The Monty Hall problem, keeping a notebook, browsing, looking up, and more
Seven links to worthwhile thin(g/k)s
Hello dear reader,
Here are seven links to bits of the world I have been exploring this week, shared with the hope that you will find them to be an inspiring springboard for deeper thinking.
Why keep a notebook? A look into how Joan Didion would respond.
Leanne Shapton’s ‘In Defense of Browsing’ essay is so worth the read, despite the fact that the subject on which she writes — the New York Public Library’s initial decision to archive its Picture Collection — is now moot, as NYPL noted yesterday it will continue circulating the collection in a new space.
“The feeling of fortuitous gratitude at coming across unexpected information is something most of us who’ve done any research, have experienced — that kismet of finding the perfect book, one spine away from the one that was sought. In the field of art and image research, this sparking of transmission, of sequence and connection, happens on a subconscious level…. If the library’s plan succeeds, people looking for pictures they have never seen will have to spell out what they think they want, and wait, possibly for hours, while that one thing — but nothing alongside it or related to it — is retrieved by someone else. There will be no time or quiet space to look, sift, think.”
Pairing this thought on browsing with an observation made by Walter Murch in In the Blink of an Eye:
“[I]n the mechanical, linear search for what I wanted, I would find instead what I needed—something different, better, more quirky, more accidental, more ‘true’ than my first impression. I could recognize it when I saw it, but I couldn’t have articulated it in advance.”
A read-along invitation: The communal nature of reading books has been markedly significant these days, given the weird time and world we are living through. I have found that sharing our thoughts around books, good company, and some delightful snacks/coffee/tea has served a therapeutic purpose in my life. With the hope the same could be said for you, I am organizing a read-along of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment using the hashtag #ReadingRaskolnikov on Instagram. It is set for October, and its conclusion will put us at the heel of Dostoevsky’s 200th birthday on November 11. What better way to celebrate the literary giant? Follow along and/or chime in via Instagram, and let me know if you have any questions.
Looking in the mirror, an exercise.
Also, on a similar note, don’t forget to look up.
PS — On September 24, I will include in my newsletter dispatch a reflection and collection of favorites from the month of September. Favorite moments, finds, explorations, and more.
Also! News of a new autumnal product drop is on its way to you in the next newsletter dispatch :-) Stay tuned!
Thank you so much for reading and exploring! While this newsletter is free, here is how you can help keep it moving forward: relay it to someone who’d enjoy it, subscribe to my YouTube channel, send a nod of support on my Patreon page, buy me a cup of coffee, shop hand-crafted jewelry, or interact with me by way of Instagram!