Staff Picks: Flavorwire’s Favorite Cultural Things This Week


Need a great book to read, album to listen to, or TV show to get hooked on? The Flavorwire team is here to help: in this weekly feature, our editorial staffers recommend the cultural object or experience they’ve enjoyed most in the past seven days. Click through for our picks, and tell us what you’ve been loving in the comments.

A Tale for the Time Being, Ruth Ozeki

I’ve been loving Ruth Ozeki’s novel A Tale for the Time Being, which was shortlisted for both the Booker and the National Book Critics’ Circle award. It’s about a woman named Ruth who finds a post-tsunami message-in-a-bottle on a British Columbia beach. It’s the diary of a 15-year-old living in Japan who is sinking into a deep depression. I can’t stop thinking about it whenever I have to set it down. —Michelle Dean, Editor-at-Large

The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen

This year, I’m on a mission to read all the books I should have already read a long time ago. Considering The Corrections came out when I was 12, it wasn’t on my radar until a couple years ago, so when I saw it sitting in the “Real Books Priced Lower Than E-Books” section at The Strand, it was a sign to take the plunge. It’s obviously great so far (as National Book Award winners are wont to be), and it’s always nice to immerse yourself in a book that makes you wish for a longer commute. —Isabella Biedenharn, Editorial Apprentice

Waiting for Godot at the Cort Theater

I saw Waiting for Godot at the Cort last night. Even if I didn’t already love Beckett’s classic play, seeing Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart on stage together would make it worth the time. —Jason Diamond, Literary Editor

Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s Golden Globe Win

I’ve been on board with Brooklyn Nine-Nine since the beginning, and my affection for it has only grown over the course of its rookie season; its ensemble has gelled, its pace has gotten even quicker, and it’s as reliably funny as any show on television. So its surprise win (which I certainly didn’t predict) for Best Comedy at the Golden Globes Sunday night was kind of wonderful. Is it genuinely the best comedy on television? Not quite yet, no — although I’d offer that only Parks and Rec tops it among the shows nominated. But its victory is yet another case of the more-adventurous Globes showing up the stodgy Emmy voters, who will probably just give the trophy to Modern Family or The Big Bang Theory again. And more importantly, this high-profile seal of approval seems (at least anecdotally!) to have prompted a lot of viewers to finally give the show a shot–and that can only be good. —Jason Bailey, Film Editor

Joanna Newsom’s Exposure at the Golden Globes during Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Win, and the Re-Listens it Triggered

It has been almost four years since Newsom’s last album, Have One on Me, was released — since, she has made occasional appearances, for instance on Portlandia (in a sketch where hopefully the destruction of her harp wasn’t prophetic), and at assorted festivals. Seeing her so out of her artistic element at the Golden Globes — and so unnervingly treated as ANDY SAMBERG’S WIFE instead of, you know, “my favorite musician” — was disorienting, but left me hopeful. Perhaps through a hysterical distortion of reality, her “Southern-Gothic-Chic”-sporting appearance at the Globes, coupled with previews of new songs last year, led me to think that perhaps there’d be a new album — perhaps even a surprise visual album where Newsom performs beachside duets with Andy and daughter Blue Ivy Samberg, laments her past as an objectified adolescent harpist, and does interesting things with her butt. This likely unfounded feeling of anticipation led me to revisit this gorgeous untitled track she performed earlier this year, whose stunning cascade of phrases at 1:24 shows immense promise for her (still hypothetical) future album. —Moze Halperin, Editorial Apprentice