Here are 10 things I thought were worth sharing this week:
Thanks for reading. This newsletter is free, but not cheap. To show your support, forward it to someone who’d like it or buy a book, buy some of my favorite gear (good stocking stuffers + I get a cut), or buy a t-shirt.
- There is no finish line.
- Back in August, my friend Mike Monteiro organized a #perfect31 record challenge on Instagram, and it was great fun. This month we’re doing it with books, except Instagram has totally screwed us by hiding the most recent posts on hashtags. (If anybody has a connection there who could help, put me in touch?) Anyways, my 3 perfect books so far, if you don’t follow me on Instagram: Blexbolex’s Ballad, Joe Brainard’s I Remember, and Charles Portis’s True Grit. (List is also on Bookshop.)
- How to break in a Sharpie.
- Vanity Fair interviews Billie Eilish for a fourth consecutive year.
- ’Tis the season of list-making. Some of my favorite critics already have their year-end lists out: for music, Amanda Petrusich and Ted Gioia; for books, Dwight Garner; and for movies, Stephanie Zacharek. (I save my year-end lists for the year’s end, but I did made a scratch list of my favorite movies 2010-2020.)
- Eye candy: 12,000-year-old rock art discovered in a remote Amazon forest is called “The Sistine Chapel of the ancients.”
- Ear candy: Spotify released their Wrapped report of year-end listening habits. My Top Songs of 2020 playlist is funny to compare to my ongoing 2020 playlist, where I dump every song I like as the year progresses, like a musical diary. (My most-played song of 2020 is Pet Shop Boys’ “West End Girls” because I listened to it on an endless loop while writing a book proposal that I later spiked — ha!) One of my favorite playlists is my “to listen 2020” playlist, where I dump every album I want to listen to. It’s aspirational: if I don’t know what to listen to, I put it on shuffle and let it play, knowing there's no chance I'll ever get through it.
- TV: the German spy series Deutschland '83 totally sucked us in. (Great soundtrack.)
- I wrote about how much I love having a piano in the home.
- In case you missed it: my new audiobook is out now!
If you’re seeing this newsletter for the first time, you can read previous issues and subscribe here.