Coffee and Oranges: Sunday Links for Readers and Writers

Complacencies of the peignoir, and late
Coffee and oranges in a sunny chair…

Sunday Morning,” by Wallace Stevens

David Foster Wallace’s Advice to College Graduates

If you read or watch nothing else in this week’s list of links, devote ten minutes to this 2005 speech given by David Foster Wallace to Kenyon College graduates:

Sunny Orange

Carl Sagan’s Undergrad Reading List: 40 Essential Texts for a Well-Rounded Thinker

From Open Culture: “There are some heady scientific texts here, to be sure. But also some great works from the Western philosophical and literary tradition. We’re talking Plato’s Republic, Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, The Bible, Gide’s The Immoralist, and Huxley’s Young Archimedes. It’s just the kind of texts you’d expect a true humanist like Sagan — let alone a UChicago grad — to be fully immersed in.” Read More

Brain, Interrupted

From the New York Times: “Clifford Nass, a Stanford sociologist who conducted some of the first tests on multitasking, has said that those who can’t resist the lure of doing two things at once are ‘suckers for irrelevancy.’ There is some evidence that we’re not just suckers for that new text message, or addicted to it; it’s actually robbing us of brain power, too. Tweet about this at your own risk.” Read More

CuppaDaily Rituals of the World’s Most Creative People

From Fast Company: “You can’t just work constantly on something that requires a high degree of focus and creative energy, whether it’s writing or composing or painting. No one can do it nonstop for hours on end. Taking a nap and drinking coffee were typical. Igor Stravinsky would do a headstand. Thomas Wolfe had the weird fondling-himself habit. Walking seems the most common, especially among composers. Composers all seemed to take a long walk every day.”  Read More

Wooden ChairGeorge Saunders: My Desktop

From The Guardian: “I’m not easily distracted, as a rule. Especially where writing is concerned. But I have noticed, over the last few years, the very real (what feels like) neurological effect of the computer and the iPhone and texting and so on – it feels like I’ve re-programmed myself to become discontent with whatever I’m doing faster. So I’m trying to work against this by checking emails less often, etc etc. It’s a little scary, actually, to observe oneself getting more and more skittish, attention-wise.  Read More

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