The Sunday Reading Roundup [02.28.16]

Dear cheese lovers, I have been to heaven on Earth, and it is The Cheese Shop in Carmel-by-the-Sea. Witness:

cheese shop

This photo, by the way, represents about 15% of the actual cheese available in the shop. It is impossible to photographically represent all the cheese for sale without stitching together a veritable quilt of panoramic photos. Shoutout to Midori for introducing myself and Bryce to this hamlet of glory.

(Goes without saying, but this post was not sponsored by The Cheese Shop. Cheese, like sleep, is one of those things I love so much that I will willingly write sonnets for any organization that enables me to have it.)

Now, on to some things I recommend reading. (Only one actually has to do with food.)

Articles

Bon Appetit: “Life Before Avocado Toast: The 16 Ways Dining Has Changed Since 2000” by Mark Byrne

Edison bulbs, the end of tipping, and lines that stretch out the door—all in the name of dinner.

Note: as someone who blithely eats up food trends and has, in all seriousness, done the Portlandia thing at multiple restaurants, I found this super interesting.

The Toast: “Kind-Hearted Reality Shows I Would Like To See” by Maddie Howard

I don’t want to watch anyone fail, and I don’t want to watch anyone fight — I just want the reality-show equivalent of a gentle massage or a home-cooked meal, and to be reassured that not everything in the world is horrible, all of the time. Here, for any interested networks, are brief pitches for some kind-hearted reality shows that would meet this need and pander directly to me.

Cracked: “5 Weird Ways America Has Returned To The Dark Ages” by Adam Tod Brown

When you think of the Dark Ages strictly in terms of the handful of conditions that defined the time, comparisons to the state of American society today get a lot easier to make.

Note: Yes, I know the headline is all doom-and-gloom clickbait-y, but it’s a thoughtful and interesting read, I swear!

Cracked: “I’m Asian: 6 Forms Of Racism I Deal With Every Day” by Dennis Hong

Keep that in mind the next time you’re inclined to call a minority oversensitive. Are you aware of their experiences? Can you step inside their body and say with 100 percent certainty that the lifetime of slights they’ve experienced are no big deal at all?  […] That’s why people who have never experienced racism have a hard time comprehending why innocent comments elicit such dramatic reactions.

Note: Cracked is killing it with their columns addressing racism, sexism, bullying, economic inequality, etc. I’m also really glad that the recent surge in published articles about casual racism across the board is calling into question the idea that everyday discrimination is an acceptable staple of the Asian-American (or really, non-Caucasian American) experience. In other words, I’m not going to stop sharing this stuff. #sorrynotsorry

Medium: “Yahrzeit” by Stephanie Wittels Wachs

I think about the day a person dies, how the morning is just a morning, a meal is just a meal, a song is just a song. It’s not the last morning, or the last meal, or the last song. It’s all very ordinary, and then it’s all very over.

Note: This is a piece by Harris Wittels’ sister on the year anniversary of his death, and it’s just too heartbreaking, and too beautiful.

Shameless Nerdery

Tumblr: Sorting Hat Chats

Confession: I don’t talk about my Harry Potter obsession most of the time because the depths of my past-the-point-of-cool nerdiness (and my unabashed hatred of the movie adaptations) are a little too intense for most people, and I like having friends.

That being said, I’ve been neglecting to read actual news lately because I’ve been tearing through the posts on Sorting Hat Chats. It’s not Potter nerdery as much as it is a very elaborate personality classification system based on the House system, but it’s fascinating stuff and I’ve spent too much time pondering the Primary/Secondary/Model/Performance classifications for various Potter characters as a result.

If any of that sounds remotely interesting to you, start here.

An Actual Book

Alexander Hamilton, by Rob Chernow

Speaking of obsession…Hamilton has officially taken over my head like a zombie infection. I actually bought the book (as in, the book that inspired the musical) for Bryce, but I’m the one reading it right now. Oops.

I’m only a couple of chapters in, but I’m happy to report that it is easy to digest, well-paced, and a totally fascinating read.

(The Amazon link above is an affiliate link that generates a small commission.)

Speaking of Hamilton… [More Shameless Nerdery]

Genius: Hamilton Lyric Annotations

You could legitimately spend weeks reading this stuff. Every single track has a mini-essay, and every single line has its own mini-essay, and the annotations are what I’d imagine you’d get if you threw some music majors, history majors, and literature majors into a blender and gave them a thesis deadline. It’s brilliant.

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The Sunday Reading Roundup [01.17.16]

Huntington

I am most definitely not putting off sending work emails or rewriting my bio. Procrastinating? What’s that?

Anyway, here are some things worth reading. A couple are from a while ago that I totally forgot somehow didn’t make it into last week’s roundup.

Some Variations on a Theme

BBC: “The man who studies the spread of ignorance

Proctor had found that the cigarette industry did not want consumers to know the harms of its product, and it spent billions obscuring the facts of the health effects of smoking. This search led him to create a word for the study of deliberate propagation of ignorance: agnotology.

Quartz: “There’s a good reason Americans are horrible at science

Surprisingly, despite America’s outstanding science credentials, the population at large is not science savvy. About a third of Americans think that there is no sound evidence for the existence of evolution or benefits of universal vaccination. Our leaders and wanna-be leaders say that evolution is a myth, vaccines cause autism, and a snowball constitutes proof that climate change isn’t a problem.

Bloomberg View: “How Facebook Makes Us Dumber

A new study focusing on Facebook users provides strong evidence that the explanation is confirmation bias: people’s tendency to seek out information that confirms their beliefs, and to ignore contrary information.

The Standalones

New Republic: “Dispossessed in the Land of Dreams

San Francisco and the rest of the Bay Area are gentrifying rapidly—especially with the most recent Silicon Valley surge in social media companies, though the trend stretches back decades—leading to a cascade of displacement of the region’s poor, working class, and ethnic and racial minorities.

Note: This was a horrifyingly fascinating read—and it packs an especially guilt-laden punch when you live in the Bay Area.

The Wall Street Journal: “Europe’s New Medieval Map

Look at any map of Europe from the Middle Ages or the early modern era, before the Industrial Revolution, and you will be overwhelmed by its dizzying incoherence—all of those empires, kingdoms, confederations, minor states, “upper” this and “lower” that. It is a picture of a radically fractured world. Today’s Europe is, in effect, returning to such a map.

Fusion: “Get rich or die vlogging: The sad economics of internet fame

The disconnect between internet fame and financial security is hard to comprehend for both creators and fans. But it’s the crux of many mid-level web personalities’ lives. […] In other words: Many famous social media stars are too visible to have “real” jobs, but too broke not to.

Quartz: “The long, incredibly tortuous, and fascinating process of creating a Chinese font

The default set for English-language fonts contains about 230 glyphs. A font that covers all of the Latin scripts—that’s over 100 languages plus extra symbols—contains 840 glyphs, according to Březina. The simplified version of Chinese, used primarily in mainland China, requires nearly 7,000 glyphs. For traditional Chinese, used in Taiwan and Hong Kong, the number of glyphs is 13,053.

Speaking of Taiwan…

BBC: “Tsai Ing-wen elected Taiwan’s first female president

::praise hands emoji::

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The Sunday Reading Roundup

For the past couple of months I’ve wrestled* with a not-very-important conundrum: I read or see about two zillion interesting things on the Internet every week and I’m not totally sure how to share them all with people. My email inbox is a needy problem child I avoid looking at as much as possible, I don’t like spamming Facebook, I’ve fallen off the Tumblr wagon (and forgotten my password), and the 140-character limit on Twitter is, well, a little limiting.

*by “wrestled,” I mean “I thought about this once or twice, since most of my time is spent figuring out this practice/work/life balance nonsense.” Y’know, just in case you people think I’m incapable of prioritizing like a real adult.

Then I was all “Duh, Sharon, you have a blog where you can post anything you want!”

So here’s the Sunday Reading Roundup, a thing I am starting because it is now past midnight on a Saturday, so it’s too late to call this the Saturday Reading Roundup. There is no real rhyme or reason to things making it on to here; this is just a list of recent-ish things I’ve found interesting.

Articles

Vanity Fair: “The Celebrity Surgeon Who Used Love, Money, and the Pope to Scam an NBC News Producer
A fascinating serving of a real-life fantasy and an elaborate con, with a generous side of wtf-ery.

The Toast: “What Goes Through Your Mind: On Nice Parties and Casual Racism
A well-articulated piece that unfortunately resonates too familiarly. The comments are thoughtful and worth a read as well.

Mother Jones: “Here’s What I Saw in a California Town Without Running Water
This drought, you guys.

The New York Times: “The Profound Emptiness of ‘Resilience’
A thought-provoking piece that explores the dark side of society celebrating the idea of resilience.

The New Yorker: “Unfollow
A long-ish read, but a very compelling story about the role that social media played in drawing Megan Phelps-Roper away from the Westboro Baptist Church.

The Washington Post: “A Survivor’s Life
A heartbreaking account of one survivor’s life after the Umpqua Community College mass shooting.

Social Media

Reddit: “What is something someone said that changed your way of thinking forever?
I was startled by how much I learned from this thread.

Dear Coquette: “On the eye of the beholder”
Whoa. This was freaking beautiful.

Twitter: @mozart____ and @Beethoven_____ 
Not affiliated with whoever is behind these accounts, but I just discovered them, and they’re hilarious. I love how Mozart is constantly ragging on Clementi and Beethoven on Hummel, and sometimes they get into Twitter-fights with Haydn. #ihavenolife

Actual Books

John Pollack: The Pun Also Rises
As seen on Instagram. This was a delightful and surprisingly educational quick read, and definitely worth it if you love wordplay half as much as I do.

Aziz Ansari: Modern Romance
I re-read this after gifting it to two people in December, and it’s one of those books I’d recommend to pretty much anyone. It’s entertaining, thought-provoking, and super duper fascinating.

Disclaimer: I’ve used Amazon affiliate links, which mean I get a tiny commission (at no cost to you) if you buy anything through clicking the book links. If you prefer not to use the links, Google is your friend.

Miscellaneous (Not really reading)

I love this cartoon way too much.

I finally listened to Hamilton. (Don’t laugh! I have a tendency to avoid things that are super-hyped because they’re usually horribly disappointing, or just horrible—I’m looking at you, Frozen. Enough people with good taste recommended this so I gave in.) I know you’re probably sick of hearing people gush about how good Hamilton is, but OMG IT’S SO GOOD. I’ve been listening to this on repeat for days now. I’ve gone to bed late several nights in a row because I couldn’t stand to stop listening. Lin-Manuel Miranda, what have you done to me??

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