Posts Tagged: Things To Read

Weekend Indulgences

Some things to take in during this CALM BEFORE THE STORM weekend….

• How do you solve the problem of hiking? Surprise, it's with audiobooks.

• What do you do on the Day of the Goose? Spoiler… it doesn't end well for the geese.

• Should you be a telemarketer? No, it's insanely hard. (I was so bad at it.) And yet, if it's that or making coffee in Brooklyn, how will you decide?

• Here's a flashback maybe you missed from December that we're rereading: Jenny Kutner's story about her eighth-grade history teacher. (We got back to it via their triple-murder story.)



What If I Said You Could Learn Everything You Wanted To Know About Turkey In Under 30 Minutes… For Free? Is This Offer Too Good To Be True? You Tell Me

Joke on Turkish social media is that PM Erdogan wants to raze this Twitter thing to build a replica of an Ottoman Barracks in its place.

— Zeynep Tufekci (@zeynep) February 5, 2014

Taksim, in the center of the city’s European side, is considered the heart of Istanbul. The square itself surrounds tiny Gezi Park and is covered with concrete and filled with traffic, but the absence of buildings offers at least a sense of free space. Erdogan wanted to close the square to cars, build tunnels for them beneath it and replace Gezi Park and its rows of sycamore trees with a giant shopping center designed to [...]


All The Drunk Dudes: The Parodic Manliness Of The Alcoholic Writer

It’s difficult not to romanticize a link between writing and drinking. Wisdom hurts, so the more wisdom a writer has, the harder the writer will try to drown it with alcohol. Or maybe it isn’t wisdom that needs to be drowned; it’s the inner editor. Or maybe the great passion that leads to great writing also leads to great drinking. Or maybe… anyway, there must be some connection, so can we please put down our horrible manuscripts and pour ourselves some bourbon already?

There is no romanticizing in The Trip to Echo Spring, British journalist Olivia Laing’s new group biography of six alcoholic writers—Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tennessee Williams, [...]


A First Halloween After Prison

Each year, "The Castle"—a West Harlem halfway house whose nickname comes from its miniature lookout towers and its gray crenellations—puts on a Halloween celebration for its residents and the general public. As a huge fan of Halloween, which is not generally observed in my native Germany, I was eager to be there when Angel, one of 60 or so halfway house residents, celebrated it for the first time in more than three decades.

I had been reporting on Angel's life since shortly after his release from prison in March of 2007. In 1978, shortly after turning 18, Angel had murdered a 16-year-old girl. He was 47 when he was [...]


The Year America Caught Up To Thomas Pynchon

In Inherent Vice, a perhaps minor novel by Thomas Pynchon, that great chronicler of history at an angle, the pothead detective Doc Sportello frequently runs into, and gets help from, some science geeks—proto-nerds who use a semi-privatized version of ARPANET to help Sportello get info on the various people he’s hazily tracking.

These are seemingly throwaway characters, just a few minor notes in the typical Pynchonian symphony of bizarre names and tangled plot strands and sinister conspiracies. But they are more than that. They are the prophets of our modern world, where everything is connected, and where not only can anyone with the right access track everyone else, [...]


What Youngsters Are You Fabulous Writers Reading?

Yesterday we cornered Brooklyn Book Festival panelists and asked them: who do you like among the younger generation of writers? Some of them had great answers!

Claire Messud, The Woman Upstairs

Gosh, the younger generation being under what? [“That’s up to you.”] You know, I’m a big fan of Sheila Heti. Does she count as the younger generation? She’s over thirty, though, she’s 35. [She’ll be 37 on Christmas.] Turn it off a for second, I just have to think! Because I’ve been mostly reading old and dead people, lately, so it takes me a minute to—turn that off! [The recorder is turned off. Then turned back on.] There’s a [...]


"To Hell With You": A Massive Online Comedy Of Reading

You might remember Rudolph Delson as the fellow who reviewed all those vice presidential memoirs right here, when you and he and Sarah Palin were all so young and so promising. Or you might not!

Well now here is his latest project: a vast on-line comedy, an adventure through New York City to the Land of the Dead. You can marry any of four women named Pippa. You can hang out with optimistic capitalists, or with misanthropic ecologists, or with your father, or you can spend entire chapters alone aboard a sailboat on the Pacific. You can see San Francisco after the collapse of Western Civilization. You [...]


"Do What You Love"—Oh, But Not That! On Recognizing Sex Work As Work

Astra Taylor’s forthcoming book The People’s Platform, about who has power and who gets paid in the age of the Internet, mentions the following quote about the virtues of “open-source” (read: unpaid) labor from Internet guru Yochai Benkler:

“Remember, money isn’t always the best motivator. If you leave a fifty-dollar check after dinner with friends, you don’t increase the probability of being invited back. And if dinner doesn’t make it entirely obvious, think of sex.”

That quote, unsurprisingly, is from a TED Talk. The talk's audience chose to reflexively laugh rather than actually think about sex or about work. It doesn’t seem to occur to anyone in the audience [...]


"We Create Community And We Create Space"

I ask myself everyday, why am I doing what I am doing, and what does it matter? Let work flow from there.

— Latoya Peterson (@LatoyaPeterson) January 29, 2014

Here is an extremely mindful essay by Latoya Peterson on yoga, behavior, blogging, race, strife, failure, practice, priorities, difference, empathy and capitalism.


The World Is Full Of Trash

Adam Minter's Junkyard Planet, new this week from Bloombury Press, is available from all sorts of places:

Barnes & Noble

McNally Jackson


Your local independent

In addition, Minter is appearing tonight, November 13th, at 6 p.m. at the New School.

It's a book one might call “a lifetime in the making.” For the last dozen years, Adam Minter has lived in Shanghai, writing about the global scrap industry, the fortunes it created, the lives and environments it's ruined and how its fortunes paralleled those of the pre- and post-crash global economy. The result is Junkyard Planet, [...]


The End Of Interns

Our government runs on unpaid internships. During the recent shutdown, as many federal staff members were laid off, unpaid interns filled in the gap. Although considered volunteers, they were doing the work of a five or six figure salary just for the heck of it. That exciting opportunity to work for free may sound appealing to eager college graduates wanting to climb up the career ladder, pad their resume, and avoid working at the local plastic flower factory, but from a labor perspective it’s abominable. There’s no reason why they shouldn’t be paid. If the government can’t pay the people it takes to run the government, then there [...]


There Oughta Be A German Word For Everything—Oh Wait, There Is

IndieboundMcNally JacksonAmazonPowell'sPenguin

We've all thought: hey, there oughta be a German word for that. (Have we ever.) Now here comes Schottenfreude, from our Internet pal Ben Schott—it's coming down the pike in a month. You can get it from your book vendor of choice.

And mark your calendars for what will surely be a very serious lecture at Cooper Union on November 1.


How Is The Artist To Survive In Society? Ask A Muppet

Perhaps you remember the very excellent "Weekend At Kermie's: The Muppets' Strange Life After Death," published here back in summer of 2011. That has led to a very exciting new Kindle Serial: Make Art Make Money: Lessons from Jim Henson on Fueling Your Creative Career. And here is a big excerpt over on Longreads today.


How To Talk Like Shakespeare

Daniel Fromson's Finding Shakespeare is the tale of a troubled Vietnam veteran turned amateur actor named Hamilton Meadows who became obsessed with a question: what did Shakespeare really sound like? The full story is new this week from Atavist. That's just $2.99 for a month, or $19.99 for a whole year!

A few years ago, while I was living in Washington, D.C., I became curious about a small, apple turnover-shaped landmass in the Chesapeake Bay: Tangier Island. On Halloween, 2011—after reading about the place on and off for a year or so—I came across a story in the Salisbury, Maryland, Daily Times. A “New York City [...]


They're Watching You On Email, On Reddit, On The Phone, At The Mall. What Are You Going To Do?

In addition to her work on privacy at ProPublica, Julia Angwin's Dragnet Nation is available today wherever booksellers are spying on you.


McNally Jackson



An independent bookstore near you

You are being tracked. Besides comprehensive government spying, there are hundreds of data brokers compiling and selling information about you: Phone records, texts, phone location, computer location, web history, social networking use, background checks, credit history and now even entrance to some retail stores, with facial recognition linking you to your online data.

Julia Angwin, a reporter for ProPublica who was on a Pulitzer-winning team [...]


Why Can't We Really Care About Climate Change?

There is a passage early on in McKenzie Funk’s book, Windfall: The Booming Business of Global Warming, that ticks through so many world-gone-crazy anecdotes that maybe aren’t but probably are related to a changing climate that the mind boggles. Drought-crazed camels would soon rampage through a village in Australia, a manatee would swim past Chelsea Piers in New York City’s Hudson River…. Armadillos were reaching northeast Arkansas. Wolves ate dogs in Alaska. Fire consumed fifty million acres of Siberia. Greenland lost a hundred gigatons of ice. The Inuit got air-conditioning units…. In retrospect, this was the moment that we began to believe in global warming—not in the abstract science [...]


Nine Things To Read: This Week In History


Monsters A Guide to the Spooky Scary Secret Monsters of Every State | October 31st, 2012 Hurricane Sandy Brooklyn Smug Reaches New Hideous Heights | October 31st, 2012 Listicle Without Commentary The United States, In Order Of Their Contribution To American Music [...]

Williamsburg Before The Condos: The Soundtrack of an Unplanned Waterfront

Few musical ensembles are so thoroughly synonymous with New York City’s underground scene as the Hungry March Band. Over the past fifteen years they have established themselves as the band that will play anywhere and everywhere, at any time and under all circumstances. Dedicated to “in your face” encounters with mostly unsuspecting audiences, they are a “public” marching band and frequently take to the streets with their instruments, whether they have been invited to do so or not. Once dubbed “Best Anarchist Parade Group” by the Village Voice, HMB gave performances on the streets, sidewalks, and subways of the city that are legendary. The band is large, loud, and [...]


"They Did An Art": Life After Horse

Now more than ever, giving a follow to the New York Review of Bots might be handy to your lifestyle:

Welcome to the New York Review of Bots, a professional journal of automated-agent studies. We aspire to the highest standards of rigorous analysis, but will often just post things we liked that a computer made.

Here is their Horse_ebooks semi-eulogy.


Biking Through The End Of Days

"The man put the boy on the handlebars of the bicycle.

It had once been blue. Streaks of cerulean remained in the spectral lines of dulled gray aluminum. It was heavy and his leg ached as he pedaled.

Who used to ride this bicycle, Papa?

No one person rode this bicycle. The bike was shared by everyone who could pay.

Did the people who shared the bikes carry the fire?

They thought they carried the fire."

See you then.