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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Live Alone, But Die In A Very Large Group If You Can, by Jim Behrle, The Awl

Human beings were never meant to live with one another. We’re just not built for it. Adam and Eve, look how they fucked that relationship up. Blaming each other, listening to snakes. Their sons killing each other. All we do is get on each other’s nerves, constantly, for almost no reason. Basically all American sitcoms are about how impossible it is to cohabitate with anyone, including our families. If we were smart we would have long ago adopted those Japanese Hotel Pods everywhere. Make them sound proof, so I don’t have to hear my neighbor’s Creed CDs on full blast. Lock yourself in and everyone just live and sleep in dark, soundproof, lonely silence. We think humans are the cure for loneliness. But the cure is probably robots. Or at least, talking boxes.

Fish Depression Is Not A Joke, by Heather Murphy, New York Times

But what has convinced Dr. Pittman, and others, over the past ten years is watching the way the zebrafish lose interest in just about everything: food, toys, exploration — just like clinically depressed people.

“You can tell,” said Culum Brown, a behavioral biologist at Macquarie University in Sydney who has published more than 100 papers on fish cognition. “Depressed people are withdrawn. The same is true of fish.”

An Unflinching Take On Love And War: Charmaine Craig’s “Miss Burma”, by Rosalie Metro, Los Angeles Review of Books

Miss Burma reminds us that there is no nation-state on earth that wasn’t built around exclusion and violence. Craig has called writing this novel “a political act”; it is also clearly a deeply personal one. She weaves those threads together for us, showing us the ordinary human failings behind what often seem like clear-cut cases of good and evil.

“Lack of courage keeps us from understanding others’ perspectives,” a fellow political prisoner tells Benny. While this novel cannot untangle ethnic identity from tribalism, it is a courageous attempt to broaden the way we see others and ourselves, both personally and politically, at home and abroad.

Breathing New Life Into Ancient Stories, by Scott Lankford, Los Angeles Review of Books

Award-winning Native American author Greg Sarris’s new collection of stories, How a Mountain Was Made, presents a stunning array of ancient California Coast-Miwok narratives freely reimagined as contemporary allegories. The tales are deeply rooted in the past, present, and future of the Northern California landscape.