Links We Loved This Week — 2/24/17

This week seems to be the week that male pop culture figures do surprising things.

  • Tom Hanks is publishing a book of short stories … about typewriters (via AV Club). Which kind of makes me think he played the wrong part in You’ve Got Mail.
  • Chuck Palahniuk has published a coloring book (via Paste). This interview also reveals another famous-man-doing-surprising-things factoid: Stephen King privately distributes a small novel as a Christmas gift each year.

Critics are really liking The Good Fight–possibly more than we did. Rotten Tomatoes has it at 100% so far!

  • Pop Matters writes, “The Good Fight is great. It’s not good, friends. It’s great.” This one’s really interesting because it sees the whole “you can only get it if you pay CBS $6 a month for their shitty streaming service” not as a perverse form of self-sabotage on the part of the network (which is how I saw it) but as a signal of glass-ceiling breaking: a female-led, racially diverse drama being used as the draw for a premium service. A really good point!
  • The Hollywood Reporter writes that the show has “above-average brains, structure and humor, the kind of strong mainstream network drama that’s always welcome, only with cursing.” Ahh, the cursing!
  • Michael Ausiello gives it only a B+ but writes, “Baranski makes a helluva leading lady.”

Links We Loved This Week — 1/27/17

Let’s be real. There’s only one thing we’re reading about this week, and it has nothing to do with books or movies or TV. In fact, this creature we are obsessively reading about doesn’t even READ books. A fascinating specimen, isn’t he? (Just ask him!)

Here, inspired by the magic of Google’s auto-complete search box, is a giant collection of listicles: books that the world WISHES Trump would read. Taken together, it is a grand list of books about social justice, science, history, civics, logic, and morality. You know, all those niche topics that he hasn’t really had time to grasp the basics of yet.

Elle has some great, surprising choices, including one about Japanese internment camps. And who knew Ta-Nehisi Coates had written a graphic novel? Not me!

Book Riot has a list of seven, including several great books on racism and, oddly, How to Win Friends and Influence People, like, I think he’s got more influence than he deserves already, mk?

Washington Post went basic (but all strong choices), with Washington, King, and Roosevelt. And the Constitution, though we all know Trump’s not interested in THAT.

NPR went scientific, wishing that Mr. “Let’s just Build Up Our Arsenal” would educate himself on the history and science of nuclear weaponry.

The Washington Independent Review of Books has really good stuff on its list, with War and Peace alongside The Once and Future King, though it’s noticeably short on the “educate Trump about how racism is bad” thing.

Inc.com, somewhat surprisingly, put together a totally legit reading list for our fearless illiterate, including The New Jim Crow, which is amazing and was also on Book Riot’s list.

 

 

Links We Loved This Week – 1/20/17

It may be 2017, but the internet, including us, is not done talking about the Gilmore Girls revival:

McSweeney’s published a hilarious rejection letter of Rory’s memoir.

The Millions has an essay on how Rory’s changes reflected the changed political mood of the new millennium. It’s quite brilliant, even though it woefully misquotes a scene, attributing one of Lorelai’s funniest lines to the undeserving Rory.

Meanwhile, elsewhere on the Internet:

The NYT wrote about the books that got Obama through the presidency. Among them are Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad, which I liked a lot but perhaps didn’t love, and The Three-Body Problem, which Keets definitely loved.

In Bitch Magazine, there’s an insightful exploration of the vastness of Jane Eyre‘s influence on feminist and female literature.

Links We Loved This Week – 1/13/17

Because of library software that automates purging of unpopular books, these librarians created a fake patron to “save” the unpopular titles they believed were too valuable to be purged. Boing Boing writes, “The problem here isn’t the collection of data: it’s the blind adherence to data over human judgment, the use of data as a shackle rather than a tool.”

There’s a new full trailer for The Good Fight. The trailer is very, “See? Aren’t you glad it’s on CBS: All Access? It has bare butts! And the f-word!” And I’m embarrassed to say it worked on me.

Avid.ly, LARB’s fan blog, argues that Gilmore Girls’ obsession with Clinton was just papering over their Reagan-esque neoliberalism. Fascinating piece.

This little infographic about 11 Disney Princesses whose eyes are literally bigger than their stomachs reminds me of me and my sister’s first act of feminist activism: angry handwritten letters to Disney about their princesses’ unrealistic bodies.

 

 

Shelter in Place – Alexander Maksik

Joseph March, the hero of Alexander Maksik’s novel Shelter In Place, has two problems: tar, and a bird. The tar is the black, creeping heaviness of his depression, which comes along with periods of mania; the bird is the painful part, the part that pierces his chest. He has bipolar disorder (or rather has something unnamed that, with its cycles from up to down, resembles it), and he’s constantly haunted by his own, inexplicable, internal rhythms of pain and joy. Alexander Maksik has lit upon a perfect metaphor for severe depression.

Continue reading →

Links We Loved This Week — 10/21/16

Braindead was officially cancelled this week, according to TVLine. It’s probably for the best since it was hard to imagine the storyline extending into another season, but we’ll miss seeing Johnny Rae Gill and Aaron Tveit every week next summer.

The Baffler wrote a thoughtful analysis of the state of realism in contemporary literature:

Nor do critics worry that the “social issues” presented in our novels rarely attain the complexity of cable television. Or that a novel genuinely concerned with social life (or even the social role of a single person) could itself, against this backdrop, be idiosyncratic. It’s sad, in other words, that the novels of Jonathan Franzen register to most as sociopolitical literature. Freedom isn’t a social novel on the level of Wharton. It’s a decelerated twenty-four-hour news channel.

The first Nashville season five teaser has been released!

People aren’t loving Ewan MacGregor’s directorial debut American Pastoral, which is sad because the book was great. The NYT mildly disliked it, and Rolling Stone haaaated it (and it’s always fun to read a pan).

The New Yorker says Westworld caters disproportionately to stereotypically male fantasies in the excellent piece “The Meta-Politics of Westworld.”

Joss Whedon says he’s a Spuffy shipper, because Spike is a “more evolved” character than Angel. We only agree with the latter statement.

This week, The Good Wife‘s Josh Charles got in costume as a lawyer one more time for an excellent cause:

Not to get TOO political, but you should also check out this collection of the best #TrumpBookReport tweets.

A Poetic Society

The wind is blowing, blowing over the grass.
It shakes the willow catkins; the leaves shine silver.
Where are you going, wind? Far, far away
Over the hills, over the edge of the world.
Take me with you, wind, high over the sky.
I will go with you, I will be rabbit-of-the-wind.

–Richard Adams, Watership Down

I’m rereading one of my favorite books, Watership Down, in which a group of rabbits travel a great distance to found a new society. In the middle, they encounter a society full of strangely sad, yet remarkably well-fed, rabbits: and they encounter art for the first time. The melancholy poem above is the first poem the heroes have ever heard, and it both mystifies and unsettles them. As, perhaps, any good poem should.