Here are 10 things I thought were worth sharing this week:
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- The popular writing advice is: “Kill your darlings.” But what if you just relocate them?
- A list of good books I read this spring. My summer reading is off to a really good start: I’m halfway through Larry McMurtry’s In A Narrow Grave: Essays on Texas and Sarah Ruhl’s forthcoming Smile: The Story of a Face. (If the second half of the latter is as good as the first half, I might pick it for our book club.)
- A portrait of my brain working on 3 talks.
- People worry about their good ideas getting stolen, but bad ideas get stolen plenty.
- Wednesday night I’m having an online chat with Daniel Oppenheimer about his book Far From Respectable and art critic Dave Hickey. You can register here.
- Ear candy: Joni Mitchell’s Blue is 50 years old. (I love that album, but I can’t read so many people gushing about it without thinking of Emma Thompson.) For a record that’s pretty stripped down, a listen to the new EP of demos and outtakes highlighted for me how much the session players added to the vibe. (See: James Taylor’s playing on “A Case of You” and Sneaky Pete Kleinow’s pedal steel on “California.”)
- Poem: a beautiful close reading of Elizabeth Bishop’s “One Art.”
- More ear candy: I’m a new fan of the band Dry Cleaning. Here’s a full set of theirs at a BBC music festival earlier this year. They could be grouped into the “Post-Brexit New Wave,” which you can hear more of in this Spotify playlist. (Like my other favorite acts in the genre, Sleaford Mods and Billy Nomates, Dry Cleaning have a sense of humor that I feel is lacking in most contemporary art.)
- Worth streaming: from this list of The 21 Best Comedies of the 21st Century (So Far), my favorites are Curb Your Enthusiasm, Atlanta, Better Things, Chappelle’s Show, Veep, and the first 3 seasons of Arrested Development, which star Jason Bateman once brilliantly described as “The Royal Tenenbaums shot like Cops.” I would add: Fleabag, What We Do in the Shadows, Detectorists, Catastrophe, and Derry Girls. (And maybe even more.)
- RIP writer Janet Malcolm. She wrote for The New Yorker for almost six decades, so her archive is massive. My wife Meghan recommends her piece about Virginia Woolf’s sister, “A House of One’s Own.”
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PS. Thanks to R.J. Julia Booksellers for this excellent photo of Keep Going. I hope to stop in and shop someday.