What I'm Reading

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Vol. thirty-four
Find more of my favorite articles here.

Hearing is Believing (via The New York Times)
Listening to a podcast is like watching a movie, listening to music and reading a book all at once. You become attached to the characters, caught up in the story, enthralled by the writing. "Every other format is going to shorter and shorter content pieces, so you're actually swimming upstream," the venture capitalist says to Mr. Blumberg. But maybe we're sick of short attention spans. Maybe we want to pay attention.

Why diners are more important than ever (via Serious Eats)
People talk about Starbucks reintroducing the notion of what sociologist Ray Oldenburg coined the "third place" in American life: spaces where we gather besides home and work to form real, not virtual, communities. Starbucks and more high-minded cafes that followed in its wake have surely succeeded on this point, but long before 1971, when the first Starbucks opened in Pike Place Market in Seattle, diners were already serving that invaluable function for us, along with the corner tavern. And that's why we need to cherish our local diners, whether it's a mom and pop or a Waffle House or a Greek coffee shop. They're some of the few cheap, all-inclusive places to eat and hang out and laugh and cry and stay viscerally connected with other folks.

A memoir is not a status update (via The New Yorker)
Let's face it, Facebook is tempting. It's right there. A lonely writer can be connected with a whole range of humanity without ever leaving her desk chair. A Russian novel's worth of tragedy and comedy is on display. A friend posts, "As I write this, my mother's light is going out." Another friend announces his divorce simply by switching his status from married to single. Still another friend anxiously awaits biopsy results. There are engagements, marriages, anniversaries, illnesses, college graduations, retirements, vacations, and endless photographs of cute dogs. All of these accompanied by responses, some numbering in the hundreds. Condolences and congratulations. Prayers and emoticons of hearts and hands pressed together in namaste. There's something beautiful and absolutely genuine about it - Facebook is, after all, a way of staying connected in an increasingly busy and disconnected world - but it can also feel thin and undigested, a skimming over of data rather than a deep sink into the specificity and emotional reality of human experience. Death? Check. Divorce? Check. A namaste sign instead of a condolence note. A heart rather than a phone call.

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