Hey, I was just about to post a bunch of links but I had this strange little thought. I’m writing this on Monday afternoon and the television schedule is kind of different than usual — holiday, I guess. Usually I have Jeopardy on in the background between 4 and 5, but golf is on instead so I have Ellen on in the background while I work. And you know, she’s just pretty great. She’s hilarious, of course, and in love with her wife, and such a kindhearted generous real soul. I imagine she is largely the same person in real life that she presents on her program — not 100%, of course, but largely. She dances, she looks her guests right in the eye and talks with them instead of over them. She’s pretty great. She asks us to be kind to one another. And I was thinking about how inspirational she is, and how I want to be a better person than I am, when I watch her.
So then I was wondering why our culture watches such crap, and with such contempt. Why we watch people who aim so low, who revel in low expectations and bullshit and trivial things. I mean, it’s not like we all have to be engaged in saving the whole world, in fighting against the gas bombings in Syria, in trying to make our country safe from various political trouble, but we all can try to be better people; we all can try to help each other as much as we can; we all can try to make someone else’s trouble a little bit easier. So many things we can be doing, lifting our heads a little higher, adding a bit of light into the world instead of sucking it out. I just don’t know why our culture is wallowing in the gutter instead of putting our eyes up on the horizon. It’s so sad. And: ELLEN. Or whoever inspires you. Watch the people who inspire you, read the people who inspire you, focus your intention on anything that lifts you up instead of brings you down.
So now, to the reason I was posting today . . . link love! It’s a lot of book stuff.
- Here are 32 books that will (allegedly) actually change your life. I don’t agree at all that they’ll “change your life,” but I’ve read more than half and think the ones I’ve read were wonderful books. And you know? That’s good enough for me.
- Here are 10 must-read books for September. There are several I want to read, but most especially number 5! I’ll definitely be reading #5. Will you?
- This interview with author Emma Brockes (LARB) about her memoir titled She Left Me The Gun: My Mother’s Life Before Me (the reading line is “A Mother, Her Daughter, and an Incestuous, Murdering Father”) has been gnawing at me. I cannot wait to read the interview, and the book.
- I loved this piece in The Paris Review about a bookshop owner’s experience of customers in the summer. Here’s a taste: “People ask a lot of their books. They want them to be amazing, they want them to be cheap, they want them the moment they walk through my door. I often feel like a kind of carnival showman, flashing bright colors in front of the customer, hoping something catches their eye. People’s personal restrictions always amaze me. “I don’t read books with dogs in them.” “I don’t like to have to think too hard.” “I can’t buy books with white covers.” Really?”
- Here’s a gorgeous piece on The Millions about the pleasures of quiet books. My darling Peggy was talking about her dissatisfaction with books that are too interior, and I know just what she means. But there are some books that are interior and quiet that I absolutely love, so I loved the article. Maybe you will, too! (And p.s., the article includes a short list of quiet books….)
- Here’s another great LARB piece about my favorite, Moby Dick and the writer as reader. Gosh, how many ways did I love that article. More than I can tell you. Read it.
- Sleep is such a HUGE subject for me (as in, I can’t do it easily — it may be the same for you) and it’s a fascinating subject. Here’s a review of a new book called The Poetics of Sleep (again, LARB, such a great magazine).
- Changing subjects from books, here’s a little Walt Whitman jag! Here’s a lovely and long, in-depth piece of Song of Myself over at Tin House, a long essay by Jeffrey Gordon. And then here’s a wonderful piece over on Berfrois about the children and grandchildren of Whitman which must (and does) necessarily reach out to Breaking Bad. LOVE.
- And on a complete different note, look at this amazing photograph of the Cologne Cathedral after the WWII bombing. Whoa. Let’s don’t do that kind of thing again. Please.
- Different again: Advanced Style — a blog celebrating the style and beauty of older women. Hear, hear.
- Finally, I’m trying to learn how to eat vegetarian, and I’ve just bought a couple of good cookbooks. I thought you might be interested in a couple of links I’ve found. Here’s an unexpectedly great way to cook brown rice, here’s a recipe for zucchini noodles with peanut sauce, and here’s a wonderful site called Post Punk Kitchen. FUN and delicious!
On that note, I leave you to your Tuesday. I hope to tell you soon about a bunch of books I bought when Sherlock and Peggy were here. Tomorrow, maybe. xo