In this week’s newsletter: reading recommendations, eye and ear candy, and more...

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A newsletter from the desk of Austin Kleon

Hey y’all,

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

  1. It’s late August in Texas and my brain is melted, so I kind of blew off this week. Barely made anything new. Barely answered my email. Read a lot. Watched a lot of TV. Posted records to the #perfect31 challenge on my Instagram. Played some Donkey Kong on our ancient Wii with the kids. I know I’ve said it a million times, but one thing that is getting me through these days is not starting them with my phone. Every day I avoid morning doomscrolling and get some airplane mode in is a good one.
  2. After finishing Everything She Touched: The Life of Ruth Asawa, I watched the 1977 short documentary, Ruth Asawa: Of  Forms and Growth. (Here’s a clip.) Author Marilyn Chase was just on Bullseye with Jesse Thorn(Thorn went to the arts high school Ruth helped found in San Francisco.) I’ve also been looking at the work of Imogen Cunningham, who took so many of the great photos of Asawa and her work.
  3. I started Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste: The Origins of our Discontents after critic Dwight Garner called it “an instant American classic,” and it gripped me immediately. (Her previous book, The Warmth of Other Suns, was recommended several times as a book with an unusual but brilliant structure.) 
  4. I read one Ray Bradbury short story every night before bed this past week: “The Fog Horn,” “The Toynbee Convector,” “The Skeleton,” “A Sound of Thunder,” “The Veldt,” and “The Rocket.” I forgot how great it is to read fiction before it’s time to dream. (Gonna try his Bag of Words exercise soon.) 
  5. How to add more play to your grown-up life, even now. (A four-year-old will get you unstuck.)
  6. Ear candy: I’ve been working to this 1987 recording of fog horns in the San Francisco bay.
  7. Eye candy: we re-watched Master and Commander, and I couldn’t get over how great it is, and what a bummer it is we never got a sequel. (It’s streaming on Hulu, as is Wild Nights With Emily, another movie we enjoyed.)
  8. On Netflix: John Was Trying to Contact Aliensa film about a man in northern Michigan who used Kraftwerk, Fela Kuti, and other fascinating music to try to lure aliens to Earth
  9. RIP Sir Ken Robinson, whose TED Talk, “Do Schools Kill Creativity?” is one of the best I’ve ever seen. 
  10. Reminder: I’m signing a big batch of my books at Bookpeople next week, so get those orders in if you’d like a personalized copy. (They ship everywhere!) 
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 or a t-shirt.

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Austin Kleon

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

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Austin Kleon
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