Jamie York is a producer for On the Media.
Staff Picks, November 28, 2011
Monday, November 28, 2011 - 04:49 PM
Your weekly dose of recommendations from the staff of OTM. Give us some of your own down in the comments section and enjoy!
Sarah Abdurrahman: I pick the Hulu talk show “7 Minutes in Heaven with Mike O’Brien,” because I like funny things and it is very funny. Saturday Night Live writer Mike O’Brien interviews celebrities in a closet, and usually tries to kiss them at the end, hence the name of the show. The interviews are delightfully awkward, such as this one with Jack MCBrayer, the actor who plays Kenneth the Page on “30 Rock”:
Bob Garfield: Hero worship is a dangerous enterprise, as heroes -- beyond their heroic exploits -- tend to wobble on feet of clay. Erica Heller's Yossarian Slept Here, a poignant and maddening and generous memoir about life with father Joseph Heller, is therefore predictably difficult to confront. The author of Catch-22, Good as Gold and Something Happened was as ornery as he was charming, and dishonest as he was nakedly open.
The bonus in this book is some fine writing, including a breathtaking analogy between the Pont Alexandre bridge in Paris and the wives of famous men.
Brooke Gladstone: Great Read of November: The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami. I completely missed this masterpiece from 1995 (evidently I was very busy then) but I urge you not to waste more time. It is a mystery, a love story and a cultural/philosophical exploration with a little Twilight Zone thrown in; a circuitous, profoundly satisfying journey for a long winter weekend.
Worth every minute.
Alex Goldman: This week, my staff pick is a 11 minute math-rock song called “When Will You Die For the Last Time In My Dreams” by the band Polvo. Be warned, it’s the longest earworm you will ever hear.
Chris Neary: My staff pick this week is Tinkers (it’s a book). Just got it over the weekend and I’m already done (it’s short). Here’s the first line – which describes the premise pretty well:
George Washington Crosby began to hallucinate eight days before he died. From the rented hospital bed, placed in the middle of his own living room, he saw insects running in and out of imaginary cracks in the ceiling plaster.
The rest of the book is a fluid collection of those hallucinations, here’s a description of the book from a New York Times profile of the author, Paul Harding: “Framed partly as a deathbed vigil for George Washington Crosby, a clock repairer, the book wanders through time and consciousness, describing in fine-grain detail its rural Maine setting and the epileptic fits of George’s father, Howard, an old-time tinker who traveled the countryside by wagon.”
PJ Vogt: I went home last weekend and ended up talking to my Mom about life and about exercise (she’s a strong rower, I’m a wheezy runner). I can’t exactly remember how it came up, but we ended up talking about this Haruki Murakami essay about running and writing, “The Running Novelist.”
I am not sure why it’s so great. He talks about the moment he decided to write his first novel (at a baseball game, when he was 29), but also about how he’s glad that he gets fat easily. I don’t know why it’s so sneakily good. Please go read it and help me figure out why.
Jamie York: I’m a Michael Ondaatje fan. I’ve loved a number of his novels and his published conversations with film editor/polymath Walter Murch is a must-read for anyone who likes to think about things. So I was excited when I read the New Yorker extract from his upcoming novel, The Cat’s Table. Then I read the novel itself and … I liked the shorter version better.
So, sadly, my pick this week is the New Yorker editors who gave me the best stuff and ruined me for Onadatje’s latest work. Thanks for nothing New Yorker.
If you can’t get behind the New Yorker’s paywall just read Coming Through Slaughter instead.