Following the popularity of Hannah Cooke's Friday Favourites, we have asked each of our writers to contribute a round-up of their area of interest-slash-internet obsession weekly, so we can bring you a daily feature Monday to Friday. We will deliver a full week next week but a couple of eager writers fastidiously opted into this week too. First up? Kat Patrick's literary round-up, numero uno.
The good thing about doing and following features is that your small talk gets really interesting. The internet is so very slutty with knowledge that there’s no excuse for awkward silences at dinner parties or on blind dates. The stuff I’ll round up weekly will be fiction, non-fiction and smart people saying smart stuff that you can plagiarise to sound smart. Yes, some bits will be longer than Facebook status updates, but persevere. Quietly prove our attention spans aren’t.
Anyway I’ll also write a little summary of what each link will tell you, so if your eyes are too tired from trying to figure out why you’re on Google + to click through, you can pretend you’ve read it. I just really want everyone to stop talking about the weather (this does not mean I will*).
Oh Jenny Diski. Read this before Googling her and visiting her website. In fact, that should apply to all authors. Generally there’s just something a bit off about novelists and their plots in cyberspace. Maybe it’s the headshots? They always look like cast-offs from such shoulder-padded shows as The Bold and The Beautiful and Dallas. Or maybe it’s because they read like self-congratulatory cover letters? But, to the point: Diski recounts a social experiment in which 3 psychotic patients, who all believe they are God, are forced to hang out. The year is 1959, the premise is how we identify who/what/why we are. I’m a bit partial to the Madness Industry at present. I blame Jon Ronson and his new book The Psychopath Test. Read it. It manages to be as digestible as a trashy novel without the inclusion of rural cottages in France, strapping men and sex that is always unfeasibly steamy. Plus if you’re flipping through it on public transport, thanks to the title, no one will sit next to you for fear you are indeed, double checking your crazy.
I love archives. This site has plenty of gems, but I like this one in particular. When done properly, the Internet can be the perfect platform for short stories. All the clicking and scrolling can make for a nice sense of immediacy. Blah blah blah.
Craig Taylor rules. He is editor of the brilliant Five Dials which I legitimately harp on about. If you’re not subscribed, do it now. It’s gloriously free and full of goodness. I recently rediscovered this series he did a couple of years ago. Be warned, it will evaporate hours. Craig chronicles overheard conversations (if you look under ‘See Also’ you’ll find endless links to each one he posted) and there’s a book too: One Million Tiny Plays About Britain. People is people is people, he proves.
The subject of reading/future of books is often brought up where edgily labelled Pinot Noir is drunk. So in case you find yourself trying to justify downloading Joanna Trollope on your ipad, check this out.
Finally. I’ve been reading a lot of James Salter recently. He writes short stories that are full of sex, generally. But good literary sex. Lacking suitably in aforementioned Mills and Boon type rural cottages, steam and strap. This story he wrote for The New Yorker some years is read by the gravelly Thomas McGuane (sounding a bit like Jeff Bridges). It’s intense.
Word. Until next week.
- Kat Patrick