Here are 10 things I thought were worth sharing this week:
Thanks for reading. If you like this newsletter and want to support it, forward it to someone who’d like it or, even better, buy them a copy of Keep Going!
- Yesterday was Herman Melville’s 200th birthday. His masterpiece, Moby-Dick, basically ruined his career and he died mostly forgotten. (Here’s how The New York Times covered him over the years.) Jill Lepore recently published a lovely essay about his domestic life. Other than Melville’s books, all of which are free and in the public domain, I recommend Bryan Waterman’s 5 tips for reading Moby-Dick, Nathaniel Philbrick’s short book, Why Read Moby-Dick? and the Twitter feed, @mobydickatsea.
- A while back I wrote about Melville’s marginalia and reading the right book at the right time.
- Jean-Michel Basquiat once copied out the entirety of Moby-Dick’s table of contents.
- Poem: “Things to Do in the Belly of a Whale”
- I read The Book of Jonah a couple of times, and finished Carlo Collodi’s The Adventures of Pinocchio. In the book, Pinocchio is swallowed by The Terrible Dogfish (or a “shark,” in the translation I read), but in the Disney movie, he’s swallowed by a sperm whale.
- “Babies eat books. But they spit out wads of them that can be taped back together...”
- Frank O’Hara said, “Mothers of America / let your kids go to the movies!” Writer Elizabeth McCracken (author of one of my favorite books I read this year) does one better: she and her daughter go to the movies together.
- To watch: the new Ursula K. Le Guin documentary is playing on PBS tonight. (Also: you might want to give The Master another viewing, although I remember liking the teaser trailers for that movie more than the actual movie.)
- Ear (psycho)candy: I’ve been blasting The Velvet Underground’s Matrix Tapes in the studio.
- Get lost in 40 years of the Fresh Air archives.
If you’re seeing this newsletter for the first time, you can subscribe here.