Consumed the week of 21 January, 2019

Above, the brilliant Phoebe Waller Bridge answers Vogue’s 73 questions. Murder Murder Hair!

Last year I averaged one book a week. So far this year I’ve averaged one a month. That’s entirely down to Charlis Palliser’s The Quincunx, a 1,200 page mid-nineteenth-century “sensation novel” that was actually published in the late 1980s. I heard about it through this Neil Armstrong article on the Unbound blog which touches on the author’s claim that this is actually a “post-modern” novel with an “unreliable narrator” and that there’s a hidden narrative at play. I’m very glad I read it, but I can’t say I was as enamoured as Armstrong and his fellow Quincunx obsessives are. The book’s length just wasn’t supported enough by either the strength of the narative or the mystery of the construction. If I want that kind of book I think I’d go back to Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum.

This week I also installed the Stoop app on my phone. As someone who has carefully pruned their RSS feed to perfection over the past 15 years or so, I’m a little dubious, but willing to give it a go.

To give it the best shot possible I’m subscribing to all the people Robin Sloan names as part of the Republic of Newsletters:

Its neighbors include Alan Jacobs’s newsletter Snakes and Ladders, Alexis Madrigal’s 5IT, Joanne McNeil’s All My Stars, and Warren Ellis’s outstanding Orbital Operations, which remains the best ongoing chronicle of a working writer in the English language… High up on the hill lives the very smartest member of the Republic — he is a wizard, just about — who is named Charlie Loyd. His latest dispatch was a stunner, even by the very high standard he has established; I’m almost afraid to send you over, for fear you’ll never return. There are sections I could blockquote — want badly to blockquote — but blockquotes don’t do Wizard Loyd’s emails justice, because they are so organic, so clearly Made From Thoughts.

This week I watched Glass, going in with higher hopes than I should have thanks ot my love of Unbreakable (and my admiraion of Split). I was, of course, a bit disappointed. I only have myself to blame I guess.

I also watched Under the Silver Lake, David Robert Mitchell’s folow up to the brilliant It Follows. This was a huge disappointment. Massive. A mysoginistic, bloated, giant stink of a disappointment… I didn’t like it.

What I did like was the article Bruce Willis Gets No Respect from The Ringer. A great, little assessment of Willis’ career, from Moonlighting onwards.

The essential long read of the week was undoubtedly Jill Lepore’s New Yorker article Does Journalism Have A Future? (the short answer is, I think, yes, but none of us know what it looks like yet).

Anab Jain’s Medium article Stop Shouting Future, Start Doing It was tweeted by at east half a dozen people I follow this past week. Probably because they (we) have all been frustrated our and/or someone else’s lack of ability to “forfeit fear for uncertainty, to let go the clutches of deeply ingrained structures, and give way to the unknown.”

Finally this week, this Twitter thread by @forwardnotback made me smile.

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