Early in his career as a narrator of audiobooks, George Guidall received a note from a truck driver in Montana. The man had been so absorbed in listening to Mr. Guidall’s eloquent recording of “Crime and Punishment” that he drove off the road. He was writing from his hospital bed to thank Mr. Guidall because he now had time to finish listening to the book.
In short: Coffee. With the advent of the doughnut machine, doughnuts became more common in bakeries across the country. And since most bakeries were already serving a good ol’ cup of joe for people to buy with their morning bread, by sheer association, the doughnut, too, became a plausible breakfast item.
“Thought” is the title’s keyword. Mr McCrum is fascinated by both the physiology of the brain and how humans—particularly members of his own generation—think about dying. Baby-boomers, he argues, live in a “fantasy of immortality” fostered by advances in medicine, the cult of the independent self and capitalism’s emphasis on perpetual growth. As a hospice clinician puts it: “Western society sees death as a failure.”
Cities change. The neighborhoods we fall in love with as natives and newcomers can metamorphose slowly, or overnight. Those who can stick around shoulder the loss and move on, hardened to the next wave of inevitable transformation.
But if the latest tide of urban change seems different—too glassy, too uniform, too corporate to be natural; more like a siege than a shift—you’re not alone. In Vanishing New York: How a Great City Lost Its Soul, author Jeremiah Moss nails a valuable argument: New York City’s current state of “hyper-gentrification,” as he calls it, is no passive turn of the free market, but the culmination of a calculated takeover by elites decades in the making.