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In this week’s newsletter: paper as a wonderful technology, the children’s section, and more...

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A newsletter from the desk of Austin Kleon
soaked notebook

Hey y’all,

The tour continues. Tonight I’m at Parnassus Books in Nashville, then I’m home for the weekend, and next week I’m in Chicago, Milwaukee, River Falls, Wisconsin, and back to Chicago again for How Design Live. (More dates here.)
 
Here are 10 things I thought were worth sharing this week: 

  1. Phones smash, notebooks bend. (Paper is a wonderful technology!)
     
  2. Want some quick knowledge? Visit the children’s section.
     
  3. A popular question during recent Q&As is: “How do you read so much?” The truth is, I haven’t been reading much at all for the past month or so. When I get an extra minute, I’m either writing a letter to my wife in my diary, or I’m blogging or answering email. I’m currently reading Katherine Dunn’s lecture, On Cussing and I’m still reading Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, which is good and creepy, but puts me to sleep in five minutes. (Sometimes the most valuable book on your nightstand is the one that puts you to sleep!)
     
  4. Samuel Johnson: “The two most engaging powers of an author are to make new things familiar, and familiar things new.”
     
  5. Gary Snyder: “Like most writers, I don’t educate myself sequentially, but more like a hawk or eagle always circling and finding things that might have been overlooked.”
     
  6. One of my favorite things to do on the road: sit in a diner booth, fill a notebook, and enjoy the magic of mundane spaces. (Another road thing I love: Art at the airport!)
     
  7. Worth streaming: I’m giving the new Criterion Channel a spin. Their iOS app lets you sync movies to your device, so it’s good for travel. Like their precursor, Filmstruck, the subtitles for English films are, as far as I can tell, non-existent, which is a huge bummer. I watched The Maysles Brothers’ documentary about Bible salesmen, Salesman, for the first time. (I also love their movie Grey Gardens.)
     
  8. Ear candy: I’m obsessed with this Kacey Musgraves reworking of “Neon Moon,” and I’ve been playing an old favorite, Elvis Costello’s Get Happy!! (Rolling Stone: “This is an album that springs straight from the tensions and interruptions of life on the road...”)
     
  9. RIP designer Quentin Fiore, who designed several books that influenced mine, including Marshall McLuhan’s The Medium is the Massage and R. Buckminster Fuller’s I Seem To Be A Verb. (You can read more about those books and the era that spawned them in The Electric Information Age Book.) 
     
  10. RIP director John Singleton. RIP poet Les Murray.
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 book!

If you’re seeing this newsletter for the first time, you can subscribe here.

xoxo, 

Austin

PS. If you come see me on the road, you get a different drawing for each book! (Thanks to @scottjoy for the photo.)
Austin Kleon

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

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