August 2020 | Books & Links
For the first time in over a year, I didn’t finish any physical books this month. It wasn’t because I didn’t have anything to read – I am currently reading and really enjoying ‘Stork Mountain’ by Miroslav Penkov – but just because I ended up reading a lot of essays and periodicals online instead, as well as far too much news and opinion on my phone. I’m trying not to be upset with myself for this, as I’m still reading, it’s just my reading list is mostly digital at the moment. Here is a small selection of what I’ve been reading. I also share links each week in my newsletter, so if you’re looking for something new to read you can subscribe to Friday Notes here.
Essays, Articles, etc
A brilliant piece in the New York Times about global heating, heatwaves and climate justice around the world. We need to be taking action on the climate crisis with the same urgency that we have tackled the pandemic, no matter how disruptive doing so will be.
There Was Beauty | one of the final instalments in The Paris Review of Jill Talbot’s chronicle of the year before her daughter leaves home for college. Now I want to go back and read the whole series from start to finish.
Mark Stenberg on how Instagram is becoming more and more like Facebook. I miss the days when Instagram was a place for art without a side of pastel hued politics. While it’s great that the platform has enabled individuals and communities to organise around social and environmental justice causes, I feel uncomfortable with the extent to which Instagram and Facebook have become ‘go to’ places for many people to get their news and form their opinions. Without moderation and scrutiny, anything goes, and the information shared via slides and stories is often partial, oversimplified, or plain inaccurate.
The truth is paywalled but the lies are free | Nathan Robinson, editor of Current Affairs, discusses the barriers to universal access to quality journalism and peer reviewed research – paywalls and copyright laws – and outlines his utopian alternative. It’s an important discussion to be having, especially at this critical juncture when advertising revenue is plummeting, journalists and academics are struggling to find work because of budget deficits, and misinformation is rife.
Ariel Saramandi writes in Granta about the education system in Mauritius and her experience of a divided, racist society that hasn’t yet come to terms with its colonial past.