Good Things to Read – Great Essays From Around the Web

Looking for something good to read that’s shorter than a book but longer than a blog post? Here are a few well-researched, well-written essays and articles from the past few months that I keep coming back to:


Stephen Hawking Thinks These 3 Things Could Destroy Humanity – via livescience

No. 37: Big Wedding or Small: The 36 Questions That Lead to Love, by Daniel Jones, author of Love Illuminated and editor of Modern Love – via the New York Times

Is AI a Threat to Humanity? by Greg Scoblete, by Greg Scoblete – via CNN

On Writing

On Writing: Being Nestless, by Kimberly Brock, author of The River Watch – via Writers in the Storm

24 Things No One Tells You About Book Publishing, by Curtis Sittenfeld  – via Buzzfeed


The Town Without Wi-Fi (a fascinating look at the National Radio Quiet Zone), by Michael Jay Gaynor, with photos by Joshua Cogan – via The Washingtonian

Bad Luck

Home Sweet Homewreck: TheWorst Reno Story You Will Ever Hear, by Richard Warnica – via the National Post


The Murder That Has Obsessed Italy, by Tobias Jones – via The Guardian

Moral Dilemmas

When a Stranger Threatens Suicide, by Cynthia McCabe – via The Washington Post

Health & Psychology

Blackness Ever Blackening: My Lifetime of Depression, by Jenni Diski, via Mosaic Science

Why Are Palo Alto’s Kids Killing Themselves, by Diana Kapp, via SFGate


What to Call Her? (on being “adopted” by Doris Lessing), also by Jenni Diski – via London Review of Books


How Hollywood Keeps Out Women, by Jessica P. Ogilve, via LA Weekly

Burn After Reading, by Gabriel Thompson, via Harper’s

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Friday Reads – Pico Iyer on the Pleasures of Being Foreign, Ethan Siegel on Dark Matter

Soon there’ll be more foreigners on earth than there are Americans. Foreignness is a planetary condition, and even when you walk through your hometown—whether that’s New York or London or Sydney—half the people around you are speaking in languages and dealing in traditions different from your own.

Read the article at Lapham’s Quarterly

But there are still gravitationally bound systems, and they exist on small scales in great abundance, on medium scales in moderate abundance, and on relatively large scales in sparse but non-zero abundance. And it’s all part of the same cosmic story.

Ethan Siegel on dark energy, dark matter, and the fate of our expanding universe on Medium. Read the article.

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Maria Popova’s Animated Essay: Wisdom in the Age of Information

In this stunning collaboration with animator Drew Christie, Maria Popova parses the difference between wisdom and knowledge and ends with a question we should all be asking ourselves. Popova, the brain behind the phenomenal intellect and arts blog Brain Pickings, teamed up with Christie for the Future of Storytelling Conference.

“A great story invites an expansion of understanding.”

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Writer success story – why sometimes you have to tune out the criticism

Roald Dahl authored dozens of books, including the beloved Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach

“This boy is an indolent and illiterate member of the class.” age 16, summer term English composition

“A persistent muddler, vocabulary negligible, sentences malconstructed. He reminds me of a camel.” Summer term 1932, age 16, English composition

“Consistently idle, ideas limited.” Autumn term, 1932, English composition

Roald Dahl is a great writer. He is probably my favorite writer.” Oscar, age 9

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Crystal Springs – the new play by Kathy Rucker

This sounds really good: award-winning playwright Kathy Rucker’s new play, Crystal Springs. Crystal Springs runs March 6 – March 23 at The Eureka Theatre in San Francisco. Read more and get tickets at

About the play:

(via the website)

Crystal Springs is a thought-provoking new play that interweaves the challenges of parenting in the digital age with a suspenseful tale of online misbehavior and its vicious consequences. Written by Kathy Rucker, directed by 2013 Bruntwood Prize winner Anna Jordan.

Based on true events, the performance follows a suburban mother who becomes obsessed with her daughter’s online social circle, using the teen’s Web connections to fire salvos and seek revenge. The play starts at the story’s conclusion and unfolds backwards in time, turning surprising corners on a path to an unexpected beginning.

About the Playwright
Kathy Rucker is the award-winning writer of Beautiful Scar, Sultan’s Battery, and Turing Tested, which was a selection of Last Frontier Theater Conference. She has been a finalist for the Heideman Award and New Works of Merit. She lives in Northern California.

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