Before the era of social media, I used my website to share lists of what I enjoyed listening to and reading. I’ve continued keeping these lists, but only shared items intermittently on Twitter. As part of a resolution for 2021, I thought I’d resume sharing them on my own platform. The date is when I first completed the article or book in question. These lists will be updated every few weeks.
2021-01-11. Rachel Kushner, “The Hard Crowd,” The New Yorker.
A pitch-perfect memoir of 1980s/’90s-era San Francisco. Though I grew up in Chicago, I found myself nodding in recognition; I had my own versions of so many of these characters and places. So many lines stick. “And even though I stayed out late, was committed to the end, some part of me had left early. To become a writer is to have left early no matter what time you got home.”
2021-01-25. Nathan Heller, “What We Get Wrong about Joan Didion,” The New Yorker.
This essay is an education—both in Didion’s writing and in literary criticism itself. Heller’s been one of my favorite writers on California subjects in the past decade, so this is also a great writer-subject pairing.
“If atomization is one of the key concepts in Didion’s work, another is what she came to call ‘sentimentality’: belief in a story with a preordained shape and an emotional logic. […] Atomization and sentimentality exacerbate each other, after all: you break the bridges of connection across society, and then give each island a fairy tale about its uniqueness.”
2021-02-09. Eva Hagberg, “Love and Death in Hudson Yards”
“I’d been asked to consider how architecture might change in a post-pandemic world; what a glitzy series of office towers might look and feel like now that we have no idea whether we’re ever going back to normal. I tried to stay on task, but the architecture wouldn’t let me.”
2021-02. Esther Kinsky, Grove (Transit Books)
- Biosphere, Angel’s Flight
- Future Islands, “For Sure (Dan Deacon Remix)”
- Norman Westberg, Short Songs for the Long Winter EP
- Divide and Dissolve, Gas Lit
- Abul Mogard, In Immobile Air
Last update: February 27, 2021