Posted by: Dominic Umile | 11/12/2009

Decongestants, Revolutionary Road, and Lobster

I’ve been dealing with a cold/flu with symptoms that go unmatched when compared to the last several times I’ve been ill. This one is seriously a doozy. Nose blowing, coughing, deliriousness, it’s been a real blast. Sans cable TV, a man who is ill can rarely find anything to pass his bacteria-infected time other than by reading. In October, I read a great deal of airtight reporting and just generally good non-fiction. There was a novel in there, too.

I’m liking my new subscription to Columbia Journalism Review. Brent Cunningham makes some strong points in his ‘Take a Stand,’ an essay calling for a massive realignment of mainstream journalism’s priorities to include an effort to “lead a discussion that is broad and fearless enough to challenge the systems and assumptions that shape America’s politics, its economics, and its civic and social life.” Read the whole thing here. On a somewhat related note, Graham Rayman at the Village Voice discusses the surviving seven newspapers in New York here.

Revolutionary RoadI read Richard Yates’ Revolutionary Road a few weeks back. I don’t imagine you need me to tell you about this, but Yates’ 1961 masterwork is something I won’t soon forget. I haven’t seen the recent film version yet, but the book chronicles the day-to-day interplay in the suburban home of Frank and April Wheeler, a household defined by general despair and some pretension, heavy drinking, and biting arguments that are long rehearsed, each angle born deep within two people who are just dreadfully, dreadfully sad. Mine is a crude and all-too-brief summary when compared to the words that line this deeply affecting book. Here is an essay from writer Richard Ford, adapted from his introduction to the edition that I read.

The New Yorker profile of Wes Anderson is a great read — I like the idea of The Life Aquatic coming together over many lunches in a West Village bar. I’m rarely anything close to productive in a bar. Subscription required.

My friend’s son penned this heartfelt/-breaking column, Making a Phillies Fan: An Architecture of Heartbreak, about what inspires him to return to the Philadelphia Phillies every year, and I’m recommending that any fan of baseball have a look. It was particularly relevant a couple of weeks ago, but I think it will resonate with any enthusiast of the game.

In the wake of Gourmet magazine’s closing (RIP), I followed a hyperlink to a funny and bleak David Foster Wallace piece from their archives called “Consider The Lobster.” I really wish people wouldn’t eat lobster.

NewsyPlease don’t miss this excellent celebration of long-form journalism from Mark Reynolds at PopMatters. If you didn’t have the chance to read any of the other pieces that they ran as a part of their ten-year anniversary, I strongly recommend checking them out. Happy Birthday, PopMatters. And track down Issue 37 of Wax Poetics — MJ is on the cover. As usual, it’s chock full of insightful music writing wrapped in marvelous design. (Here, also, is the RSS feed to the stuff I Digg. Please find recent choices to the right of the page — it’s updated regularly.)

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