Links: The Boring Company, boredom, marriage and writers, Screw Wisdom, personal essays, and more!

* “Elon Musk’s Boring Company Begins First Tunnel.” I predict it gets bogged down in NIMBYism and “Just say no” California politics but hope that it doesn’t.

* “Behind China’s $1 Trillion Plan to Shake Up the Economic Order.” In other words, China is doing the sort of stuff the United States used to. When you read this piece think also of Peter Thiel’s Zero to One.

* “Trump Revealed Highly Classified Intelligence to Russian Officials.” The stories only get weirder; when will impeachment follow?

* “Killing C.I.A. Informants, China Crippled U.S. Spying Operations,” yet another John le Carré-esque piece.

* “How Researching the Science of Boredom Prepared Me for Marriage.” Unexpected!

* “Is an open marriage a happier marriage?” There is much here for novelists to ponder. See also “The sex plot: a discussion for novelists and readers.”

* “Mercedes-Benz Energy pairs with solar company to sell batteries, rooftop panels.” Good news for competition with Tesla. It’ll be interesting to see if most car companies morph to energy and transportation companies.

* “Humans Accidentally Created a Protective Bubble Around Earth.” Very cool.

* “Screw Wisdom: In a bold new memoir of female middle age, libido obliterates the usual clichés,” by Laura Kipnis (a good sign) and on Love and Trouble: A Midlife Reckoning, among other things.

* “Miles of Ice Collapsing Into the Sea;” don’t say you weren’t warned.

* The personal essay boom is supposedly over.

* “ Will McMorran recommends the best books on the Marquis de Sade,” a very good piece and note that I haven’t read much de Sade, maybe because I’m lazy: “The 120 Days is essentially unreadable in every possible way. Unreadable in the sense that it’s hard to read, unreadable in the sense that it’s upsetting to read, and unreadable also in the sense that it’s difficult to decode.”

One response

  1. The 5 books site is pretty great (great concept too). Particularly liked Rebecca Goldstein’s 5 philosophical novels. She’s a great novelist. I went on a Sade reading binge — at about the same time I took a French Enlightenment class in college — we had to read one of the books, and we actually had a discussion about the book. The Sade/Fourier/Loyola book by Barthes is a brilliant tour de force — well worth seeking out. I just find amazing that a person could write so many books like that in prison…The French existentialists were taken with de Sade and wrote lots of analytic essays — I read a lot of them, but isn’t it ironic that today’s Internet provides all these outlets for every fetish and yet we still haven’t solved the problems of society or devolved into decadence.

    Sade’s fiction reminds us that fiction can describe the indescribable in a way that film (or porn) cannot.


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