1. Making the headlines this week was the suicide of the actor Robin Williams. I’ve lost count of the number of times my sisters and I watched Mrs Doubtfire as children. What I found hard to read, however, were the reports in papers questioning what could drive so outwardly successful a person to take his own life (and don’t even get me started on the comments sections). There was a lot of debate about whether suicide is a selfish act (see, for example, this piece in the Guardian). Andrew Solomon (who himself has suffered from crippling depression) wrote a particularly good article about suicide in the New Yorker, and there was also this comment piece in the Independent criticising the way the Academy chose to tweet about the actor’s death.
2. Another Hollywood great also died this week, the actress Lauren Bacall. There’s a very good, detailed, obituary in the New York Times here.
3. In more American news, I read this interesting article in the Washington Post that argues for an end to two-term presidencies.
4. Sticking with America, Gary Younge wrote this article in the Guardian in which he looks at the roles of mayors in some of the countries biggest cities.
5. There was also this short piece in the New York Times about the Tea Party’s gains in the American South.
6. Looking at the current conflict in Gaza and reactions to the conflict, Owen Jones wrote this piece about the terrifying rise of antisemitism.
7. Some good news for women this week as the Fields Medal – the world’s most prestigious mathematics prize – was awarded to a woman for the first time in its eighty-year history.
8. There was a fascinating feature in Slate about music and nostalgia. For anyone who is transported back to a particular moment or period of time by a piece of music, make sure you read this article.
9. I hadn’t heard of her before she came out, but I read Patrick Strudwick’s interview with Christian rock star Vicky Beeching in the Independent with interest. She’s very open about the struggle she went through to reconcile her feelings with her faith.
10. I am a huge Haruki Murakami fan, and am looking forward to reading his new novel, which was published in English this week. There was an amusing article in the Evening Standard about the book’s launch and so-called ‘Murakami mania’.
11. This week I’ve been reading With A Zero At Its Heart by Charles Lambert. I’ve heard so many great things about Lambert’s writing I’m surprised I haven’t read anything of his yet. With A Zero At Its Heart is a short book, each chapter of which is broken up into ten paragraphs, each of which has 120 words. The cumulative effect of these fragments is quite stunning, as through them we build a picture of a life, as though composed of snapshots, or memories.
12. This week I’ve been listening to the debut EP by my cousin, Oli Wennink. The launch was held on Friday at Cafe Cairo in Stockwell, which is a great bar if you’ve never been. My favourite track on the EP is the rather stunning Mirrors, which you can listen to on Oli’s Soundcloud page here.
Categories: On My Mind . . .