In this week’s newsletter: fish tales, ear and eye candy, and more...

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A newsletter from the desk of Austin Kleon
Rockwell Kent Moby-Dick

Hey y’all,

Here are 10 things I thought were worth sharing this week: 

  1. 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 
  2. A while back I wrote about Melville’s marginalia and reading the right book at the right time.
  3. Jean-Michel Basquiat once copied out the entirety of Moby-Dick’s table of contents
  4. Poem: “Things to Do in the Belly of a Whale
  5. 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.  
  6. “Babies eat books. But they spit out wads of them that can be taped back together...
  7. 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.
  8. 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.) 
  9. Ear (psycho)candy: I’ve been blasting The Velvet Underground’s Matrix Tapes in the studio.
  10. Get lost in 40 years of the Fresh Air archives.
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Austin Kleon

Austin Kleon is the author of Steal Like An Artist and other books.

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