I also have a strong desire to become one of those people who links to articles, so that’s what I’m gonna do.
"The Trouble With Money" in London Review of Books – The economics I learned in college wasn’t very self-reflective, on a philosophical level. It never worried about the nature of money or what it represented. Money was merely a medium of exchange: a thousand dollars equals a thousand dollars worth of butter equals a thousand dollars worth of guns. They are the same thing. But a whole class of late 19th and early 20th century economists devoted their time to grappling with the concept of money. What did it mean? How did it function? And not just practically, but psychologically as well. Loved this article on John Maynard Keynes, who wrote about the death-grip money has on our psyches, and the way that after a certain point, saving can become a mania that interferes with the production of goods and services.
"Art of Fiction No. 230: Dag Solstad" in The Paris Review – At various times in my life I’ve had the ambition to read all the Paris Review interviews. But I inevitably realize that if I haven’t read and enjoyed the author, then I don’t really care about what they have to say. I really liked Solstad’s interview, just as I really like his novels! He seems to have his head on his shoulders–very practical writer, who seems to enjoy his work. I was however amused by his 3-1-3 schedule, where after every third day of writing, he gets blind drunk for one full day. LOL.
"Art of Poetry No. 30: Philip Larkin" by The Paris Review – Larkin is one of the few poets that I truly love. I deeply enjoyed this mildly grumpy interview of his, where he describes his solitary life, how he hasn’t read poetry in years, how his only encounters with Auden and Eliot were awkward and terrifying, and how he basically doesn’t know anything of life outside Hull, where he’s lived for the last twenty-five years. What a genius he was.
"Art of Fiction No. 242: Sam Lipsyte" in The Paris Review – Another deeply likeable interview. Just enjoyed playing around in his mind, same as I enjoy his fiction! No great revelations. I just like the guy!
"2022 was not the year of consilience" by Erik Hoel – I subscribe to Erik’s substack. He’s both a researcher into consciousness and a novelist. Which is to say, he’s researching consciousness from the inside and out. In this post he talks about attempting to bridge the science / art divide, and how most of the resistance to that idea seems to come from artists. I thought he was smart in talking about the one thing scientists can do to maybe help heal that divide, which is not be reductive about art. Even if you can explain some things about art using science, there’s still a phenomonological level to it that’ll never be directly accessible to science.
"Naipaul’s Unreal Africa" in The New York Review of Books – I really like Naipaul’s work. I’ve read a lot of it. His best and most humane books are his early ones, set in Trinidad, particularly A House for Mr. Biswas. His later books, especially those set in Africa, are interesting and evocative, but extremely cruel. He was a cruel man, and he was undeniably racist. This author reexamines the legacy of his Booker-nominated A Bend in the River, and the ways its racism would be received if published today, instead of in 1979.
"A New King for the Congo" in The New York Review of Books – This essay, written by Naipaul and published in the NYRB in the 70s, is an example of the way he wrote about Africa (it’s also discussed in the article above)