What I Read This Week – 28th January

Things I found on the internet that I liked. - The Memoirist's Notebook (Julie at Cuaderno Inedito)

Will the books that are sitting on the coffee table–the books that cement an image of her as intellectual and worldly–eventually have some significance? Is she even reading them or are they her husband’s?...Soon, my notebook is divided into two distinct sections- the notes about what she has said, and the notes about what she hasn’t: the objects in her environment; the places in her home that I’ll ask to see eventually but for which we haven’t yet developed enough rapport; the people whose contact information I’ll ask for months from now.

Short but thoughtful piece on being asked to help someone write a memoir. I'm interested in the division: what she has said, what she hasn't. What we end up writing about.

- HBO (Isn't) Filming The Corrections at My Parents' House: TV and Fiction (AJ Aronstein at The Millions)

And when we say that literary fiction is “character-driven,” we mean this: our private interactions with texts depend as much on the associations and imagination of the author as on the associations and imaginations of the reader. Our desire to know them — and to know them on our own terms — drives us to read.

- "I am a lousy copywriter" (Letters of Note)

7. At this point I can no longer postpone the actual copy. So I go home and sit down at my desk. I find myself entirely without ideas. I get bad-tempered. If my wife comes into the room I growl at her. (This has gotten worse since I gave up smoking.)

David Ogilvy on being "a lousy copywriter, but...a good editor".

- Leonard Cohen: 'All I've got to put in a song is my own experience' (Dorian Lynskey at the Guardian)

Cohen, who at 37 knew a bit about failure and the kind of acclaim that doesn't pay the bills, frowned at the question and replied: "Success is survival."

When I was little my mother had a tape with four different versions of "Famous Blue Raincoat" on it. We used to listen on the way to and from school, his words in the background of our own conversations.

- GPS, Smartphones, and the Dumbing Down of Personal Navigation (Sarah Goodyear at The Atlantic Cities)

I’m worried that the same filter bubble is at work in our cities, that the grand tradition of flâneurism is being eroded by a rote navigation system bounded by maps and apps.

Serendipity and navigation again.

- Notes on Memory and Context (and the Decontextualization of Travel) (Mary Anne Oxendale)

I once sent home a series of now famed mass emails, detailing the glittering wonders of London at Christmas, with the lights of Oxford street and the loveliness of the decorations and the parties. Not one word in those exuberant emails let on the fact that I was in the middle of a rather horrific break up with my then boyfriend and had spent many days crying my brains out. I cannot be trusted to record my own memory.

- P.G. Wodehouse's American Psycho (Rhian Jones, McSweeney's)

Now, we Batemans are perfectly accustomed to taking the rough in life with the smooth, but even so, this seemed like a serious misstep. I supposed I stood in no small danger of arrest and imprisonment, not to mention finally having my allowance cut off.

I wiped my hands on Owen’s discarded dinner jacket and thought the thing through. There was nothing for it but to get Jean back on the case.

Just for fun.