Listicles, tweets, your ex’s Facebook status, picture of dogs wearing costumes — the internet offers no shortage of entertaining stuff to look at. But there’s plenty of substantial writing out there, too, the pieces you spend a few minutes reading and a long time thinking about after you’ve closed the tab. In this weekly feature, Flavorwire shares the best of that category. This time around, a late contender for the ultimate Wolf of Wall Street response and a hilarious riff on T.S. Eliot’s most famous work.
Confessions of a Ghost Writer: “Freelancer’s Journal: Ghost Stories” by Sari Botton, Scratch
Ever wonder about the real person behind the words? How much thought have you given into the fact that, often, somebody other than the person whose name appears on the cover actually wrote the book you’re reading? The ghostwriter is the author behind the author, the voice you’re not supposed to think about. Sari Botton illuminates that bizarre role in this piece (that’s free to read if you register) full of weird tales about the money she makes — and doesn’t make — as a ghost writer.
The Ta-Nehisi Coates Rule: “I Am Still Called by the God I Serve to Walk This Out” by Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic
Since we’ve only been doing this roundup for two weeks, I guess now is a good time to warn you that I tend to suggest anything Ta-Nehisi Coates writes. In this case, he speaks with the mother of Jordan Davis, the Florida teen who was shot and killed by Michael Dunn for playing music too loud. It’s the sort of thing you read and can’t stop thinking about for hours, and it really forces you to think about how far we have to go as a country.
(Iowa) MFA vs. NYC: “My Parade” by Alexander Chee, BuzzFeed Books
In a piece excerpted from the much-discussed collection MFA vs. NYC: The Two Cultures of American Fiction, Alexander Chee writes about giving up the big-city life to study at the famous Iowa Writers Workshop. This is definitely one of the highlights of the collection, but I’d still suggest picking the book to read essays by Keith Gessen, Elif Batuman, Emily Gould (whose piece was reprinted at Medium), George Saunders, and others.
Just in Time for the Oscars: “Till They Choke on It: On Wolf of Wall Street” by Naomi Fry, Los Angeles Review of Books
Hopefully you aren’t burnt out on criticism of Martin Scorsese’s latest, because Naomi Fry’s piece is one of the best I’ve read. Other critics have raised objections to what some see as a celebration of scumbags like the ones in this Best Picture-nominated film, but Fry does the best job I’ve seen of crystallizing what’s troubling about The Wolf of Wall Street.
On Writing From Photography: “A Thousand Words” by Casey N. Cep, The New Yorker
If you could just snap photos instead of taking notes for the piece you’re writing, why would you need to carry a notebook? That’s the question Cep explores in her latest piece for Page-Turner, and it might just get you rethinking your whole process.
Mixing Wastelands: “The Teenage Wasteland” by Mallory Ortberg, The Toast
Mallory Ortberg mixes T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land with the spirit of The Who’s “Baba O’Riley (Teenage Wasteland)” and a whole lot of garden-variety teen angst, to create one of the funniest pieces you’ll ever read on the internet.