncertain whether you should have ever started them. You open “The Paying Guests” and immediately surrender to the smooth assuredness of Sarah Waters’s silken prose. Nothing jars. You relax. You turn more pages. You start turning them faster. Before long, you resemble Coleridge’s Wedding-Guest: You cannot choose but read. The book has you in thrall. You will follow Waters and her story anywhere. Yet when that story ends, you find yourself emotionally sucked dry, as much stunned as exhilarated by the power of art.
Alex Beam, The Boston Globe
Footnotes and me? It’s over.XIV
Friday, 12 September, 2014
Dwight Garner, New York Times
Here, too, the mood is a bit more restrained, as if a yoga instructor had begun to teach Mr. Antrim how to breathe. I will not accuse him of mellowing. If his plotting is less berserk, his prose is as exacting as ever.
Thursday, 11 September, 2014
Jeff Gordinier, New York Times
René Redzepi ignited an international culinary revolution with Noma, his restaurant focused on wildly innovative Nordic cuisine. Now, believing that Mexican food is the next big thing, the Scandinavian wunderkind eats his way across the country to deconstruct its secrets.
A. O. Scott, New York Times
Tony Soprano, Walter White and Don Draper are the last of the patriarchs.
Paul Roberts, The American Scholar
As the economy gets ever better at satisfying our immediate, self-serving needs, who is minding the future?
Alex Abad-Santos, Vox
The popularity of this drink, concocted by Starbucks in 2003, has single-handedly ushered in a new wave of imitators, pumpkin-spiced food objects like Oreos and the rumored pumpkin-spiced condom (despite reports, Durex isn't actually making this condom). At this point, we've reached peak pumpkin-spice and it might be as good a time as any to examine how we got to this point and where we go from here:
Wednesday, 10 September, 2014
Nicholas Lzard, The Guardian
I am in two minds about this epic single-sentence story of mankind's savagery, hailed as one of the most significant novels of the century so far.
A new embrace of imperfect-looking food, compared to the stodgy, pristine look that once dominated the covers of Gourmet, means that what you’re looking at in the pages of a magazine probably does taste as good as it looks.
Tuesday, 9 September, 2014
Tom Vanderbilt, Slate
The history and psychology of hold music.
Steven Moore, Washington Post
Getting a jump on the 90th anniversary of the publication of “The Great Gatsby” (next April 10), Maureen Corrigan reminds us in her engaging new book why F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel is still going strong after nearly a century.
Emily Greenhouse, Dissent
With a clarity of thought and the kind of fury that pangs and never scabs over, she diagnosed, snarled, and illuminated what she considered a central plague of her day: the way our economy limits our creative expressions.
Monday, 8 September, 2014
Andrew Simmons, Slate
These modern-day bacchanals showcase the worst features of American life.
Natalie Angier, New York Times
Nevertheless, astronomers concur that whatever the reason, yes, you should look at the moon early and often, whether it’s waxing or waning, gibbous or crescent, and appreciate the many features that set our moon apart from the other 100-plus moons of the solar system, and even celebrate our loyal satellite as a planet in its own right.
Carol Memmott, Washington Post
Whether you consider his return sacrilegious or stupendous, Poirot joins the growing number of iconic characters whose careers continue long after their creators have died.
Sunday, 7 September, 2014
Kate Kellaway, The Guardian
From the start of this masterly novel, there is a larger sense, as Fiona lies on her chaise longue, that an elegantly established equilibrium is about to be rocked – his other work, if nothing else, makes one sure of it.
Sierra Tishgart, Grub Street
"Are you tired of reading food diaries from people who go to too many restaurants?" Patricia Lockwood wrote us when she sent in this week's Grub Street Diet. "Let's try one from someone who isn't even ALLOWED in a restaurant." Lockwood, the Kansas-based "poet laureate of Twitter," writer behind "Rape Joke," and author of the the book Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals, continued on: "Have you ever noticed how in English, when someone is crazy, it's always in a food way? They're crackers, or they're nuts, or they're a fruitcake, or they're off their crocker (Betty). Well. I just thought I would bring that to your attention, as I spread before you the banquet of this 'bananas' food diary."
Saturday, 6 September, 2014
Sadie Stein, The Paris Review
When you’re traveling, you understand what you really need, or want, or find comforting—what you can do without and what’s essential. In my case, traveling illuminates an addiction to cookbooks.
Jacob Burak, Aeon
Humans are wired for bad news, angry faces and sad memories. Is this negativity bias useful or something to overcome?
John Wilwol, New York Times
“Hold the Dark” is an unnerving and intimate portrayal of nature gone awry. It forces us to confront a menacing otherness that lies beyond the typical order of things. It’s all but bereft of levity, spectacularly violent and exquisitely written. If dust jackets were more than paper and ink, this one would bear blood and frost.
Marcela Valdes, Washington Post
Moscow, June 1945. World War II has ended, but Josef Stalin’s rule has not. Hundreds of soldiers march through the streets in celebration of the great leader’s triumph over the Axis nations. After years of death, fear and deprivation, everyone hopes for a new, more prosperous peacetime. But shortly after the official victory parade ends, an ominous tragedy occurs: Two teenagers fall from gunshot wounds near the Kremlin. Simon Sebag Montefiore’s new novel, “One Night in Winter,” traces the causes and consequences of those adolescent deaths. More cunningly, it tracks Stalin’s manipulation of a utopian dream.
Friday, 5 September, 2014
Yval Noah Harari, The Guardian
Are humans better suited to a hunter-gatherer lifestyle?
Andrew Ross Sorkin, New York Times
“We didn’t know when the last time was that somebody introduced a new course into high school,” Gates told me. “How does one go about it? What did the guy who liked biology — who did he call and say, ‘Hey, we should have biology in high school?’ It was pretty uncharted territory. But it was pretty cool.”
Tim Teeman, The Daily Beast
A whirlwind vector of outrage and hilarity, Joan Rivers was an old-school trouper, at her happiest performing and puncturing the inflated egos of Hollywood.
Alex Ross, New Yorker
The pleasures and frustrations of listening online.
Thursday, 4 September, 2014
Nick Hornby, The Sunday Times
And this is one of the strange things about life as a junior book critic (I was more than 30, but I was definitely a junior): you spend all your life reading, but you can never take part in a conversation about books with your friends. They want to talk about the new Julian Barnes, Ian McEwan or Margaret Atwood; you haven’t got round to any of them, because nobody gives you the big books to review, and you’ve been ploughing through a 500-page first novel that shows only intermittent promise and that your friends will never embark upon, partly because you are about to tell them, in print, not to bother.
Josh Ozersky, Medium
There is a certain kind of food writer, whose work is a labor of love. Their kitchen is the heart of their home, and their work consists of telling of the glories of good cookery. This is not the kind of food writer I am talking about.
Tyler Knott Gregson, The Huffington Post
The urgency, the analog tangible feel of the words being pressed into the paper, the inability to edit or change, I absolutely loved it and I knew it was something I once again needed to be doing. I believe that sometimes, the medium in which art is worked upon can transform the art that is being created, and with my typewriter, I absolutely felt this was true.
Wednesday, 3 September, 2014
Jason Wilson, The Smart Set
During late summers, I become almost fruitarian. Sometimes, nearing the dinner hour, I suddenly realize that the only things I’ve eaten all day have been fresh melon, berries, nectarines, and plums.
Dwight Garner, New York Times
In “10:04,” he’s written a striking and important novel of New York City, partly because he’s so cognizant of both past and present. He’s a walker in the city in conscious league with Walt Whitman, but also with writers up through Teju Cole, whose protagonists are wide-awake flâneurs.
Kevin Kelly, Medium
The last 30 years has created a marvelous starting point, a solid platform to build truly great things. However the coolest stuff has not been invented yet — although this new greatness will not be more of the same-same that exists today. It will not be merely “better,” it will different, beyond, and other. But you knew that.
What you may not have realized is that today truly is a wide open frontier. It is the best time ever in human history to begin.
Tuesday, 2 September, 2014
Ugh Schofield, BBC
American writer Ernest Hemingway had close links with Paris. He first lived there in 1920 and played a marginal, much-mythologised, role in the 1944 liberation of the city. But now, 70 years on, memories of the author are starting to fade.
Alice LaPlante, Washington Post
Perhaps the most poignant moment in “King Lear” occurs when Lear, on the cusp of losing his mind, cries out, “O, let me not be mad, not mad, sweet heaven; keep me in temper; I would not be mad!” Echoes of Lear’s terror resound through Matthew Thomas’s stunning first novel, “We Are Not Ourselves,” as one of the pivotal characters succumbs to the ravages of early-onset Alzheimer’s.
John Paul Titlow, Fast Company
In 2008, launching a search engine seemed like a crazy idea. Here's how Gabriel Weinberg proved the critics wrong.
Monday, 1 September, 2014
Trevor Baker, The Guardian
From lasagne sandwiches to chicken tikka-flavoured Blackpool rock, Britons' eagerness to embrace 'foreign food' has resulted in some atrocities that other nations find hard to stomach.
John Kampfner, The Guardian
A passionate account of injustice reveals the lies peddled by our leaders.
Michele Willens, New York Times
Yes, my generation, born between 1946 and 1964, has physical concerns: Friends are dying, joints are aching, and memories are failing. There are financial issues, with forced retirement and unemployment, children needing money and possibly a bed, and dependent parents. But for many of us, it is a psychological quandary that is causing the most unpleasantness: looking around and suddenly being the oldest.