I love Pocket — I really do. Being able to save longer stories for later, especially in the stripped-down, no-ads version that lets you best concentrate on the ideas and images, is great. But I have outdone myself in much the same way I have outdone myself rediscovering how much I love the public library system: I just have too many things I want to read or share right now. This week has been a good week for big stories! That book review about Hitler that’s a deadpan subtweet of Donald Trump; that gorgeous Michael Chabon piece about his high fashion–loving son, with that perfect, perfect ending; that profile of Maryland state’s attorney Marilyn Mosby, which a friend was raving about on Facebook, so I saved it.
I’m a bit overwhelmed. So we’ll get to those after the weekend. For now, glad as I am for an embarrassment of riches, here are some other good, important stories that have popped up over the last week.
My parents never let me play video games, although I did have a computer I spent endless hours on, out of the fresh air and sunlight, writing epics about the American teenaged girl whom all four Beatles fall in love with. However, the BioShock games have always intrigued me, not least for their amazing visual language and use of mid-century popular music. David Sims, writing for the Atlantic, talks about how BioShock “mocked video game morality.” Pair this with Imaginary Worlds’ episode earlier this year on Undertale, which takes a totally different approach.
My love of baseball pretty much starts and stops with A League of Their Own, but I can’t help but be heartsick at the news of Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez’s death this week in a boating accident. Ryan Cortes, writing for the Undefeated, puts who and what we’ve lost into context.
There’s a journalism school at the state university in my hometown, so I’ve seen a lot of poverty porn, especially from photojournalism students, about Athens, Ohio. Little did I expect this week to hear WNYC travel to the poorest county in Ohio to see what all the media attention has done for Appalachians most in need. (Spoiler alert, straight from the mouth of the dad of childhood friends: not much.) This is an ongoing series, so I’m excited to see what the On the Media crew will tell us about the rest of the state — even if Ohio is no longer the bellwether it’s cracked up to be.
The news is loud and horrible, everyone is stressed out and “Noise Is a Drug and New York Is Full of Addicts,” from Nautilus, pretty much says it all. As I type this, I hear my next-door neighbor’s incessant addiction to reggaeton loud and clear through my paper-thin walls; later this afternoon will come the Mr. Softee ice cream truck, which both circles the neighborhood and lurks right under my window, seemingly. Not to get sentimental, but honestly, my best moments sometimes are just getting to listen to the wind in the trees.
It doesn’t have to be this way, though! I promise there’s still good stuff out there, even if we still have, what, 10 weeks of election left and whatever else is coming our way in 2016. (If nothing else, at least we probably won’t have the collapse of a major political party on our hands. Probably. If that’s really a good thing.)
All Songs Considered spent 20 minutes recently talking with the lovely, lilting Lisa Hannigan, who has a new album out for the first time in five years. The music sounds great, but her interview is also not only a pleasure for the ears, but touches on some good thoughts about unexpected collaboration and letting yourself experiment freely.
Shaun Tan is one of my favorite illustrators/storytellers (that’s his work in the featured image up top, from the great Tales From Outer Suburbia), and the Financial Times has a wonderful deep-dive look at his Oscar- and other-things-winning work. Definitely check out his weird, surreal, gorgeous interpretation of the world — he has a lot to say about immigration, dislocation and identity.
Art Spiegelman, whom you’ve heard of as the creator of the seminal Maus, collected what he considers a number of one-page graphic novels for The New Yorker, spanning a number of decades and styles and surprises.
In this week of yet again blaming millennials for any number of unconnected societal ills, Pacific Standard investigates whether, on the charge of my generation not having enough sex, the Baby Boomers are really the baseline we want to use.
The winter weather advisory has passed in New York, and I am still on my way to an opening day matinee of Hail Caesar! in a few hours. Frankly, I’m interested in fun stuff right now. Sometimes the hideous, heart-hurting stuff gets to be too much. It’s okay to linkspam fun links. Moreover, it’s just one of those days.
It’s particularly one of those days because NPR highlighted the Food Surgeon and his oddly unnerving but utterly engrossing dissections and reconstructions of foods that were never meant to be combined. It’s like watching the Victor Frankenstein of test kitchens.
Using methods more often seen in biology, researchers have found that not only are fairy tales much older than we thought, but at least one them demonstrably dates back to the Bronze Age.
Crafting types, just in case there ever is an apocalypse on the way, you can stock up on supplies for all your dystopian knitwear needs.
Look, I switched from Android to my iPhone for its camera. Looks like I made my choice for the right reasons.
Sunday was a big night for me: Though I’ve participated in National Novel Writing Month several times and finished that 50,000-word story a few times in the past, this year was the first time I crossed the finish line a full day before the end of November. The story is all over the place and I’m trying to take a break before I revise it, but I’m pleased with it, as a start and as a personal symbol. It may not be writing for money, but it’s a good reminder that I can get the big jobs done.
Last night was my first night off from noveling in four weeks, so I did what any sensible person who can only handle so much amazing-but-harrowing Jessica Jones would and discovered The Great British Bake Off. It’s somehow both incredibly stressful and incredibly soothing to watch these earnest, lovely people put together gorgeous baked goods in a beautiful tent on an English country manor. Everyone is just so nice and helpful and genuinely interested in each other’s success. Time to make the world Mary Berry & Co. think we could be.
I read “On Pandering” this week too; yes, it really is as important a sucker-punch as all the retweets claim. If you don’t know what it’s about, ask yourself these questions: Where does the patriarchy live, and who are we writing for?