The Reading List – February 2018

Presented for your amusement and intellectual enrichment: the best pieces of writing the Octopus Group Copy Team have read in the past month. Be inspired, disgusted, entertained, or a combination of the three.

My life as a bookworm: what children can teach us about how to read (Lucy Mangan, The Guardian)

This excerpt from Lucy Mangan’s new book, Bookworm: A Memoir of Childhood Reading, will particularly resonate if you were the child inside reading a book while the other kids on your street were ‘playing out’. Not that that applies to any of us on the Copy Team (ahem). It’s an opportune reminder that we should all slow down in the relentless pursuit of content consumption, taking the time to read – and read again. ‘As adults, rereading seems like backtracking at best, self-indulgence at worst. Free time is such a scarce resource that we feel we should use it on new things.’ Read it.

The Olympics’ never-ending struggle to keep track of time (Alan Burdick, The New Yorker)

It’s the piece that has everything – from the Pyeonchang Winter Games 2018 (who wasn’t obsessed?) to modern technology, the measurement of time, a Greek army officer named Papadiamantopoulos, half an orange, and a glass of cognac. Intrigued? So you should be. Read it.

Ghosting, Caspering and six new dating terms you’ve never heard of (Max Benwell, The Guardian)

That feeling when you’ve stalked your partner’s ex all the way up to a decade ago and accidentally hit ‘like’ on a picture of them together (you need to master the art of freeclimbing, and fast) – and other modern-day phenomena. P.s. Cryptomancers, reveal yourselves. Read it.

Your smartphone is making you stupid (Page Grossman, Zendesk)

Apps that tot up how many minutes (or, let’s be real, hours) you spend on your device each day/week/month are apparently a thing. The author of this interesting piece about what it is that makes our phones so distracting (and how we can reclaim our mental prowess) admits to spending 649 minutes on Instagram in one month. ‘That’s 10.8 hours in 30 days.’ Read it.

Think More, Feel Worse (@ThinkMoreFeelWorse, Twitter)

Speaking of smartphone addiction – do you prefer to do your reading through the medium of Twitter? It’s okay – everything in small doses. Especially when it comes in the form of this tragicomic feed, littering your day with such pseudo-motivational titbits as: ‘Once one bad thing has happened, it’s best to write off the whole day.’ Follow it.

Why Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales is the good guy of tech (Richard Godwin, Evening Standard)

Imagine life without Wikipedia (lol). Thanks to Jimmy Wales, we don’t have to. The not-for-profit, ad-free encyclopaedia is the fifth most visited site on the web. With it, we can settle heated pub debates with the quick click of a wiki-button – and our lives are so much the richer for it. We suggest you skip the superfluous home-life waffle about who did/didn’t attend his wedding and head straight for the part about his ‘commitment to transparency, community and neutrality’ on the web. Read it.