What’s Been On My Mind This Week

question-mark1. There was a fascinating article (and an equally fascinating response) about Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize-winning third novel, The Goldfinch, in the July edition of Vanity Fair. In it, Evegnia Peretz examines the different responses to the book among the public and the literary critics. In the New Republic, Evan Hughes’ response to Peretz’s take on the critical divide is well worth reading.

2. Keeping the focus on America, but this time shifting to real, not literary, politics, there was an interesting article by Medhi Hasan in the New Statesman about why Elizabeth Warren (currently a Democratic Senator for Massachusetts) should run for the Democratic Party’s nomination against Hillary Clinton.

3. More on the next US Presidential election, but shifting from Democrats to Republicans: I read this article about House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s shock defeat and what that might mean for the Party.

4. Final article this week on American politics is this in-depth feature on the Republican Governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker. It provides a fascinating history of the city of Milwaukee, too.

5. No more Generation Y: now it’s all about Generation Z, those born in 1994 or later (though some allow those born in 1990 and later to qualify). I read this interesting piece in Bloomberg View about what characterises this generation (you won’t be surprised at the emphasis on the internet, technology and social media), and also looked at this fascinating slide show.

6. Intelligent Life magazine are conducting an online poll, asking the question, How many children should we have? They asked a number of writers this question, including a Chinese author, and you can read all the articles (and vote in the poll), here.

7. Also in Intelligent Life magazine was this rather brilliant article about why our bodies need light. It’s quite long, but you’ll be pleased you made it to the end.

8. Mark Mason wrote about his (and our) relationship with reading and how it has changed since the introduction of the Kindle in the Spectator, here.

9. This week I read The Mind’s Eye by Oliver Sacks. I’ve read a couple of Sacks’s fascinating and very readable books before. A prominent neurologist, Sacks’s books are largely based on patients he has treated. In The Mind’s Eye he looks at a small number of people who have been forced to make their way in the world despite losing one of their main senses. What’s particularly interesting about The Mind’s Eye is that Sacks includes a chapter on himself: after suffering from cancer he lost most of the sight in his right eye.

10. I recently interviewed CN Lester for Polari magazine (look out for the interview on the website next week). In preparation for speaking to CN I’ve been listening to their albums, particularly their latest one, Aether. I was struck by the beauty of the lyrics, which, combined with CN’s vocals and some wonderful piano arrangements, has resulted in a rather stunning album. So So Gay gave it 5* and you can read their much more detailed review here.  You can also listen to CN’s music on SoundCloud here.

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